PROFILE1982: Started rallying with VW Golf
1984: His WRC debut in Monte Carlo with VW Golf
1985: Drives with Renault 5 Turbo
1988: Drives with Renault 21 Turbo
1991: Keep on driving with Renault
1992: Move to Lancia, 5th in Monte Carlo, 3rd in Corsica
1993: Back to Renault
1995: Drives with Renault, French Champion (F2)
1996: Drives with Renault, 1st in Corsica (only F2 Event)
1997: Drives with Renault, 6th in Corsica, French Champion
1998: Move to Citroen, 5th in Spain
1999: Drives with Citroen, 1st WRC win in Spain, wins also in Corsica,7th WRC for Drivers
2000: Drives with Citroen
2001: Drives with Citroen
2002: Drives with Citroen, 3rd in Spain
2003: Drives with Citroen
|Date of Birth:
12/6/1963 at Cusset
In the early stages of his career, it seemed only a matter of time before Philippe Bugalski joined the ranks of the great French drivers. Philippe Bugalski began his rally career in a VW Golf, but quickly switched to Renault and forged a strong reputation - he lifted the French Cup for more standard cars in only his fourth season. By the early nineties he was regularly winning his class in the French championship and for 1992, the Italian Jolly Club team picked him to drive a Lancia Delta in the WRC. Despite a fifth in Monte Carlo, third in Corsica and eighth on the demanding 1000 Lakes in Finland, he was dropped for the following year and disappeared from the world scene altogether.
Renault took him back and Bugalski thrived, despite another personal crisis, when he crashed a Clio Maxi on the Grasse-Alpin Rally and his co-driver Thierry Renaud was killed. But the outright wins began to flow at last, including a brilliant 1996 Tour of Corsica victory in a Megane, in the year when the rally was part of the F2 World Championship alone.
In 1997 The Maxi Megane was still the top F2 weapon on asphalt and Bugalski stuck with the dramatic-looking coupe for another season. But he couldn't quite repeat the form of 12 months earlier and his best result of the year was probably his third in the two-litre category on his sole WRC outing, in Corsica.
When Renault withdrew, he switched to Citroen in 1998. The Xsara project was turning into a seriously competitive proposition and Citroen elected to test it at the highest level. Bugalski took the car to Catalunya, finishing an impressive fifth overall and first in the F2 category. Other appearances were less successful - an engine blew in Corsica, and Bugalski crashed out of Sanremo. But he also used the car to lift the French championship crown.
Season 1999 Citroen funded a trip to Monte Carlo in a Saxo kit car, then gave Bugalski the Xsara for assaults on Catalunya, Corsica and Sanremo. It was a wise move: he used the 320bhp, two-wheel drive weapon to embarrass the World Rally Cars in both of the first two events (which he won outright). But he was less competitive on the Italian roads and crashed out of the event. In the meantime, he won the French title for the second year in a row and started work on the Xsara WRC.
Bugalski has been a key player in the progress of the Citroen ZX and Xsara projects and in 2001 he finally got his chance in a four-wheel drive car again. In 2000 the team spent most of the year developing Citroen's World Rally Car, the Xsara WRC. It was not yet allowed into the world championship but it was permitted to contest the French series, which Bugalski won for a third time in succession. Indeed, he won every rally he started in the WRC (seven in total). When he did appear in the WRC it was at the wheel of a 1600cc Saxo, since the aim was to learn the roads instead of win. At last, he has a chance to resume the unfinished business he began at the Lancia.
In Rallye Catalunya 2001 Citroen introduced their Xsara WRC and Bugalski was leading the rally before mechanical problems. In Catalunya 2002 he achieved third place, but in many rallies he made bad mistakes and works team dropped him at the end of the season. In 2003 he will drive a privately-run Piedrafita-Citroen.