Richard Burns

Richard Burns

Great Britain (GB)

CAREER PROFILE

1988: Started rallying with Talbot Sumbeam

1990: His WRC debut in RAC, Peugeot GTi Cup Champion

1991: Peugeot GTi Rally Champion

1992: Drives Group N Subaru, Mintex National Rally Champion

1993: Joins Prodrive Subaru, 7th in RAC, British Rally Champion in Group A

1994: 5th in Safari, 3rd in Asia-Pacific Championship

1995: 3rd on RAC Rally, 9th WRC for Drivers

1996: Joined Mitsubishi. 4th in Argentina, 1st in New Zealand (only F2-Event). 9th WRC for Drivers

1997: Stays with Mitsubishi to support Makinen. Eight WRC events. 2nd in Safari. 7th WRC for Drivers

1998: Full WRC programme with Mitsubishi. 1st WRC win in Kenya, wins also in Great Britain ,6th WRC for Drivers

1999: Winner of three WRC events with Subaru, 2nd WRC for Drivers

2000: Drives Subaru, Winner of four WRC events, 2nd WRC for Drivers

2001: Drives Subaru, win in New Zealand, World Champion

2002: Move to Peugeot, 5th WRC for Drivers

2003: Drives Peugeot, 4th WRC for Drivers

Date of Birth:
17/1/1971 at Reading
Died:
25/11/2005 at 

Marital status:
Single

World Drivers' Champion:
2001

Entries of WRC Events

 

 

 

 

 


Richard Burns has quickly marked himself out as successor to McRae's throne. He is totally focused on his career, although many critics feel he is trying to run before he can walk.

Richard Burns earliest recollections of four wheels was when his father Alex, allowed Richard behind the wheel of an old Triumph 2000 in a field near to their home at the tender age of eight. His father decided to take Richard to a Welsh rally driving school where Richard was given an assessment. Two hours later with instructor/co-driver beaming form ear to ear, Richard emerged stating there and then that he wanted to be a rally driver. Richard was just 15.

By 1989, Richard had entered and been successful enough in minor domestic events to have caught the eye of rally raconteur and enthusiast David Williams who was to go on to become Richard’s mentor and great personal friend. With the help of David, Richard move to Peugeot's one-make series and was hugely successful. Back-to-back Peugeot Championships underlined his ability at the wheel, backed by an astute eye for media attention.

Moving on to the British National series with a Group N Subaru Legacy, he won the 1992 title against much more powerful opposition. When Colin McRae left the British Championship and moved on to the World Championship scene, Burns took over his seat and gave Subaru a third successive title. He stayed with Subaru for the next two seasons, finishing third in the 1994 Asia-Pacific series. However, he was occasionally guilty of trying to prove himself just a little too hard against McRae and Carlos Sainz.

Over the winter Burns considered offers from both Ford and Mitsubishi, settling on the latter who offered a real crack at the Asia-Pacific title. His 1996 season did not get off to a spectacular start thanks to accidents in several events, but a solid finish in Argentina restored his credibility and he underlined his potential with a win on the Rally of New Zealand, albeit in a non-championship year.

Another limited programme in 1997 saw Burns tackle only 8 of the 14 events. Some fine points finishes guaranteed him a full 1998 programme partnering World Champion Tommi Makinen with the Mitsubishi team and wins on the Safari and the RAC meant he was in demand as a No.1 driver in his own right.

Moving back to Subaru for 1999 was not so easy. Impreza was not fast enough in the beginning of the season and as the Impreza became competitive in Argentina - it seemed that Subaru drivers have lost their title possibilities. Win in Greece and second behind his team mate Kankkunen at the Rally Finland was an astounding result for a non-Finnish driver, and the Englishman was beginning to lift himself into contention for the title. Wins in Australia and Britain lifted Burns into second overall at the season’s end.

Burns started season 2000 as a title favourite. His early season form meant he created history once again as he became the first Englishman to ever lead the WRC. Four wins during the season was not enough to beat Marcus Gronholm in the Championship. He placed again second in the series.

2001 started slowly for the Englishman who scored just three points in the first four events. He then took two runner-up places in Argentina, Cyprus and Finland. Finally he claimed his first victory of the season when he won in New Zealand, however that was to be his only win of the year. Burns entered the final event of the year - Rally of Great Britain two points behind championship leader Colin McRae, but a third placed finish at his home event enabled Burns to score the necessary points and put his name in the history books as the first Englishman to be crowned World Rally Champion.

For the season 2002 he joined Peugeot after three seasons with the Prodrive-run Subaru squad. He was now the reigning World Rally Champion and everyone wanted to beat him. The season was not so easy for Burns and he was not able to win any events. He crashed heavily both in New Zealand and in Great Britain and dropped fifth in the series

In 2003 Burns started his second year in the Peugeot team. During the season he was able to take  seven podium finishes, but was not able to win any events and placed fourth in the series. He was one of the most consistent finishers in 2003 and was fighting for the title, when going into the season-finale. Sadly, Burns was forced out of the event with an illness that was later diagnosed with an astrocytoma. He was on his way to the British Rally in Wales, when he blacked out at the wheel of his car. The serious accident was rescued by his friend and fellow traveller Markko Martinīs quick reaction. For the season 2004 he had signed a two-year contract with Subaru and that was thought to be like returning to own family. It never happened. The illness forced him to withdraw from rallying. 

Richard Burns passed away on Friday night 25th November 2005 after battling against a long illness since he was diagnosed with an astrocytoma, a form of brain tumour at the end of the WRC 2003 season. The Briton, who was 34-year-old, underwent several medical operations on the long haul back to the healthiness, but he never fully recuperate from the decease. 

The statement said: " From the outset, Richard knew that the odds were heavily against him and yet he fought his illness with bravery and good humour. Having undergone both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, he was able to leave hospital in summer 2004. For a while his health showed signs of improvement but then after six months it once again began to decline. Determined not to give up, he opted for surgery earlier this year. This alleviated some of the symptoms of his illness and enabled him to remain active. At Castle Combe in August he attended a parade of the rally cars that he drove throughout his career and was touched by the warmth of the reception he received. However there was to be no miracle and in recent days he lapsed into a coma."

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