PROFILE1981: Started rallying with Fiat 131 Abarth
1984: Finished 67th on Rallye Monte Carlo with Talbot on his WRC debut
1986: Drives Peugeot
1987: Drives Peugeot
1989: Drives Peugeot
1990: 9th in Monte Carlo with Peugeot
1991: Joins Ford, 3rd in Monte Carlo and Spain, 7th WRC for Drivers
1992: 2nd in Corsica with Ford, 6th WRC for Drivers
1993: 1st WRC win in Rally Portugal with Ford, Wins also in Corsica and Spain, 2nd WRC for Drivers
1994: Win in Monte Carlo with Ford, 8th WRC for Drivers
1995: 2nd in Monte Carlo and Corsica with Ford, 4th WRC for Drivers
1996: Back to Peugeot, 2nd in Monte Carlo (only F2 event)
1997: 4th in Corsica with Peugeot
1998: 2nd in Corsica with Peugeot, 10th WRC for Drivers
1999: Drives with Ford and Peugeot, 4th in Monte Carlo
2000: 2nd in Corsica and Italy with Peugeot, 6th WRC for Drivers
2001: Back to Ford, 3rd in Monte Carlo, 9th WRC for Drivers
2002: Contract with Mitsubishi
2003: Drives Mitsubishi
|Date of Birth:
30/8/1962 at Cassel
Francois Delecour was the great unknown when Fordīs Peter Ashcroft signed him to the team. After a blinding run on the 1990 Monte Carlo in a two-wheel drive Peugeot 309 gave him a top ten finish, he was under close scrutiny as the world waited to see just why Ashcroft had signed this Frenchman who had not even won a rally.
Delecour almost made a dream start with a Ford in Monte Carlo 1991. He was leading the rally but the Sierra Cosworthīs rear suspension broken under stress on the Col de Turini. He finished totally distraught and in third place. On the 1993 Monte Carlo Rally he had led from the second stage right through to the 20th of the total 22 stages entering the last night-time leg with a two-minute advantage, only to see certain victory snatched from him when Didier Auriol produced an explosive turn of speed in his Toyota to win the rally by 15 seconds. It was the second time he had placed one hand on the magnificent Monte Carlo trophy only to have it pulled off. He broke his duck at last in Portugal the same year, giving the Escort Cosworth its first WRC win, breaking Fordīs a five-year drought. The win did wonders for the confidence not just of driver, but the Ford team as well, and he proceeded to further victories that year in Corsica and Spain.
It was all looking so good for 1994. He was going to become world champion driver, he declared, and ensure that his team Ford took the manufacturers`prize. With his searing speed, few were taking bets against him achieving at least the former. Ten weeks after champagne-soaked Monte Carlo win, a short trip to buy some bread near his home in north France, was almost fateful. He was driving a friendīs Ferrari F40 when he was in collision with a Citroen driven by a local rally driver who was practising for his next event in that region. The driver of the Citroen was unhurt but Delecour suffered bad fractures to his feet. The foot was saved and ten weeks later he was doing speed trials in a standard car on a closed road behind his new home in the south of France.
The accident came at a crucial time in his career. It was probably also the biggest single blow to Fordīs World Championship challenge. In 1995 he was keep on driving with Ford but the results was not enough good and he lost his seat. He returned to Peugeot to drive F2 class 306 Maxi in French Championship and also contesting some WRC tarmac events. Some excellent results with the front-wheel drive car among the four-wheel drive cars, showed that he had still the ability and speed what a top driver needed.
At the Corsican Rally 1999, Peugeot began its second attempt on the top with 206 WRC. The first season was a learning year, but in 2000 he contested the full WRC season taking second place in Corsica and in Italy.
Peugeot dropped him after the season 2000 and it seemed that his career was over, but Ford signed him to drive at least ten events in 2001. He was third in Monte Carlo and during the season he drove very reliably.
For the season 2002 he moved to Mitsubishi, but all went wrong. He was not able to get use with the Mitsubishiīs WRC and many accidents and technical problems prevented good results. Mitsubishi decided to pull out of the 2003 World Rally Championship and it seems that Delecourīs program during the season 2003 will be very restricted.