PROFILE1981: Started rallying with Simca Rallye
1986: Won Belgian Visa Championship
1987: Competed in Belgian rallying
1989: His WRC debut in Acropolis Rally with Audi 90 Quattro
1990: Joined Opel Belgium
1991: Keep on driving withOpel
1992: 2nd in Ivory Coast with Opel Kadett GSi
1993: Helped clinch F2 World Cup for Opel, winning F2 class at Monte Carlo, Portugal, San Remo and Catalunya, 6th in Italy
1994: Joined Ford, seven WRC events, 3rd in RAC, 5th WRC for Drivers1995: Near-victory in Corsica for Ford, 6th WRC for Drivers 1996: Mid-season return to Ford, 3rd in Italy and Spain, 6th WRC for Drivers
1997: Drives with SEAT, Ford and Subaru
1998: Full WRC programme with Ford, 3rd in Great Britain
1999: Drives with Subaru and Skoda, 4th in Great Britain
2000: Drives with Toyota and Citroen, 5th in Monte Carlo
2001: Contract with Skoda
2002: Drives Peugeot, 5th in Germany
2003: Drives Peugeot
2004: Drives Citroen
|Date of Birth:
8/10/1962 at Saint Vith
World Drivers' Champion:
Thiry has made a name for himself as a giant killer who has regularly competed with the
big boys despite underpowered cars. But he will be not be content to just act as support
for team-mate Juha Kankkunen this season, and will be looking to break his duck.
Fascinated by rallying since he was a schoolboy, his first foray was in a Datsun. He was instantly successful, and soon moved on to a Saab 99 Turbo. A lack of reliability meant he quickly replaced it with a Citreon Visa GTi.
He won the Belgian Visa Championship, and the Belgian importer offered him a four-wheel-drive model for 1987. It lacked power, but was excellent in slippery conditions. Thiry was able to challenge the Porsches and Opels that then dominated Belgian rallying, even taking an outright victory.
His big break was joining Opel Belgium in 1990. In three seasons he proved that he was extremely quick, beating stars like Andrea Aghini and Francois Delecour in equal machinery.
Opel also gave him the chance to contest World Rallies in 1992. He was second on the Ivory Coast, and played a major part in clinching the F2 World Cup for Opel in 1993. Driving the new Astra, he won his class on the Monte Carlo, Portugal, Finland, San Remo and Catalunya rallies. At his best on gravel, he demonstrated his considerable skill in San Remo when he eclipsed four-wheel-drive opponents in intense rain and fog, despite having considerably less power than his opponents.
He made his 4wd break with Ford, when they gave him an opportunity in 1994. Some fine results were followed in 1995 by a near-first victory in Corsica, when he forced out just two stages from the finish by wheel bearing failure. Further outings with Ford in 1996 netted some fine points finishes, but he was not able to continue a contract with Ford and he was pulled out from the team. In 1997 he drove European Championship rallies with private Subaru and next season he was back in WRC with Ford.
At the beginning of the season 1999 he was driving with Prodrive Subaru, but it ended in the mid-season. One-off performance for Skoda in Great Britain brought fourth place and for the Monte Carlo next season he joined the Grifone-Toyota taking fifth place. He also contested the European Rally Championship in the works Citroen Xsara F2 car.
For the season 2001 he made a contract with Skoda, but the results were not so good. Skoda dropped him at the end of the season and he was without the works drive. He competed with the privately entered Peugeot with support from Tobacco manufacturer Bastos on selected rallies during the season 2002 and in Germany he scored the fifth place.
In 2003 he will contest the European Rally Championship in the Kronos-Peugeot.