Best Rally Cars of All Time

A WRC Toyota Yaris
  • After a 19 year wait, Kenya’s Safari Rally finally made its big return to the 2021 World Rally Championship. Kenyans will get a chance to see some of the best rally cars and drivers live-in action.

    Drivers endeavor to make it through specified stages in the shortest time possible. Founded in 1973, the World Rally Championship (WRC) is the highest level of worldwide competition in rallying. French-born driver Sebastian Ogier and his navigator Julien Ingrassia are the current world champions.

    The duo drove a Ford Fiesta in the years 2017 and 2018, a Volkswagen Polo from 2013 to 2016 all in which they clinched the World Rally Champion title. In last year’s competition, they drove the all new WRC Toyota Yaris. The vehicle, already legendary in the racing realm, was forged by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing to exclusively compete in the World Rally Championship.

    A WRC Toyota Yaris leaps into the air coursing through a rally stage.

    The championship also features a category that awards manufacturers of vehicles driven in competition. The FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) awards the most successful constructor based on rally results. Over the years, France, America, Japan, Germany, Italy, South Korea and the United Kingdom have received recognition in this regard.

    Among the holy grail of rally greatness is the WRC Toyota Celica. This racer’s machine was produced between 1986 and 1999. It featured a 2.0 liter front engine and a four-wheel-drive layout. Drivers of this car took home 30 wins through its prime years.

    Photo of a Toyota Celica
    A WRC Toyota Celica in a rally stage.

    The Volkswagen Polo WRC was curated by German to compete in racing events. Since it made its entry to WRC in 2013, the car has been successful in the 1.6 liter category. Its manufacturers managed to win the constructor’s category from 2013 to 2016.

    Photo of a WRC Volkswagen Polo
    Photo of a WRC Volkswagen Polo.

    Drivers of this car have won 43 titles out of 52 rallies participated in. These wins include those of Kenyan legends Carl Tundo and his co-driver Tim Jessop. The pair are the champions of the African Equator Rally that took place in April 2021. 

    With an impressive track record of 46 wins, the Subaru Impreza has for a long time reigned in motorsport. In rallying, the vehicle has an irrefutable reputation for a robust build that races across unforgiving terrains from the deserts of Africa to snow-filled roads of continental Europe. 

    Photo of a Subaru Impreza
    A WRC spec Subaru Impreza powerslides in a race track.

    Rally specs Impreza are JDM originals sporting 2.0 liter engine and four-wheel grip. Finnish driver Tapio Laukkanen and his Kenyan counterpart Gavin Laurence won the 2017 Africa Rally Championship (ARC) in this car.

    Holding 46 WRC victories, 6 consecutive constructor titles and four drivers’ championships, the Lancia Delta Integrale is an undisputable vehicle given its rich history. The Italian-manufactured legend reigned through the late 70’s and 80’s before the group B category of WRC was brought to an end due to safety concerns. The car has over 50 rally wins to boot.

    Photo of a Lancia Delta Integrale
    The iconic Lancia Delta Integrale in a racing event.

    French-built Peugeot has a seat in WRC’s table of winners with 24 rally wins. Its manufacturers received the constructor’s award from the year 2000 to 2002.

    Photo of a Peugeot 206
    Picture of a rally spec Peugeot 206.

    Ford Focus is an American-produced model that also has an impressive record with the WRC having participated from 1999 to 2010. The car has bagged its drivers 44 wins in rally events. Notably, it was driven by the late Scottish legendary driver, Colin McRae.

    Picture of a Ford Focus.
    A WRC Ford Focus drifts on the streets.

    An honorable mention goes to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Series. These vehicles, produced in the land of the rising sun just as Subaru, have a rich history in racing. Through Mitsubishi’s Ralliart team, Lancer Evolutions are wired to achieve the best possible racing performance. Kenyan drivers Baldev Chager and Ravi Soni of Kabras Sugar won 2019’s ARC in a Mitsubishi Evolution 10.

    Carl Tundo and Tim Jessop also won 2018’s Africa Rally Championship in the same car. During the early 1990’s, early Mitsubishi Lancer models scooped 4 titles. WRC has returned to Kenya after a 19-year hiatus, taking place from 24th to 27th of June 2021 in Nakuru County.

    Onkar Rai's Mitsubishi Evo X
    Onkar Rai driving through a track in a past racing competition.
    Kabras Sugar Racing