Drivers & Teams

Drivers come and go with the passing of time, but they have fairly long careers so the following guide to the men behind the wheel, compiled in July 2004, should still be pertinent for a number of years to come.

The very different nature of the individual rallies means that certain drivers adapt much better to some than others, and course-specialists frequently emerge. Here is a brief summary of the leading current drivers, and their attributes:

Marcus Gronholm Twice World Champion despite never having won on asphalt. Very fast but prone to errors, and excels in fast gravel events and in Sweden.

Sebastien Loeb Youngster who was very much an asphalt specialist when he first arrived on the stage. He has developed into a real all-rounder but like most French drivers remains very tough to beat on the smooth and finished first on the road in the Monte Carlo Rallies from 2002-04.

Petter Solberg World Champion but with only one asphalt victory under his belt. Excels in all gravel events.

Markko Martin A champion of the future, the Estonian came of age in 2003 by winning the gruelling Acropolis Rally and later outbattling Marcus Gronholm in an epic in Finland. He is consistent, and best on gravel.

Carlos Sainz Veteran Spaniard, twice world champion in the early-1990s. Team-mate of Sebastien Loeb, he can be relied upon to pick up a couple of podiums and make his experience count in the slower gravel events.