Juha Kankkunen is a legend of rallying who has taken the World Rally Championship crown no less than four times.
In a career spanning over two decades, Kankkunen took 23 victories at the highest level – then a record. He remains the only man to win world titles with three different manufacturers (Peugeot, Lancia and Toyota).
Such success was probably inevitable. Kankkunen grew up on his family's farm near the route of the Rally Finland. His father taught Juha how to drive on an ice-racing track when he was seven years old and he owned his first own car at the age of 12.
Outside the WRC, Kankkunen won the Dakar Rally at the height of his powers in 1988, going on to take his first ‘Champion of Champions’ title at the inaugural Race Of Champions the same year, defeating compatriot Timo Salonen in the Grand Final. This archetypal ‘Flying Finn’ returned to The Race of Champions on a regular basis, taking the overall title for a second time in 1991.
Kankkunen now runs his own driving academy in his native Finland. He also works in business and politics but recently found the time to set the world speed record on ice in a Bentley Continental GT, averaging 321.65km/h.
- 4-time World Rally Champion (1986, 1987, 1991, 1993)
23 WRC victories
Two Race of Champions titles
2007: Sets world speed record on ice in his privately-owned Bentley Continental GT
2002: Makes last WRC appearance in Great Britain
1999: Final WRC win for Subaru at the Finnish Rally
1993: Voted Finnish Sportsman of the Year
1993: Returns to Toyota to take championship number four
1992: Reaches the podium in every WRC event
1991: Takes third WRC title with Lancia with a record 150 points
1988: Wins the Dakar Rally at his first attempt
1987: Becomes first man to retain WRC crown despite switch to Lancia
1986: Switches to Peugeot and immediately takes first WRC title
1985: Takes first WRC victory at the Safari Rally
1979: First WRC appearance at the Finnish Rally
The Race of Champions Highlights
- Years contested: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996 & 1997
1992: Makes the Grand Final for the third time
1991: Takes his second ‘Champion of Champions’ crown in Madrid
1988: Wins the inaugural Race of Champions in Paris