Spends these months Auto Motor Klassiek the magazine focuses on Toyota's rally history. In a diptych, we describe the background to the contemporary competition success of the largest manufacturer in the world. A success story that started in Belgium. This history is full of background stories. That is why we also share special events from that history with you online. Today part 6 and the final piece: the double battle of Toyota Team Europe in 1993. That year Toyota becomes WRC constructors' champion for the first time. In addition, Toyota driver Juha Kankkunen became world rally champion for the fourth time in 1993.
Toyota becomes owner of Andersson Motorsport GmbH in 1993. It is now called Toyota Motorsport GmbH, and TTE is from that moment on. That year, everything fell into place at Toyota Team Europe. Toyota has grown step by step since the Belgian seventies, you have read the history in a magazine diptych and online. Under the leadership of Ove Andersson, the teams achieve impressive results, all of which are the prelude to the great 1993 season.
Big names on board
The crew does not lie, big names such as Didier Auriol, Juha Kankkunen and Markku Alén grab the steering wheels of the Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD (ST185) that season. It happens in an era when the other teams also have big names. Subaru is now on the rise, and has captured Vatanen, world champion Carlos Sainz surprisingly leaves Toyota due to sponsor problems and finds himself back in the Delta Integrale in 1993. The iconic Lancia enters its final WRC season under the Jolly Club banner. And what about Francois Delecour? That is also an illustrious name, which has been in the service of Ford for years and must take the oval to great heights with the Escort Cosworth this season. Miki Biasion, world champion in 1988 and 1989 with Lancia, is his team mate.
Coming man and saying goodbye to a legend
Colin McRae is the coming man, he drives for Subaru that year and is a teammate of Ari Vatanen. 1993 is also Hannu Mikkola's farewell year. He drives that season for Subaru and Toyota Team Europe. Finnish legend takes during are 1000-Lakes Rally, in which he gave Toyota Team Europe its first WRC victory in 1975, farewell to the international circus. He finished seventh in his home country in 1993.
An exciting season awaits the men of Andersson in 1993, who will operate under the Toyota Castrol Team banner that season. Toyota has taken some WRC driver titles with Sainz. In addition, Lancia has made a retreating movement, although it still operates under the banner of the Jolly Club. But for Toyota Team Europe, the constructors' title opportunities are greater than ever.
Monte Carlo profit
The signs for the illustrious year are emerging during the opening game of the season. The Auriol-Occelli team wins with the Turbo 4WD Monte Carlo, just ahead of the Ford teams with Delecour and Biasion at the wheel. The Rally of Sweden also goes to Toyota. Mats Jonsson is the winner, ahead of teammate Juha Kankkunen who has come over from Lancia. Toyota leads the manufacturers' ranking, but the position is coming under pressure after the Portuguese Vinho do Porto. This is also because in Portugal the big driver names of Toyota are not present. And that, while Portugal has always offered fertile soil for the Toyota rally teams.
One, two, three and four in Kenya
Andersson and his team are fully focused on the Safari Rally, traditionally the success habitat of Toyota Team Europe. In 1993 there is once again no size on Toyota in Kenya, it takes up places one, two, three and four. The Kankkunen-Piironen team wins, ahead of team and fellow countrymen Alén and Kivimäki. Toyota remains at the forefront of the constructors 'race and drivers' competition. Both races are by no means a completed course.
Exciting battle between Toyota and Ford
A period of attract and repel begins. Toyota maintains the lead, but Ford continues to chase down Andersson and his men. Delecour wins the Tour du Corse, ahead of Didier Auriol. In Greece, Andersson keeps the big names at home again, Ford does not and sees Miki Biasion take the highest step of the Acropolis stage. Kankkunen then takes his second win of the WRC season in Argentina. In the run-up to this rally, permanent companion Juha Piironen suffered a brain haemorrhage, Welshman Nicky Grist replaces the Finnish navigator. The events give the Argentinian victory of Kankkunen and Toyota an extra dimension. The subsequent rally in New Zealand wins Colin McRae. Auriol comes third on behalf of Toyota Team Europe (Toyota Castrol Team).
Kankkunen walks away from Delecour, Toyota's first WRC constructors title
From that moment on, however, the Toyota victory emerges. Because Kankkunen then wins in Finland (the last WRC rally of Hannu Mikkola) and Australia. There, Toyota becomes WRC constructors' champion for the very first time. Kankkunen's victory in Australia is also his 20th in WRC, a record at that time. After his third place in the penultimate rally of the season (Catalonia), the Finn can no longer be traced by attacker Delecour. He becomes world champion there for the fourth time. He confirms his acquired status during the snowfall-dominated RAC rally of 1993, because this final rally of the season is also for Kankkunen. It is his fifth WRC win of the year. In addition, he also records 86 special stages.
The crowning glory
Kankkunen's victory in Great Britain is the most fitting way to celebrate the manufacturers' title. Because the first double (driver and manufacturer title) for Toyota Team Europe is a fantastic crown on the work that has been delivered for two decades by Ove Andersson, his close-knit team and everyone involved. With factory support from Toyota, which offered the private racing stable of Andersson the space to pave the path to victory in a unique way.
The other five parts about the forgotten and historic WRC victories can be found below this link.
With many thanks to Benny Heuvinck and Ron Moës