- Tommi Mäkinen
Name = Tommi Mäkinen
Caption = A retired Mäkinen writing autographs during Rally Finland 2004.
Nationality = flagicon|Finland Finnish
Years = 1987 - 2003
Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru World Rally Team
Races = 139
Championships = 4 (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999)
Wins = 24
Podiums = 45
Stagewins = 362
Points = 544
First race = 1987
1000 Lakes Rally
First win = 1994
1000 Lakes Rally
Last win = 2002
Monte Carlo Rally
Last race = 2003
Rally Great Britain
Tommi Antero Mäkinen (pronounced|ˈtommi ˈmækinen is a now retired Finnish rally driver, born in
Puuppola, Finlandnear Jyväskyläin June 26. 1964. As of 1999 he lived in both Monacoand Jyväskylä, married, with two children. Mäkinen is one of the most successful WRC drivers of all time, ranking first in championships (4), tied with Juha Kankkunenand Sébastien Loeb, and fifth in wins (24).
He is a four-time World Rally Champion, a series he first won, and then successfully defended, continuously throughout 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999, on all occasions driving the
Ralliart MitsubishiLancer Evolution. He also aided Mitsubishi to the 1998 world constructors' title as well as winning the 2000 Race of Champions. Mäkinen's navigators include compatriots Seppo Harjanneand Risto Mannisenmäki, the former retiring from alongside Mäkinen having previously served 1985 champion, and fellow 'Flying Finn', Peugeot's Timo Salonen.
Mäkinen won the
Group N Finnish Rally Championshipdriving a Lancia Delta HF 4WD in 1988. Mäkinen's first world rally win came on the 1994 1000 Lakes Rally(now Neste Rally Finland), in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth. Mäkinen proved a late developer by the standards of some in rallying circles, only nabbing his first full-time manufacturer seat in a Group Aformula Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Evolution alongside former Group A rally champion Swede Kenneth Eriksson, in 1995 - but success was to prove spontaneous thereafter.
Safari Rallywin in 1996 proved the platform on which to build a dominant championship lead, which he consolidated by taking the title in Australia, away from runner-up, Subaru's Colin McRae- a long-time rival. He proceeded to win every drivers' title for Mitsubishi from 1996 to 1999. The Mitsubishi team, with the Finn and young Briton Richard Burnsamong its driver personnel, also won its sole manufacturers' championship in 1998, while late that same year, the licensed Tommi Mäkinen Rally video gamewas also released. In 2000, despite opening his campaign with victory on the January Monte Carlo Rally, Mäkinen finally relinquished his grasp on the title, being beaten in the standings by new title holder and fellow Finn, Marcus Grönholm. That year Mitsubishi produced a 'Tommi Mäkinen edition' of the road version of the Lancer EvolutionVI to commemorate his previous title successes. This car had a different front bumper than the regular Evolution VI, while some models also featured a red and white paint job to closely resemble Mäkinen's rally car. [ cite web | title = Trackside - Lancer Evo returns to rallying | publisher = AutoTrader.co.uk | date = 2006 | url = http://www.autotrader.co.uk/EDITORIAL/car_page_content/33298.html | accessdate =2006-12-18] .
Mäkinen remained with Mitsubishi until the end of the 2001 season, having finished third in that year's standings behind Burns and McRae, by now respectively drivers for Subaru and Ford - but not before the inauspicious introduction of team's first ever
World Rally Caron the San Remo Rally. Mäkinen and team-mate Freddy Loixstruggled with the car before the Finn's crash on the mountainside roads of the following round in Corsicawas responsible for breaking co-driver Mannisenmäki's back and in doing so, virtually end his top-line career. The Finn was forced to fare with substitute co-drivers for the remaining events in Australia and Great Britain, the latter of which he retired from, helping Burns to claim the championship.
A move to the
Prodrive-run Subaru World Rally Teamfor 2002 as replacement for Burns (who had chosen to drive a works Peugeot 206 WRC alongside Gronholm for his title defence) yielded one more, final career victory, on the 2002 Monte Carlo Rally where a technical infringement committed by on-the-road winner, and emerging talent, Sébastien Loeb, allowed Mäkinen to upstage the Frenchman. But his form then took a dive and he was not to add again to his tally of world titles.
He retired from the sport at the end of the 2003 season with third place on that year's Rally Great Britain.
* [http://www.tommimakinen.net/ Tommi Mäkinen Racing Ltd.]
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