- Lancia 037 Markku Alen and Ilka Kivimaki

Markku Alen

Markku Alen is one of the most accomplished WRC drivers of all time. He drove for Fiat, Lancia, Subaru, and Toyota in the WRC events

Early Life

Markku Alen was born on 15th February 1951, in Helsinki. His father was a Finnish Ice Racing champion who was the winner of the 1963 Finnish Ice Racing Championship. Markku Alen inherited his father's interest in motorsport and spent much time around cars and motorsport events from early on.

1969 - 1974 Markku Alen's early career.

1969 Markku Alen driving a Renault 8 Gordini

1969 Markku Alen driving a Renault 8 Gordini

Markku Alen started his rallying career at the Hankiralli, driving a Renault 8 Gordini. Then he entered the Teekariralli and won it. He repeated his performance and went on to win the Sveitsin Talviralli and Seinäjoki Ralli. He then finished the Mänttä 200-ajo with a fourteenth-overall and the Länsirannikon Ralli with a fifteenth-overall. He retired from the Salpausselkä Ralli.

Markku Alen started his World Rally Championship career in 1969, driving a Renault 8 Gordini at his home event, the 1000 Lakes Rally. He finished ninth, an impressive result for a WRC rally debut. He then switched to a Sunbeam Imp for the rest of the season.

He then finished the next Finnish rallies; Tott-Porrassalmi Ralli with a fifteenth-overall, won the Keimola 500, Pienoisralli Lopella with a fourteenth-overall Helsinki Ralli with a twelfth-overall, and the Pohjola Ralli with an eleventh-overall. These victories secured him the Finland Junior Driver's cup and fifteenth place in the Finnish Cup.

1970 Hakkapeliittas rally

1970 Hakkapeliittas rally

In 1970, Markku Alen debuted the season in the Nurmijärvi-Ralli which he finished with a fourteenth-overall, followed by a third-overall at the Smile Ralli. He then went on to win the Ahvenisto Ralli. He finished the Kymen Jääralli with the twenty-ninth position. He retired from the Hankiralli and the Teekkariralli. He finished the Mänttä 200-ajo with a twelfth-overall. He drove a Sunbeam 900 in all these rallies.

He switched to an Opel RK for the rest of the season. He finished Tott-Porrassalmi Ralli with a fifteenth-overall, Itäralli with a seventh-overall, and the Yyterin Ralli with a third-overall. He had to retire from the 1000 Lakes Rally. He finished the Hakkapeliittas rally with an eight-overall, became the runner up of the Helsinki Ralli, and finished the Pohjola Ralli with a fifth-overall.

Throughout the 1969 and 1970 racing seasons, he was co-driven by Juhani Toivonen.

His driving talents soon secured him a contract with the Finnish Volvo dealer, who gave him a Volvo 142 with support for the 1971 racing season.

MArkku Alen Volvo 142

MArkku Alen Volvo 142

His debut event of the season was the Riihimäki-Ralli which he finished with a sixteenth-overall. He retired from the next two events; the 100-Ralli and Porvoon Ralli. He finished the Smile Ralli with a fifth-overall, Sveitsin Talviralli with a second-overall, and the Arctic Tunturiralli with a fifth-overall. He had to retire from the Hankiralli. Markku Alen won the Rantaralli, his debut win of the season. He became the runner up of the Seinäjoki Ralli and finished the Jyväskylän Talviralli with a fourth-overall. He retired from the Salpausselkä Ralli and finished the Kesoil Ralli with a third-overall. In all these events he was co-driven by Juhani Toivonen.

In Forssa Ralli he got the fifth-overall position, and he then went on to become the runner up of the Tott-Porrassalmi Ralli. In these events, he was co-driven by Pertti Immonen.

Markku Allen alongside Juhani Toivonen finished the 1000 Lakes Rally with a third-overall.

He had to retire from the next two events; Itäralli co-driven by Pertti Immonen, and Länsirannikon Ralli co-driven by Juhani Toivonen. He then finished the Rally Norge alongside Juhani Toivonen with sixth place. Markku Alen teamed up with co-driver Jyrki Ahava to win the Helsinki Ralli. He finished the Northern Lights Ralli with a fourth-overall.

In 1972, Markku Alen was primarily co-driven by Juhani Toivonen except for the RAC Rally in which he was co-driven by Atso Aho.

Markku Alen won his debut rally of the season, the Smile Ralli. He became the runner up of the Sveitsin Talviralli. He retired from the Arctic Tunturiralli. He won the next two rallies; Leppilampi Ralli, and the Salora Ralli. He retired from the Hankiralli, became the runner up of the Jyväskylän Talviralli. He won the Itäralli. He retired from the Pepsiralli.

Markku Alen finished the 1000 Lakes Rally with a third-overall and became the runner up of the PM Kesoil ralli. He retired from the Tott-Porrassalmi Ralli.

He finished his debut international rally event of the season, the Daily Mirror RAC Rally with a twelfth-overall.

Throughout the season, Markku Alen drove a Volvo 142.

1973 1000 Lakes

1973 1000 Lakes

1973 - 1977 Ford

1973 RAC Rally

1973 RAC Rally

In 1973, Markku Alen debuted at the Arctic Tunturiralli and finished the event with a second-overall, followed by another second overall at the Hankiralli. His co-driver for both events was Juhani Toivonen.

He retired from the Pohjanmaa Ralli followed by a victory at the Jyväskylän Talviralli. Erkki-Rautanen co-drove him on both events. He and co-driver Juhani Toivonen retired from the Itäralli.

Markku Alen and Juhani Toivonen teamed up to become the runner up of the 1000 Lakes Rally, his debut WRC event of the season. Timo Makinen won the event. Markku Alen's skills behind the wheel at the 1000 Lakes event caught the attention of Ford and they enlisted him to perform at several events of the season.

1973 1000 Lakes

1973 1000 Lakes

He retired from the Kesoil Ralli. Driving a Simca Rallye 2, he teamed up with Markku Anttalainen for the Nortti 500 rally but did not finish.

Markku Alen then teamed up with Henry Liddon for the Esso Uniflo Lindisfarne Rally driving a Ford Escort RS 1600 MKI but was excluded for being over the time limit.

1973 RAC Rally

1973 RAC Rally

Driving his trusty Volvo 142, he finished the Helsinki Ralli with a ninth-overall. Juhani Toivonen co-drove him for the event.

Markku Alen in the wheels of a Ford Escort RS 1600 MK1 finished the RAC Rally with a third-overall and went on to drive a Volvo 142 to win the Kaloppiralli. In both events, he was co-driven by Ilkka Kivimäki.

1973 RAC Rally

1973 RAC Rally

1974 - 1981 FIAT

1974 1000 Lakes Fiat 124 Abarth Rallye

1974 1000 Lakes Fiat 124 Abarth Rallye

In 1973, Markku Alen finished the RAC Rally with third overall in the wheels of a Ford Escort RS 1600 despite the massive setback he faced on the first day of the rally when he rolled his car and dropped to 178th place. His exuberant driving style soon earned the respect and attention of the Fiat Racing team.

Fiat offered him a contract to become their factory racing team driver for the 1974 racing season with a big salary. Soon, he became the first-ever rally driver to be assigned a personal fitness program. He was assigned with Ilkka Kivimaki as his co-driver. In the 1974 and 1975 racing seasons, Markku Alen drove a Fiat 124 Abarth Rallye for the events fended by Fiat S.p. A.

His debut event of the 1974 racing season was the Arctic Rally, which he finished with a fourth-overall driving a Ford Escort RS 1600 MKI.

He finished the Ralli Internacional TAP with a third overall, his debut event for the Fiat team.

1974 Finnish Rally Championship

1974 Finnish Rally Championship

Markku Alen then teamed up with John Davenport for the International Welsh Rally to drive a Ford Escort RS 1600 MKI to win the event.

1974 1000 Lakes Fiat 124 Abarth Rallye

1974 1000 Lakes Fiat 124 Abarth Rallye

He finished the 1000 Lakes Rally with a third-overall. He had to retire from the Rallye Sanremo due to a steering box failure, followed by another retirement at the Rally of the Rideau Lakes due to an accident. In all these events he was co-driven by Ilkka Kivimaki.

1974 Rallye Sanremo

1974 Rallye Sanremo

He teamed up with Atso Aho for the Press-on-Regardless Rally to become the runner up of the event.

He and co-driver Paul White in a Ford Escort RS 1600 retired from the Lombard RAC rally due to water pump issues.

Markku Alen and co-driver Ilkka Kivimaki were excluded from the Tour de Corse

1​975 Fiat 124 Abarth driven by Markku Alen

1​975 Fiat 124 Abarth driven by Markku Alen

In 1975, Markku Alen was exclusively co-driven by Ilkka Kivimaki. He debuted the season at the Rallye Monte Carlo and finished with a third overall. He retired from the Arctic Rally. He finished the International Swedish Rally with a sixth-overall.

He drove a Datsun 160J at the Pohanmaa Ralli with a fifth-overall. He also competed at the Jyväskylän Talviralli but retired.

1​975 Pohanmaa Ralli

1​975 Pohanmaa Ralli

His victory at the Rally Portugal made him the youngest World Rally Championship winner at 24 years and 156 days of age, breaking the record set by Stig Blomqvist 26 years ago. He held this record until Henri Toivonen won the RAC Rally at the age of 24 years and 86 days.

He had to retire from the next three rallies; the 1000 Lakes Rally due to an accident, Rallye Sanremo due to transmission failure, and the RAC Rally due to engine failure.

For the 1976 racing season, Fiat unveiled their all-new Fiat 131 Abarth.

1​976 Fiat 131 Abarth driven by Markku Alen

1​976 Fiat 131 Abarth driven by Markku Alen

Markku Alen finished the debut event of the season, the Rallye Monte Carlo with a sixth-overall. He won the Rallye dell'Isola d'Elba. He finished the International Gulf Tulpenrallye with a fourth-overall and finished the Rallye du Maroc with a twelfth-overall.

Markku Alen won the 1976 1000 Lakes rally for the first time with a lead of forty-five seconds in front of the Pentti Airikkala in second place.

At the Rallye Sanremo, he had to retire due to an accident. He won the Helsinki Ralli. He retired from the next two rallies; Pohjola Ralli and Lombard RAC Rally due to mechanical issues.

1​977 Fiat 131 Abarth driven by Markku Alen

1​977 Fiat 131 Abarth driven by Markku Alen

In 1977, Markku Alen had to retire from his first two rallies; the Rallye Monte Carlo due to electrical issues, and International Swedish Rally after his car caught fire.

He won the Rallye de Portugal for the first time and finished the Rally New Zealand with a third overall. He retired from the Acropolis Rally due to half-shaft failure. He finished the Itäralli with a third-overall.

1977 Itäralli

1977 Itäralli

He had to retire from the next three rallies; Sveitsin Ralli, 1000 Lakes Rally due to an engine failure, and Critérium Molson du Québec due to engine failure.

1​977 1000 Lakes Rally

1​977 1000 Lakes Rally

He finished the Castrol National Rally with a third-overall. He had to retire from the Lombard RAC Rally due to engine failure.

1977 RAC Rally

1977 RAC Rally

These wins helped Fiat to secure its first-ever manufacturer's title in 1977. Throughout the season he was co-driven by Ilkka Kivimaki.

1978 Rally Finland

1978 Rally Finland

In 1978, in the wheels of Fiat 131 Abarth, he finished the first five rallies; runner up of the Riihimäki-Ralli, Mänttä 200-ajo with a fourth-overall, Arctic Rally with a third-overall, International Swedish Rally with another third-overall, and the Hankiralli with a second-overall. He had to retire from the Mintex International Rally due to steering issues. He finished the Kymenlaakson Ralli with a fifth overall followed by a third-overall at the Circuit of Ireland.

1978 Rallye de Portugal

1978 Rallye de Portugal

He won the Rallye de Portugal for the second consecutive time. He finished the International Welsh Rally with a third-overall and became the runner up of the Acropolis Rally.

He had to retire from the Lombard Scottish Rally due to distributor issues. He won the Sveitsin Ralli and finished the Salora Ralli with a fourth-overall.

Markku Alen won the 1000 Lakes Rally for the second time and went on to finish the Critérium Molson du Québec with a second-overall.

1000 Lakes Rally

1000 Lakes Rally

He won the Rallye Sanremo in the wheels of an Alitalia Fiat's Lancia Stratos HF. He drove a Lancia Stratos HF to victory at the Giro d'Italia. For the Teboil Ralli, he switched back to Fiat 131 Abarth and won the event.

1978 Rallye Sanremo

1978 Rallye Sanremo

1978 Lancia Stratos driven by Markku Alen to victory at the Rallye Sanremo

1978 Lancia Stratos driven by Markku Alen to victory at the Rallye Sanremo

He drove a Lancia Stratos HF at the Lombard RAC Rally but had to retire due to transmission failure. He won the Pohjola Ralli in the wheels of a Fiat 131 Abarth. He drove a Lancia Stratos HF at the Autodromo di Monza and had to retire following an accident.

1978 RAC Rally

1978 RAC Rally

Throughout the season he was co-driven by Ilkka Kivimaki.

These three WRC rally wins and podium finishes secured him his first and last World Rally Championship Driver's title, well ahead of Jean Pierre Nicolas and Hannu Mikkola. These victories secured Fiat their second consecutive WRC manufacturer's title.

1978 Tullpenrally Markku Alen and co-driver Ilka Kivimaki

1978 Tullpenrally Markku Alen and co-driver Ilka Kivimaki

In 1979, Markku Alen drove a Fiat 131 Abarth primarily except for the Giro d'Italia and Lombard RAC rallies. Throughout the season he was co-driven by Ilkka Kivimaki.

He finished the Rallye Monte Carlo with a third-overall. He retired from the Arctic Rally. He finished the next three rallies; the International Swedish Rally with a fourth-overall. He won the Hankiralli and finished the Safari Rally with a third-overall. He retired from the International Welsh Rally.

1979 Rallye Sanremo

1979 Rallye Sanremo

Markku Alen won the International Brazil Rally, Itäralli and 1000 Lakes Rally in a row. This is his third time to win the 1000 Lakes Rally. He finished the Rallye Sanremo with a sixth-overall.

1979 Giro d'Italia

1979 Giro d'Italia

He drove a Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo at the Giro d'Italia and was excluded due to an incorrect route. He drove a Lancia Stratos HF to the fifth-overall at the Lombard RAC Rally. He won the Pohjola Rally.

1979 Lombard RAC Rally

1979 Lombard RAC Rally

By the end of the season, he was third in line for the Driver's World Rally Championship.

1980 racing season was a mixed bag of results for Markku Alen. His first two events the Rallye Monte Carlo and Arctic Rally ended up with retirements. He finished the Hankiralli with a third-overall and the Rally de Portugal with a second-overall. He retired from the Costa Smeralda Rally due to mechanical issues.

He finished the Acropolis Rally with a third-overall. He retired from the Rally Codasur Ultra Movil YPF due to oil sump issues.

1​980

1​980

He won the 1000 Lakes Rally for the fourth time and went on to win the Venetsia Ralli. He had to retire from the Rallye Sanremo due to an engine failure. He won the Giro d'Italia. He had to retire from the Northern Lights Rally.

Now he was sixth in line for the Driver's World Rally Championship. Throughout the season he was co-driven by Ilkka Kivimaki.

1980 Rally Sanremo

1980 Rally Sanremo

He also participated in 24 Hours of Le Mans and drove for Scuderia Lancia. His teammates were Pieracarlo Ghinzani and Gianfranco Brancatelli. They drove a Lancia Beta Montecarlo and retired after completing only 26 laps due to mechanical issues.

In 1981, he finished the Rallye Monte Carlo with a seventh-overall. He won the next two rallies; Rallye de Portugal, and Rally Costa Smeralda in a row.

1981 Rallye de Portugal

1981 Rallye de Portugal

While competing in the 1981 Rallye de Portugal, Markku Alen cut a corner too fast and suffered a puncture. This caused the car to turn off the road and hit the stones at the curb. Ilka Kivimaki got out of the car and inspected that they have lost a wheel. But, soon both reversed the car and kept racing until the end of the stage where their car was fixed. Eventually, the duo emerged victoriously.

1981 Rallye de Portugal

1981 Rallye de Portugal

1981 Rallye de Portugal

1981 Rallye de Portugal

He finished the Acropolis Rally and 1000 Lakes Rally with consecutive second-overalls. He finished the Rallye Sanremo with a ninth-overall. He was excluded from the Lombard RAC Rally after going off-road.

By the end of the season, he was in fourth place for the Driver's World Rally Championship. He was co-driven exclusively by Ilka Kivimaki throughout the season.

1981 Lombard RAC

1981 Lombard RAC

In 1982, he finished the 24 Heures del Sestriere with a third-overall. He retired from the next two rallies; the Arctic Rally, and the Hankiralli.

1982 - 1986 Markku Alen with Lancia Group B

M​arkku Alen with Lancia

M​arkku Alen with Lancia

Mikki Biasion, Tiziano Siviero, Ilkka Kivimaki, Markku Alén, Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto

Mikki Biasion, Tiziano Siviero, Ilkka Kivimaki, Markku Alén, Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto

Markku Alen and Ilkka Kivimaki moved to Lancia team for the 1982 racing season. He briefly drove an infamous Lancia Stratos HF in 1978 and 1979, so he was somewhat familiar with Lancia rally monsters.

In 1982, he made his debut for the Lancia team in the wheels of an all-new Lancia Rallye 037. Lancia Rallye 037 is a rear-wheel-drive mid-engined car that soon proved itself as a serious driver's car.

His debut event for the Lancia team was the Rally Costa Smeralda. He was forced to retire due to transmission issues.

Markku Alen performed well won his debut WRC rally as a Lancia team driver at the 1983 Tour de Corse Rallye de France which he finished with a ninth-overall.

He had to retire from the next three rallies; Acropolis Rally due to chassis issues, 1000 Lakes Rally due to an engine failure, and the Rallye Sanremo due to an engine failure.

He won the Pace Petroleum National Rally and finished the Lombard RAC Rally with a fourth-overall. By the end of the season, he was now in the twenty-first position in the Driver's World Rally Championship points table.

In 1983, Hannu Mikkola made a huge comeback at his debut rally event of the season, the Rallye Monte Carlo, finishing the event in second place behind his teammate Walter Röhrl.

1983 Rally Monte Carlo

1983 Rally Monte Carlo

He finished the Rallye de Portugal with a fourth-overall. He had to retire from the Rally Costa Smeralda due to compressor issues.

Markku Alen and Ilka Kivimaki excelled themselves when the duo won the Tour de Corse with a lead of one minute and forty-nine seconds ahead of teammate Walter Röhrl.

1983 Tour de Corse

1983 Tour de Corse

He finished the Acropolis Rally with a second-overall behind teammate Walter Röhrl. He then went on to finish the Rally Argentina with a fifth-overall followed by a third-overall at the 1000 Lakes Rally.

He won the Rallye Sanremo as well. By the end of the season, he was the third in line for the Driver's World Rally Championship.

These wins helped Lancia to secure the World Rally Championship Manufacturer's title, ruining the reputation of the unbeatable Audi Quattro.

The 1984 racing season started with the Rallye Monte Carlo which he finished with an eighth-overall. He became the runner up of the Rallye de Portugal. He then finished the Safari Rally with a fourth-overall.

1984 Rallye de Portugal

1984 Rallye de Portugal

1984 Safari Rally

1984 Safari Rally

1984 Safari Rally

1984 Safari Rally

1984 Tour de Corse

1984 Tour de Corse

1984 Tour de Corse

1984 Tour de Corse

Markku Alen won the 1984 Tour de Corse, the last WRC rally win for the Lancia 037.

1984 Acropolis Rally

1984 Acropolis Rally

He finished the Acropolis Rally with a third-overall and became the runner up at the Rally New Zealand.

1984 Rallye New Zealand

1984 Rallye New Zealand

He finished the 1000 Lakes Rally with a second-overall. He had to retire from the Rallye Sanremo after a connecting rod failed. Now he was in third place on the Driver's World Rally Championship points table.

1984 1000 Lakes Rally

1984 1000 Lakes Rally

Lancia 037 was not competent enough and outdated when compared to the four-wheel-drive Audi Quattro and it was soon evident that Lancia needed a more capable car. This resulted in the development of the Lancia Delta S4.

He drove a Lancia 037 Rally at his first event of the 1985 season, the Safari Rally. He had to retire due to an engine failure.

He drove a Lancia Delta S4 course car at the Rally Costa Smeralda. His teammate Henri Toivonen crashed into a brick wall at the event, seriously injuring his back. This life-threatening accident left Toivonen with three broken vertebrae in his neck, forcing him to miss most of the season.

Markku Alen drove a Lancia 037 Rally at the Tour de Corse and performed well, but was withdrawn when his teammate Attilio Bettega crashed into a tree and was killed instantly. His co-driver Maurizio Perissinot survived the crash without an injury. This resulted in an outcry regarding the safety aspects of the Group B rallying.

At his next rally, the Rallye des 1000 Pistes, he drove a Lancia Delta S4 course car. He won the Rally Colline di Romagna in the wheels of a Lancia Delta S4, a prototype in the final stages of the development.

1985 Rally Finland

1985 Rally Finland

At the 1000 Lakes rally, he finished the event with a third overall. He finished the Rally Sanremo with a fourth-overall. He drove a Lancia 037 Rally in both events. He participated in the ERC Rali Lis Algrave but was excluded for being over the time limit.

Lancia team eagerly awaited the arrival of the World Rally Championship spec Lancia Delta S4 with hopes that it would give them a competitive advantage over the Audi Quattro. Finally, the cars arrived in time for the RAC Rally.

At the 1985 RAC rally, Henri Toivonen and Markku Alen scored the first overall and second overall respectively.

A special rally stage was dedicated to Attilio Bettega during the Bologna Motor Show in honour of the late Attilio Bettega who died while competing at the Tour de Corse event. It was a rally race on a closed circuit in Area 48 of the Bologna Motor Show. Timo Salonen won the event and Markku Alen finished in second place.

By the end of the season, he was at the sixth position on the Driver's World Rally Championship points table.

1986 Rally Monte Carlo

1986 Rally Monte Carlo

Henri Toivonen won the following 1986 Monte Carlo Rally, announcing to the entire rally world that Lancia Delta S4 is a serious and fearsome contender.

Soon it was evident that the dominance of Peugeot in the previous year came to an end.

He finished the International Swedish Rally with a second-overall behind Juha Kankkunen of Peugeot.

Markku Alen competed at the Rallye de Portugal but was withdrawn along with his teammates when Ford driver Joaquim Santos lost control of his Ford RS200 and crashed into the crowd at the first section of the rally in the Lagoa Azul stage. Joaquim Santos came over a crest in his Ford RS200 and got too loose through the corner, somehow managed to avoid the crowd on the outside of the corner, but he wasn't able to avoid the crowd on the inside of the corner. The car went off the road and crashed into the crowd killing three and injuring many. Poor crowd control and extreme speeds were considered as the reason for this accident. Soon, Lancia and Ford teams were withdrawn from the event.

He drove a Lancia 037 Rally and finished the Safari Rally with a third-overall.

Markku Alen with Henri Toivonen

Markku Alen with Henri Toivonen

Disaster struck the Lancia team when Henri Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresto died when they crashed their car at the 1986 Tour de Corse Corsica stage. All Lancia drivers were withdrawn from the event.

Markku Alen, now carrying the burden of the entire team as their primary star driver, had to compete under a lot of pressure.

1986 Acropolis Rally

1986 Acropolis Rally

At the Acropolis Rally, Markku Alen was forced to retire due to an engine failure.

He finished the Rally New Zealand with second overall. He finished the Rally of Argentina with another second-overall. At his home event, the 1000 Lakes Rally, he finished the race with a third overall.

1986 1000 Lakes

1986 1000 Lakes

Markku Alen won the Rallye Sanremo when Juha Kankunnen's Peugeot team was excluded by the organisers due to technical issues.

At Lombard RAC Rally he became the runner up.

1986 Olympus Rally is the last WRC Group B event and Markku Alen won that as well.

With this win, he narrowly won the 1986 World Rally Championship Driver's title beating his arch-rival Juha Kankkunen.

Peugeot team appealed to the FISA and FISA annulled the results of the rally, making Markku Allen lost the points he earned and also the title he had held for just eleven days. Juha Kankunnen was now crowned as the WRC champion. This controversial FISA ruling was criticised by many, and Markku Alen responded by boycotting the 1987 Monte Carlo Rally.

He competed in the Memorial Bettega rally and won the event.

With FIA announcing their decision to ban Group B and proposed Group S events, Markku Alen along with other drivers now had to adapt the Group A formula.

1987 - 1989 Markku Alen with Lancia Group A

Markku Alen Lancia Delta Integrale

Markku Alen Lancia Delta Integrale

Markku Alen now had to compete with a Lancia Delta HF 4WD car.

He finished his first event of the season, the International Swedish Rally with a fifth-overall.

Soon, he emerged victorious at the Rallye de Portugal, and the Acropolis Rally.

1987 Acropolis Rally victory

1987 Acropolis Rally victory

He finished the Olympus Rally with a third-overall.

He won his home event, the 1000 Lakes Rally.

His infamous accident at the 1987 RAC rally forced him to lose valuable time, making him lost his chance to become the runner up in the 1987 World Rally Driver's Championship.

What happened was that he came over a bolder and corrected too soon, rolling his car in front of the camera. People turned the car up and he kept racing and managed to finish the Lombard RAC Rally, he obtained the fifth-overall. He managed to finish the Lombard RAC Rally, he obtained the fifth-overall.

1987 RAC Rally roll

1987 RAC Rally roll

1987 RAC Rally

1987 RAC Rally

By the end of the season, he was third in line for the Driver's World Rally Championship.

In the 1988 racing season, he won his debut rally of the season, the International Swedish Rally. He finished the Rallye de Portugal with a sixth-overall.

1988 International Swedish Rally

1988 International Swedish Rally

Lancia Delta HF 4WD was replaced with Lancia Delta Integrale and for the rest of the season.

Markku Alen then went on to win the Rally Costa Smeralda. He finished the Acropolis Rally with a fourth-overall.

He won the 1000 Lakes Rally and finished the Rallye Sanremo with a fourth-overall.

He won the Lombard RAC RallyThis was his first-ever victory at the RAC rally, an event that he tried to win for the last fifteen years, and it was also to be his last World Rally Championship victory as well.

He also participated in the Memorial Bettega rally and won the event.

Markku Allen now held the record for Most World Rally Championship rally wins with 19 wins, bypassing the record set by Hannu Mikkola. This record was succeeded by Juha Kankkunen with his 20th victory at the 1993 RAC rally.

By the end of the 1988 racing season, he was the runner up of the Driver's World Rally Championship behind his teammate Miki Biasion.

The 1989 racing season wasn't much successful for Markku Alen. He only got to compete in three World Rally Championship events because Lancia was scaling down its World Rally Championship efforts.

1​989 racing season

1​989 racing season

He became the runner up of the Rallye de Portugal. He retired from the Rally Costa Smeralda. At the 1000 Lakes Rally, he was forced to retire due to gasket failure.

He finished the Rally Australia with a third-overall. He finished the Memorial Bettega with a second-overall.

He was now ninth in line for the Driver's World Rally Championship.

1990 - 1991 Markku Alen with Subaru

1990 1000 Lakes Rally

1990 1000 Lakes Rally

In 1990, Markku Alen and Ilka Kivimaki joined the Prodrive Subaru team to drive their Subaru Legacy RS. This move shocked many as Markku Alen has been racing for Fiat and Lancia for fifteen continuous years. He was also known as the man who married Fiat for staying loyal, refusing the offers granted by other manufacturers until this moment. His decision to join Subaru shocked many.

With Markku Alen sharing the driving duties, Subaru World Rally Team had many early successes such as the fourth overall at the 1000 Lakes Rally.

1990 Safari Rally

1990 Safari Rally

1990 Acropolis Rally

1990 Acropolis Rally

He had to retire from the first two events; the Safari Rally and Acropolis Rally due to engine failures. He won the Mänttä 200-ajo. He finished the 1000 Lakes Rally with a fourth-overall. He made an appearance at the Rally Valle Varaita driving a Subaru Legacy RS course car. He retired from the Rallye Sanremo and Audi Sport Rally due to transmission issues. His last rally event for the season was the Lombard RAC Rally, but he had to retire due to engine failure.

1990 RAC Rally

1990 RAC Rally

To make the car more reliable and more powerful for the next season, Markku Alen often travelled to Japan and was actively involved in the development process.

In 1991, he drove a course car at the Arctic Rally He finished the International Swedish Rally with a third-overall and finished the Rallye de Portugal with a fifth-overall. He retired from the Acropolis rally due to an accident. He finished the Rally New Zealand with a fourth-overall. He won the Mänttä 200-ajo again.

1991 Subaru Legacy RS

1991 Subaru Legacy RS

He had to retire from the 1000 Lakes Rally due to an engine failure. He finished the Rally Australia with a fourth-overall. He was disqualified from the Lombard RAC Rally after going off-road. By the end of the season, he was eighth in the Driver's World Rally Championship.

1991 Acropolis Rally

1991 Acropolis Rally

1992 Toyota

1992 Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD

1992 Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD

For the 1992 racing season, Markku Alen and his co-driver Ilka Kivimaki left Subaru for ToyotaTeam Europe but soon found out that he was there to play a supporting character to Carlos Sainz.

Toyota Team Europe was trying to outperform Lancia in the World Rally Championship and they needed Markku Alen to help them develop their new Celica GT 4WD. Markku Alen actively participated and contributed during the development process.

He retired from the Rallye Monte Carlo after suffering an accident. He finished the International Swedish Rally with a fourth-overall. He finished the Rallye de Portugal with a fourth-overall. He finished the Safari Rally with a fifth-overall. He had to retire from the Acropolis Rally due to an accident. He won the Mänttä 200-ajo rally and finished the 1000 Lakes Rally with a third-overall. He finished the Lombard RAC Rally with a fourth-overall. By the end of the season, he was in fifth inline for the Driver's World Rally Championship.

By the end of the season, Carlos Sainz won the Driver's World Rally Championship, but the Manufacturer's title went to Lancia.

1993 - 1994 and 1995 Subaru and Toyota

S​ubaru Impreza driven by Markku Alen

S​ubaru Impreza driven by Markku Alen

In 1993, Markku Alen found himself without a full-time position, so drove for both Toyota and Subaru teams at the beginning of the season. He won the second overall in the Safari Rally and fourth overall at the Rallye Portugal.

1993 Safari Rally

1993 Safari Rally

In 1993, Markku Alen made his debut of the season at the Rallye de Portugal and finished the event with a fourth-overall. He then finished the Safari Rally with a second-overall.

1993

1993

Alongside Ari Vatanen, Markku Alen drove the Subaru Impreza on its debut event, the 1000 Lakes Rally, but had to retire after crashing on the first stage of the event. With this unexpected accident, his reputation as a top of the line rally driver came to an end.

1993 Subaru Impreza driven by Markku Alen

1993 Subaru Impreza driven by Markku Alen

By the end of the 1993 racing season, Ilka Kivimaki, Markku Alen's primary co-driver since 1974 retired from rallying.

In 1994, he drove a Porsche Carrera in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany.

After a year-long absence, Markku Alen made a comeback in 1995.

In 1995, he competed in Boucles de Spa Alphonse Delettre and finished the event with second overall. He finished the Rallye de Condroz with a fourth-overall. In both these events, he drove a Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD and was co-driven by Ilka Riipinen.

In 1995, he also competed in two International Touring Car Championship events for Alfa Romeo. He drove Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI in both races.

In 1997, Markku Alen finished Trophy Andros with a second-overall, in the wheels of an Opel Tigra V6 at the. He retired from Motorsport events after that.

1997 - 2017 Post Retirement

Markku Alen after retirement

Markku Alen after retirement

In 1998, he made an appearance at the Transchaco Rally driving a Lancia Delta HF Integrale. He had to retire after covering several kilometres past the Santa Rosa Mission Talcales. It is rumoured that it was due to electrical issues. He was co-driven by Norman Dumont.

1998 Transchaco Rally

1998 Transchaco Rally

In 2001, he made a brief but rememberable appearance on the Rallye Finland, finishing 16th overall in the wheels of a Ford Focus WRC. This sudden appearance was to celebrate his 50th birthday.

He then drove a Subaru Impreza S5 WRC 98 at the Rally Costa Smeralda Terra Sarda and finished the event with a fourth-overall. In both events, he was co-driven by Ilka Riipinen.

In 2002, in the wheels of a Subaru Impreza Sti N8, he finished the Rally Costa Smeralda Terra Sarda with a fourth-overall. He was co-driven by Ilka Riipinen.

In 2003, he drove a Peugeot 206 WRC course car at the TMN Rallye de Portugal. He had to retire from the Rali Centenário ACP due to engine difficulties. In both events, he was co-driven by Ilka Riipinen.

In 2004, alongside Juha Kankkunen, Markku Alen competed in the Finnish Rallycross Championship with a BMW M3 and became the runner up behind Juha Kankkunen.

2005 Paris Dakar Rally Iveco

2005 MarkkuAlen- Iveco Dakar Rally

2005 MarkkuAlen- Iveco Dakar Rally

Markku Alen competed in the Paris Dakar rally twice in the truck class. Alongside teammate Miki Biasion, Markku Alen and co-driver Guido Toni and Adriano Micozzi drove an Iveco truck and finished the event with a seventh-overall in 2005.

Markku Alen alongside teammate Miki Biasion

Markku Alen alongside teammate Miki Biasion

Markku Alen finished the 2006 Monza Rally Show with a twenty-fourth overall. He was co-driven by Albino Gabriel.

2007 Paris Dakar Rally Isuzu

Markku Alen drove an Isuzu D-Max in the car category.

In 2008, he teamed up with Paul Fraikin to drive a Porsche 911 RS at the Legend Boucles de Spa and finished the event with a seventy-sixth overall.

He competed at the same event again in 2009 in a Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0 and finished the event with an eighty-seventh overall. He was co-driven by Stéphane Prévot.

2009 Boucles de Spa

2009 Boucles de Spa

He also drove a Fiat 131 Abarth course car at the Rally Rutas Cántabras.

2​010 Ferrari 458 Italia and Ferrari FF test driver

Markku Alen testing a Ferrari 458

Markku Alen testing a Ferrari 458

In March 2010, he was hired as a Ferrari test driver, and actively participated in testing Ferrari 458 Italia. He later tested a Ferrari FF as well.

He also acted as a guest driver in Volkswagen Sirocco R Cup Germany in 2012.

Markku Alen teamed up with his old friend and co-driver Ilka Kivimaki to win the Rallylegend Historic event three times in a row from 2012 to 2014. He drove a Lancia 037 Rally in all the events.

Markku Alen made his final attempt at the Legend Boucles à Bastogne in 2015, now driving a Fiat 131 Abarth alongside co-driver Denis Giraudet and finished the event with a seventy-seventh overall.

He made an appearance to drive a Lancia Delta S4 at the 2015 Rallylegend Star show event alongside Ilka Kivimaki.

In the same year, he drove a Škoda Fabia WRC at the Global Assistance Setkání mistrů and finished the event with a second overall.

He drove a Toyota Corolla WRC course car at the 2016 Global Assistance Setkání mistrů and drove a Škoda Fabia R5 in the same event the following year.

Legacy

During the two decades of rallying as a professional driver from 1973 to 1993 and briefly in 2001, he competed in 129 rallies. He won 19 of those, finished 56 with podiums, won 801 stages, and earned a total of 840 points. Markku Alen is considered one of the flying Finns and is one of the most accomplished rally drivers of all time.

He is also the first Finnish to win the Driver's World Rally Championship in 1978, driving for Fiat. His record for winning 801 stages, the highest number of stages won by a single driver wasn't broken until Sebastien Loeb overtook his record in 2011 at the Catalunya Rally.

Personal Life

Markku Alen married Marianne Avomeri, a former rally driver and co-driver. She competed in several rally events in Finland during the 1970s. From 1974 and 1977, he entered the 1000 Lakes Rally at least four times, and in 1977, she finished 31st and won her class in a Ford Escort RS2000.

From time to time, she acted as a co-driver for drivers such as Kirsti Airikkala, wife of Pentti Airikkala.

A​nton Alen 2009 Rally FInland

A​nton Alen 2009 Rally FInland

Their son, Anton Alen is also a rally driver and drove a Super 2000 Fiat unto in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge Series. He was also a factory driver for Fiat Abarth from 2007 to 2009. Anton Alen scored his only Intercontinental Rally challenge series win at 2007 Rally Russia.

Reference

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markku_Al%C3%A9n

www.ewrc-results.com/profile/1749-markku-alen/

www.ewrc-results.com/profile/50933-marianne-avomeri/

www.ewrc-results.com/profile/97-anton-alen/

treksamurai.com/in-memory-of-henri-toivonen-attilio-bettega-and-sergio-cresto/

www.snaplap.net/iveco-dakar-rally/

rally-japan.jp/en/about/markku/

www.pistonheads.com/features/ph-features-motorsport/group-therapy/11606

www.ewrc-results.com/profile/9764-attilio-bettega/1

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01fcncc

www.ewrc-results.com/coprofile/8629-ilkka-kivimaki/

www.ewrc-results.com/coprofile/68290-juhani-toivonen/

www.ewrc-results.com/final/37353-memorial-bettega-1985/

it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Bettega

I​mage credits goes to: creativecommons.com

wikimediacommons.com , fiatgroup, t​oyota, Subaru, and Pinterest

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