, who has won the World Drivers' Championship a record nine times.
The World Rally Championship (WRC) is a rallying series administrated by Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), motorsport's world governing body.1 The series currently consists of 13 three-day events driven on surfaces that range from gravel and tarmac to snow and ice. Each rally is split into 15–25 special stages, which are run against the clock on closed roads. The WRC was formed from well-known and popular international rallies, most of which had previously been part of the European Rally Championship and/or the International Championship for Manufacturers; the series was first contested in 1973.2 The drivers' championship was first awarded in 1977 and 1978 as an FIA Cup for Drivers title, to Sandro Munari and Markku Alén, respectively. The first official world champion in rallying was Björn Waldegård in 1979.3
Each season normally consists of 12 to 16 rallies driven on surfaces ranging from gravel and tarmac to snow and ice. Points from these events are calculated towards the drivers' and manufacturers' world championships. The driver's championship and manufacturer's championship are separate championships, but are based on the same point system. In the current points system, points are awarded at the end of each rally to the top ten WRC (overall), junior and production car drivers that qualify as follows: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1. Despite how many drivers are in one team, constructors can only nominate two drivers to score points for the team as well as scoring for themselves.4
Sébastien Loeb holds the record for the most drivers' championships, winning nine during his career.5 He also holds the record for the most championships won in a row; he won nine consecutive titles from 2004 to 2012.6 Juha Kankkunen and Tommi Mäkinen are second with four championships each; Mäkinen won four championships in a row 1996 to 1999.7 Finland has won the most titles, with 14 championships between 7 drivers. Citroën cars have won the most drivers' championships with nine titles, all of them with Loeb.
||The number of times the champion finished in the top three in a rally
||The margin of points by which the champion defeated the runner-up(s)
A. ^ Until 1997, only a certain number (seven, eight or nine) of a driver's best results counted towards the championship. The points column lists the points counted in the championship.8
B. a b In 1977 and 1978, the drivers' championships was the FIA Cup for Drivers.9
C. ^ Alén drove a Lancia Stratos HF at the Rallye Sanremo and at the Lombard RAC Rally.10
D. ^ Waldegård drove a Mercedes 450 SLC 5.0 at the endurance rallies; the Safari Rally and the Rallye Côte d'Ivoire.11