Friday 25th November 2005
Richard Burns, who won the World Rally Championship in 2001, died at the age of 34 after a long illness, on the fourth anniversary of his title win. Burns was championship runner-up in 1999 and 2000 before becoming the first Englishman to land the coveted world title 12 months later. He made his rallying breakthrough in 1990 when he won the national 205GTI challenge series, then lifted the Mintex National series title and became the British Championship’s youngest winner in 1993 with Subaru. After a spell in the Asia Pacific Championship and the occasional world championship drive, he entered for his first full season in 1998, partnering world champion Tommi Makinen for Mitsubishi. Twelve months later he moved to Subaru and he made his first title challenge as wins in Greece, Australia and Britain helped him finish second in the final standings. In 2000 he looked on course to win the world title, having led the championship race for some time, but he was pipped to glory by Marcus Gronholm – even though he won the season-ending Rally of Great Britain. However he was not to be denied and in 2001 he became the first Englishman to take the championship.