- October 08, 1962
- Not Active
Bruno Thiry is a Belgian rally driver who started his career in the early 1980s and he is still active in the international rallying. Thiry recorded 74 starts in the World Rally Championship between 1989 and 2002, scoring five podiums. His best season's finish in the WRC was the fifth place in 1994, when he was a factory driver for Ford. Thiry was also successful in the European Rally Championship, winning a title in 2003 and finishing as a runner in 2000.
Thiry started rallying in 1981
Born in October 1962 in Saint-Vith, Belgium, Thiry entered rallying in 1981. His first rally car was a Simca Rallye 2. Next year, he switched to Datsun 120A and then to Saab 99 Turbo in 1984. In the following years, he was driving an Opel Kadett GT/E, Citroen Visa GTi, Citroen Visa 1000 Pistes, Ford Sierra RS Cosworth and Volkswagen Golf GTi.
WRC debut at 1989 Acropolis Rally
Bruno Thiry made a WRC debut in May 1989, driving an Audi 90 Quattro at the Acropolis Rally in Greece. His navigator was Dany Delvaux. They finished in the 13th place.
During 1989, Thiry was driving four more different cars besides Audi, in national and ERC events, finishing third in the Belgian National Championship.
Joining Opel Team Belgium in 1990
In 1990, Thiry joined Opel Team Belgium to drive an Opel Kadett GSI 16V in the European Rally Championship and Belgian Rally Championship, still with Dany Delvaux as his navigator. They finished second in th Belgian championship and 13th in the European competition.
In 1991, he was second again in the Belgian championship and fifth in the European championship, but also participated in two WRC events in a Kadett. His navigator was Stephane Prevot. They retired at Tour de Corse and finished 12th overall at Rallye Sanremo, taking the Class A4 victory.
Maiden WRC podium at Rallye Cote d'Ivoire
In 1992, Thiry was driving an Opel Calibra 16V for Opel Team Belgium, repeating results at Tour de Corse (DNF) and Rally Sanremo (class victory). And then, in November, he sensationally scored his maiden WRC podium at Rallye Cote d'Ivoire-Bandama, finishing second in the #6 Opel Kadett GSI, behind Kenjiro Shinozuka in a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4.
Thiry stayed one more season with Opel Team Belgium, participating in seven WRC events in 1993, driving an Opel Astra GSI 16V. He scored overall points four times and took five class wins, giving the mkanufacturers' title to Opel in the FIA 2-litre class.
Ford factory driver since 1994
In 1994, Thiry and Prevot joined Ford factory team in the World Rally Championship, contesting in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth in seven WRC events. After four finishes among the points scorers during a season, Thiry reached his second WRC podium at RAC Rally, finishing third behind Colin McRae (Subaru) and Juha Kankkunen (Toyota).
At the end of the season, Thiry was fifth in the points, what remained his career-best finish in the World Rally Championship.
Two more WRC podiums with Ford in 1996
Thiry and Prevot stayed with Ford for two more seasons. In 1995, their car for the full season was the #8 Ford Escort RS Cosworth. Thiry finished 6th in the points, without podiums.
He scored two WRC podiums in 1996 in the #5 Ford Escort RS Cosworth, finishing third at Rallye Sanremo and third at Rallye Catalunya. He was sixth in the championship again.
Third place in the 1997 European Rally Championship
In 1997, Thiry participated at Rallye Catalunya with Seat Sport's Ibiza, not finishing an event. At RAC Rally, he was driving a Ford Escort WRC for Gazprom Rally Team, retiring again.
That year, he won two European Rally Championship events, finishing third in the championship standings. At Rally Azores, he was a winner in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth. At Rallye de Condroz-Huy, he won in a Subaru Impreza S3 WRC.
Return to Ford for one more WRC podium
In 1998, Thiry and Prevot were again in the Ford factory team, participating in eleven WRC rounds in the #8 Ford Escort WRC.
After scoring points at Rallye Monte-Carlo, Tour de Corse and Rallye Sanremo, Thiry reached his best result at the Rally GB. He finished third, behind Richard Burns (Mitsubishi) and his teammate Juha Kankkunen. Thiry finished a year ninth in the championship points.
A half of the season with Subaru World Rally Team
For the 1999 WRC season, Thiry joined Subaru World Rally Team as third driver, taking Stephane Prevot with him as a navigator. Their best result was the fifth place in the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Thiry left the team after six rounds in a Subaru Impreza S5 WRC. After that, he won the ERC event at Madeira in a privately-entered Subaru Impreza S4 WRC and participated in the closing WRC round (Rally GB) in a Škoda Ostavia WRC, finishing in the fourth place.
Second place in the 2000 European Rally Championship
In 2000, Thiry switched his focus to the European Rally Championship, driving a factory-entered Citroen Xsara Kit Car. He finished second in the overall classification and first in the F2 class.
That year, he recorded just one WRC start, driving a Toyota Corolla WRC for HF Grifone team at the Rallye Monte-Carlo. He finished in the fifth place.
2001 - last full WRC season with Škoda Motorsport
In 2001, Thiry became a factory driver again in the WRC. This time, he was driving for Škoda Motorsport. His navigator in the #12 Škoda Octavia WRC Evo2 was Stephane Prevot. He scored no points in the WRC classification, with 8th place as his best result in three events (Monte-Carlo, Cyprus, GB).
Besides driving for Škoda in the WRC, Thiry gained some success in the ERC events, finishing third at Rallye Bohemia and winning the Rallye du Condroz-Huy.
2002 – last WRC season with Peugeot 206 WRC
In 2002, Thiry participated in seven WRC events in a Peugeot 206 WRC, driving for Peugeot Team Belgium or Peugeot Bastos Racing. His best result was the fifth place at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
Driving the same car, he scored two wins in the Belgian ERC events, the Ypres Rally and Rally du Condroz-Huy. That wins secured him fifth place in the ERC classification.
European Rally Champion in 2003
In 2003, Thiry stayed in a Peugeot 206 WRC alongside his new navigator Jean-Marc Fortin. Thiry finally caught his first ERC title. He won five times and scored three more podiums in the European Rally Championship. He was a winner at Rally Turkey, Rally Bulgaria, Ypres Rally, ELPA Rally and Rallye d'Antibes.
In the 2004 European Rally Championship, Thiry was driving a Citroen C2 S1600 with Nicolas Gilsoul as a navigator, not scoring wins and finishing third in the points. It was his last fully competitive season. Since then, he was driving occasionally in different national and international competitions, but never again in the WRC.