- April 02, 1945
- Not Active
Guy Frequelin (nicknamed Grizlly) is a French former rally and racing driver, and former chief of Citroen's rally team from 1989 to 2007, in a period when Citroen scored four wins at Dakar Rally and Sebastien Loeb won his first four championship titles.
Frequelin's greatest success as a rally driver was the second place in the 1981 World Rally Championship. That year, he scored his only WRC victory, driving a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus at Rally Argentina.
In circuit racing, he participated five times at 24 Hours Le Mans, finishing in the fourth place two times, in 1978 with Alpine A442 and in 1980 with WM P79 prototype.
Starting a career as a rally navigator
Born in April 1945 in Langres in northeastern France, Guy Frequelin worked in the French Army as a driver of the armored vehicle before starting his rally career as a navigator to Gabriel Soffieti in 1966.
In 1967, Frequelin moved to driver's seat, first in a Sunbeam Alpine in a hill climb race at Marsannay and then in a Renault 8 Gordini at Ronde du Jura rally in December. He won that event, starting his rally career with a victory.
All in one: car salesman, driving instructor and racer
In 1968, Frequelin spent a season in a circuit racing, participating in a Gordini Cup. In 1969, he returned to rallying and hill climb races, using different cars in following years (Simca 1000, Alpine A110, Renault 8 Gordini). In that period, he was also working as a driving instructor and as a salesman in a Renault dealership.
From 1972, Frequiline focused his career on racing exclusively, taking the Group 7 championship title in circuit racing. He participated in Tour de France road race, a part of the European Rally Championship, driving an Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV. He didn't finish the race.
World Rally Championship debut in 1973
In 1973, Frequelin continued to combine circuit racing and rallying. He was driving a Veglia single-seater at circuits and Porsche 911 RSR both at circuits and rallies. In December 1973, Frequelin made a debut in the inaugural season of the World Rally Championship, driving an Audi 80 at Tour de Corse. He retired with a broken engine.
A year later, he returned to Tour de Corse in an Alfa Romeo Alfetta, finishing in the tenth place together with navigator Jean Thimonier.
French rally champion in 1975
In 1975, Frequelin became the French rally champion in Group 1, driving an Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV. He was also using that car in international events, recording a debut at Rally Monte-Carlo (8th) and participating in several rounds of the European Rally Championship.
In 1976, Frequielin returned to Rallye Monte-Carlo in a Porsche 911 Carrera, finishing seventh. Later that year, he recorded one more WRC start at Tour de Corse, not finishing the rally in an Opel Kadett GT/E.
In July 1976, Frequelin and Claude Ballot-Lena finished fourth at Spa 24 Hours in the #34 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV.
Renault factory driver since 1976, Le Mans debut in 1977
At the end of 1976, Frequelin became Renault's factory driver. His first start was at Rallye du Var in November 1976, which he won in an Alpine-Renault A310 V6.
French rally champion in 1977 with Alpine-Renault
In rallying, Frequelin spent 1977 in the French Rally Championship, taking the championship title in an Alpine-Renault A310 V6. His navigator was Jacques Delaval. They win eight times in national championship.
Outside French championship, he retired at Rallye Monte-Carlo in an Alpine-Renault A310 and at Rallye Sanremo in a Renault 5 Alpine. In 1977, Frequelin also participated in Spa 24 Hours, sharing a BMW 530i with Alain Cudini. They didn't finish the race.
1978 – the podium at Rallye Monte-Carlo, fourth at Le Mans
In January 1978, Frequielin reached his first WRC podium, finishing third at Rallye Monte-Carlo in a Renault 5 Alpine, behind Jean-Pierre Nicolas (Porsche 911) and Jean Ragnotti (Renault 5 Alpine). Later that season, Frequelin made one more WRC start, finishing fifth at Ivory Coast Rally.
In circuit racing, Frequelin recorded his best result at Le Mans, finishing in the fourth place together with Jean Ragnotti, Jose Dolhem and Jean-Pierre Jabouille. They were sharing the #4 Alpine A442A. The race winners were their teammates Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud in the #2 car.
Frequelin's last season with Renault was 1979. He finished 8th at Rallye Monte-Carlo in a Renault 5 Alpine.
Losing the 1981 WRC title to Ari Vatanen
In 1980, Guy Frequelin joined Talbot Sport to drive a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus in the World Rally Championship, with Jean Todt as his new navigator. They scored two WRC podiums, finishing third in Portugal and Great Britain.
In 1981, Frequelin opened a season with a podium at Rallye Monte-Carlo, finishing second behind Jean Ragnotti in a Renault 5 Turbo. One more podium followed at Tour de Corse and then, in July 1981, Frequelin clinched his maiden WRC victory at Rally Codasur in Argentina. He added one WRC more podium in Brazil to his account, finishing second in the championship behind Ari Vatanen. He lost a title after retiring in the season-closing Lombard RAC Rally, in which Vatanen collected valuable points with a second-place finish.
Three Le Mans starts with Welter Racing's prototypes
Besides rallying with Talbot, Frequelin continued to participate in endurance races. In 1980, he retired at Spa 24h in a BMW 530i and joined Welter Racing to drive WM P79-Peugeot prototype at Le Mans 24 Hours. He and Roger Dorchy finished in the fourth place.
In 1981, Frequelin returned to Le Mans with Welter Racing, not finishing the race. His third Le Mans start with the same team followed in June 1982, in the #10 WM P82-Peugeot. He retired after an accident.
French champion and European vice-champion in 1983
In rallying, Frequelin was driving Porsche 911 SC in two WRC events in 1982, finishing fourth at Rally Monte-Carlo and sixth at Tour de Corse. At the end of the season, he joined Peugeot Talbot Sport at Lombard RAC Rally, finishing 11th in a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus. In all those rallies, his navigator was Jean-Francois Fauchille.
In 1983, Frequelin and Fauchille moved to Rothmans Opel Rally Team, competing in Group B cars - Opel Ascona 400 and Opel Manta 400. They were French rally champions and finished second in the European Rally Championship. In WRC, Frequelin recorded two DNFs that year, at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Tour de Corse.
One more French title with Opel in 1985
In 1984, Frequelin finished second in the French championship and fifth in Europe, driving an Opel Manta 400. In WRC events, he retired at Safari Rally and finished ninth at Tour de Corse.
In 1985, Frequelin captured one more French rally title, driving an Opel Manta 400. His only WRC event was Tour de Corse, in which he retired.
He was out rallying in 1986, returning to competition in 1987 in an Opel Kadett GSI. He retired at Tour de Corse and finished sixth at Rallye Sanremo. It was his last WRC event in a career as a driver.
French rallycross champion in 1988
At the end of 1987, Frequelin joined Peugeot Sport in which his former co-driver Jean Todt was a chief. He was driving a Peugeot 309 GTI in several French national rally events and some European Rally Championship events during 1988, but without any notable success.
On the other side, he was successful in rallycross, winning the French rallycross championship title. At the wheel of a Peugeot 205 T16 Evo 2, he scored six wins during the season.
Taking over Citroen's motorsport department in 1989
In January 1989, Frequelin was driving Peugeot 205 T16 Grand Raid in his Dakar Rally debut, finishing in the fourth place. He even won two stages.
Soon after that, he became the boss of Citroen's motorsport department, starting his new career as a team manager.
Four wins at Dakar Rally
Peugeot left Dakar Rally after its fourth consecutive victory in 1990 and then the era of Citroen started, taking over three Peugeot's drivers (Vatanen, Waldegaard, Ambrosino) and adding Jacky Ickx to the line-up. The success was immediate as Ari Vatanen won the 1991 Dakar Rally at the wheel of Citroen ZX. It was his fourth win in the world's toughest race.
Mitsubishi took two wins in 1992 and 1993. Then, from 1994 to 1996, Pierre Lartigue scored three consecutive wins at Dakar Rally in a Citroen ZX, under the leadership of Guy Frequelin. Besides winning at Dakar Rally, Citroen scored five championship titles in the FIA Cross-country Rally World Cup.
Starting the golden age of Citroen's WRC team
The new chapter of Frequelin's career in Citroen has been opened in 1998. Following the team's withdrawal from rally-raid, the French manufacturer entered rallying with Xsara Kit Car. Philippe Bugalski gave the team two French titles in 1998 and 1999, Sebastien Loeb added one more title in 2001. In the same year, Sebastien Loeb won the Junior WRC title in a Citroen Saxo S1600.
In 2001, the Citroen Xsara WRC has been introduced and Jesus Puras scored the first WRC win for Citroen at Tour de Corse. In 2003, Citroen entered the first full season in the WRC and captured Manufacturers' title. In the following years, Guy Frequelin witnessed to four Sebastien Loeb's titles and two more Manufacturers' titles before resigning at the end of 2007. He was replaced by Olivier Quesnel.
Publishing an autobiography in 2009
After retiring from all duties in motorsport, Guy Frequelin published an autobiography in 2009, named 'Pilote de ma vie'. He didn't leave motorsport entirely because he occasionally participated in historic rally events with different cars, most recently in 2006 in a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR.