- March 16, 1963
- Not Active
Jesus Puras is a former rally driver from Spain who was active in rallying until 2007. The highlight of his career was a WRC victory at 2001 Tour de Corse. It was the maiden WRC victory for Citroen Xsara WRC, which later became one of the most successful rally cars ever, thanks to Sebastien Loeb.
In total, Puras recorded 37 starts in the World Rally Championship, scoring one victory and one more podium. Outside WRC, he was one of the most decorated Spanish rally drivers, winning the national championship eight times between 1990 and 2002. Puras was also the Production WRC champion in 1994 when he was driving a Ford Escort RS Cosworth.
Most recently, Puras reactivated himself in cross-country rallying, entering the 2018 Dakar Rally in the motorcycle category.
Starting a career in 1982, winning the first title in 1986
Born in March 1963 in Santander, Cantabria, Jesus Puras Vidal de la Pena started his rallying career in 1982 in Spanish national events. His first rally car was a Renault 5 TS. After taking several podiums in 1984 and 1985 in a Renault 5 Turbo, the first great success came in 1986 when he was the winner of the Spanish Rally Cup after three wins in a Renault 5 Turbo.
In 1987, Puras switched to Renault 11 Turbo and then to Ford Sierra RS Cosworth in 1988, finishing fifth overall and first in Group N in the Spanish Rally Championship. He stayed in a Ford Sierra for one more season, driving also a Ford RS200 in some national events.
1990 - Spanish rally champion with Lancia Delta Integrale
In 1990, Puras captured his first title in the overall classification of the Spanish Rally Championship. His victorious car was a Lancia Delta Integrale 16V which he was sharing with navigator Jose Arrarte.
They won six times, including two wins in Spanish rallies which were the part of the European Rally Championship.
WRC debut and three starts in 1991
Jesus Puras made a World Rally Championship debut in 1991, driving a Mazda 323 GTX for Mazda Rally Team Europe in two events (Monte-Carlo, Portugal) and private Lancia Delta at Rally Catalunya.
In his WRC debut, at Rallye Monte-Carlo, Puras had an accident in the #16 Mazda during the second day. In the second start, at Rallye de Portugal, he finished in the seventh place. At Rally Catalunya, he retired due to engine failure.
1992 – one more Spanish title with Lancia
In 1992, Puras concentrated again on the Spanish championship, winning five times in a Lancia Delta HF Integrale and taking his second championship title. His navigators were Jose Arrarte and Alex Romani.
In November, Puras participated in the Spanish WRC round, the Rallye Espana - Catalunya Costa Brava, finishing sixth in Mauro Rallye Team's Lancia Delta HF Integrale.
Production class world champion in 1994
In 1993, Puras participated in just a couple of Spanish events with Ford Escort RS Cosworth, then entered the full season of the Production WRC competition in 1994. In seven rallies, he scored two PWRC wins (Portugal, France) and added three more podiums, taking the championship title ahead of Isolde Holderied.
His best overall result was the 8th place at Rallye de Portugal. During the championship-winning season, Puras was sharing a car with two navigators – Alex Romani (two events) and Carlos Del Barrio (five events).
1995 – winning Spanish championship in a Citroen ZX
Puras stayed in a victorious mood in 1995, driving a Citroen ZX 16V for Citroen Hispania and taking his third championship title in Spain. He won five times, sharing a car again with Alex Romani and Carlos Del Barrio.
Puras also made one WRC start that year, driving a Citroen at Rallye Catalunya Costa Brava in October. He retired during the second leg with broken suspension.
1996 – helping Seat to win the 2-Litre World Cup
In 1996, Puras joined Seat Sport and participated in eight events of the FIA 2-Litre World Cup for Manufacturers, driving a Seat Ibiza Kit Car and helping the team to win the championship title.
In eight rallies, he reached the finish line just two times but scored valuable points. He won at Rallye de Portugal and finished fourth at Rally Catalunya.
Four more Spanish titles with Citroen from 1997 to 2000
In 1997, Puras rejoined Citroen and started a winning streak of four consecutive seasons on the top in the Spanish championship. In 1997, he and Carlos Del Barrio were the winners six times in a Citroen ZX Kit Car. Next year, they started a season in a Citroen ZX Kit Car and later switched to Citroen Xsara Kit Car, scoring seven wins in the national championship.
In 1999, Marc Marti became a navigator to Jesus Puras and helped him to win eight times in the Spanish championship in a Citroen Xsara Kit Car. That year, Puras also joined Citroen factory team and scored his maiden WRC podium, finishing second at Tour de Corse, behind teammate Philippe Bugalski.
In 2000, Jesus Puras and Marc Marti won eight times in the Spanish championship in a Citroen Xsara Kit Car, taking one more championship title. Outside national championship, Puras participated in five WRC events using different cars (Mitsubishi Carisma GT Evo, Citroen Xsara Kit Car, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI or Citroen Saxo Kit Car).
WRC victory at 2001 Tour de Corse
In 2001, Puras stayed with Citroen in the World Rally Championship, racing with Saxo Kit Car at Rallye Monte-Carlo and then with brand new Citroen Xsara WRC at Rallye Catalunya and Rallye Sanremo. He retired in all three events. And then, in October 2001, Jesus Puras scored a victory at Tour de Corse in the #15 Citroen Xsara WRC, beating Peugeot drivers Gilles Panizzi and Didier Auriol.
Parallel to his WRC commitments in 2001, Puras competed with Toyota Corolla WRC in the Spanish Gravel Rally Championship, scoring one win and finishing third in the points.
2002 – the eighth and the last championship title in Spain
In 2002, Puras paired again with Carlos Del Barrio, driving a Citroen Xsara WRC in three WRC events and a full season in the Spanish championship. With eight wins, Puras secured his eighth and the last national rally title.
In the WRC, he finished 12th at Rallye Catalunya, retired at ADAC Rallye Deutschland and finished sixth at Rallye Sanremo.
A season with Renault in 2003 and a brief return in 2007
Puras left premier rally competition in 2003, participating just in the Spanish rally events with Renault Sport Espana. He was driving a Renault Clio S1600, scoring three podiums and finishing fifth in the national championship.
He then retired from rallying, briefly returning in 2007 in selected Spanish national events with Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX and one event in a Ferrari 360 Rally.
Dakar Rally as a new challenge
After many years out of racing, Jesus Puras re-appeared in the world of motorsport in 2017, particapting in several motorcycle enduro events (Merzouga Rally, Baja Aragon, Ruta 40, Baja Inca). And then, in January 2018, he started the ultimate endurance challenge - the Dakar Rally.
In his Dakar Rally debut, he was driving the #83 KTM 450 Rally Replica for Xraids team. He didn't finish the event, retiring after three days.