Manfred Stohl may not have taken the world of rallying by storm since his introduction but he is, by no means, just making up the numbers. The Austrian made his debut in 1991 at the WRC round at Ivory Coast. Since then, he has been on and off the WRC scene without any consistency.
But in 2000, Stohl began to make a name for him as he won the Production Car World Rally Championships’ Drivers’ title in the Group N cars category. That began his regular forays into WRC’s topmost class. He has not had it easy, having been involved with a variety of car makes and models. He has built up an incredibly wide range of rally programmes over the years as well as his own repertoire.
He got an opportunity to drive for a privateer team in a Peugeot and a seventh place in the Wales Rally Great Britain was the best he could conjure in 2003. In 2004, he took it one step ahead as he drove the Peugeot to points finishes in Greece first and then in Wales Rally Great Britain again.
2005 saw him do produce some of his best work so far. He drove a privateer team’s Citroen Xsara WRC and finished way up in ninth place overall, in the drivers’ standings. He finished twice among the points, in Cyprus and Australia and his ninth place ranking was the highest of all the privateer drivers.
Stohl has had a wide variety of experience in an equally wide range of events on the World Rally Championship Calendar. His experience has given him the judgment and maturity to determine the right blend between careful maneuvering and blazing speed. And it is this ability of his that enabled him to better his performances in 2006.The Austrian got the backing of a Peugeot 307 WRC, supported by Bozian Racing. Along with Ilka Minor, Stohl made it to the podium an impressive four times, in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Wales Rally GB. The pair finished the season at fourth place in the overall drivers’ championships. Barring Sebastien Loeb and Marcus Gronholm, Stohl’s 12 point finishes was the maximum of any other driver in the standings.
Stohl will be returning to the 2008 scene with his privateer outfit, Kronos Citroen World Rally Team, again. The team has prepared a Citroen Xsara which he will be using alongside his faithful and extremely able co-driver, Ilka Minor. Stohl will aim to use all his experience and skill to prove his bidding as one of the most consistent drivers on the block.