Citroen’s original WRC star dies
The man who brought Citroen its first victory in the World Rally Championship in the late 1990s Philippe Bugalski has died.
The Frenchman stunned the WRC fraternity in 1999 when he took victory both on Rallye Catalunya-Costa Brava in Spain and the Tour de Corse – Rallye de France aboard a front-wheel drive Citroën Xsara Kit Car. A weapon on tarmac, the Kit Car version of the Xsara made the most of a far lighter minimum weight compared to the WRC cars from Ford, Subaru, Toyota and the Group A Mitsubishis that dominated at the time.
Bugalski was a regular top choice tarmac specialist for Citroën along with Spanish team-mate Jesús Puras. However, as the Citroën Total World Rally Team changed to the WRC version of the Xsara the team’s attention switched to Sébastien Loeb and Bugalski became the third-string driver for tarmac rallies.
His top performances have been on home soil on the Tour de Corse, but he has also shown great potential in the Rallye San Remo, Monte-Carlo Rally, and Rallye Catalunya. By 2003, he had stopped rallying professionally and was occasionally seen on historic events.
Bugalski died reportedly from injuries sustained when he fell out of a tree. He was 49.
Check out the video of the 1999 Rallye Catalunya-Costa Brava in Spain