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73-year old Jean-Luc Therier, widely regarded as the fastest driver in the Renault Alpine days of the early ‘70s, has died. His passing was announced just before the start of the 2019 Neste Rally Finland on July 31. Therier was the winner of three WRC events in 1973, the inaugural season of the World Rally Championship (TAP, Acropolis and Sanremo). The wins came after scintillating drives in early years both in France, and in 1970, winning the Acropolis Rally for the first time.

Jean-Luc Therier (left) and Jean-Pierre Nicholas at the Ypres Rally in 2009. Photo: Martin Holmes

When the Renault Alpine team stopped their elaborate activities he drove for the parent Renault company, winning the Press on Regardless WRC event in USA in a Renault 17 Gordini. In the mid-70s he moved to the fledgling Toyota team, then also drove private Porsches for the Almeras team, winning the WRC Tour de Corse in 1980. His career came to a tragic end when he drove a Citroen Visa 1000 Pistes on the 1985 Paris Dakar, which ended with a life changing injury to an arm, leading to a long litigious fight with the company afterwards.
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