Juha Kankkunen: Career, Divorce & Net Worth

Juha Kankkunen is a former Finnish professional rally driver. Further, he was part of six significant manufacturers teams during his career.

Moreover, the rally champion has participated in 162 rallies, out of which he won 23 rallies. Also, he has four world championship titles with three different manufacturers.

Furthermore, the driver learned to drive since he was seven-years-old. Hence, we can only imagine why he is referred to as the king of rallies. Not to mention, by the age of 12, he already owned a car.

Juhan kankunen_with_his_car_collection
Juha Kankkunen and his beloved Peugeot 205 T16 Evo2.

Likewise, his debut was with Toyota manufacturers. As a result, in his third year with the team, he won his first WRC title.

Besides that, he announced his retirement after the 2002 season ended. During this period, he was with the Hyundai manufacturer team.

However, he did return for a brief time for the 2010 Rally Finland.

Quick Facts

Here are few interesting facts about Juhan Kankkunen.

Full Name Juhan Matti Pellervo Kankkunen
Birth Date April 2, 1959
Birth Place Laukaa, Finland
Nick Name Flying Finn
Religion Christian
Nationality Finnish
Ethnicity Finns
Education Not available
Horoscope Arise
Father’s Name Pekka Kankkunen
Mother’s Name Not available
Siblings One
Age 63 Years Old
Height 5 feet 10 inches
Weight Not known
Hair Color Blonde
Eye Color Blue
Rallies 162
Championships Four
Current Team None
Position Rally Driver
Active Years 1982-2002
Marital Status Divorced
Wife Pirjo Kuivanen
Kids Two
Net Worth $11 million
Social Media None
Merch Photo, Music
Last Update July, 2022

Juha Kankkunen: Early Life, Family, and Education

Juha Kankkunen was born in Laukaa, Finland. Furthermore, his parent’s details are limited.

However, we do know that his father’s name was Pekka Kankkunen. Besides that, the rally champion has a younger brother named Timo Kankkunen.

Moreover, Pekka was also a rally and ice racer. Further, his father taught him and his brother how to drive on an ice racing track.

Hence, this is where his journey to becoming the legend of rally racing began.

juha kankkunen_with-his_son
Juha Kankkunen with his younger son.

Also, the racer always loved the rally sport. As a result, the racer made his debut in rallying as a 22-years-old in the World Rally Championship.

Also, this event was held in 1979 at the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland.

During this time, Kankkunen was coached by a friend of his father, Timo Mäkinen. In his debut, he secured the 14th position in a Ford Escort RS2000.

Besides that, he used to compete with his brother to polish his skills. Certainly, for most of the local events, his brother used to be the co-driver. Indeed, the duo won a lot of races before the start of Juha’s career.

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Juha Kankkunen: Age, Height, and Weight

The former racer is 63 Years Old as of April 2, 2020. Furthermore, he still takes great care of his health and diet.

Moreover, he also does farming to keep his body in good shape and to eat healthy food.

Further, the rally champion is 5 feet 10 inches tall, i.e., 1.8 meters. However, his weight is not disclosed.

Juha Kankkunen: Rally Career

Toyota

After three years from his debut in WRC, he was officially signed by Toyota for three-years.

Further, he drove the Toyota Celica Twincam Turbo during these three-years. Hence, in his first season, the legend secured the sixth position at 1000 Lakes.

Similarly, in the same season, he secured the seventh position at the RAC Rally. Furthermore, he competed in four WRC events.

As a result, Juha finished fifth in the home event, whereas retiring in three of them.

juha kankkunen_with_Toyota
Juha Kankkunen, winning his fourth title with Toyota.

In the last season with Toyota, he had a victorious win in the Safari Rally. Consequently, making him the first driver to win the event on the first attempt.

Therefore, this earned him a deal with the defending champions Peugeot for the 1986 season.

After two-years of a detour with Peugeot and Lancia, he again signed a contract with Toyota.

Likewise, Toyota released Toyota Celica GT-Four ST165 during the same year. Nevertheless, the car was a total failure as it was not reliable.

Despite that, 1989 also was more of the same but, he did win Rally Australia.

Also, Toyota secured second place in manufacturer’s standings. Again he decides to leave Toyota to come back again after three-years with Lancia.

Finally, the legend won his first championship for Toyota in 1993. Not to mention, he won five of his ten rallies to conquer his fourth title.

In fact, he won Safari, Argentina, Australia, RAC, and 1000 Lakes Rallies for the victory moment.

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Peugeot

During the 1986 season, Peugeot’s driver was recovering from injury. As a result, this seized an opportunity for the champion.

Therefore, he signed a one-year contract with the 1985 defending manufacturer’s and driver’s champions for the 1986 season.

Further, he took the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E2 to three out of ten victories instantly. Despite this fantastic victory, he still lost to Alén, the Lancia’s driver, for the world championship.

However, the Lancia’s driver could enjoy the championship for only eleven days.

Peugeot’s knew there was something fishy with the Lancia’s car. Hence, they sent an appeal to the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. Upon inspection, the FIA annulled the result of the event.

Accordingly, the FIA’s decision leads Kankkunen to be very first driver’s championship in 1986.

In fact, he was the youngest champion in the history of the series. However, FIA also decides to ban group B, meaning Peugeot had to withdraw.

Lancia

Following the FIA rule, Peugeot withdraws, leaving the racer to join Lancia for the 1987 season. Hence, he drove the Lancia Delta HF 4WD and quickly became comfortable with it. Further, this leads him to his second win.

As a result, he becomes the first driver to defend his world title successfully.

Not to mention, the two-time champion was the recipient of the International Rally Driver Award.

A day in the life of Juha Kankkunen. Talking about the Group B era and his career is just amazing!!#groupbrally…

Posted by Juha Kankkunen Driving Academy on Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Despite this fantastic win, the rally driver still decides to leave Lancia. After two-years with Toyota, he again signed with Lancia in 1990.

In the 1990 season, the legend fell short and placed third in the driver’s championship. However, the following year proved to be much different than the last year.

Moreover, in 1991, Knakkunen won his third driver’s title. In fact, he was the only driver ever to seal three driver’s titles since WRC’s inauguration in 1973. This made him the G.O.A.T of rally driving.

Furthermore, he continued the next season with Lancia. Nevertheless, the champion failed to defend his title this time. This leads him to leave Lancia to re-sign with Toyota.

Ford

After his fourth title win, he stayed with Toyota for three more seasons.

However, the narrative changed when Toyota was disqualified for using illegal products in the car, but he remained with Toyota to compete in private events.

Moreover, he came back in action halfway through the 1997 seasons with Ford. Despite his best efforts, he lost to the 1997 title winner by just seven seconds.

Further, this is still the smallest winning margin in the history of the event.

Furthermore, the four-time champion stays with Ford for the 1998 season. As a result, both Ford and Kankkunen finished fourth for their respective standings.

For the next season, Ford decides to move on from the rally champion.

The legend rally driver had retired from the sport since 2002. Nevertheless, Kankkune came out of retirement for a brief moment in 2010.

Not to mention, he was 51-years old during this period.

Nonetheless, he just took part in the 2010 Rally Finland, where he secured the eighth position. After this, he went back to retirement and now has a driving academy of his own.

Subaru

Following his fourth place in the standing with Ford, the racer decides to sign with Subaru.

In the 1999 season, he again finishes fourth in the standing, whereas Mäkinen equaled his title with Toyota.

Also, Subaru lost to Toyota in the manufactures standings by just four points. However, Juha continues with Subaru for the next 2000 season.

Nothing happened in this season as he finished eighth in the standings. As a result, no deal was reached by Subaru to the four-time champion.

Hyundai

As the champion was already out of his prime, he failed to meet any deal with Subaru. Hence, he only competed on one rally for the Hyundai factory in 2001.

After a well-deserved rest, he again competed for the 2002 season with Hyundai.

However, he didn’t manage to make any difference. At the end of the season, the four-time champion decides to retire from the professional rally.

Juha Kankkunen: Marrige and Kids

Kankkunen was married to Pirjio Kuivanen. The two dated briefly before getting engaged on New Year’s Eve 1992 in Bangkok.

However, the couple was in a rough patch to start as the racer traveled a lot.

Furthermore, the couple had their firstborn baby boy, Tino, in February of 1995.

As a result, they decided to get married on June 10 of the same year. Moreover, they got married at a Church located in Laukaa.

Juhan kankunen_marrige
Pirjo Kuivanen and Juha Kankkunen married in June 1995.

Besides that, the Finnish racer had no time to see his firstborn until he was a couple of weeks old. Hence, this had already created tension in the couple’s relationship.

Likewise, they again had a baby boy, Niko, in 1998. Nevertheless, their relation never hit a smooth path as Juhan would be out of home for months.

Even when he was at home, it took him several days to adjust. Then it was time to leave again.

They were always on a slightly different train. However, the couple wanted the marriage to work baldy.

Nevertheless, the spark had already extinguished. Hence, they started living apart from each other.

Finally, after years of fail marriage, the couple decided to get a divorce. In the year 2013, Pirjio filed for divorce, which the court granted.

As of now, the Kankkunen lives alone. Nonetheless, he still meets his sons frequently.

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Juha Kankkunen: Net Worth and Salary

The legend has built a pleasant wealth amount through years in his racing career.

His estimated net worth is around $11 million.

His salary details are also unknown. However, an average WRC driver earns anywhere between $180 thousand to $2.5 million. Not to mention, he also owns a driving academy of his own.

Moreover, he lives in a lavish house in Finland. Furthermore, his home has a huge room dedicated to showpiece his multiple cars.

His collections include Peugeot 205 T16 Evo 2, Lancia Delta S4, and Audi Sport Quattro S1, which have gained a mythical reputation.

Juha Kankkunen: Social Media Presence

The four-time champion is not active on any social media platforms as of now. He prefers to stay out of the limelight and desires to live a quiet life.

He loves living his life at the moment, rather than clicking pictures and posting about it.

However, his driving school business does have a social media account. Further, he is frequently seen in multiple posts on their Instagram and Facebook handles.

FAQS

How many cars does Kankkunen own?

The WRC legend has more than 20 different collections of cars. Some of them are Toyota Celica Turbo, Mitsubishi Evo III, 288 GTO F40, 512i BB, Peugeot 205 T16 Evo 2, and many more.

How many titels has Juha kankkunen won?

Through his remarkable 20-year career, Juha has won 4 titles.

What does Kankkunen do nowadays?

After the legend’s retirement, he invested in some companies which went bankrupt. However, now he has his driving school named Juha Kankkunen Driving Academy. Hence, he is busy working for the academy.

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