Jean-Paul Perusse

Inducted 2004

Jean-Paul Perusse became interested in rallying in the mid-1960s when he was studying engineering. His first major rally was the Shell 4000. Fiat gave him a Fiat 128 to enter in the 1972 Canadian Winter Rally and he beat his teammate, rally superstar Andrew Cowan. He won the Winter Rally again in 1973 and ’74. Then began what can only be called a Perusse domination of the rally scene, winning the Canadian Rally Championship in 1975 and ’76. Included in his victories was the 1976 Winter Rally, his fourth in five years, and he beat rally legend John Buffum in the process. He switched manufacturers and drove a Saab for several years but, in late 1976, he moved to British Leyland and ran a Triumph TR7 in 1977. Not long after, Perusse cut back on his rallying and went ice racing until he was called back to the scene by his old friend, John Buffum. Jean-Paul drove a Volkswagen GTI to win the 1987 Group A class in the North American Rally Cup, which combines results from both Canada and the United States. In the early 1990s, he again left rallying and returned to ice racing, winning two Quebec championships. By the turn of the century, he was rallying again in his old VW GTI. He showed the younger generation how it was done in 2001 by finishing tenth and fourth in a series of Quebec rallies. The came the 2002 Percce Neige, where he was faster than many of his opponents, eventually finishing sixth overall and first in his class. Today, he is still in the driver’s seat, planning on even more seasons, proving that you can’t keep a superb rallyist down.

Image via Motorsport.com

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