Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Vatanen was born in Espoo but grew up in rural Tuupovaara in Eastern Finland. His debut year in professional rally was in 1970, and he became World Rally Champion in 1981 with Ford. He has won the Paris-Dakar Rally three times with Peugeot, in 1987, 1988 and 1989, and again with CitroŽn in 1991. With Peugeot, he has also won the famous Pikes Peak hillclimb, after Peugeot stopped participating in the world rally championship series in 1986.
Following his years of working with a French rally team, in 1993 he settled in southern France where he bought a farm and a winery. He soon developed an interest in politics, and in 1999 he was elected to the European Parliament from the list of the conservative Finnish National Coalition party, despite continuing to live in France. The issues he has worked on include car taxation, traffic policies, development aid, and agricultural policy.
In 2004 he was re-elected, this time from the list of the conservative French Union for a Popular Movement.
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