Public:Top 40 Rally

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Top 40 Rally
Corporate sponsorFat Men FM 133.7 FM
First race2005
Last race2009
Most wins (driver)Netherlands Ahmed El Jappaoui (1)
Most wins (team)Netherlands Toyota Met Vele W!et (1)
Most wins (manufacturer)Japan Toyota
Circuit information
  • Gravel
  • mixed gravel/tarmac (possibly)

The Top 40 Rally was a fictional motorsports event held annually between 2005 and 2008. A 2009 edition was planned but never held. Despite the name, it was actually more akin to a rallycross event than a rally, as multiple competitors lined up and started the race at the same time.

Date and location

The Top 40 Rally was held at a fictional track in summer, sometimes in July and sometimes in August. In all years the event was held, the track involved a gravel surface; it may have involved a tarmac surface as well (i.e. been run on a mixed gravel/tarmac surface) in some or all years. No record survives in which the particular track is mentioned, so it is not known whether the event was always held at the same track or at various tracks throughout its history.

Technical regulations

Between 2005 and 2007, the only cars allowed to compete in the Top 40 Rally were production-based models. In 2008 and 2009, the event was organized to Formula Libre regulations, which meant open-wheel cars and other cars that are not street-legal were also allowed to compete. Although open-wheel racing cars are much faster than other cars, they were regularly outqualified even by production cars at the Top 40 Rally. This implies that some kind of Balance of Performance mechanism must have been in place; however, this was never explicitly mentioned. Because no regulations were ever published, it is not known in what way exactly the performance of the cars was affected.

The event was contested over several days, during which practice and qualifying sessions were held, followed by the final race. In 2006, there was a gap of five days between practice and qualifying. As in other forms of motorsport, a podium ceremony was held following the race to congratulate the first three finishers.



The Top 40 Rally was created by Watson Waterstone, when he was on vacation in the summer of 2005, and the first edition was contested that same summer. After Fat Men FM 133.7 FM was founded, the event was run in conjunction with it and promoted on FMFM’s Sunday-afternoon “Top 40” show, hosted by Waterstone.


Throughout its history, the event featured several high-profile racing drivers, such as Jarno Trulli, Ralf Schumacher, Kamui Kobayashi, Formula One world champions Jacques Villeneuve, Kimi Räikkönen and Lewis Hamilton, future Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato and future Formula E world champion Lucas di Grassi. In addition, several well-known figures from outside the world of motorsports took part, such as singer Robbie Williams, professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, Al Qaʿeda founder Osama Bin Laden, and footballer Franck Grandel. However, there were almost no restrictions on drivers (for example, a driver’s licence was not required), which allowed Waterstone and his friends to compete as well, and they made up a substantial portion of the entry list. The only regulation limiting driver entries was a rule preventing the entry of deceased or fictional drivers. In keeping with the name of the event, there were exactly 40 drivers on the entry list each year. This reflected the concept of comparing the results of a motorsports event to a music chart like a Top 40. Moreover, all cars were numbered from 1 through 40, which meant that the motorsports custom of avoiding the number 13 was not observed. It is not known how car numbers were assigned, although it seems likely that the preceding year’s winner would receive the number 1.

Teams and manufacturers

Drivers were generally entered by the team they drove for at the time. This included works entries such as the the Toyota Formula One team, McLaren–Mercedes, and SEAT Sport; however, privateer entries were also permitted, and drivers also regularly entered with a one-time team devised specially for the occasion. Privateers would generally enter simply in their own car, except of course for the minors who had no driver’s licence and did not own a car. The majority of the entry list was usually made up of Japanese cars such as Hondas and Toyotas, but manufacturers from around the world were represented, including Porsche, Ford, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault, and Lada.

Sponsorship and official partners

Apart from FMFM, the Top 40 Rally was sponsored in later years by Cola Burqa, Kakman Verzekeringen, and Belgische Halvarine. Starting in 2007, Computer Graphics Corp. was an official partner that provided computer graphics, while Kapitein Haaks Klokken Maatschappij provided live timing.

By year

It is not known who won the 2005 race, although Ralf Schumacher sported car number 1 in 2006, which seems to imply that he and/or or his team Toyota won in 2005.

The 2006 edition, held on 9 August 2006, was won by 15-year-old Ahmed El Jappaoui, making him the youngest (and only) recorded winner of the Top 40 Rally. El Jappaoui had started second behind Jarno Trulli and overtaken him in a race that was held under periodic rain showers.

The results of the third edition are not known. Trulli once again started from pole position in a Toyota Auris.

In 2008, when open-wheel racing cars were allowed to participate, Lewis Hamilton was the fastest qualifier in his McLaren Formula One car, with which he would go on to win the Formula One World Championship later that year. However, because no records survive of the final results, it is not known who actually won the race.

A 2009 edition was planned, and a partial entry list published, but the event was never held, and the Top 40 Rally has not been held since.

List of editions

Year Fastest qualifier Team Car Winning driver Team Car
2006 Italy Jarno Trulli Japan Panasonic Toyota Racing Japan Toyota Land Cruiser Netherlands Ahmed El Jappaoui Netherlands Toyota Met Vele W!et Japan Toyota Supra RZ
2007 Italy Jarno Trulli Japan Panasonic Toyota Racing Japan Toyota Auris
2008 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom Vodafone McLaren Mercedes United Kingdom McLaren–Mercedes MP4-22
2009 not held