MAURIZIO, WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOSTLY ABOUT REGULARITY RALLIES?
Well, let’s say I’ve started racing with rallies: it was 1975 and I’ve being racing in rallies up to 2009. Then I moved to classic regularity races, but being always obsessed with the Montecarlo Rally I’ve started a proper training for that. To train myself better to the Montecarlo, which I raced for the first time in 2015, in 2011 and 2012 I enjoyed some rallies in France, with a very simple equipment, I was quite naïve (laughs)… anyway I really enjoyed them a lot because those rallies matched driving skills, never forget that maintaining the average speed sometimes requires a pace very similar to a speed races, with trajectories, equipment… it’s something very complex but also very rewarding, satisfying.
WHAT MAKES THE MONTECARLO HISTORIQUE SO SPECIAL?
Perhaps it’s the story behind, the legacy. Even if you do it touristically, but be careful because the trials are very tricky for the drivers and very likely to increase in difficulty due to the weather, you have to prepare yourself and your car for at least one year. The Montecarlo Historique requires training, recons on the routes, for the rescues also. You have to plan every move as it was in the old style rallies, for your sake and for those who are helping you along the route. You have to train very hard, also for the fact that AC Monaco doesn’t supply any roadbook. You must study very well the maps before starting the rally and check the distances on your own. Also the duration is another important aspect: it lasts four or five days, it musn’t be underestimated.
HOW DO YOU TRAIN FOR A SUCH A RALLY?
It’s a very hard job. Some drivers prepare a roadbook on their own. In such a rally it’s basic to check the distances with careful. There’s plenty of visibile landmarks that should be verified every 200/300 meters. This means that on a trial of 45 chilometers you should count about 200 landmarks. Basically, if you have to mantain an average speed of 49 km/h, you can’t draw perfect trajectories but you have to be really careful about the speed, even more if the weather gets snowy and you miss a correct visibility of the road surface. That’s why it’s so important to check the distances and do recognitions. And also to choose the right tyres.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE RACE?
Well, the one I haven’t raced yet! I’m joking! Among the Montecarlo that I’ve raced any had had particular circumstances. I’ve always had the luck, or the talent I don’t know, to make it to the end. The worst ranking was on the first year, when I got thirtyfifth in the rank, due to a technical issue who made me lost at least ten positions in the race. This year I almost won, being in the lead up in three stages on four. Afterwards the pandemic I took part in a race of the European Championship held in Switzerland, which I really enjoyed because it had completely different calculations and was held in a very different way. It has been tough but still I managed to arrive third, leading five crews who previously won the European Championship.
DO DRIVERS BORN OR MAKE?
In 2010 I’ve attended my first average rally in France with an Autobianchi A112 Abarth, without any equipment and, with sixty crews partecipating we still managed to get a fifth place on the second stage. There was something familiar with my driving attitude, my way to handle with the equipment, with the design and evaluation of the trajectories as they were thinked by the organizing team. It’s my way to have fun, basically!