Kankkunen blitzes Rallylegend 2009
For those of you unfamiliar with Rallylegend, it goes something like this. Invite 150 legendary Rally cars and drivers and let them loose, sideways style, around San Marino in front of 35 000 passionate fans.
Legendary drivers including Sandro Munari, Jimmy McRae, Miki Biasion, Juha Kankkunen and Marcus Gronholm. The line up of classic rally machines is enough to make your eyes pop out of your head. How about Lancia Stratos, Fiat 131 Abarth, Lancia 037, Porsche 911, Lancia Delta Integrale, Ford Escort RS, and Talbot Lotus to name a few.
Juha Kankkunen, driving a 1993 Toyota Celica ST185, dominated the seventh edition of the Rallylegend historic category. Juha won 9 of the 11 stages and thrilled the crowds with some seriously sideways action.
Italian hero Andrea Aghini finished second overall in a Lancia Delta Integrale, almost 40 seconds behind the Finn.
Marcus Gronholm, using a Peugeot 206 WRC, won the the WRC Trophy (results not classified) section, with Piero Liatti (Subaru Impreza WRC) second and Fabrizio Tabaton (Toyota Corolla WRC) finishing in third place.
Below is the official release:
“San Marino Republic. Rallylegend number 7 will be archived with the seal of two big champions. Juha Kankkunen, 4 times world rally winner, dominated the race dedicated to the most beautiful rally car in history with his Toyota Celica St 185 and Juha Repo co-driving.
Marcus Gronholm, twice world pilot winner, leaded from the beginning the World Rally Car Trophy classification dedicated to San Marino champion Massimo Ercolani.
Rallylegend memory book is therefore enriched by two glories of world rally and seals an edition of great relevance. The entire podium is important, too. Behind Kankkunen, who made up during 6 special stages the gap penalty given to post 1986 four-wheel drive cars, second best is Andrea Aghini, champion from Livorno who won a Sanremo Rally in 1989 after duelling with “KKK”.
With a Delta Integrale “dressed” Martini and Lorenzo Granai as co-driver, “Ago” wanted to win his Rallylegend debut but was stopped by a transmission gear problem at the end of the race. Third place went to the first San Marino team made by Marcello Colombini and Andrea Canini, fast and spectacular on their Lancia Delta Integrale and celebrated on stage also by Alex De Angelis, one of the Moto GP protagonists, here as forerunner car driver.
In the first Legend WRC Event, dedicated to World Rally Cars, Marcus Gronholm got used quickly again to the car he won the World championship as official pilot with. With the Peugeot 206 WRC offered by Rb Motorsport and Timo Jaakkola, co-driver in the beginning of his career, Gronholm won with margin all special stages, even in the storm.
Behind him other two champions were fighting. Piero Liatti, champion from Biella once official Subaru world championship pilot on a Subaru Impreza Wrc together with Vanda Geninatti, finally defeated Fabrizio Tabaton on a Toyota Corolla Wrc, back with European and Italian qualifications co-driver Luciano Tedeschini.
The other 154 teams of Rallylegend 2009 would deserve mentioning for commitment, shows offered and for the wonderful cars driven. Among them Federico Ormezzano with Betty Tognana who struggled with the indomitable Talbot Lotus and finally won the category, Tony Carello, back after 21 years and enthusiastic of his Porsche 911, and Gianni Del Zoppo on a Porsche, too. A special acknowledgment to Bruno Bentivogli and his co-driver Pizzuti, who guided him with Braille notes. At thefinishing line we also find an enthusiastic “Peter” Zanchi, with Dario D’Esposito, and, last but not least, Claudio De Cecco who saw the dream to drive a Lancia 037 come true here at Rallylegend.
Wonderful show in the show that of this year forerunner car drivers, among them: Sandro Munari, Alex Fiorio, young Alex Raschi from San Marino, recently winner of Pirelli Star Driver, and, of course, Miki Biasion, testimonial of the event, who drove around about 30 supporters on a Lancia o37 during his show stage.
Maranello Rosso Museum has framed a spectacular prize-giving ceremony, where the most beautiful models of Ferrari and Abarth welcomed all champions in a moving hug.
Zeromille, the organizing team, helped by Motorproject, supported by San Marino Automotoristic Federation (F.A.M.S.), and thanks to Pirelli, main sponsor, together with other important partners such as IWC Schaffhausen, Magneti Marelli, Freem, DaDo, Castrol, Asset Banca and Warsteiner have guided a Rallylegend edition which will go down in history, with the amazing support of 35,000 happy but ordered fans during the special stages and a moving final ceremony.
The rally Village and all side initiatives have been successful and guaranteed San Marino a touristic and promotional profit which very few events can do.”
Images: Fulvio Bogani
Thanks to Andrea Rastowsky for the tip.