The legendary Biella rally track is back in the roadbook of the participants of Rally Lana Storico 2023.
The fourth stage of the Cirm, the Italian Acisport Championship dedicated to medium regularity, was characterised by a large number of entrants and high temperatures, which put the competitors to the test.
Eight medium trials on which the entrants challenged each other: Campore, Baltigati, Romanina and Ronco, to be repeated twice during the day.
The first highlight after the first passage on Campore was the unprecedented pair formed by Marco Gandino and Marianna Ambrogi.
The Scuderia del Grifone's DS occupied the right-hand seat of the Fiat Ritmo 'Totip' left vacant by Carlo Merenda competing with the returning Aiolfi.
The driver from Piacenza, who has been absent from the CIRM for a few years, chose the Lana Storico to test the new Peugeot 309 in view of the upcoming Tour de Corse, which he will face in tandem with Merenda in the role of navigator.
Returning to the race, the first PM sees Fabio and Paolo Verdona on a Peugeot 205 Gti in second place and Mario Piantelli of the Scuderia Milano Autostoriche navigated by and Fabio Cambiè on a Lancia Fulvia Hf.
In the following Baltigati test, the Gandino-Ambrogi crew suffered the attack of the Verdona brothers, while in third place was Marcattilj navigated by Francesco Giammarino on the usual Porsche 911.
The joy of Verdona-Verdona's leadership will be short-lived. During PM3 "Romanina" a technical gearbox failure forced the Grifone crew to abandon the competition.
The third race will also be fatal to the gearbox of the X19 driven by Maurizio Verini and Laura Martines.
After the Romanina, therefore, Gandino - Ambrogi are back on top, followed by the Peugeot 309 Gti of Aiolfi - Merenda, who win the stage and overtake Marcattilj - Giammarino, third.
After the PM4 Ronco, the first loop of trials ended without further shake-ups in the standings, but with the exploits to be reported by Keller and Ricci, who finished tied at the top with Aiolfi in the PM3 on board their much-admired Audi Quattro and Alberto Beretta in the PM4. The driver of the Porsche ,911 Coupe navigated by Massimo Liverani took second place just 9 penalties behind the winner of the stage Aiolfi.
After the regrouping and Service Park the hostilities reopened but the music did not change: even after the second lap of Campore the first three positions were occupied by Gandino, Aiolfi and Marcattilj.
In Baltigati 2 a misstep by Aiolfi, who set the eighth fastest time, facilitates the overtaking of Marcattilj, who takes the second step of the provisional podium with a gap of 31 penalties from the leader Gandino.
But here comes the second coup de théâtre for the Grifone: a breakdown also affects the trusty Fiat Ritmo and the champion of the Sicilian stage of this Cirm is also forced to abandon the race track.
But it was again the Romanina, the longest stage of the rally with its 19 kilometres, that upset the classification. Gandino's Fiat Ritmo does not arrive at the stop control and remains stationary in the test with a broken driveshaft, leaving the way clear for Paolo Marcattilj who becomes the new leader, followed by Aiolfi and the excellent Piantelli in a 1972 Lancia Fulvia Hf dek.
A trio that reached the podium in the final classification.
The challenge between the teams was also intense. After three stages of the Cirm dominated by Grifone, the classification dedicated to the teams saw the success of Porsche Classic Milano Est, followed by Scuderia Milano Autostoriche. For the Ligurian team, only a third place that still allows it to maintain the leadership in the championship by only 7 points over Milano Autostoriche.
In the ladies' cup head to head between the two female crews in the field: Antonella Monza and Nicoletta Nicolini, on a Porche 911, win and an excellent eighth place overall in this fourth round of the Cirm. Behind them in the women's classification were Elisabetta Pacchioni and Sara Foiani who, on board their Porche 356 '64, the oldest car in the race, won the second grouping.
The third grouping was conquered by the winner Paolo Marcattilj, who preceded the crew formed by Luciano and Ennio Marchina's 1969 Alpine A110.
The classification of the fourth grouping smiles on Mario Piantelli and Fabio Cambiè in their 1972 Lancia Fulvia HF - Scuderia Milano Autostoriche.
In second place were Albero Beretta and Massimo Liverani in their 1974 Porsche 911 Coupé.
Behind the bearers of the Porsche Classic Milano Est, third place went to the 1973 Mini Cooper of Maurizio Gandolfo and Marco Frascaroli.
In group five, first place went to the Peugeot 309 Gti of Maurizio Aiolfi and Carlo Merenda, followed at 75 penalties by Vittorio Catanzaro and Anna Maria Beneduce in a 1990 Mazda 323. Roberto Sommaruga and Patrizia Fumanelli in an Audi Quattro of the Scuderia Milano Autostoriche closed the group podium.