The Fiorio name is synonymous with everything that’s great about rallying. Cesare was, of course, the original architect of total domination in the World Rally Championship. Part of that success came from installing his son Alex in a factory-supported Lancia Delta.
So when family Fiorio decides to run a competition to unearth new talent, it’s worth taking notice. That’s what the Fiorio Cup is all about.
Now in its third season, the Puglia event will pitch four young Italians against four more experienced drivers on a gravel stage using a Citroën C3 Rally2 and, naturally, a Lancia Delta Integrale.
Fiorio Jr and his daughter Mariapaola are the driving force behind the event.
“We started in 2021,” said Mariapaola. “But this was in the middle of COVID-19. It was not so easy, but we made it happen. Last year we ran again and the rain came. It was muddy, the conditions were difficult, but still we had a hell of a lot of spectators coming. It was great!
“Talking to you now, the sun is shining and it’s 25 degrees – we hope this is staying for the event on November 12. For this year, we run the next generation of Italian drivers against the old foxes.”
The old foxes include Harri Toivonen, Henning Solberg, Andrea Aghini and Pontus Tidemand, while Andrea Crugnola, Tamara Molinaro, Christine Giampaoli Zonca and Mattia Scandola represent the next generation.
“We know that some of the old foxes aren’t so old and some of the next generation, not so young,” added Fiorio, “but the competition will be close and interesting!”
The action all takes place on a stage designed by Alex Fiorio on the family’s land in Puglia.
“The stage is really interesting,” he said. “It’s really challenging and a lot of fun. When I was driving, it was always hard to know where the drivers were – who had the best car and who was the best driver? What we are doing here, we give everybody the same car and the same conditions. That’s fair.”
Fiorio pointed out there’s more to the event than the competition.
“It’s about the entertainment as well,” he said. “Look at Formula 1 now and you can see there’s a really nice experience for the spectators and the fans. OK, of course, we don’t compare to Formula 1, but we want to make sure we are looking after the fans as much as we can. We give them some special areas with simulators and lots to do – we want to make them smile and have a good time.”
Watching a Lancia Delta Integrale in the southern Italian sunshine is more than enough to make anybody smile. And there’s the chance to meet the legend that is Cesare.
“My father is still involved,” said Alex, “he is still at the front of what we do. He’s 84 years old now and he still has a lot to talk about!”
The one-day event runs on Sunday November 12.