Fans, world champions, magicians and musicians combined to make the inaugural Logiman Mythical Cars Rally an extraordinary success across the past two days.
Lombardy and the town of Varzi have rocked to the beat of both the best music from the past three decades and the best rally cars anywhere in the world.
Despite the plethora of superstars from the World Rally Championship in some awesome cars, the event was won by Frenchman Patrick Magnou in his stunning Peugeot 306 Maxi.
Italian Michele Tagliani upheld local honor with second place in a Fiat Grande Punto S2000.
But Logiman Mythical Cars Rally was about so much more than a rally. It was about creating a four-day festival in one of the most beautiful parts of the world – a part of the world which also happens to be blessed with some of the most astonishing roads.
Rallying royalty Marcus Grönholm, Alister McRae and Andreas Mikkelsen led the cars out of Varzi for a single Friday evening stage. Sadly for the Finn, fastest time through SS1 would be as far as he got – he crashed his Subaru Impreza WRC after the finish of the test.
All three headliners were impressed with both the sporting and the entertainment side of the event.
Grönholm said: “Of course I am sad not to be driving on Saturday. The crash on Friday was stupid and I am sorry for this.
“But Saturday gave me the chance to talk with Andrea [Adamo] about this great event and to meet many of the fans. The atmosphere here in Varzi has been really nice. To be in the middle of the town with the people everywhere is important for the sport.”
McRae drove a Group A Subaru Impreza – a Best Impreza Continuation Car – on the event. He said: “I’d forgotten how quick these cars could be down some pretty narrow roads. What a fantastic event. I’ve had a great time here, it’s been pretty hard work at times though!
“Seriously though, this format and style of rally is just fantastic. We do a couple of stages, come back in and sign some autographs and just have a lot of fun.
“It’s great to see so many people out there enjoying the action and amazing the way the town has just taken the rally in. It’s had the same sort of feeling as places like Ypres [Rally] with the service right among the people.
“The entertainment’s been great – and that’s such an important part of what we’re doing here. Ultimately, sport has to entertain.”
That sentiment was echoed by M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson. The Englishman said: “The great thing here is that we’re bringing the people right into the centre of the event. Yes, we’ve got rally fans from all over Europe, but we’re also introducing new fans to the sport.
“It’s quite unique and fantastic to see. Rallying’s been my life and to see the passion from the fans and not just the fans, the general public as well, I think it’s something that’s been missing a little bit at the highest level.
“The team has done a great job here. I know it’s the first time, but I think, for sure, we have created something that can really be built on for the future.
“I’m already looking forward to coming back next year.”
As well as the sporting aspect – which ran perfectly with all seven stages on time – Logiman Mythical Cars Rally provided the perfect spectator opportunity with helicopter rides to the stages, the chance to co-drive in cars and, of course, wall-to-wall entertainment from Wednesday through until Saturday night.
From a commercial perspective, the event’s hospitality base was packed for the duration, providing the perfect opportunity to talk business or share memories.
Logiman Mythical Cars Rally advisor Andrea Adamo said: “What do you want me to say? When we first talked about this rally late last year, we dreamed of this. We dreamed for the best cars from Group A and all of these incredible categories, we dreamed for the people to come, the sun to shine and for some success on the event.
“We have managed all of this. Let me tell you, to have important people from our world, people like Malcolm Wilson, Yves Matton and, of course, the drivers with Marcus Grönholm, Andreas [Mikkelsen] and Alister [McRae] coming here is so important.
“Honestly, I am humbled, but at the same time I want to thank all of the crews – every one of them: every driver, co-driver and team for coming to the first ever Logiman Mythical Cars Rally and for making this show what it was.
ACI Pavia president, Marino Scabini, was similarly delighted. He added: “Like Andrea said, it’s fantastic to see such a variety of cars and crews coming here to Varzi. But for me what has also been one of the most pleasing things is the response from the local businesses and the local community in Varzi and the province of Pavia.
“To see the shops, the hotels, the bars and restaurants completely packed with people is, for me, fantastic. We wanted to create a rally which was a festival for everything which is amazing about our home and we have done this – through music, food, wine, the show and, of course, the competition.
“Everybody was smiling for this rally and that’s the perfect result for me.”