DirtFish’s Italy diary: Another quite brilliant day in Italy

In his latest instalment as he heads to Rally di Alba, David Evans recounts a day of specials cars, people and memories


It’s been a while since I’ve had the feeling, but it hasn’t changed. Do you remember when you’d forgotten a piece of homework and you were still at the books over breakfast. That’s me right now.

I have some eggs, some coffee and the laptop. And I’m late. Today should have been yesterday. But don’t worry today will come again later and today’s today won’t be tomorrow.

All of this is the fault of one man: Andrea Adamo. A man for whom I have to be grateful for a predictably entertaining evening.

I have to be very grateful for the risotto, gnocchi, the pork, the panna cotta and, of course, the superb Barbera – which flowed with rather too much efficiency in a restaurant high above the Hyundai team principal’s home city of Turin.


Adamo was the perfect host at the table. And the table was a big one packed with Hyundai stars like Ott Tänak, Dani Sordo and Pierre-Louis Loubet. Thierry Neuville arrives today. That’s today’s today not yesterday’s tomorrow.

Trattoria Superga provided a great evening – I can genuinely say I’ve never seen panna cotta that way before; Hyundai is a team packed with talented people.

After eating, ready to come back and type these words, Adamo wanted to take us to church for a slightly out-of-season midnight mass.

The church – which is a bit more than a church, known locally as Basilica of Superga – sits on the top of the Superga hill. I’ve got news for the good folk of Torino: your hill is actually a mountain.

As we all know, the classification of a mountain is a hill that’s higher than 610 meters. We climbed a mountain last night. And we did so to take in the quite beautiful views of Turin.

Not everybody was attacking the peak with Adamo’s enthusiasm.

Tänak offered: “I’m a driver. I only walk when my car’s broken!”

He was only half-joking.

The view was superb. Even in the dark.

And it capped another quite brilliant day in Italy. Departure from Sanremo was taken from the very car park used as a seaside service area down the ages.

Once again, driving out past the Royal Hotel, the mind was racing with a mental picture of Peugeot’s biggest cheeses attending a meeting of the stewards to find out their 205 T16s had been hoofed out of the rally on trumped-up charges.


Nothing has changed about the Royal. The carpet’s just as thick as it ever was, the white gloves are just as white. But the wifi’s a bit quicker these days.

Back up the coast to Savona and the Hyundai Tucson was pointed in the direction of Turin.

Almost Turin.

Somewhere on the outskirts – and I’m not going to tell you where – we circled a nondescript industrial area. Stopping outside of a five-meter wall, a large gate slid back noiselessly. Permission granted. It was all a bit James Bond, but you can understand why.

Wednesday afternoon was spent in the company of Massimo Macaluso. Massimo’s father Gino Macaluso was a former co-driver of some repute – in 1972 winning Rally Poland with Raffaele Pinto as well as that year’s European Rally Championship in a Fiat 124 Spider. He also was an Abarth engineer who turned to watch making.

Watch making and rally car collecting.


When Gino passed away a decade ago, the Gino Macaluso Foundation was started. Broadly speaking, the aim of the Foundation is to ensure nobody forgets our sport’s deliciously rich history.

Anybody can do that by talking about it. Or writing about it. But the Macaluso family do that by collecting a car from each era, restoring them and then driving them.

Walking into the workshop area of the building was a moment I will never forget. There, on the ramp was Markku Alén’s 1986 Rally New Zealand Lancia Delta S4. The front and back were off the car as it was tended and fettled.


That was the beginning of an awful lot of stopping, standing and staring.

Here at DirtFish, we simply can’t thank Massimo enough for the hours he gave us to tell of a fascinating family history while sharing a deep love and passion for our wonderful sport. We have plenty of content and news coming from Fondazione Gino Macaluso in the coming weeks and months.

But now, it’s time for today.

Time to find Adamo’s apartment. He’s making breakfast.