One more magic Monte moment

The Alps will still be busy with rally cars this week, which is why we’ve delved into the Girardo & Co. Archive for this beauty

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Monte’s done. Isn’t it? So why another Lancia Fulvia mid-French Alps in the sort of snow we could only dream about last week?

Turns out the Monte’s not done. Not quite. Saturday this week marks the start of the 26th Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique. And the week-long event is headed by Swiss driver Claudio Enz in a Lancia Fulvia. Admittedly Enz is a 1970 Group 2 1300cc version, whereas the car pictured here is the full Group 4 story.

Sergio Barbasio and Piero Sodano were entered in the 1972 event by Lancia Italia and finished sixth overall in the Fulvia Coupé HF. The limelight was, however, taken by their team-mates Sandro Munari and Mario Mannucci who scored a stunning success in the sister car.

Sitting in the Ardeche sunshine, a snowstorm seemed a long way away, but when Radio Monte-Carlo crackled into life with a warning of the arrival of the Burle everybody took notice. The Burle is a strong wind known for bringing snow drifts.

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Sergio Barbasio sending it through Monte snow in 1972

At the Burzet service point, the snow’s coming and coming quickly. In an instant, the place is under 20cm of snow and everybody starts hitting trouble. Not Munari, he plots a safe and sensible course and watches as his rivals fall away.

By the finish, after the third and final run across Col de Turini, he’s won by 12 minutes.

For one last time this season, that’s the magic of the Monte.