Maurizio Pagella leads the West Liguria coast army on the assault of the 37th Sanremo Historic Rally
SANREMO (IM), 11 ottobre – “I will walk to the starting platform.” Maurizio Pagella, the doyen of the Sanremo Historic Rally competitors heralds in this way his arrival on Friday morning on the platform of Corso Imperatrice in Sanremo from where the 37th edition of the Ligurian race will start. And he will do so “not so much to avoid Sanremo’s morning traffic, but simply because I live above the Casino, a few hundred meters from the starting platform“.
The Sanremo Historic Rally 2022 will represent the twenty-first time for Maurizio Pagella, record holder of participations in the West Liguria coast race, a position shared with Turin-based driver and Rododendri team mate, Nello Parisi. “My twenty-one participations are all in the historic rally, while Nello also boasts participations in the modern rally, although confined to many years before they organized the historic“, Pagella points out.
“Motorsports competitions have always appealed to me, and living in Sanremo it was only natural that I would go into rallying or enduro. In my youth I chose this second path, for economic reasons of course. Like all centaurs I broke a few too many bones and in 1999 together with Walter Verbicara we entered the Coppa dei Fiori Regularity Race. Nice race“. he says today with a slight wry smile under his mustache. “But rallies are something else“.
And so, already the following year we find him at the start of the Sanremo Historic Rally with an Alfa Romeo 1750, appearing again at the start in 2011 with his cousin Walter Sindoni in the same car. But by then the passion had entered Pagella’s veins, and in 2002 came a 124 Abarth Group 4 Olio Fiat a real beast and one that plunged him into his past as a spectator when he would go to watch the special stages on the Langan or the Teglia and dream of sitting inside the Scorpio spider emulating Bacchelli and Verini. And the special stages of the Sanremo were no longer enough to satisfy Pagella’s craving for rallying, who also tackled the Rallye Elba Storico that season. Again with Sindoni alongside but in a Porsche 911 T that would be his weapon for several seasons, used alternately with a muscular Porsche Carrera 3.0 RS. To the various versions of the Stuttgart sedan Maurizio Pagella will remain faithful over the years, with a few “digressions” on his own 124 Abarth Group 4 and a Rally del Corallo on the Lancia 037. Just as he will remain faithful to his historic co-driver Roberto Brea, also from Sanremo, who will alternate with Sindoni in 2003 and then permanently occupy the right-hand seat of Pagella’s Porsche from the following year. “Roberto is an electronics professor who has a great passion for racing cars and rallies in particular. Together we have disputed seventeen editions of the Sanremo, but this year, for health reasons he will not be able to be at my side in the car, although he will virtually follow me on the special stages and in the Service Park“, says the Sanremo driver, who is entered with the number 26 together with Francesco Zambelli, with whom he has participated in the previous three races of the season, in the Porsche 911 SC RS of Fourth Grouping prepared by Pentacar of Fratelli Melli of Colico (LC).
Over the years, Maurizio Pagella’s involvement in the world of historic rallies has become more and more intense, beginning to attend the special stages of the European championship starting in 2011, when he appeared at the end of the season at the start of the Rallye du Var in France. Until he was a constant and assiduous presence, managing to win the European Third Group title in 2017 “a year in which the Italian tricolor flag waved practically in all the categories with Eric Comas, now a naturalized Italian winner of the Second Grouping, and Lucky who imposed himself in the Fourth.
Pagella’s involvement is not limited to special stages, but since 2019 he has been the president of Pentacar, the structure that takes care of the Porsches Pagella races with. “At Sanremo we will have three Pentacar cars. One will be entrusted to Lucio Da Zanche, recordman of victories (four) at the Sanremo Historic, and the other to Enrico Brazzoli, who usually attends modern rallies, but has not forgotten his passion for historic cars, having recently won the Valli Cuneesi Historic Rally”.
Of course, the commitment as a manager is important, however, in the home race the heart beats on the special stages. “The home race is approached differently than other races and not always in a positive way. You want to overdo it, you go beyond what is the pace you keep elsewhere,” says Pagella, whose best result is ninth place overall last year (as well as a third in the Historic Legend in 2009). “In addition, the Sanremo excites you regardless with its conformation of an inline rally and its special stages on beautiful but very difficult roads. They are narrow and very fast roads that I enjoy immensely and reach the peak of enjoyment in the Vignai descent, to be done with your heart pounding“.
This is the story of the doyen of Sanremo Historic Rally competitors who in the third millennium missed the 2019 edition only due to physical problems. He will be joined in the race by his friend Nello Parisi, like him a veteran of the Sanremo, and for the standings he will have to especially watch out for the two cockerels of his Pentacar: Da Zanche and Brazzoli. But he will surely cheer for them as well.
Competitors from western Liguria, ready to go. In addition to Maurizio Pagella, there are numerous competitors residing in the western part of Liguria entered in the 37th Sanremo Historic Rally. With the number 29 will start the Savona-based Waltero Gandolfo-Marco Torterolo with the very fast and agile Fiat 127 Sport. Enrico Canetti from Imperia, fco-driven by Luigi Cavagnetto from Piedmont, will have the number 47 in an Opel Corsa GSI, with which he aims to consolidate his position as leader in the Italian Class J2/A 1600 Fourth Regrouping classification, while with the number 53 will start the Opel Kadett GT/E of the iron pair Agostino and Lorenzo Ontano. Making his debut with a #72 Porsche 911 is historic tuner Sandro Rossi co-driven by Fulvio Gangi, a Sanremo veteran (for him the first time was in 1991 with a Renault 5 GT Turbo). Number 75 and Opel Kadett GSI for Davide Laco from Imperia who will be co-driven by fellow citizen, daughter and granddaughter of art, Viola Tamagnini. Following immediately after is the 128 Coupe of Claudio Tallone and Giordano Bruno, engaged in the Michelin Cup; chased by the twin car that sees on the co-driver’s seat seat the local Igino Diamante who dictates the pace notes to Vinicio Guerretti, while a 127 Sport is the workhorse of Simone Borlotti-Alessandro Parodi bearer of the local XRT Scuderia. Finally, we will have with the number 80 Fabrizio and Stefano Dami who will want to show how many positions in the standings can be recovered by starting with an A112 Abarth. Western Liguria coast will also field Serena Giuliano, in her tenth participation in the Sanremo, who will dictate the pace notes to Silvio Perlino from Monaco, in a Ford Escort RS 1600 with the number 11 on the doors. Then the unflappable Maurizio Barone (14 times at the start of the Ligurian race, the first time in 1990 when the Sanremo counted for the World Championship) who will co-drive Ermanno Sordi’s Porsche 911SC RS and again Mattia Pastorino who will occupy the right-hand seat of Monegasque Jean-Paul Palmero’s Porsche 911 SC #73.
The website www.rallyesanremo.it has all the necessary information for competitors and spectators with all registration forms and declarations of compliance, as well as all race news, including programs and schedule of the event. The race’s official Facebook page is also active at: https://www.facebook.com/RallyeSanremoOfficial/