Yesterday, the 24th Annual Monte Carlo Historic Rally official started and continues to be one of the main events globally for historic cars. Among the 263 crews announced at the start, one that really stood out was Stellantis CEO, Carlos Tavares who was driving an iconic 1975 Lancia Stratos HF.
The historic Monte Carlo Rally is presented in its traditional formula with departure from three different locations, Bad Homburg, Germany, Reims, France (the city from which Tavares will start piloting the Lancia Stratos HF), and Milan, Italy. The different crews will all leave for Monte Carlo, where the competition will take place for a distance of 300 kilometers (186.4 miles) and will end on Wednesday, February 2nd.
The Stratos HP is a true piece of history for the Lancia brand and was strongly desired to replace the Lancia Fulvia HF in world competition. With only 500 units produced by Turin coachbuilder Nuccio Bertone, the Stratos features a sleek coupe profile, equipped with a rear engine V6 from the Ferrari Dino 246, producing 320 horsepower in its 24-valve form. It officially debut in the race in 1974 and was the first car in the world to be designed specifically for Rally, with only one mission – to be unbeatable on any terrain, road or dirt.
Starting in the 1975 racing season, the Stratos sported Alitalia’s white and green colors. The Stratos Alitalia livery is considered among the most beautiful in the history of motorsport.
A true ” bête à gagner”, as the French called it, the Stratos dominated the international rally scene, leaving only crumbs to its rivals. It won three consecutive editions of the Monte Carlo Rally, three titles in the World Constructors’ Championship (1974, 1975, and 1976) and two in the European Drivers’ Championship, in addition to the victory of Sandro Munari in the 1977 FIA Drivers Rally World Cup.
The participation of the Lancia Stratos in the historic Monte Carlo Rally, therefore, pays homage to the over 115 years of history of the brand that has won the most in Rally competitions – collecting 15 world titles, among drivers and manufacturers – as well as winning three Championships in its history. World Endurance Constructors, a 1000 Miglia, two Targa Florio and a Carrera Panamericana. An extraordinary palmares that confirm the sporting tradition of the brand that dates back to the founder Vincenzo Lancia, a passionate driver who won several competitions in the two-year period 1908-1909.
Tavares has been amateur racing since he was 22 years of age. In 2014, together with Jean-Louis Dauger, Denis Gibaud, and Jérôme Maudet, Carlos Tavares won the A2 class of the Barcelona 24 Hours with a Peugeot RCZ Cup operated by Milan Competition.