La compañía inglesa de autos clásicos Girardo & Co puso a la venta -y ya vendió- uno de los autos de competición más importantes del automovilismo contemporáneo, sobre el cual hacía tiempo se había perdido el rastro: el Lancia Delta con el cual el piloto cordobés Jorge Recalde ganara el Rally de Argentina 1988.
Fue un triunfo histórico que no se volvió a repetir: la única victoria de un argentino en una prueba del Mundial de Rally.
El auto con el que Recalde consiguió ese logro tuvo un historial poco conocido. Se sabía que ese chasis ZLA831AB000417887 también había sido usado por el italiano Massimo Biasion para ganar el Rally Acrópolis 1988, en Grecia, pero no se supo más de él después de haber sido vendido por Lancia.
Girardo & Co. y los propietarios posteriores se encargaron de reconstruirlo: resulta que el Delta compitió en varias pruebas del campeonato australiano de rally y luego fue abandonado por unos cuántos años. Hasta que fue recuperado, restaurado y certificado. Buena parte del trabajo de reconstrucción del vehículo se hizo en Estados Unidos.
La decoración que se usó para la restauración fue la utilizada para correr el Rally de Portugal de 1988, que fue la carrera donde Lancia debutó con este modelo especial: el Delta HF Integrale 8v. Fue uno de los modelos más ganadores de la historia del Mundial de Rally.
Ahora también se sabe -gracias a la investigación de Girardo &Co, leer completa abajo- que este mismo chasis ZLA831AB000417887, con el que ganara Recalde, fue el que se utilizó en octubre de 2018 para la tapa de la revista Auto Italia, que rindió homenaje a los mejores Lancia de competición de la historia.
Girardo & Co. publicó esta unidad a la venta y ya figura como “Sold”. ¿Su destino? Un nuevo misterio.
Rally de Argentina de 1988, triunfo de Jorge Recalde y Jorge del Buono. Leer historia de la carrera.
Armin Schwarz: la historia del ex piloto y coleccionista alemán que compró el Lancia Delta S4 que usó Recalde en el Rally de Argentina de 1986. Leer nota.
El argentino Pablo Pérez Companc compró el Lancia Delta HF Integrale de calle de Massimo Biasion. Leer nota.
Comunicado de Girardo & Co.
1988 Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8V Group A
Chassis no. ZLA831AB000417887
1988 WRC Acropolis Rally winner with two-time World Rally Champion, Miki Biasion
1988 WRC Rally of Argentina winner with Jorge Recalde
22 World Rally stage victories as a works Lancia Martini Racing entrant
Four-time entrant in the FIA World Rally Championship
1989 Australian Rally Drivers and Navigator Champion and Winner of five out of six rounds of the 1989 Australian Rally Championship
In 1987 the FIA introduced a new set of regulations, called Group A, for the World Rally Championship. Lancia’s response was the Delta HF 4WD which claimed victory in nine of the thirteen World Rallies in 1987, claiming both the Manufacturer and Drivers World Championship with Juha Kankkunen. Development was key in the World Rally Championship and having learnt a lot over the first season of Group A regulations, Lancia introduced this, the Delta HF Integrale 8V at the 1988 Rally de Portugal, round three of the 1988 World Rally Championship.
The 8V had many updates and improvement over the outgoing Delta 4WD thanks to work done by Claudio Lombardi’s team at Abarth. There were three main areas of improvement, a larger Garrett T3 turbocharger, fitment of a more efficient and better placed intercooler and enlarged wheel arches to allow larger wheels and tyres to be fitted. In early 1988, Lancia also switched form Italian tyre supplier Pirelli, to the latest Michelin technology which caused all manner or local headlines and controversy. The more efficient intercooler allowed a significant power increase over the 4WD, although Lancia were, as always, cautious with their claimed power figures. The larger wheel arches allowed a major suspension advance, allowing much wider 16” wheel rims, as opposed to the narrower 15” rims previously. The larger diameter also allowed large brakes which made the car even faster, especially on tarmac events. The 8V was also the very first Delta HF to use a six-speed gearbox which was designed by Abarth with gears manufactures by Brena and the casing by Teksid.
Once introduced at the 1988 Rallye de Portugal, the Lancia Delta HF 8V dominated, claiming eight World Rally victories in the remaining eleven rounds of the World Championship. Mikki Biasion went on the win the 1988 World Drivers Champions, and Lancia take back-to-back Manufacturers Championship.
In the first six years of Group A regulations in the World Rally Championship, the Lancia Delta claimed all six Manufacturers World Championships, a feat never achieved by anyone other team.
This Double World Rally-Winning Works Lancia Martini Racing Delta HF Integrale 8V
Built in early 1988, this Delta HF Integrale 8V was first registered to Fiat Auto Spa and assigned the Italian registration ‘TO 34758H’. The 1988 Acropolis Rally was round six of the FIA World Rally Championship and was the debut event for this Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8V. The works Lancia Martini Racing team entered three cars for Miki Biasion, Markku Alen and Mikael Ericsson. The car offered here, chassis 417887 was allocated to Biasion who was joined by Tiziano Siviero.
Lancia had a tradition of winning first time out. The Lancia Stratos won on its debut at the 1974 Rallye Sanremo and both the Delta S4 and Delta HF 4WD models had also both won on their World Rally debuts! Lancia were also fresh from winning the 1987 World Rally Championship for both manufacturers and drivers with back-to-back Drivers’ Champion, Juha Kankkunen. The pressure was on in Greece for this new Delta.
It took Biasion, Siviero and this Delta only four of the thirty-two stages to put the result in Greece beyond reasonable doubt. This Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8V was being driven to the limit by Miki Biasion, and at the end of stage four, the pair took the rally lead, and continued to pull away, claiming a total of nine stage victories, and never finished outside of the top five in any stage result. The incredible winning margin was 1 min 43 seconds over the sister works Lancia of Mikael Ericsson, who was followed home by Alessandro Fiorio in another Delta ahead of Markku Alen in yet another Lancia Delta. This was the first time in five years any manufacturer had dominated to the extent of taking home the top four places!
Round nine of the 1988 World Rally Championship was the Marlboro Rally of Argentina where this Delta was assigned to home hero, and Lancia Martini Racing driver, Jorge Recalde, nicknamed ‘El Condor de Traslassierra’. After only two stages, it was clear to all that this rally was to be fought out between only two drivers, Jorge Recalde and Miki Biasion. Every single stage of the 1988 Argentinian rally was won by a Lancia Delta, with Recalde taking a total of thirteen stage victories! Recalde led the rally from stage two to stage fifteen, before Miki Biasion temporarily took over in his sister Works Lancia Martini Delta, although Recalde quickly worked to correct that, retaking the lead on special stage twenty-two. Recalde maintained this position at the front of the pack to become the only Argentinian to win the Argentinian Rally, and only South American to win a World Rally!
History would continue to be written by Lancia Martini Racing, who would go on to become the world’s most successful World Rally Manufacturer, wining the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers six years consecutively through to 1992, an achievement that has never been achieved by another manufacturer!
At the end of the 1988 FIA World Rally Championship, Miki Biasion was also crowned World Rally Champion thanks to the World Rally victory he claimed driving the car offered here, chassis 417887.
Post Factory History
The same weekend as the Rallye Sanremo, FIAT Lancia sold this car to Australian Rally Services P/L in New South Wales, Australia. A copy of this sales invoice is included within the cars impressive history file along with copies of the importation documentation. Having arrived in Perth via airfreight, this Lancia Delta was registered with license ‘7NI 758’ with CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) issuing its Vehicle Logbook, which still accompanies this car. This logbook contains a list of the events this car competed at, along with images of it in period.
The first event this delta competed in ‘down under’ was the 1st Rally Australia in November 1988, which was round four of the 1988 Pacific-Asian Rally Championship. During its time in the Southern hemisphere, this Delta was always driven by accomplished rally driver, Greg Carr. In 1978, Carr won the Australian Rally Championship with the works Ford team driving an Escort RS1800 , followed by another championship victory in 1987 with an Alfa Romeo GTV6.
The following year, the Rally Australia would join the World Rally Championship, but in 1988 Greg Carr was co-driven by Iain Stewart. Wearing race number eleven, the pair drove well to finish an impressive 3rd overall in their new challenger.
The 1989 Australian Rally Championship comprised of six events, with one rally in Tasmania, Victoria, West Australia, South Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. For this championship assault, Greg Carr teamed up with co-driver Mick Harker, with the pair enjoying huge success. Victories were achieved in the first five events, the Rally Tasmania, BP Alpine International Rally, Forest Rally, Festival State Rally and Caltex CXT Rally Queensland, before a second-place finish at the season ending Esanda Rally. Five victories and one second place was an extremely dominant way to claim the 1988 Australian Rally Championship! Thanks to these incredible results, Dunlop Tyres chose to feature Greg Carr and this Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8V in several of its marketing campaigns.
Alongside his dominant Australian Rally Championship in 1989, Greg Carr entered the Commonwealth Rally Australia, then round ten of the FIA World Rally Championship. Retirement struck for this Lancia with centre differential issues after eighteen stages, but not before several very impressive stage times, including three fifth place finishes whilst challenging for fourth overall. This Deltas final rally was round the Rothmans Rally of New Zealand in June 1990 where Carr was joined again by Iain Stewart. For round six of the 1990 FIA World Rally Championship, this Delta wore race number nice and was again driven well by Carr who secured two fifth fastest stage times before retirement on special stage thirty-seven.
After this World Rally Championship event, this Delta returned to Fiatorque in Australia, a well-known and successful race and rally car preparation team, where it was stored for many years. Images of the car in this storage are contained within the car’s history file.
In late 2013, this Delta HF Integrale 8V joined The Campion Collection, and quickly imported to America. Upon arrival in America, the car was delivered to Francorchamps of America in Costa Mesa, California. Well known for their specialised restoration of classic Italian cars, Francorchamps of America were chosen to strip and fully restore this double WRC-winning Delta. The car was fully stripped, repainted with all the major components being rebuilt, including the engine, six-speed gearbox, differentials, brakes and dampers. The axles were taken apart and inspected, drive shaft was inspected, and balance checked. All the aero quip hoses and fittings have been replaced, along with all water hoses and clamps. Throughout this process, maintaining originality was important, for example the harnesses still show their original ‘Manufactured in 1988’ labels. The car has been refinished in Lancia Martini Racing livery. Invoices documenting the restoration and subsequent maintenance are included in the car’s history file.
Upon completion of this impressive restoration, this ex-works Lancia Delta has been displayed in The Campion Collection at the famed Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2017 and The Quail Motorsports Gathering in 2018. The Campion Collection was also featured on the cover of Auto Italia in October 2018 along with Pacenotes Magazine in December/January 2018.
In late 2017 this car was inspected by Abarth Classiche and awarded its Abarth Classiche Certification, confirming the car to be authentic and correct to the original specification.
Thanks to its long-term ownership in Australia, it is important to note that unlike the majority of the ex-works Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8Vs, this car was not updated to later 16-valve or Evolution specifications. This Delta has always remained in its original 8-valve specification, a very rare and important note.
Today the car is presented in fabulous condition, having been meticulously and correctly maintained regardless of cost since its restoration. Lancia dominated the Group A era of the World Rally Championship, winning six consecutive World Rally Manufacturers Championships, and four World Rally Drivers Championships. This Lancia is one of only two Delta HF Integrale 8Vs to have won two World Rally events, the 1988 Acropolis Rally and 1988 Rally Argentina. Double World Rally Champion, Miki Biasion, was the only works Lancia Martini Racing driver to win more than one World Championship with the Delta, with this car directly contributing to his first World Championship success. A very special car which is currently in only its third ownership, first being Fiat Auto Spa, followed by Australia Rally Services P/L before joining The Campion Collection.
This is an extremely rare opportunity to obtain a beautifully, un-molested, double World Rally winning Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8V.
VIDEO: Homenaje a Recalde