Among the 263 crews of the historic Monte Carlo Rally there is one exceptional, with the CEO of the Stellantis Group, Carlos Tavares, aboard a fantastic 1975 Lancia Stratos HF Group 4
It was the first car in the world to be designed specifically for rallies, winning three consecutive world championships and coming out of competition undefeated in 1978. Super star of a brand that still remains the most successful in rally competitions (with 15 world titles, among drivers and manufacturers), the Stratos HF is a timeless queen in the hearts of speed and historic motorsport enthusiasts. It was intended to replace the Lancia Fulvia HF and when it officially debuted in the race, in 1974, it had to be unbeatable on any terrain: track, road or dirt. And so it was. True “bête à gagner” (“winning beast”), as the French called it, the Stratos left only the 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. And not only that, it is also beautiful. Signed by the great Turin master of car and body design Nuccio Bertone. And rare, of course: only 500 units were produced. The rear six-cylinder V engine was the same as the Ferrari Dino 246 designed by the unfortunate son of Enzo Ferrari, who died very young. An engine capable of developing up to 320 hp in the 24-valve version.
Starting from the 1975 sporting season, the Stratos sported Alitalia’s white and green colors. The graphics celebrating the sponsor then changed and became iconic two years later, when the Italian airline’s tricolor logo was split and harmonized with the wedge shape of the car. Even today, the Stratos Alitalia livery is considered among the most beautiful in the entire history of motorsport. A livery that now marks the participation of Stellantis Group CEO Carlos Tavares in the historic Monte Carlo Rally and which contributes to paying homage to the more than 115 years of history of the House, which has also won three World Endurance Constructors Championships, one 1000 Miglia, two Targa Florio and a Carrera Panamericana. An extraordinary palmares that confirms the sporting tradition of the brand and of which the founder Vincenzo Lancia, a passionate driver who won several competitions in the 1910s, would be more than proud. This 24th edition of the historic Monte Carlo Rally is presented in its traditional formula with departure from three different locations: Bad Homburg in Germany, Reims in France – the city from which Carlos Tavares started aboard the Lancia Stratos – and Milan in Italy. The various crews headed to Monte Carlo for a competition that is as legendary as it is demanding: 17 regularity tests for almost 300 km of route. The end, also in the Principality, is scheduled for Wednesday 2 February.