What a fantastic and exciting XVIII Rally Clasico. One of the best for years as it was not only the hills, mountains and roads that were alive with the sound of engines roaring along some closed stages of the race, but the fans roared also as the rally started from Puerto Portals marina in the early evening of Thursday 10th March.
A sunny and warm day attracted fans, families and the media to what was a superb display of cars for this iconic 3 day rally. The backdrop of Puerto Portals marina is perfect for this prestigious rally with it’s lines of yachts moored in the marina and the restaurants and designer shops creating an atmosphere not to be missed. No covid restrictions this year and all could view the cars close up and talk to those taking part. The tv, radio and media were all there and the event, well organised by Toni Dezcallar, Director of the Isla de Mallorca Classic Rally and his team could not be faulted.
It was 3 days of hard driving for many with different stages each day across much of the island with some roads closed to the public for the real rally cars to drive to their full potential. Safety is paramount and all was well marshalled and despite the unsettled weather it did not put off the fans who lined many of the stages. The start and finish base was Puerto Portals so all could see the start each day. What an amazing turnout with over 100 cars with their participating teams, more than 30 different brands of cars and more than 10 nationalities taking part. A truly international event..
Some beautiful cars and rare ones also with the legendary and priceless models like the 1939 BMW 328 or the 1948 Bentley Old Number One, which surely must be one of the most famous marques in the history of motor racing. There were other exclusive vehicles such as the 1971 Jaguar E-Type , the 1995 Subaru WRC and the 1991 Lancia Delta HF. If you support Porsche 911’s then you were not disappointed with many taking part. For me, a lover of the USA cars the super 1967 Ford Mustang was my star. The film Bullitt came to mind. British marques were truly in force with even a Rolls Royce along with MG’s including a 1996 MGF, Triumphs with a 1973 TR6 , Mini Coopers, Austin Healeys, Lotus and a wealth of Fords. Something for everyone to savour and enjoy.
Some road cars, some real rally cars, some historic cars. This is what the Rally Classico is all about as it drew entries from both mainland Europe to the UK. The international Rally star Paolo Diana from Italy, driving a 1982 Fiat 131 was one of the top drivers although on day 2 he suffered a gearbox problem that prevented him from contesting the morning stages. Thankfully, it was fixed pleasing his many fans and motor enthusiasts with his unmistakable drifting style driving that has raised passions among all lovers of rallies on the island. I met Paolo and he is such a friendly person and, yes a great driver.
So another Rally Clasico came to an end on Day 3. Fun, hard driving, wonderful scenery and once again putting Mallorca on the map as an island to visit and explore, maybe not in a rally car okay!! but in a hired car. See the island and enjoy it’s scenery, so diverse. It was also a great feeling to see the crowds back with restaurants full and to see such cars take to the roads. Many different categories of course but the overall winner was the all British team of Seb Perez who had been unbeatable throughout with his co-driver Gary McElhinney in their 1975 Porsche 911 Carrera RS, taking the win in the five sections finally completed. Yes, the Rally came to an end but work is already underway for the 2023 rally, creating another edition full of surprises with amazing cars and high level drivers. Well done to all, and I was delighted to cover the rally for Celebrity Magazine. Look out for much more on our website at celebritymallorca.es and also please do subscribe to our newsletter.
Advertising opportunities and sponsorships are available, please just ask us.
Report by David Whitney