Former glories revived as tarmac expert Panizzi takes on San Remo Rally
He's been out of the spotlight for some time now but this weekend international rallying welcomes back one of the true greats of the sport.
Gilles Panizzi hits the roads of northern Italy today in the San Remo Rally and for that we at Autoblog are truly grateful as we are given the chance to see one of the true masters of tarmac in action again.
Panizzi haas been drafted in to spearhead the Proton R3 Malaysia Rally Team's assault on the famous event, which this year runs as part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (Britain's Kris Meeke is the reigning champion).
The Frenchman has an enviable record on the rally held in the twisty mountainous roads above San Remo, winning the event three times in a row between 2000 and 2002 when it was included in the world Rally Championship. His tarmac record is second-to-none and all seven of his WRC victories between 1999 and 2003 were won on sealed surfaces - and all with Peugeot.
Today and Saturday he takes the fight to the Peugeot team in the Proton Satria Neo 2000 with the second car piloted by former Production Car World Rally Champion Nial McShea. Their task is not an easy one but the 44-year-old will no doubt put on a show just like in days of old as the videos below demonstrate.
We'll be rooting for Gilles over the two days and if you want to know more about the IRC and the San Remo Rally, click here.