The main role of yesterday’s Mille Miglia was without a doubt played by… water. Not just sparkling. From early hours of the morning, the amaranthine sky was not merciful - there were downpours of rain throughout the day over northern Italy. The rainfall was so cumbersome, that a dozen crews decided not to take part in the first stage of the rally from Brescia to Rimini, and the next few consciously withdrew from the classification and omitted control spots, moving through highways to the seaside resort.
It’s not nonchalance towards the rules, just simple care for the cars. It’s hard to be surprised, a part of the cars - nearly 150 - has been recognized by experts as priceless. Heavy rain drastically increases the risk of irreparable damage to these rarities, and in order not to lose the certificate of authenticity of the International Federation of Historic Vehicles, any repairs to the resulting damage - even be it falling into a hole invisible in the puddle - would have to be done using original parts. This is in most cases simply impossible. Spare parts for these cars have not existed for many years, and the use of non-original ones will disqualify the car virtually forever. The stake at Mille Miglia has never been low, but yesterday, the weather conditions have brought it to the limit.
Water from the sky is not all. The starting part of the route led directly over the shore of Lago di Garda, considered together with Como as the prettiest Italian lake; it is one of the most exciting points of the entire route. And it’s practically at the very beginning of the competition! The picturesque Sirmione, with its fortress guarding the end of headland on which the town was located, is a pearl on its edge. The cavalcade of cars moving on its paved surface between the centuries-old tenement houses is a picture that is always remembered by everyone who has been a witness to such a journey.
More water ... This time, sea water: in Rimini. Rain in this for years considered the most fashionable Italian resort and one of the most-visited in the entire Mediterranean, has not spared anyone today. Wide beaches were left empty, with rare amateurs that could be seen running in the rain. The dark blue of the sky on the horizon merged uniformly with the sea blue. Rimini greeted the drivers and crews that were mostly accompanied by downpours, although from time to time the streams of water pouring out of the sky ceased for a while.
But this did not drive the whole city home. Residents were hidden under umbrellas and on terraces of countless trattorias, until late night applauding every passing monument. It’s unbelievable how Mille Miglia Storica engages Italians! It is hard to believe, but from the start to the finish line of the first stage, there was practically no place where there wouldn’t be crowds waiting to watch this one of a kind great museum of motorization on wheels.
It’s hard to write about water and Mille Miglia without writing about Perlage. Our crew starting in the silver Aston Martin DB2 from 1952 reached the finishing line in excellent condition, including all 10 control points. Passing the finish line of the first stage, they got off the car slightly cold, but happy. Teams that completed the ride previously congratulated our Team an unusually successful debut in this, considered after all, the most prestigious historic vehicle rally in the world. The car itself has also done well.
The head of the technical team emphasized at the briefing that the goal of yesterday was to finish the stage, and not an effort to ride on time. That’s exactly what happened. Weather conditions were too difficult to dream about anything more. As shown by the grading of individual classes (before and after the conversion factors) during such unfavorable road conditions, this strategy proved to be the only right one.
In a moment, we will be setting off once again, as there are still 520 kilometers ahead of us - this time, we drive from Rimini to Rome. Andiamo Perlage!
Photos and videos from Mille Miglia are available on Instagram and the Cisowianka Perlage fan page on Facebook.