The sixth running of the Targa Florio ‘Autostoriche’ took place on October 11, over the daunting Piccolo Madonie circuit in northern Sicily. As the penultimate round of the FIA Historic Rally Trophy, the event, which attracted 95 starters, comprised three laps of the classic 44-mile course, split into nine stages.
Conditions were made treacherous by intermittent rain, and exacted a heavy toll on machinery in the early stages. Favoured runners who found themselves caught out included Jaguar E-type drivers Loris Beghetto and Sergio Braconi. Sporadic 1970s F1 racer Loris Kessel benefited from the weather to post fastest time on the first stage in his Alfa GTA. Walter Röhrl, running a 1965 Porsche 911 , was swiftest on the second stage, after which local hero ‘Amphicar’ stamped his authority on the event by stringing together a series of stage wins in his E-type. His cause was helped when Röhrl spun on stage six, costing the German half a minute and dropping him to fourth overall.
The consistency of Fabrizio Arengi (Lotus Elan) and Salvatore Corrado (Alfa GTA) hoisted them into the top three, behind ‘Amphicar’, while Kessel held on to take fifth, pursued by the spirited Swede Tommy Brorsson, in his 1.3-litre Lotus Elite.
British interest was limited. Geoff and David Ottley shared a Jaguar XK120 and Tim Burrett entered his Lancia Aurelia. Both cars were driven to and from the event, the Ottleys keeping out of trouble and placing 53rd. Burrett’s participation ended on stage three, however, after he made contact with a stubbornly solid piece of Sicily.