One of the most famous event names in motor sport history will return to the international stage this month, as the Targa Florio rally takes its place as a round of the pan-European Intercontinental Rally Challenge on June 14-16.
The epic Sicilian road race became a stage rally in 1978, after the annual blast around the 72-kilometre Circuito delle Madonie was discontinued on safety grounds one year earlier.
The rally stages still used sections of the original route, in order to keep the spirit of the original Targa alive. Now the classic event enters a new era, with the rally set to be broadcast on satellite television giant Eurosport for the first time.
The most successful driver in the history of the modern Targa is multiple Italian Champion Paolo Andreucci, who has won the rally six times.
“Of course I know all about the legend of the Targa and the huge names who raced there,” he said. “Now it’s a very different event, but the feeling with the roads is how it always was: very technical, with lots of tight hairpins. The speeds are not so high, but you really need to be precise. It’s going to be a fantastic challenge for the IRC drivers, and it will look beautiful on TV.”
The Targa Florio replaces the Mecsek Rally in Hungary on the IRC calendar, which was withdrawn from the series for financial reasons. The 96th Targa Florio, which takes in 170 competitive kilometres, continues as round four of the Italian Rally Championship, adding an extra competitive edge for the regular IRC competitors.