“In those days the Group C had a lot of downforce and could go through corners very quickly, nearly as fast as a Formula 1 car,” remembers Patrese. “So when we got [to using] the qualifying tyre, we managed to do a very quick time that was close to that Formula 1 record.
“Ferrari was testing there all the time, so we could do the comparison and it was between their times. I think their best then was around 1min 37sec.”
Much has been said about the difficulty of overtaking at Mugello, but as someone who knows the circuit intimately, he feels there are opportunities to be had.
“It will be possible to pass but not easy,” the Italian notes. “You have a chance to overtake at the end of the straight and also when you get to the breaking points at the chicanes.
“In my time, the brakes were not as efficient as today, so the braking area was much longer than now and it was, therefore, easier to get past. But today they have the DRS to exchange positions.
“I think in the end it could be an interesting race for the action of overtaking.”
The aforementioned Webber also warned that F1 drivers’ necks may “snap in half”, such is the physical strain around the circuit. Patrese concurs that it’s a formidable challenge:
“I’m pretty curious to see how they manage to get through the Arrabbiata corner, because the G-force will be very high,” the Italian comments. “The [demand on] necks is going to be really, very tough.”
Recent family forays back into the world of motor sport have re-emphasised this aspect of the track to Patrese.
“So I reckon that is going to be the most demanding circuit out of the three [for F1 drivers too].”
All this only adds up to a perfect driving challenge though, one that Patrese fondly remembers relishing.
“It’s one of my favourites,” he enthuses. “Mugello was difficult and there was a challenge between the driver and the circuit, to use the circuit at the maximum speed and to be quicker than the others.
“You get less pleasure if you are just [easily] quick. If you are fast at a demanding circuit, it’s something special for a driver.”