Max-imum attack

From Barcelona to Monaco
Following the recent test, Formula 1® sets off from Barcelona to the glittering Principality of Monte Carlo: a distance of around 700 kilometres point to point. But four months ago, one prominent member of the Pirelli team made exactly the same journey: under rather different circumstances and via a much more circuitous route.
Max Damiani, who heads up the elite squad of 11 Pirelli trackside engineers assigned to each F1® team, drove from Barcelona to Monte Carlo in late January as part of an adventure he had always dreamed about: the Monte Carlo Historic Rally.
Why Barcelona? Up until 1997, the Monte Carlo Rally traditionally started with the ‘Concentration Run’ – which meant that competitors set off from all points of Europe to congregate (or “rally”) in Monte Carlo. And that is actually how the sport got its name. Until 1965, the Concentration Run even counted for points. But these days it’s used only for the historic section of the rally, as a romantic reminder of a bygone age.

Max’s mission
Along with more than 100 other competitors, Max started from Barcelona’s famous Placa de Catedral one cold Friday evening, driving a 40-year-old Abarth A112 (in original Abarth A112 Trophy specification) on Pirelli winter road tyres. The tyre size was 13-inch: exactly as is the case for Formula 1® as well.
But as Max himself points out, that’s about the only thing his car has in common with Formula 1®. Or maybe not quite. After 25 epic hours of driving, covering 1200 kilometres over switchback mountain roads overnight, Max finally arrived in Monte Carlo, where the rally’s parc ferme was located in the place that now houses the pit garages. “So I might have parked my A112 in the same place that Sebastian Vettel parks his Ferrari!” he jokes.
Having made the gruelling journey from Barcelona to Monte Carlo, this was only the start. Around 2700 more kilometres awaited, over classic stages such as the Col du Turini: which is to a rally fan what Graceland is for devotees of Elvis Presley.
“It was always my dream to do the Monte Carlo historic rally one day and drive those classic stages,” says Max, whose day job takes him to all the grands prix and tests, as well as a number of other events.  But circuits were never his first love in motorsport.
“I’m a rallyman at heart, on loan to racing,” points out Max. “So to finally fulfil my ambition after so many years of waiting was an amazing experience.”
Not only did Max and his co-driver Matteo accomplish their mission but they did it in some style: classified 23rd and second in class of the 258 crews who finished, with 314 having originally taken the start. This remarkable number of entrants underlines the growing popularity of historic rallying, for which Pirelli supplies a comprehensive range of tyres.

Monaco’s roulette wheel
Remarkably, Max’s set of Pirelli winter tyres did the whole event, covering a multiplicity of conditions that ranged from dry asphalt to ice and black ice, as well as rain and sleet.
“We experienced pretty much every type of weather apart from heavy snow,” recounts Max. “You never knew what was coming next. The lesson I took was this: whether it’s on the track or a rally stage, Monaco really is the ultimate roulette wheel. So absolutely anything could happen during the grand prix.”
By the time Max and his fellow engineers arrive in Monaco, the Pirelli F1® trucks will all be set up, having completed their own, rather less memorable, journey from Barcelona. After all, they will probably have taken the motorway rather than the scenic route.

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