GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our Miki Biasion Lancia Delta Integrale Film Shoot
Massimo “Miki” Biasion describes himself as a failed architect who dedicated his life to racing cars, and he has been involved with rally cars in particular for a while now. The 61-year-old remains the only Italian driver who’s won the World Rally Championship (WRC) since the four-wheel drive cars took over in the early 1980s (and he took the title two years in a row no less); he drove the iconic Lancia 037s and Delta S4s during the high-performance, high-risk Group B era before enjoying a dominant period in the early years of Group A; and today his business is devoted to the restoration and upkeep of the rally cars he competed with in period. In this week’s film, we join him in Italy for a few lessons in life and Lancia.
Unlike many of us, Miki’s raced cars on mud and tarmac and snow and has a trophy case to show for his efforts. Like many of us, Miki’s been a car enthusiast for as long as he can remember.
The Veneto region of northern Italy where he grew up had no dedicated circuits to speak of back then, and Miki remembers that local motorsport enthusiasts like himself had to travel elsewhere or attend rallying to get their fix. Miki counted himself among the latter group, and found his passion hoist him from the role of spectator to competitor when he became a professional rally driver in the late 1970s.
For those familiar with their WRC timelines, this meant that by the time the first beasts of Group B entered the scene in 1982, Miki was still, in a sense, starting out. Though he only had a handful of years competing at the top level, his talents were enough to earn him a single WRC event victory in the final season of the sport governed by the liberal Group B regulations. This bled into the following era, run under the the production-based Group A regs, when he found himself not only winning the WRC crown, but defending it.
As Miki summarizes, the Group A rules were enacted to rein in the speed and danger, with the lightweight and powerful prototypes to be replaced with production-based cars. There was no drop in the competitive level even if the horsepower figures fell, and in 1988 and 1989, Biasion won the World Championship driving some of the most beloved cars the sport has ever seen: Lancia Delta Integrales wearing Martini liveries.
Besides just winning with them, Miki Biasion was also a Lancia works test driver crucial to the development of the Delta Integrale rally cars. He recalls an early version he raced at Elba without the suspension fully sorted yet, and how he “rolled down the mountain” as a result. That very car is in his garage today, more than three decades later.
He is in the process of rebuilding this piece of early Integrale history, and while he hasn’t competed in the WRC since the mid 1990s, vintage rally cars are still very much a part of his professional life. As the founder of Italia Motor Sport, Miki is still surrounded with the machines that he found so much success in, proving that there is more than one way to earn a living with the help of a rally car.
He will work on other models, but having been present throughout the development and competitive lifespan of the Integrale, it is this car (and its many variants) that Miki has been involved with since the very beginning. In the film, we join Miki as he takes us through his history with the sport and Lancia, and thanks to his assortment of Integrales on hand, we take a few trips at speed down a particularly winding memory lane.