Minardi Team and the Paris-Dakar

When you read the name “Minardi” or you see the historical colors yellow/blue, mind turns quickly to Formula 1 and the historical Italian team founded by Gian Carlo Minardi in 1979, that for over twenty years has attended F1Grand Prix. And rightly so. But not everyone knows that the brand of the team from Faenza is also linked to the world’s most famous race in rally field: the Paris-Dakar.

The project was born in 1985, in conjunction with the debut of Minardi Team in Formula 1 World Championship, materializing in 1986 with the participation in the eighth edition of the competition conceived by Frenchman Thierry Sabine.

Gian Carlo Minardi provided all its structure and experience in races to transform a CVS truck for special freight and Iveco-motorized, to participate in the tough competition in the desert. “During an intense season and not without problems, since the debut in F.1, the Paris-Dakar project started. We transferred our experience in F1 on the vehicle, which proved to be extremely balanced with a 40% load on the front and the remaining 60% on the rear, managing to jump over the dunes at high speed“, Gian Carlo Minardi says. “Unfortunately, the crew, formed by Gaudenzio Mantova experienced driver in F.2 and F.3), Denis Biffi (co-driver) and Adriano Antolini (navigator and father of the adventure, as strongly desired), was forced to retirement, while it was firmly in second position. The vehicle“, continues the manager from Faenza, “burned into flames in the middle of the desert. In all likelihood, we create an electrical system too small in the design phase. The mistake“, concludes Minardi, “based on the inexperience in this type of competition, was fatal“.