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Back to the Piccolo Madonie

1 year ago

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Mel Nichols | Journalist


6 May 2023

The 13th of May, just nine days from now, will be exactly 50 years since the Porsche 911 Carrera RSR famously won the last of the proper Targa Florio road races. It’s a remarkable tale, one that will be told on The Intercooler next week by Andrew Frankel, who has studied the race itself and the life of the winning 911 RSR, and by Karun Chandhok, who recently drove that very car, and by me, because I was there in 1973. Writing that upcoming story reminded me of the last time I was in Sicily to retrace the route of the Piccolo Madonie, and it went something like this…

Rome, Spring 2013 – After radar operator Ernst Bauser retired from the Luftwaffe he thought it might be fun to work for Porsche delivering cars across Europe. His wife Gitta was up for that. And right now, with Ernst behind the wheel, they’re belting through the night from Stuttgart to Rome in a just-launched Cayman S.

Peter Robinson and I, waiting for them at a hotel in Fiumicino, on Rome’s southern edge, hope they’re not delayed by spring snow in Switzerland; they’re on summer Pirelli P Zeros. But at 7am, right on time, they pull up outside the Hotel Tiber after 730 miles in 11 hours. Ernst, who has a 997 Carrera himself, says the trip was a doddle. ‘This is better balanced and more stable,’ he reckons.

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