Italy has on the whole probably had more star manufacturers than drivers on the World Rally Championship, but there was one notable exception. Miki Biaision won back to back world titles in 1988 and 1989 – and to make it even better, he did it in an Italian car as well: the iconic Lancia Delta, a car that he helped to develop from the outset.

Born in Bassano del Grappa, in the Veneto region of eastern Italy, Biasion started his rally driving career in an Opel, before being picked up by Lancia in the mid-1980s. His rise to prominence coincided with the introduction of the Group A regulations and these suited his neat and economical driving style perfectly, with a car that he knew by heart. At his peak, Biasion was winning nearly three-quarters of the events that he entered, and he became only the second driver after Juha Kankkunen to successfully defend his world title.




Behind the wheel, Biasion was fast and fearless: a motorsport megastar. But the man behind the overalls was always quiet and understated, a perfect gentleman who diligently got on with his job, with little fuss. “As a driver you have to be not exactly insecure, but always questioning your own abilities and trying to get better,” he said – also describing himself as a “failed architect”.

After his championship years his luck changed: he didn't win a single rally with Lancia in 1991 and moved to Ford for 1992 on what was a record-breaking salary at the time. He went on to claim the best-ever result for the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4X4: second on Rally Portugal. He won the 1993 Acropolis Rally with the Ford Escort – his only win with the Blue Oval – before retiring at the end of the year, having collected a total of 17 WRC victories and 40 podiums from 78 rallies contested.


He didn't stop driving though when his rally career was over. He took up some very different challenges, including truck racing – where he won the world championship twice, in 1998 and 1999: exactly a decade after his double WRC titles. He also fell in love with the Dakar (perhaps not surprising as his favourite rally was always the Safari) and drove some unlikely vehicles on the marathon cross-country event, including the PanDakar – a Fiat Panda adapted for the epic challenge – and even an Iveco truck, in the truck category.

These days, now aged 63, he still has a collection of Lancia Deltas that he drives regularly and he often appears on classic events such as Rally Legend. “When I was doing this professionally, cars were my work,” he explains. “Now I am glad that they can just be my passion.”