WRC Sardinia: Local hero
Italy has produced two World Rally Champions: Sandro Munari in 1977 and Miki Biasion in 1988 and 1989. But the latest Italian to win a title as part of the WRC did so in 2022 – despite having been born two years before Biasion, in 1956.
Hailing from Varese, just north-west of Milan, Mauro Miele has the distinction of being the first-ever champion in the WRC Masters Cup: a new category for drivers aged over 50, attracting enthusiastic ‘gentleman drivers' as well as veteran legends like Freddy Loix and Francois Delecour.
Miele was formerly a factory motocross rider for KTM in the 1980s before an accident led him to turn his hand to rallying: firstly in the iconic Group B Lancia 037 and later in a BMW M3 E30. After 15 years away, he resumed rallying in 2008 in the very same BMW model, before trying his hand at modern machinery: finishing 16th on his WRC debut in Corsica in 2018 in a Citroen DS3.
With the Skoda Fabia Rally2 now his weapon of choice, he won the WRC2 Masters category on Rallye Monte-Carlo and Estonia in 2022 before taking a further win in Japan to claim the title by just four points over Armin Kremer.
He secured that title with a remarkable second-quickest overall time in the rally-ending Power Stage after enjoying some of the best conditions before rain hit. It made Miele the oldest driver to ever score WRC points, and he shows no signs of slowing down.