The Abarth 124 Rally stars in the “Cesana-Sestriere Experience” and makes its Italian hill-climb debut
Abarth’s 70th anniversary was the key theme of the “Cesana-Sestriere Experience – Memorial Gino Macaluso”, the major sports car parade open only to historic models that provides the backdrop to the Cesana-Sestriere hill-climb, which involved more than a hundred classic cars this year. Every year the event, set amidst Turin’s “Olympic mountains”, attracts hundreds of fans and drivers competing in the hill-climb championship. This year, to celebrate the anniversary of the Scorpion Brand’s foundation, the event featured a massive delegation of Abarth cars from all periods, which were the real stars of the parade.
The modern Abarths – the 70th anniversary range, the new 595 esseesse and the 124 spider and GT – were in attendance, as well as the multiple race-winning Abarth 124 Rally, which put its 300 HP and rear-wheel drive to good use to thrill the fans along the course.
The most admired historic cars included the famous 1964 Abarth 2400 Coupé – with bodywork by Turin coach-builder Allemano, used as his “runabout” by Carlo Abarth himself for many years – which received the trophy awarded in memory of Gino Macaluso. Also present was the Fiat 500 prepared by FCA Heritage as a genuine “works car”, equipped with the Abarth Classiche 595 tuning kit.
Many of the Abarth cars taking part received awards from the event’s jury. Specifically, the FCA Heritage prize was assigned to a 1975 Fiat 124 Abarth Rally and the award for the best female crew to the 1959 Fiat Abarth Zagato “Long Nose”, while the trophy for the best Abarth car went to the 1968 Abarth SE010 2000 SP.
The Cesana-Sestriere, known as the CE-SE, is an important race, valid both for the European and the Italian classic car hill-climb championships, and this year 150 drivers competed along the hairpin beds of the spectacular 10.4 kilometre course that winds its way from Cesana Torinese, at an altitude of 1,300 metres to the Sestriere Pass at 2,035 metres above sea level. The Cesana-Sestriere 2019 marked the Abarth 124 Rally’s Italian hill-climb debut, although the Scorpion spider has already been competing in the biggest American hill-climb events for a couple of seasons, including participation in the ionic Pikes Peak race. The 124 Rally’s appearance was an opportunity for celebrating the Brand’s 70th anniversary and also an excellent test in for its upcoming races in the various Rally Championships.
The CE-SE was also a wonderful chance for the Abarth community to get together. Members of the Cuneo, Piacenza, Como, Valbormida and Savona clubs all attended the event at the wheel of their Abarth cars, adding to the impressive throng of Scorpions present. The club members met in the paddock, where an Abarth stand entertained fans and displayed the 70th anniversary line-up and the 124 Rally, as well as recounting the services offered by FCA Heritage for the certification and restoration of cars of historic interest.