TO 23905P is an example that was in active competition for 15 years but it’s story started back in 1990. Originally built to 16V gravel specification the car was put through its paces by Juha Kankkunen on the 1000 Lakes Rally, a snapped throttle cable caused some of the most memorable photos of the Group A era to come to light. Kankkunen sat in the engine bay and manually held the throttle open while Co driver Pironen drove the car to the finish. Despite loosing a great deal of time Kankkunen pushed hard on the remaining two days to finish a respectable 5th overall. After the 1000 Lakes Didier Auriol used the car in spectacular fashion on the Formula Rallye event in Germany before the car was loaned to the Jolly Club.
Dario Cerrato pushed the car to its limits on the Sanremo, taking honours as the top Italian driver finishing 4th overall. A month later Cerrato drove to victory on the Rallye Valeo in Spain before handing over to Robert Droogmans for the RAC.
In March of 1991 Abarth sold the car to HF Grifone where it started a successful career for the Genova based team. On its first outing with Fabrizio Tabaton the car was guided to victory on the tight and twisty tarmac roads of the El Corte Ingles Rally. Now back in Italy Grifone sent the car to CECOMP to have the car converted to “Deltona”, this being the first car to be completed and bares the number 0001. Now with its new look and Marlboro colours the car returned to the El Corte Ingles with local hot shot Luis Monzon, despite leading the rally a small accident occurred and the crew were forced to retire. A bad spell of luck was cast on the car as it failed to finish with Piero Longhi in Poland and with Fabrizio Tabaton in Madeira.
Success was next on the menu for TO 23905P after Gilberto Pianezzola finished a strong 2nd overall on the Piancavallo but more was to come. Piero Longhi took victory in both Messina and Bassano before handing over to Ludovico Fassitelli to win at Lanterna. A strong way to finish out 1992! For 1993 the car was used as a “rental” car for HF Grifone with star drivers such as Sergio Pianezzola, Luis Monzon and Carlo Zucchetti. The car was also used by up and coming French driver Gilles Panizzi in the later part of the French Championship.
In 1994 the car was sold to the Deila brothers who rented the car to customers such as Italo Ferrara who took victory at the Coppa d’Oro and Renato Fruzzetti winning at Lucca. Romeo Deila also drove the car on selected events and took top honours at Della Marca. The winning luck was not to continue after various mechanical failures at Alpi Orientali, Bassano and Messina.
At the end of 1994 the car was sold to Steve Smith of Walkers Garage in the UK and was put straight into use in the Mintex National Rally series. Steve, a regular competitor on British soil drove the car to many top ten finishes and podiums over the next two seasons despite being up against much newer machinery. In 2000 the car was sold to Rodney Bennett and rallied on the Network Q Rally of Great Britain, the last WRC round before the homologation expired for the Integrale. Rodney continued to use the car up until it’s retirement in 2005, TO 23905P had competed on over 90 rallies up to this date!
In 2017, TO 23905P crossed the block at Silverstone Auctions and into the hands of its new owner. Over the course of 2018 a sympathetic restoration was carried out returning the car back to the Grifone colours of Bassano 1992. Along with an extensive preparation making it ready for action at Rallyday. Miki Biasion and the Jolly Club’s Andrea Guidi demonstrated that there is plenty of life still in this beautifully preserved example of an Ex Works Lancia Delta Integrale.
Total Victories - 8
Total Podiums - 18
Notable Drivers - Juha Kankkunen, Didier Auriol, Dario Cerrato, Robert Droogmans, Fabrizio Tabaton, Piero Longhi, Luis Monzon, Ludovico Fassitelli, Gilberto Pianezzola, Sergio Pianezzola, Giles Panizzi, Romeo Deila.