Attilio Bettega

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Personal information
Nationality Italy Italian
Born 19 February 1953
Trento, Italy
Died 2 May 1985 (aged 32)
Zérubia, Corsica
World Rally Championship record
Active years 1978–1985
Teams Fiat, Lancia
Rallies 26
Championships 0
Rally wins 0
Podiums 6
Total points 130
First rally 1978 San Remo Rally
Last rally 1985 Tour de Corse

GROUP B RESULTS

(# = finish position / R = retired or DNF / = did not compete)

Y TEAM EVENT PTS
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Brazil
BR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
82 Lancia R 0
Y Team Event pts
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Argentina
AR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
83 Lancia 4 5 3 3 42
84 Lancia 5 3 7 4 2 49
85 Lancia R X 0

BIO (~1985)

EARLY CAREER

Bettega’s rally career began in 1972, driving a Fiat 128 Rally Coupé. In 1973, he achieved his first success when he won the Campeonato Triveneto competition. At the beginning of September, he participated in the first rally championship of his career, the Rally San Martino di Castrozza, which he took 41 place.

From 1974 to 1976, Bettega drove a private entry Opel Kadett GTE prepared by Carenini. In 1977, he rallied a Autobianchi A112 Abarth with his new co-driver Isabella Torghele, which would eventually become his fiancee and later wife. The pair managed to win the Trofeo Cup Autobianchi A112 by winning 5 out of 14 races.

In 1977, Bettega took second place in the Rally d’Aosta, driving a Lancia Stratos HF. In 1978, Bettega continued his rallying career with the same car. In May, he went in the Rally of Elba in the European Rally Championship (ERC), but did not finish. In June, he took part in the next event, Rally Antibes. He took 2nd place and lost to Frenchman Bernard Darniche’m. In the German Rally Hunsrück, he finished second behind another Lancia Stratos HF driven by Walter Röhrl. In October, Bettega made his debut in the World Rally Championship. He drove his Lancia Stratos, along with his fiancée Isabel as co-driver, in the San Remo Rally. On the first special stage, he had an accident and retired from the rally. In November, he took part in the Rally of Corsica, but had to withdraw on the 8th stage due to multiple punctured tires.

1979~1981: FIAT

In 1979, Bettega was signed by the Fiat team. In January, he was given the new Fiat Ritmo Abarth for the Monte Carlo Rally. He retired at the 7th special stage due to engine failure. In April, he drove a Fiat Abarth 131 in the ERC at the Rally Costa Smeralda. It would net him his first win of the series. Later in April, he participated in another ERC event, Rally Elba, in which he took second place. In May, he won the Rally 4 Regioni. In October, he competed in his second WRC event of the season, the San Remo Rally. On the 70th special stage of the rally, Colle d’Oggi, he achieved the fastest time and became the first WRC stage win of his career. Finally, that rally would also net him his first podium of the series, finishing third behind winner Antonia Fassiny and second place Walter Röhrl.

Bettega’s 1980 WRC season started off in January at the Monte Carlo Rally. He drove another Fiat Ritmo Abarth and took 6th place. In March, he took part in the Rally of Portugal driving a Fiat 131 Abarth. By the 14th special stage had an accident and was forced to withdraw from the race. Then Bettega returned to two ERC events, the Costa Smeralda Rally and Rally 4 Regioni, but ended up not finishing either. In May, in the Acropolis Rally in Greece, he managed to score valuable points for Fiat’s manufacturer championship effort. At Rally Argentina, on the seventh special stage he retired due to a broken sump. In October, he went back to San Remo Rally. He won two special stages and eventually finished 6th. His last start of 1980 was the Rally of Corsica, but did not finish it because of an accident on the 11th special stage.

For 1981, Bettega returned to the Monte Carlo Rally with another Fiat Ritmo Abarth, but on the 11th special stage withdrew due to an engine failure. In March, he took part in the Rally of Portugal with a Fiat 131 Abarth but again saw an engine failure. In April, he returned to the ERC’s Rally Costa Smeralda with a 6th place finish. In June, he stood on the podium, finishing third in the Acropolis Rally, behind the two Finns Ari Vatanen and Markku Alén. In late June, Bettega won the ERC’s Rally Il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio. In October, he would repeat his past peformance by crashing on the 17th stage of the San Remo Rally. Bettega’s 1981 season ended with the Rally d’Aosta, where he took second place.

1982~1985: LANCIA

Due to his good performances, Lancia signed Bettega to drive their new works Rallye 037. In April, he drove the Lancia in Rally Costa Smeralda but retired due to a gearbox failure. In May, he went in the Rally of Corsica. On the 11th special stage near the town Salvareccio, he lost control of the car and hit a nearby wall. It took 40 minutes for rescue teams to remove him from the car. After the accident, he was transported by air to a hospital in Turin where he was diagnosed with two broken legs. Due to his injuries, Bettega not compete in rallies for the rest of the competition year.

In 1983, Bettega returned to rallying. In May, he took part in the Rally of Corsica with the Lancia team’s Group B 037. He won two special stages and eventually finished fourth overall. Bettega then took 5th position in Greece. In June, Bettega was once again on the podium in Rally New Zealand where he took 3rd place behind Walter Röhrl and Tim Salonen. He would finish the WRC season in 7th place with 42 points.

Bettega’s 1984 season started off in January from the Monte Carlo Rally and finished in fifth position. In March, Bettega took part in the Rally of Portugal, where he won five special stages, and eventually finished third. In May, he went in the Rally of Corsica in which he won twelve special stages, but due to technical problems finished the rally in 7th place. In the second half of May, he took 4th place in Greece. At the Rally of San Remo, he won eight special stages, and the rally finished in second place, the highest position of his career. Bettega took 5th place in the driver’s championship with 49 points.

For 1985, Bettega began the season in the ERC with the Rally Costa Brava but DNF because of an accident. In April, he returned to the WRC in the Safari Rally but withdrew due to an engine failure. In the same month, also took part in the ERC Rally Costa Smeraldato a satisfying second place.

DEATH

In May 1985, Bettega competed in his second WRC event of the season, the Tour de Corse. On the first day of the rally, May 2, at the first kilometer of the fourth special stage Zérubia – Santa Giulia, the Lancia 037 driven by Bettega took a right hand corner after the long straight, then entered into a tight left-hander. At the exit of the turn, he skidded off the road into a ditch and hit a tree. The impact was so severe that the roof was torn from the Lancia. Co-driver Maurizio Perissinot did not suffer any injuries and went to flag down the following cars. Miki Biasion, Bernard Béguin, and François Chatriot stopped at the scene of the accident. The ambulance took 20 minutes to arrive but the doctors said that Bettega had died from the impact.

Bettega’s accident pressured the safety aspects of Group B cars and especially put in question the use of aluminum roll cages (of which his 037 was equipped with). Exactly one year later, his former teammate Henri Toivonen and co-pilot Sergio Cresto with the Lancia Delta S4 #4 (same number of the Bettega’s car) died in a fireball accident at the same event, causing a later ban of Group B competition.

Bettega was buried May 4th, 1985 in the cemetery of the village of Molveno in Italy, where he lived with his family and owned an hotel. Most of the town’s residents, as well as many rally representatives; team boss Cesare Fiorio Lancia, drivers and co-drivers Markku Alén, Adartico Vudafieri, Miki Biasion, Tiziano Siviero, Ilkka Kivimäki, Antonio Carello, Gianfranco Cunico, and Antonio Fassina, as well as other members of the Lancia team. In Corsica, at the site of the fatal accident, a symbolic plaque was set to honor Bettega’s memory.

Bettega left behind his wife Isabella, who was his co-driver several times in past rallies. They had two children: a daughter Angela and son Alessandro. Bettega’s has followed his father’s footsteps and was also a rally driver.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attilio_Bettega + http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attilio_Bettega


spell checked, translated, and modified (additions or abridged), by Jay Auger – website owner & author


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