The 66-year-old from Varese in 2022 World Champion of the WRC2 Masters division, dedicated to the drivers of Skoda Fabia, Citroen C3, Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai i20 specific Rally2: from two to four wheels, here is his career
Until a couple of years ago, for the most passionate Italian rally fans Mauro Miele was considered a private individual of good caliber with a conspicuous palmarés confiscated exclusively on a national level. From today, however, the 66-year-old from Varese has succeeded in a feat that makes him much more than just a good level “gentleman driver”. On the very difficult asphalt of the Rally of Japan, Miele managed to become the first World Champion of the WRC2 Masters division, a category dedicated to the most experienced drivers at the wheel of Skoda Fabia, Citroen C3, Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai i20 in Rally 2 specification. : the Lombard managed to conquer an incredible second place in Asahi Kougen’s Power Stage, thus earning four points for the overall World Championship. Let’s retrace the honest career of the new champion in this article.
who is mauro honey
Having emerged in his youth as a highly skilled Motocross rider, where he achieved several titles, in 1986 Miele decided to make the “leap” to motor racing and rallying. The chosen car is the legendary Lancia 037 with Mario Manzoni as navigator. The combination is immediately strong and the “home” Rally of Varese immediately arrives a good overall victory. The Miele-037 combination continues for two years, then the new rules “force” him to switch to the BMW M3 E30. Already in the first season, the first forays beyond Northern Italy arrive with a beautiful victory in Sicily, at the Rally dello Ionio. Miele continued to compete with BMW for many years, achieving further victories especially in the “territory” of the North West: the combination of the Orobic Prealps-Rally dei Vini and the Palio achieved in 1991 was memorable. 2000s, and thanks to his son Simone’s rally debut, Miele puts his M3 E30 back on the field in the FA8 class. The length of service of the car does not discourage Mauro who is constantly stationed in the high ranking; moreover Mauro becomes a “star” of a Rallylegend then still in its infancy. His new navigator in this new competitive course is Luca Beltrame, with whom he will share many prestigious successes including an “absolute” at the Parma patrol of Monte Caio in 2014. Miele repeats the triumph also in 2015, but for the occasion he unleashes a powerful Ford Fiesta RS Wrc. Starting from 2017, Miele senior reduces appearances with the BMW and makes more races with the Fiesta, also in this case granting himself a lot of satisfaction. In 2017 the Ronde del Monte Caio sees Miele debut in another car: a Citroen DS3 WRC with which he is immediately first. Success was confirmed the following year, with an additional victory at the Rally della Lanterna. At the Città dei Mille 2018, for the first time he shares his Citroen with his son Simone, alternating at the wheel the two finish eighth.
the first forays abroad
Also in 2018 there is the first international race disputed by the citizen of Varese with Citroen, the Tour de Corse. With Luca Beltrame at the notes, the experience ends with an excellent sixteenth place. Short is the step for the debut at the Monte Carlo Rally in January 2019, which ended with a good thirtieth place despite the use of the Super Rally. After a few months, here is a new car for Mauro: it is the Skoda Fabia R5 with which, in addition to many good tests in the Italian WRC, he makes his debut on Finnish dirt roads. After having raced the AutoGlym Ralli valid for the Finnish National Championship for preparation, he made his debut at the fearsome Neste Rally, and again it was a success, with the twenty-fifth place. Meanwhile, the presences in the Italian WRC continue where his son Simone is also truly honored. In autumn, Miele senior makes his debut at Rally Catalunya where he retires due to an accident, a very rare event for the Lombard. Also disputed without luck in the Devoluy Rally, historic French winter race, Miele launches towards the Monte Carlo 2020 rally and is a great success, with a splendid twentieth place overall. In a season halved by the Covid 19 pandemic, Miele will also compete in the ACI Rally Monza, a race set up “in emergency” to save the regularity of the WRC, achieving an excellent twenty-second place overall. In the following 2021, Mauro therefore decides to make his debut in WRC 3 as a regular driver. Luca Beltrame is confirmed as co-driver after the excellent tests of the previous seasons. After the retirement in Montecarlo, excellent tests arrive at Arctic Finland and in Croatia, then the revenge against bad luck in Catalunya where he is even twenty-fourth overall. At the WRC final in Monza, he finishes twenty-eighth overall. Meanwhile, the Varese rider continues to delight in national rallies and adds Valdinievole to his very rich record of victories.
the triumph of the wrc2 masters
The introduction of the WRC 2 Masters for the most experienced drivers, starting from 2022, pushes Mauro Miele to set up a complete world program with the aim of winning the title. Not an easy feat, with opponents like Armin Kremer and Jean Michel Raoux. The first success in the category immediately arrives in Monte Carlo, followed by a good second place in Sweden, demonstrating that the previous year’s Arctic Finland training has really benefited. Another second place then follows in Croatia; a “new” characterizes the trip to the Rally Italia Sardegna with an unfortunate retirement. A mishap that could have brought anyone else to their knees proves to be the decisive turning point for the season of Honey. In Estonia, new class victory; in Catalunya, he comes in second place behind Kremer, who takes the lead in the championship thanks to four consecutive class wins. Unlike Miele, however, the German does not take part in the Rally of Japan, a decisive race. For the Italian a difficult undertaking is looming: to finish the race and keep his direct rival Raoux behind him. Only in this way will the WRC 2 Masters title arrive. The Japanese competition is a real lottery game, especially the first special stages. Miele is not intimidated and disputes a perfect race, with Luca Beltrame once again excellent in the role of co-driver. Raoux, by contrast, immediately had to resort to the Super Rally and fell in the standings. The first obstacle for the Varese player has therefore been overcome, now we have to finish the race. The first and second stages are completed without difficulty. The last day is from “inside or out”. Miele must avoid imitating Kajetan Kajetanowicz, who with a mistake handed the WRC 2 Open title to Andreas Mikkelsen without him going to Japan. The venture for the Varese player succeeds perfectly, the Japanese Osamu Fukunaga and the Irish Eamonn Boland remain firmly behind him. In the final Power Stage comes a final touch to say the least masterful: Miele starts with the right tires and set-up for the asphalt that begins to get wet from the rain and achieves the second absolute split time behind Craig Breen. In this way, not only does the Lombard certify the victory of the WRC 2 Masters race and title, but he even achieves four points for the overall WRC classification! The Italy of rallies celebrates: after Massimiliano Rendina, Simone Tempestini and Enrico Brazzoli, another of our standard bearers wins a title in the World Championship.
the secret of great success
What is the secret that has allowed the 66-year-old from Lombardy to beat rivals on paper that are much more noble and achieve top performances? First of all, a truly optimal physical conditioning, which allows him to withstand the grueling rhythms of the current WRC races without any effort. And a truly enviable joviality, not at all unchanged compared to the triumphs with motocross bikes obtained forty years ago. Then, an excellent understanding with the young Luca Beltrame, a co-driver of excellent quality who can easily be compared to the various Granai, Ometto and De Guio, “new aces” of the right seat. The great reliability of the Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo supplied by Toksport, an organization that in a few years has carved out a leading role in international rallies, should not be underestimated. For 2023, Miele is not unbalanced, celebrating his success with great confidence, but everyone is ready to bet that he will try to confirm the world title he has just won. And the national competitions, forget? Don’t worry, when the WRC is not on the scene, Miele will always try to be at the start of some Italian race, on asphalt or dirt. Everyone’s hope is that their son Simone will be able to make his debut in the WRC one day, giving life to a “family duel” that would have no equal in the history of the World Rally …
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