An epic road race «Mille Miglia» that was hold from May 16 to 19 always attracts special attention of both car enthusiasts from around the world and media companies covering classic cars events. That is why, AutoClassicNews couldn’t stay aside, and our journalists, Anastasia Roschina and Alexander Petryakov had a conversation with two-time champions and bronze medalists of «Mille Miglia 2018», an Italian duo – Andrea Vesco and Andrea Guerini.
— Good afternoon, Mr Vesco, Mr Guerini! We are very thankful that you have agreed to answer our questions. And the first one is interesting personally for us. Italy is a country with great heritage in automobile sport. Why have you decided to participate in rallies instead of, say, historic Grand Prix?
Andrea Guerini: As for me, I believe that in retro-rallies there is a strong spirit of struggle and competition, that’s why they attract so much.
Andrea Vesco: My father is an enthusiast of classic cars since he was 40 years old, so when I was young I was able to participate in those events and now it is easy for me to continue in this sport also because it is my job. In fact, it has been 11 years since me and my father have been organizing both Winter Marathon and Franciacorta Historic, two classic car events with always over 100 classic cars built until 1976.
— Thank you for telling us about these events. I hope our readers will be following them and, probably, will think of taking part in them. But let’s go back to «Mille Miglia». It is thought to be the most picturesque road race, but there is certainly a hard work behind all this. How do you usually prepare for the race?
A.V.: The preparation for this race takes a long time, beginning in choosing the correct car with a high coefficient, and then adapting it to our needs to be safely driver during this 1800+ kilometers long race, possibly without any damage. This year we were been given the possibility to drive a wonderful 6C 1750 SS Zagato built in 1929 from the Hulsbergen family (Villa Trasqua owners).
A.G.: Yes, usually the preparations take up pretty much time, but this year, I don’t know, I can’t say that I haven’t had so little free time. Looking back, I think we did everything rather quickly with the support of the sponsor.
— Could you tell us what makes you choose the car you use for the rally? Is it someone’s personal car or it is probably your sponsor’s choice?
A.G.: If you ask me, it can be any car because I’ve been kept away for them for a long time already. Yes, I usually act as a co-pilot, that’s why this is all up to my partner to choose a car. The main thing is that it has to be reliable and safe.
A.V.: Before answering we have to separate «1000 Miglia» from other events because «1000 Miglia» have a particular ranking point system so if you want to win you have to run a car with a top coefficient (1.80); not so many cars have this coefficient and our Alfa Romeo fortunately was one of those. This year, as I told before, we had a chance to drive this 6C 1750 SS Zagato. In other races, in which rankings are made by penalties and not by points, I usually prefer to use my own cars, either a 1934 Fiat 508 S Balilla Sport or a 1939 BMW 328.
— Speaking about the sponsor. Your team is supported by «Villa Trasqua» which produces the official wine of the rally. How did your cooperation start?
A.V.: Last November I got a call from the boss of Villa Trasqua (Mr. Hans Hulsbergen) who wanted me to represent «Villa Trasqua» with an official crew during the «1000 Miglia» 2018. I was absolutely happy about it saying him «yes» and now we’ve become close friends, he is a very nice person and I like to represent him and his brand on this «Mille Miglia».
A.G.: I may only add that Hans wanted to have a team with the name of his company onboard to be among the prize-winners. And, yes, he addressed the right people.
— They say, winning for the first time is always easier that doing it again. What were your emotions after your first victory and how were the different from those after last year’s success?
A.G.: That’s right, the first victory is something amazing. If you win for the second time it is a bit different because you are already familiar with the emotions. Besides, the rally itself seems easier as there is no pressure from previous victories.
A.V.: My first victory (in 2016) have been in my opinion my biggest victory because I had pursued it since many years, collecting a lot of placing (since my first participation in 2001 I’ve collected now 14 MM results, always arriving to the finish line with the worst result of 8th place). But we don’t feel the pressure now, fortunately, in those last 10 years we’ve collected a lot of victories and this 3rd place (MM18) represents a little disappointment because we wanted to win our 3rd «Mille Miglia» title in a row.
— It takes two people to win the rally. But were there any moments when you felt like breaking up and changing your partner?
A.G.: I have been together with Andrea since 2000 or about that. Actually, there has been not a single moment that we felt some tension. We have it this way: if one is down in spirits, the other is there to support.
A.V.: That’s true. Me and my co-driver are close friends since 2003, we are a very good team and I think we will race a lot together again.
— Did you take part in your first «Mille Miglia» together? Or did you have different partners?
A.G.: No, my debut was with Flaminia Valserati onboard 1933 Aston Martin Le Mans in 2006. We came 5th in the end.
A.V.: I had different partners in my 14 editions of «Mille Miglia». I have made 5 with my father, in 2001-2004 and 2010, 3 — with other people, in 2006-2007 and 2009. The first «1000 Miglia» with Andrea Guerini was in 2012 and then we took part for 5 more times as a duo in 2014-2018.
— How many rallies do you normally have per year?
A.G.: I believe, no more than 8 or 10, about that.
A.V.: Yes, I think, 10/12 for year.
— How much important is the support of your family and relatives for you? Do they follow you during your races or wait patiently at home?
A.V.: It is very important, they usually follow us in each race as support team and I could not race without them. I think that is very good to have the same passion.
— Mr Guerini, we know that on your personal profile page on Facebook there is a picture drawn by your daughter after your last year’s victory. Does she follow your success right on the road?
A.G.: True. Giulia is my little Princess, she is very much attracted by the world around her and she likes going to the rallies with me. So, as you may understand, family is also very important for me.
— Who (or, maybe, what) is the most difficult to fight during the rally?
A.G.: I think that being concentrated and strong-willed is the most important. Plus, you have to be focused and have a sober head.
A.V.: In those last years we’ve challenged with a lot of competitors. I think that drivers with more continuity have been Juan Tonconogy and Giovanni Moceri, that moreover are very good friends.
— Did you plan on celebrating your victory in case you come first this year again?
A.V.: We usually don’t celebrate too much, for us it is important to stay with people who really loves us and celebrate with them with a simple dinner, for example.
A.G.: Besides, it happened so that we didn’t have much reason for celebrations for we came third. But we keep working on those small drawbacks we had so they won’t take place again. Maybe, next year we will have a chance to think it over.
— Have you ever discussed with your partner how long you are going to participate in Mille Miglia?
A.V.: No, never.
A.G.: Exactly, we haven’t talked about it. To begin with, it is very hard to plan such things beforehand, it depends on many circumstances.
— Can you remember some interesting moments from the previous rallies?
A.G.: Many interesting things happen when on rallies. Victories, beating the opponents… For example, last year we took part in «Gran Premio Nuvolari» and beat Juan Tonconogy. It was a great pleasure!
A.V.: A lot of funny moments there were but telling everything would be impossible.