Motor Sport News - - Sporting Scene - By Hal Ridge

The Lancia Stratos that won the first ever FIA Euro­pean Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship ti­tle made it’s first UK ap­pear­ance in over three-decades at the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed last week­end. Fol­low­ing an ex­ten­sive re­build, the car was run by for­mer For­mula One podium fin­isher and dou­ble Le Mans win­ner Alexan­der Wurz, and driven by his fa­ther Franz, who won the first Euro­pean Ral­ly­cross ti­tle in the car in 1976.

The Wurz fam­ily have re­cently com­pleted the restora­tion of the unique car – the only Stratos to run a three-litre en­gine – hav­ing bought it back from fel­low Aus­trian Andy Bentza, to whom the car was sold in 1977.

“When I was young I re­mem­ber my dad rac­ing the car, and it was al­ready like a space­ship back then,” said Wurz Jr. “Then it went to Bentza and he won the cham­pi­onship, and he kept it for­ever. We called him every year ask­ing if he wanted to sell the car. That went of for over 10 years, then another two to three years of ne­go­ti­at­ing. Then, another two years of ren­o­va­tion, which we did in Aus­tria. We tried to do it as im­mac­u­lately as we could.

“The car is unique, it has the three-litre en­gine which came from Lancia es­pe­cially for my fa­ther. It was from Fer­rari, so we still have let­ters from Fer­rari about the three-litre en­gine and when it would be ready for my dad. Dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion we won­dered where we should run it first and be­cause I’ve come to Good­wood for many years, I knew that this was the place to do it. It’s so cool to still see peo­ple com­ing here, in­clud­ing Lord March, and say­ing they saw the car when that they were a child,” added Wurz Jr. “They’re still chas­ing my dad for au­to­graphs, and that makes me very proud and happy to get this car back into the fam­ily.”

Franz Wurz drove his 1976 Lancia

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