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Snapshot, 1977: Munari is the man to beat in Monte-Carlo

It’s January 1977, and during a brief stop on the Monte-Carlo Rally, the Italian driver Sandro Munari holds a comfortable lead, one that his Lancia team is eager to retain. After all, victory here would be the third in succession for its spaceship-like Stratos…

The legendary Sospel-Lantosque, the stage of the Monte-Carlo Rally that encompasses the famous Col du Turini mountain pass, is among the most physically and mentally exhausting challenges in motorsport. But not if you’re Sandro Munari, or Il Drago as he’s become known. For the past two years, he’s conquered the rally with the innovative Lancia Stratos. Using his temperament, which blends Latin fire with British cool, he’s tamed the twitchy titan unlike any other driver. And on the next and final stage, which as is customary at the Monte, will take place under the cover of darkness, he’ll once again demonstrate how, reaching the finish line over two minutes ahead of his nearest competitor. His third successive victory will make him the most successful man in Monte-Carlo Rally history and set him on course to win the awkwardly-named FIA Cup for Rally Drivers in 1977. 

Photo: AFP via Getty Images ©