Gilles Panizzi

Gilles Panizzi

France (F)

 

 

CAREER PROFILE

1988: Started rallying with Ople Manta GTE

1990: Finished 16th on Rallye Monte Carlo with Lancia on his WRC debut 

1993: Drives Peugeot

1995: Drives Peugeot

1996: Drives Peugeot, 2nd in Corsica (only F2 event)
French Champion

1997: 3rd in Spain and Corsica with Peugeot
10th WRC for Drivers, French Champion

1998: 5th in Italy with Peugeot, 1st in Monte Carlo and Italy (F2)

1999: Drives with Subaru and Peugeot, 2nd in Italy, 10th WRC for Drivers

2000: 1st WRC win in Corsica with Peugeot, wins also in Italy, 7th WRC for Drivers

2001: Win in Italy with Peugeot, 8th WRC for Drivers

2002: Drives Peugeot, Win in Corsica, Spain and Italy, 6th WRC for Drivers

2003: Drives Peugeot, Win in Spain, 10th WRC for Drivers

2004: Move to Mitsubishi, 6th in Monte Carlo

2005: Drives Mitsubishi, 3rd in Monte Carlo

Date of Birth:
19/9/1965 at Menton

Marital status:
Married

World Drivers' Champion:
Not yet

Entries of WRC Events

 

 

 


Gilles Panizzi grew in a family of impassioned, and he was often at the edge of the roads to see the French rallies, such as Monte Carlo, the Antibes and well of others. In 1987 Gilles crossed the step and bought a Opel Manta GT/E For his first race, the Nice rally , he finished 23rd with the scratch. In 1988 Gilles was joined by his brother, Herve. With them two, they train a very effective crew and which more is very sympathetic nerve. Immediately, they will be made locate, for Manta slips about it everywhere and which makes super stopwatches that it notices.

In 1989 Gilles and Herve give up Manta to rent Renault 5 GT Turbo in the specialist in the moment: Automeca. With performances of very first order, Gilles will be elected at the end of the year Hope of the year by the magazine Echappement.

I 1992, Gilles and Herve pass a notch to the top and train an effective team of assistance. They were registered for the second year to the Peugeot Shell Cup which they fly over. Gilles and Herve will gain the five first sleeves. Their victory (the sixth) enables them to gain the Wheel, to them giving them First Wheel Official for the year following. They finished the season with the support of Peugeot Talbot Sport and classified second of the Championship of France 2° division and seventh of the Championship of France 1° division.  With their new statute of professional, in 1994 Gilles and Herve began behind the wheel of Group A Peugeot 106 XSi  and besides that they are able to take part in three rallys with a Lancia HF Integrale.

In 1994 they drove again with Peugeot, but the season was devoted to the development of the Group A 306 S16. Season  1995 was difficult since Jean-Pierre Nicolas, boss of Peugeot Sport entrusts to Gilles and Herve the settling of the any news Peugeot 306 Maxi. At the beginning of May they took part in the Tour de Corse with the 306 S16 for whom it is the last official appearance. They finished in the third place of the podium 2 liters. In the French Rally Championship F2 category they were 3rd.

In 1996 Gilles and Herve tackled their fourth season at Peugeot Sport. They went up for the first time of their career on the highest walk of the podium. They gained six victories, finished four times second and once third in eleven races. Gilles and Herve gained their first ever French Rally Championship. They had waited eight years this dedication. In 1997 one takes the same ones and one starts again; this well-known proverb sticks perfectly has this springtide. Like in 96,Gilles and Herve gained the first sleeve of the Championship. In April they take part with the 306 Maxi in Catalunya rally. They take the head of the rally to the beard of the kadors of the Championship of the World. A puncture breaks their dream but they finish with the 3rd place with the scratch and first 2 liters. Fifteen days later with the Tour de Corse it is exactly the same scenario which produit. At the finishing of the season, Gilles and Herve were crowned French Rally Champions for the second consecutive year.

In 1998 Peugeot decided to make its return to the World Rally Championship. In the Catalunya rally they finished 6th with the scratch. In Corsica, a large brawl with François Delecour began. But the rain slowed down Gilles and Herve and they were not able to compete screw-A-screw to the World Rally Cars. During their " spare time " Gilles and Herve, thanks to their personal sponsors set up a small program to take part in some rallys of World Championship being held on the gravel;  this in order to acquire experience from different rallies.  They finished 35th place in Rally Finland with Group N Peugeot 106. September 14th, Gilles and Herve resigned for two years with Peugeot Sport. Then they took part in the San Remo rally. There after a difficult beginning of rally, Gilles being sick lasting the first day, The brothers finished 5th and 1st of the F2.  At the end of November, Gilles and Herve took part in the Rally Great Britain with a Group N Subaru Impreza. After two days of race difficult, where the brothers were to learn the automatisms from a 4X4, they started to make very honourable times. But on the first special stage of the third leg, they were constrained with the abandonment, gearbox broken.

In the Rallye Monte Carlo 1999, on his first ever world rally championship event in a World Rally Car, he was leading sensationally the rally but a good result was lost due to a crash on the final day. Driving with the privately-entered Subaru Impreza WRC, he was the only driver to fight against the winner Tommi Mäkinen. At the Corsican Rally, Panizzi joined the Peugeot WRC team, where the team began its second attempt on the top with 206 WRC. In San Remo the brothers was leading the rally but was beaten by Tommi Makinen.

Finally in Corsica 2000, he achieved his first world championship rally win and won also the next event - Italy. In 2001 the Frenchman repeated the Italy win and in 2002 he won Corsica, Spain and Italy.

In 2003 Panizzi shared Peugeot´s third works entry with Harri Rovanpera. Both drivers contested nine rallies. He took Rovanpera's place for the tarmac rounds and contested also in Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and Great Britain. In Catalunya he was able to pass Sebastien Loeb on the last stage and took his seventh WRC win. 

He was keen for a more full-time role in the WRC, however, and was pleased as punch to be offered the lead drive at Mitsubishi as the Japanese marque returned to the championship in 2004. It was planned that Panizzi brothers will take part in all 16 rounds of the series, but the car suffered a lack of pace and reliability and the team withdraw from the series after Rally Finland.

The package shows more promise for 2005 and he will continue with Mitsubishi. His third place in Monte Carlo marked the once-mighty Mitsubishi team's first visit to the WRC podium since Tommi Makinen won the 2001 Safari Rally.

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