Home » Paolo Diana and his Fiat 131 Racing – Driving for the fans!

Paolo Diana and his Fiat 131 Racing – Driving for the fans!

A video from Rally Legend San Marino event went viral in the Grumblo How to Drive video series. Featuring the Italian rally showman Paolo Diana. It begins at night with smoke and fireworks and plenty of excited rally fans. And center stage is Paolo’s screaming Fiat 131 Racing into which he has poured a life-long passion for rallying.

Video: Paolo Diana’s Fiat 131 at Rally Legend San Marino 2018

Paolo’s love for rallying dates back to when he was just a boy spectating at rally events. He fell in love with the drivers and the way they could make their rally machines slide to entertain the fans. And later at the age of twenty, he started racing himself. His first rally car was this very same Fiat 131, the most affordable rear-wheel-drive option he could figure out at the time.

Although the Fiat is not the only car Paolo has been racing. He has taken part in the Rally Bianco Azzurro ‘Rose’n Bowl’ in San Marino and the Italian Rally Championship driving a Renault Clio R3 Scuderia Malatesta. And he has competed in other Renault marquees such as a Renault Clio Williams and Clio Super 1600. Paolo has also raced with Group A Peugeot 106 and a Peugeot 207 S2000.

His passion though is racing his Fiat 131, which is perhaps understandable for an Italian driver. However, that is not the only reason. Paolo is most excited about driving a rear-wheel-drive car as it’s the platform that allows him to put the showman mode on and truly excite himself and the spectators.

Given that the Fiat 131 is a car from the mid 1970s, one would assume it’s not so easy to drive. Indeed, Paolo admits that when he first bought the car it was horrible handling wise. So he began the task of modifying it and he’s been very pleased with the results so far, as no doubt have the excited rally fans. While the car is basically still an original Fiat 131 Racing, the engine has been replaced with a 2.0 L Twin Spark inline-four from an Alfa Romeo 156 D2 race car along with a 6-speed sequential gearbox by Gabura Racing Technologies.

The rear end has seen the most dramatic modifications, with the original axle being replaced with a BMW E30 M3 setup along with a proven and reliable E34 M5 differential. For the suspension setup, a Reiger coilover setup was adapted from a Subaru Impreza N12. And the brakes are from Peugeot a 207 S2000. This is a big step up in performance from the 1970s Fiat setup and gives Paolo the confidence to push hard on the tarmac twists.

For Paolo, rallying isn’t about winning trophies, it’s to have fun while driving and most of all to entertain the fans and send them home with smiles on their faces just like he did when he was a boy. Paolo intends to continue rallying across Europe with his Fiat 131 and maybe also outside of Europe if he can manage it.

Paolo refers to the sheer emotional feeling that only the Fiat 131 can give him. And the precision he has while piloting the rear-wheel-drive Fiat is no doubt evidence of that. And long may his passion for rallying continue!

To stay updated with Paolo Diana’s journey, make sure to follow him on:

Facebook – DIANA PAOLO

Photo Credits: Jan Marek, Gigi Fadda & eWRC.cz

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