Alessandro Alex Fiorio is an Italian rally driver who has been active in the World Rally Championship between 1986 and 2002, recording 51 WRC starts in which he scored ten podiums. His career-best results were the second place in the 1989 WRC season with Jolly Club's Lancia Delta Integrale and third place in 1988.
Alex Fiorio was born on March 10, 1965, in Turin, Italy. His father Cesare Fiorio was a former racing driver and a head of Lancia motorsport programme in rallying and endurance racing. Alessandro started his rally career in 1986, driving for Jolly Club, which was Lancia's B-team.
WRC debut with Fiat Uno Turbo
His first rally car was Group A-spec Fiat Uno Turbo. With that car, Alex participated in five WRC events in 1986, retiring four times. He ended in seventh place at Rallye Sanremo, but due to controversial disqualification of Peugeot team FIA annulled results from that event, so Alex didn't score any championship points.
Production class world champion in 1987
In the 1987 World Rally Championship, Fiorio switched to Group N Lancia Delta HF 4WD, taking three wins and three podiums in the production car class. He became the inaugural FIA Group N Cup champion. His co-driver was Luigi Pirollo, who was sitting next to Fiorio since his rally debut.
Driving the world's most dominant car
At 1987 Rallye Sanremo, and then in 1988 WRC season, Fiorio moved to Group A Lancia Delta HF 4WD. In the mid-season, a new Lancia Delta Integrale was introduced. In that period of time, Lancia was a dominant manufacturer in the World championship, taking manufacturers' titles for six years in a row, from 1987 to 1992.
Third place in the 1988 WRC season
In 1988, Fiorio was driving for Jolly Club. He started the season with a second place at Rallye Monte-Carlo, which was his maiden WRC podium. Later in the season, Fiorio finished in second place three more times – at Rally Portugal, the Olympus Rally and the Rallye Sanremo, each time losing to fellow Lancia drivers.
Tragedy at 1989 Rallye Monte-Carlo
The 1989 WRC season started with a tragedy. At Rallye Monte-Carlo, while driving Jolly Club's Lancia Delta Integrale, Fiorio lost control of his car and went off road, crashing into spectators. Two men lost their lives, a Swedish rally driver Lars-Erik Torph and his co-driver Bertil-Rune Rehnfeldt. Fiorio and his co-driver Luigi Pirollo were unhurt.
1989 – the second best rally driver in the world
Fiorio recovered from that accident, scoring four WRC podiums. He was third at Rally Portugal and Acropolis Rally. At Rally Argentina and Rallye Sanremo, Fiorio finished second, both times behind Lancia factory drivers. At the end of the season, Fiorio finished in second place, behind Miki Biasion and in front of Toyota factory driver Juha Kankkunen.
Last WRC podium at 1990 Rally Australia
The new evolution of Lancia Delta Integrale 16V came for the 1990 WRC season. Fiorio was combining driving duties for Jolly Club and Martini Lancia, scoring his final WRC podium at Rally Australia. He was driving #9 Martini Lancia and finished third, behind his new teammate Juha Kankkunen and Toyota's Carlos Sainz.
In the last round of the championship, the RAC Rally, Fiorio was driving Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4 for Q8 Team Ford, finishing in ninth place. He was ninth also in the final championship standings.
A season with Ford Sierra and return to Lancia
In 1991, Fiorio continued to drive Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4, participating in four WRC events. His best result was the 9th place at Rallye Sanremo.
In 1992, he returned to the cockpit of Lancia Delta Integrale, driving for Astra Racing team in four WRC events and two European Rally Championship events. His new co-driver was Vittorio Brambilla. Fiorio's best WRC result was the fourth place at Rally Argentina and Rally Catalunya. He won both ERC events he participated (Volta Galp and Cyprus Rally).
Three consecutive wins at Cyprus Rally
Astra Racing was Fiorio's team again in 1993, with four participations in WRC events. His best result was the fifth place at Rally Catalunya. At Cyprus Rally, which was the ERC event, he was again victorious.
In 1994, Fiorio participated in only two WRC events, retiring in Portugal with Ford Escort RS Cosworth and finishing fourth at Acropolis Rally with Lancia Delta HF Integrale. At Cyprus Rally, he scored a third consecutive win. In 1995, Fiorio temporary closed his WRC career, participating with Ford Escort RS Cosworth in only one race, at Rally Portugal, where he finished in eighth place.
Four seasons out of WRC
From 1996 to 1999, Fiorio didn't compete in WRC events. In 1996 and 1997, he was driving BMW 318 iS in the Italian rally championship. He was second in the 2WD classification in 1996.
In 1998, he expanded his schedule to European Rally Championship, driving Ford Escort RS Cosworth for Jolly Club. With two wins (Rally Albena Bulgaria and Rally Turkey), he finished 12th in ERC standings. In 1999, Fiorio participated in three ERC events with Jolly Club's Ford Escort WRC.
WRC comeback in 2000
Fiorio made a WRC comeback in 2000, with a one-off appearance at Rally Sanremo, where he finished 23rd with Group N Mitsubishi Carisma GT Evo VI. With that car, he competed in the Italian and European championships in 2001, but also returned to Rally Sanremo WRC event, finishing 17th overall and first in the N4 class.
In 2002, Fiorio competed full season in the Production World Rally Championship, driving various Mitsubishis for the Ralliart Italia. He took his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII to PWRC class victory at Rally Finland, finishing fifth in the final PWRC standings.
Guest appearances at historic events and rally shows
Following the 2002 season, Fiorio retired one more time from the WRC. Since then, he recorded more than twenty rallies, most of them in the Italian competitions. He was most active in 2003, finishing fifth in the Italian championship while driving Subaru Impreza STI. In 2005, Fiorio participated in Italian Trofeo Rally Terra with Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII.
In recent years, Fiorio was a guest at historic rally events and rally shows, such as Rallylegend or Monza Rally Show.