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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone!!

I wanted to post a question regarding the late Henri Toivonen and his late co-driver Sergio Cresto. What was Sergio's nationality? My dad recently came back from Poland and brought back the last 15 monthly issues of WRC magazine, a Polish rallying monthly. In one of them, they had a biography of Toivonen and it states that Cresto was an American. Was he from the U.S.? From previous reading, I'd heard that he was possibly from South America, but I'm not sure.

Any info will be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Simon
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info! I had no clue that he was an American. I am interested to find out how he managed to work his way up to a co-driving position with Lancia.

Simon
 

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>Thanks for the info! I had no clue that he was an American.
>I am interested to find out how he managed to work his way up
>to a co-driving position with Lancia.
>
>Simon

Simon,
I will investigate more in Italy and see what I can find out through Lancia sources.
I've always been intrigued by Cresto's career and Rallybase shows him competing (at top level) with different language speaking drivers, which is fairly unique. (Andruet/France, Zanussi and Bettega/Italy and Toivonen/Finland).
I will also ask JB next weekend in Maine and keep you posted through this topic.
Alex
www.alexgelsomino.com
 

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Here's another crazy angle on his nationality. When "Stage Times" (Tom Grimshaw's OUTSTANDING rally newsletter) was in print, I got my copy in Edmonton, Alberta with Sergio's copy, addressed to New York, inside the same envelope! I forwarded it to him in New Yawk. Gawd knows how it happened but I was always unsure as to my (limited) touch with "Rallying greatness". A story, strange but true, from the otherside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
First off, I'd like to thank everyone for the input. I've always been intrigued with Americans making it in the World Championship. In my opinion, it was never a matter of skill, but getting the resources to build the sport here. And as we know, that has been an issue in US. But Cresto seems to be interesting, because his name has latin roots. I was wondering he was an ex-patriot Italian or South American who obtained U.S. citizenship or born and raised here.

Alex, any information that you bring back will be great.

Thanks again,
Simon
 

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At the time of his death, Cresto was a resident of Dallas. I only know this because the Dallas newspapers reported his death.
Richard
 

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Ok, this is what I found:
Sergio was born in NY City, January 19th, 1956, but moved to Italy in 1961. He started codriving in 1976 for Italian driver Amedeo Gerbino in a Group1 Opel Kadett and they finished third in the G1 National Championship in 1977. In 1978 he starts the season with Gerbino again, and then continued with Lorenzelli in the Opel Championship to finish the season with Leo Pittoni where he finishes third in the Giro D'Italia. In 1979 Sergio met Tonino Tognana and they were hired to compete for the Junior Team FIAT. 1981 they race the 131 Abarth and after that he has the opportunity to sit with several drivers competing for Lancia satellite teams, like Zanussi, Cunico, Capone and more notably Bettega and Andruet. Sergio wins the European Rally Championship with Carlo Capone in the 037 and gets a contract with the works team Martini. Juha Piironen (Toivonen's former codriver) goes to codrive for rising finnish star Kankkunen and Sergio finds the seat available next to Henry Toivonen, so they immediately win at their first event together (Montecarlo 1986) with the new S4. Win at the Costa Smeralda rally (European championship event, which Lancia always entered with the works cars, as it was sponsored by Martini, like their cars) and then the tragic event in Corsica, where Henry and Sergio lost their life in May 1986. Sergio's parents were Italian-American and that's why he found himself living in USA occasionally. He was fluent in both Italian and English and mantained residence in both countries. However, his Rally career was solely conducted in Italy, Europe and the WRC, never here in USA.
His family still has business in the Sanremo area, I was told.
All the above information, thanks to Italian Rally journalist Leo Todisco.

alexgelsomino.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks to all. Alex, your last email really summed it up. It makes sense that Cresto was an American of Italian descent. Thanks again!

Simon
 
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