It was the year 2015. The Garrido family, passionate about the world of motorsport for many years, already had in their exclusive collection the Peugeot 205 T16 from Group B and 206 WRC, among others (which we will also talk about in Tramalón). The WRC needed a lot of maintenance and they decided to contact a former mechanic-engineer from Peugeot in the 90s, Marino. A person who worked with the Kit-car, Group A or even the 206 WRC of Luis Monzón. The Garridos contracted the services of this mechanic for the maintenance and preparation of their vehicle.
Marino himself is a person who knows the 306 Maxi perfectly, and between words “they decide to warm up and look for one in the market”, as Darío Garrido, our main protagonist of the report comments. As was to be expected, at that time no one was found for sale. However, they were aware of the existence of a “very special unit” that was still standing in Galicia: “Bamarti had one and we set to work to see and negotiate for the car,” says Garrido.
The date marked with fire in their memory is September 8, 2016, in which they acquired the exclusive French vehicle. A month later, almost in record time, they participate in the caravan of historical Rallye RACC Catalonia to “roll and taste sensations”. Despite some problems of temperature and gearbox last day, “the car went really well”, as Dario tells us.
After its world championship rally, the team had marked in the calendar one last race to say goodbye to 2016, the second with the Maxi Kit-Car. Darío Garrido (who already competed with him in the RACC with his kilometers) participated in the Rally of Valencia with the 306. From the very beginning, the day wasn`t particularly pleasant: “There was a fatal day of rain and on top of that we had no water wheels,” says Garrido.
In the first stage came the big scare: “The car escaped from behind. We turned around two times after bumping into a rock, leaving the back of the car shattered”, recalls Darío. They thought that, due to lack of spare parts, it would take many years to restore it again. The hard work began in search of a new body, plus some other spare parts, for the 306 Maxi.
A very slow process
Just in 2017, it ccoincided with the preparation process of a 306 Maxi by the nine-time WRC World Champion, Sébastian Loeb. After negotiations with two companies specialising in these spare parts, they reached a deal: Sebastian Loeb kept the bodywork of PAM Sport and the Garridos kept Matter, both French. One of the conditions on the part of Matter was that the Valencians ceded as part of the payment the old bodywork.
Once the purchase process was over, it took a step-by-step approach. The engine (absolutely intact after the stroke), the gearbox (also in good condition), the rear bridge… In addition to a heavy cleaning work to remove all the mud from the habitáiculo. A “total reconstruction“. With the base of a 306 street they took advantage of the original pieces (crystals, rubbers, doors, hood…) “similar to those of the 306 Maxi”, as Darío maintains.
Hard months were “suffered” because they depended on a person who had all the material but “was not about the total work of selling it”. The key person in all this procedure was Marino, the mechanic of the Garridos, as he contacted these companies in this work of search and capture of spare parts.
The car was finished in 2019 after two years of restoration. The Garrido family has a date totally marked in the calendar for the rework of the apparatus: “We hope to be at the Hoznayo Rally Festival in September”. A weekend that can be very special, since they have moved the intention to go to Cantabria with their three illustrious units of Peugeot available: Group B, the WRC and the Kit-Car.
History and sensations
This is unit number 23. He reached the stages in 1998, at the hands of the Swiss rider Cyril Henny, who won several victories and the Swiss Rally Championship that year. He hasn`t left Spain since 2000. It has been in the hands of Manolo Senra, Javier Arias and “Bamarti“, driver who finally decided to sell it after several years stopped.
Dario Garrido, despite shooting very little with him, described his feelings: “It’s practically like a kart. Atmospheric engine, always with high turns”. To finish this first part of the Garrido jewels, we leave you with a phrase that Bamarti himself said to Garrido on the day of his sale: “In the curves where a WRC takes off one gear, the 306 Kit-Car you have to put another”. A real device that transmits the best feelings to both pilots and fans.