Born in Livigno, in 1973, Gianluigi Galli was surrounded by a family with a passion for cars. His father rand a family garage business and ‘Gigi’ spent a considerable amount of time there, learning the finer nuances of mechanical engineering. These basic skills were converted into competition racing as he took out a car built by his own hands. His spare time in the evenings, were occupied by work on his own car and the hard route of his methods laid the foundation for his entire career till date.
He took his unique creation onto a snow rally to begin his career. His car was unique in the true sense of the word. He took a Fiat Uno, built a Four Wheel Drive mechanism into, added a Four Wheel Steer and then topped it off with a Toyota Engine. Although the car may not have won him anything, it laid the foundation for his first rally drive a year later, in 1994. In a more conventional Peugeot 309, Galli drove on the Rally of Valtellina and took third place in his class.
He used that experience and many more, on his way to the World Rally Championships. He drove in almost every series that he qualified for as a driver – the one-make series, the Italian Rally Championships, the European Rally Championships, the Junior World Rally Championships and some selected events out of the World Rally Championship calendar as well. But life wasn’t easy for Gigi. He struggled with mechanical problems and sheer bad luck and this marred the occasional flashes of brilliance that his flamboyant style of driving would create.
In 2004, Galli got the chance he was waiting for. Mitsubishi offered him a place in their part-programme. Galli would go on to contest in four rallies, where he clinched a seventh place finish, for the Mitsubishi World Rally team. He drove a Lancer WRC in those races and then shifted to a Group N Lancer, with which he drove in 8 more races in the season. These 8 races in the Group N class were more significant for Galli as he was victorious in Finland and in Italy. He was, subsequently, promoted to the World Rally Championship programme, with the Mitsubishi team, in 2005. This is when Galli showed the potential that got him the reputation of being a solid driver. He procured 7 top-ten finishes with a best placement of fifth, overall, in Germany. Things were looking bright for Galli and then the inevitable happened. Mitsubishi withdrew from the sport and Galli was left hanging out in the cold – without a team.
In 2006, Galli had to persuade his sponsors, as well as Ralliart Italy, to give him a Lancer WRC car for Rally Monte Carlo and Rally Sweden. The fourth place finish in Sweden was enough to convince Pirelli to allow him a run in the Kronos team, in a Peugeot 307, for four more rounds. These four rounds saw him finish third in Argentina – his career best finish. But in 2007, Galli drove for an Italian privateer outfit, Aimont Racing, in a Citroen Xsara WRC. He got just three rounds in 2007 and managed a best of a sixth place finish in Rally Norway.