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#OMP50 Episode 4: A decade full of world titles

From Ronco Scrivia to the top of the world. This is not a figure of speech, because the 1990s for OMP were studded with world titles. The first two came three days apart. On October 18, 1990, Carlos Sainz, driving a Toyota, won his maiden World Rally Championship by finishing third at Sanremo Rally. The event was held in Liguria, the Italian region where OMP was born and was consolidating its roots, although a little further from the main town of Genoa. Additionally, on October 21, at the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, it was Ayrton Senna who claimed the company’s second world title.

OMP had managed to put the Brazilian ace, Senna, under contract only a few months earlier, starting with the Monaco Grand Prix. Senna was wearing his red McLaren suit with the iconic black and yellow branding of OMP on the belt. The collaboration started immediately with a victory. Nineteen more victories followed, with a second crown in 1991.

Due to an accident at Imola on May 1, 1994, OMP lost its main testimonial, perhaps the most famous athlete on the planet at the time, but above all a friend. Senna’s legacy was an immense wealth of advice, knowledge and experience. It was Ayrton’s suggestion to move the glove seams from the inside to the outside, making them flat and exposed. The aesthetics suffered a bit, but the driver had a stronger grip on the steering wheel without feeling pressure or pain in the fingers. The “Ayrton” glove remained in the OMP catalog for several years, which was chosen by other Formula 1 drivers.

Meanwhile, OMP continued its triumphs streak in the WRC. In 1994, taking the throne was France’s Didier Auriol, who was always very meticulous in the details of his equipment. And then there was the story of Tommi Maikinen, another legendary connection.

Precise in his driving and always open to evaluating new proposals, Makinen picked up Carlos Sainz’s baton in the development of OMP’s most technical product, the rally driver’s seat. From the meetings between Tommi and engineers the ARS and WRC seat families were born and chosen by many factory teams. At the 1996 Sanremo Rally, Makinen suffered a scary multiple rollover, from which his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III emerged destroyed. However, the ARS seat remained completely intact.

At the end of that season, Tommi took home the first of four consecutive world titles until 1999, a feat never before achieved in the WRC. In each of his titles, he was equipped with OMP racewear and car parts. The pinnacle was reached in 1998, when Mitsubishi celebrated the Constructors’ crown, counting on the contribution of teammate Richard Burns. OMP brilliantly entered the Third Millennium.

Stories of races, drivers, and passion.