Giulia Maroni, one of the top co-drivers in European cross-country rally, died Sunday afternoon after slipping while hiking with a friend and dog along a trail by Monte Cimone in Italy. She was 37 years old.
Maroni was on Trail 433 leading from Libro Aperto to Rifugio Taburri when she lost her balance and fell into a fifty-metre ditch. Her colleague activated a distress signal and she was extracted via helicopter, but succumbed to her injuries upon arriving in Maggiore hospital in Bologna. A specific cause for her fall is under investigation.
She won the 2021 Italian Cross-Country Championship as the navigator for Sergio Galletti. The following year, she and Luciano Carcheri competed in the Dakar Classic—a navigation-based companion to the Dakar Rally—in a Nissan Terrano 1 where they finished eighty-eighth overall. Maroni also spent the year competing in the FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas (now FIA European Baja Cup), placing runner-up in the T4 category standings alongside Lina Van De Mars in a Polaris from Xtremeplus.
“We were just making new plans for the 2024 season,” wrote Van De Mars. “It’s been an honour to know you. It’s been (a) pleasure to race with you. Still proud of us having become European vice champions in the world of baja and rallyraid racing. I am still in shock. Hoping smiles and sunshine will be with you.”
In 2023, Maroni entered the main Dakar Rally as the navigator for Rebecca Busi‘s Can-Am Maverick in T4; they retired with a late engine failure. Busi, Van De Mars, and Carcheri all recently completed the 2024 Dakar Rally or Classic.
“Giulia, we can’t find the words to say goodbye to you,” reads a statement from Tecnosport, who prepared the Nissan Terrano she and Carcheri raced in 2022. “We wish you a pleasant journey through the desert dunes in the sky. You have been one of us and with us, and we will always carry you in our hearts.”