German police recover valuable Ferrari, search for thief

Evarado Alatorre
May 15, 2019

A rare Ferrari once owed by Northern Ireland F1 star Eddie Irvine has been stolen.

But when the seller stepped out of the vehicle, the would-be buyer quickly hit the accelerator and vanished.

Dusseldorf Police said the theft happened on Monday afternoon when a man posing as a prospective buyer of the 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO went on a two-hour test drive around the city with a salesman from an exotic auto dealership.

A listing for the auto on the dealer's website says it once belonged to former Northern Ireland Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine - who raced for Ferrari between 1996 and 1999.

Police said Tuesday that they hadn't been able to find the auto and appealed to the public for information.

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It was later found hidden on Tuesday evening, although the thief was no where to be seen.

Police say the "historic vehicle" with 43,000km (27,000 miles) on the clock should be valued at more than €2m.

The managing director of the dealership told Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper the man had exchanged calls and emails over the course of a number of weeks. Only 272 cars were ever built.

He said the auto would never sell on the open market as it was "too flashy" and it would be hard to pass on a stolen vehicle of its kind as they were so well-known in auto collector circles. In a close-fought season he finished runner-up in the 1999 World Drivers Championship after Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher's season was cut short by a broken leg.

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