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Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy) (J) - 23-25 Jul 21

Posted: July 25, 2021 5:46 AM - 562 Hits

Counting Round - 2021 European Rally Championship (ERC)
J - Counting Round of ERC Junior Championship

Live Results (Rally di Roma Capitale 2021) | Also at: rally-base results & ewrc-results.com
Rally Radio / News: European Rally Championship (ERC) - fiaerc.com
Also available on FIA ERC App
Selected Live Stages: www.youtube.com/user/FIAERC or www.facebook.com/FiaEuropeanRallyChampionship
Event Website: Rally di Roma Capitale
Twitter: @FIAERC

First stage each day - Times are Ireland/UK
Free Practice - Fri - 07:30
Qualifying - Fri - 09:45
Ceremonial Start/Parade Stage - Fri - 18:30
SS0 - Fri - 19:08
SS1 - Sat - 08:53
SS7 - Sun - 06:45

ERC event preview: Rally di Roma Capitale

Posted: July 22, 2021 3:20 PM

The all-action 2021 FIA European Rally Championship heads next to Italy for Rally di Roma Capitale (July 23-25), the first of two consecutive Tarmac rounds following back-to-back events on gravel in Poland and Latvia.

The rally in 100 words:
The progression of this asphalt event from Max Rendina’s Motorsport Italia organisation is impressive. First run in 2013, Rally di Roma Capitale made its ERC debut in 2017 as Italy returned to the European championship for the first time in four years when Rallye Sanremo was on the calendar. It proved a big hit and continues to flourish. From event hub Fiuggi crews tackle challenging stages north, west and southeast of the spa town, while a new stage around the Terme di Caracalla in central Rome provides another exciting spectacle. The rally also counts for Sparco Italian championship points.

The main changes for 2021:
The fifth Rally di Roma Capitale to count for the ERC kick-offs with a spectacular superspecial stage in the heart of the Eternal City with the all-new Caracalla ACI Roma stage due to take place from 20h00 CET on Friday July 23. Located close to the Colosseum and Circus Maximus, the stage will start from Via San Balbina and will total 2.72 kilometres over a loop around the Terme di Caracalla, repeated twice. SS1 Caracalla ACI Roma will follow the ceremonial start at Castel Sant’Angelo from 19h00 and the traditional Roma parade. In other changes, Collepardo – Civita on Sunday is a new addition, but the famous Pico stage is not included on this year's itinerary.

The route in short:
Saturday July 24: Following Friday evening’s festivities in Rome, the serious action begins on Saturday morning west of Fiuggi with the 7.25 kilometres of Rocca di Cave, which follows the same route as in 2019 and 2020. The first five kilometres feature 18 uphill hairpins on the climb to Rocca di Cave. The last two kilometres to the finish in Capranica – Prenestina are more flowing in nature. With a 1.50-kilometre liaison section to SS2, Rocca Santo Stefano, there’s no respite. The 19.70-kilometre test starts in Capranica with a very technical and fast initial section that also includes several changes of rhythm until the route reaches Rocca Santo Stefano, where a steep and challenging descent leads to the stage finish. SS3, Affile – Bellegra, is 7.34 kilometres in length and begins at the exit of Affile village with crews negotiating a very fast and technical road. It’s uphill for the second part towards Bellegra with high speeds and some very spectacular hairpins adding to the challenge. Following a regroup and service in Fiuggi, Rocca di Cave and Rocca Santo Stefano are repeated in their entirety in the afternoon, but the return to Affile – Bellegra starts from the 4.40-kilometre mark for streaming requirements and runs over a distance of 2.94 kilometres.

Sunday July 25: Two loops of three stages, plus a third visit to the day-opening Fiuggi – Guarcino test make up Sunday’s deciding action. It’s an early wake-up call with SS7, which covers 19.87 kilometres, due to get underway at 07h45 local time. The stage begins in Fiuggi and incorporates Guarcino, a Rally di Roma Capitale classic, and includes three notable changes of rhythm, jumps and a high-speed section towards the finish. Collepardo – Civita is next up with the 10.62-kilometre layout a new addition to the itinerary. It’s technical with numerous hairpins. Santopadre – Arpino is located southeast of Fiuggi and is the rally’s longest stage at 21.17 kilometres. Identical to the route used for the last two years, the stage begins with a twisty section on high-grip asphalt for approximately 3.5 kilometres. The next 4.5 kilometres are narrower before the stage widens again on a fast section close to the village of Santopadre ahead of a series of challenging bends on the run to the finish. The third visit to Fiuggi – Guarcino is due to begin at 17h15 local time with the podium scheduled from 18h00 in Fiuggi.

OVERVIEW
The all-action 2021 FIA European Rally Championship continues with Rally di Roma Capitale, the first of two consecutive Tarmac rounds following back-to-back events on gravel in Poland and Latvia.

Based in Fiuggi east of Rome from July 23-25, Rally di Roma Capitale has been part of the ERC family since 2017 when Bryan Bouffier beat Kajetan Kajetanowicz to victory by 0.3s in a dramatic finish.

For the event’s fifth ERC appearance, organisers have introduced new stages, including a superspecial in the heart of the Eternal City, and have attracted a sky-high 99 registrations of which 63 will be eligible for ERC points, while 34 are due to take part in pacesetting Rally2 cars.

As well as a talent-packed driver line-up there will be new cars, new teams, new categories, new rules, plus the latest crop of exciting young guns aiming to prove their worth as they continue the step up from national level to the world stage via the ERC.

While the ERC’s focus remains on providing a clear path of progression for drivers aiming for the top of the sport, it continues to be open to all-comers with a vast array of driver age and experience – plus machinery from the FIA Rally Cars Pyramid – all in action.

Rally di Roma Capitale is a round of the revamped FIA ERC Junior Championship for Rally3 cars on Pirelli tyres, plus the new-for-2021 Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT, the arrive-and-driver series for the Renault Clio Rally5 using MICHELIN tyres. MICHELIN is also providing incentives for young talents in Rally2 cars using its products via the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory.

Administered by the FIA and promoted by Eurosport Events, the ERC is the established step-up series to the FIA World Rally Championship and is backed up by a global broadcast package, which includes extensive coverage on the various Eurosport platforms. Four stages on each event are shown live on Facebook and YouTube, while ERC Radio is on-air from all events.

ERC 2021: WHAT’S NEW?
*ERC1 Junior is renamed ERC Junior and is for Rally3 cars on Pirelli tyres. The champion gets a season in the Rally3-based WRC3 in 2022 as his or her incredible prize. *A new prize package is on offer in ERC3 Junior with a full ERC Junior season in 2022 for drivers using the Ford Fiesta Rally4 from M-Sport Poland (or three events for those competing in another brand of car).
*ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory rewards young drivers in Rally2 cars on MICHELIN tyres with a variety of incentives, including some to reduce budgets, during the season. *Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT provides entry-level action on an arrive and drive basis for the MICHELIN-equipped Renault Clio Rally5.
*The gravel-based Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras in northern Portugal joins the ERC schedule for the first time, while long-term ERC partner events, Azores Rallye, Barum Czech Rally Zlín and ORLEN 77th Rally Poland return after not running in 2020.
*M-Sport Poland has unleashed its all-new Fiesta Rally3 challenger, the first of its kind built to the FIA’s new rules. There are new Rally4 cars from Opel and Renault, while Rally2 Kit cars from Suzuki and Toyota are in contention for ERC2 points.
*Drivers in Rally2 cars are permitted to use a maximum of 16 tyres on asphalt and gravel events, with Rally3 drivers allowed to use a maximum of 16 tyres on asphalt and 12 on gravel rallies. For drivers in Rally4 and Rally5 cars, no more than 12 tyres can be used on asphalt or gravel.
*All drivers holding ERC priority status can score overall championship points in 2021, regardless of the type of FIA rally car they are competing in (Rally2, Rally3, Rally4, Rally5, Group N, Rally2 Kit and RGT).

THE SEASON SO FAR
ORLEN 77th Rally Poland (June 18-20): Alexey Lukyanuk delivered the ultimate comeback victory to begin his FIA European Rally Championship title defence in style. Co-driven by fellow Russian Alexey Arnautov, Lukyanuk was seemingly down and out on Tuesday following a testing crash which left his Pirelli-equipped Citroën C3 Rally2 beyond immediate repair after they rolled five times. But Saintéloc Junior Team heroically answered their call by transporting a replacement bodyshell from its base in central France and preparing an all-new car in time for Friday’s start. Undeterred by his lack of loose-surface running – the 20 kilometres he managed in the build-up to the event was Lukyanuk’s first on gravel since Rally Liep?ja last August – the two-time ERC champion kept calm and moved into the lead when long-term pacesetter Nikolay Gryazin was forced out with a double puncture on Saturday’s penultimate stage. Starting Sunday’s final leg with an advantage of 29.7s over Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene, Lukyanuk and Arnautov achieved the perfect blend of speed and caution to win in Poland for the second time, unflustered when their Norwegian rivals cut their margin to 17.4s heading to the deciding stage on the streets of the capital, Warsaw, added to the itinerary as part of the event’s 100th anniversary celebrations. Spain’s Javier Pardo won ERC2 at their first attempt driving a Rally2 Kit-specification Swift R4lly S from Suzuki Motor Ibérica. Finns Sami Pajari claimed the ERC3 laurels in a Ford Fiesta Rally4 built by M-Sport Poland in Kraków. In ERC Junior, which is for Rally3 cars on Pirelli tyres from 2021, Jon Armstrong came out on top driving M-Sport Poland’s history-making Fiesta Rally3. Pajari was first to finish in ERC3 Junior with Paulo Soria triumphing in the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT, the all-new arrive-and-drive series for MICHELIN-equipped Renault Clio Rally5s. Dariusz Polo?ski won the Abarth Rally Cup, while the first ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives were handed to registered young stars in Rally2 cars.

Rally Liep?ja (July 1-3): Nikolay Gryazin became the Rally Liep?ja hat-trick hero following his victory on round two of the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship season. Gryazin, who also won Latvia’s ERC counter in 2017 and 2018, led the high-speed event from the opening stage to claim a hugely impressive triumph alongside co-driver Konstantin Aleksandrov in a Pirelli-equipped Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. He finished 17.3s ahead of Craig Breen, who claimed Team MRF Tyres’ first podium in the ERC in second with Alexey Lukyanuk extending his ERC title lead to nine points in third place for Saintéloc Junior Team after the Russian overtook Rallye Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena on Saturday’s opening test. Llarena, the leading ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory finisher, took fourth with Toksport WRT’s Andreas Mikkelsen fifth in another Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo and the best of the Rally Liep?ja newcomers. After finishing third on his home round in Poland last month, ORLEN Team’s Miko Marczyk continued his strong run of form in sixth position with Hyundai Junior Driver Ole Christian Veiby marking his ERC return in seventh place, despite power issues masking his ultimate speed. However, the Norwegian was subsequently excluded after his car failed post-event technical checks. Finland’s Eerik Pietarinen moved up to seventh in his older-specification Fabia with Yacco ACCR Team’s young Czech Erik Cais impressing by climbing up from P15 overnight to finish eighth. Chilean Emilio Fernàndez took ninth for Toksport WRT, while Simone Tempestini (Napoca Rally Academy) completed the top 10. Nil Solans (Rallye Team Spain) slipped to P11 due to time lost opening the road for his rivals behind, as Georg Linnamäe, Norbert Herczig (Škoda Rally Team Hungaria), Raul Jeets and Yoann Bonato (CHL Sport Auto) rounded out the top 15. Alberto Battistolli was P16 with Hyundai Junior Driver Grégoire Munster P17 after various delays. ERC Junior winner Ken Torn was a fine P18 overall in his M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 followed by Jaros?aw Ko?tun and Russian Radik Shaymiev. Umberto Scandola rolled his Hyundai Rally Team Italia i20 R5 into retirement on SS8. Fabian Kreim (Pole Promotion) was in the top-six fight when he stopped with damaged suspension on the same stage. Suspension damage cost Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver Callum Devine vital time when a top 10 finish beckoned. Dmitry Feofanov won ERC2 for the first time in his career as Jean-Baptiste Franceschi scored an ERC3/ERC3 Junior double in the all-new Renault Clio Rally4 after M?rti?š Sesks was excluded for a technical infringement. Yigit Timur appeared to have taken an impressive maiden victory in the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT. However, a time penalty for an early check-in following the final stage handed first place to Andrea Mabellini. Dariusz Polo?ski made it back-to-back Abarth Rally Cup wins with Martin Rada second.


ABARTH RALLY CUP CONTINUES TO OFFER SPECTACULAR PRIZES
The search is on for the 2021 Abarth Rally Cup winner – and the recipient of as much as €85,000 in prize money. The one-make series for the Abarth 124 rally on Pirelli tyres forms part of the ERC structure for the third season and provides drivers of various ages, and with differing levels of experience, the chance to compete on international-standard events on gravel and asphalt in the spectacular rear-wheel-drive scorpion-badged sportscars from Italy. Backed up by extensive media coverage, expert technical support and an on-event replacement parts service, Abarth Rally Cup contenders will chase a round-by-round prize money pool of €24,000 per event, plus an end-of-season bonus of €25,000. Because the Abarth 124 rally is built to RGT regulations, Abarth Rally Cup crews are eligible for ERC2 points and the coveted FIA title awarded to the winner of the European championship’s production-based category.

CLIO TROPHY BY TOKSPORT WRT IS GO FOR 2021 ERC
Accessible arrive-and-drive rallying is new for the FIA European Rally Championship in 2021 courtesy of the exciting Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT. Using the Renault Clio Rally5 on MICHELIN tyres as standard, the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT takes place over five ERC events and offers a number of prizes and incentives to competitors. A joint initiative from Renault Sport Racing, FIA European and world title-winning team Toksport WRT and ERC promoter Eurosport Events, the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT uses a format unique to the ERC.

ERC-MICHELIN TALENT FACTORY INITIATIVE SUPPORTS EMERGING STARS
FIA European Rally Championship promoter Eurosport Events is delighted to announce the creation of the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory for the new season. Recognising the achievements of registered ERC drivers aged 28 and under at the start of 2021 competing in the championship in Rally2 cars on MICHELIN tyres, the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory also offers a number of incentives, including special tyre prices on first six events of ERC 2021 with the best performing driver receiving their full tyre allocation for the final two events of the season from MICHELIN. VIP visits to MICHELIN’s Clermont-Ferrand headquarters in France for the three best performing ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory members following the first six events of the season are also provided.

P1 RACING FUELS PODIUM CHALLENGE REWARDS ERC DRIVERS
The P1 Racing Fuels Podium Challenge continues in 2021 and rewards the top three finishes in ERC1 and ERC2 on each round with fuel vouchers that can be exchanged for P1 XR5 race fuel at subsequent events, helping competitors to further reduce the cost of competing. Across both categories, the winning drivers receive 150 litres of fuel, while the second and third placed drivers receive 100L and 50L respectively.


RALLY DI ROMA CAPITALE TALKING POINTS
*Last year’s winner Alexey Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 Rally2) aims to defend his FIA European Rally Championship lead fresh from heroically winning the WRC3 category on Rally Estonia ahead of WRC2 winner Andreas Mikkelsen, who is seeded number two for his Rally di Roma Capitale debut in a Toksport WRT-run Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo.
*ORLEN Team’s ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory member Miko Marczyk makes his second Rome start on the back of a third Polish championship event win on last weekend’s asphalt-based Rajd Nadwi?la?ski.
*Nikolay Gryazin won Rally Liep?ja and will look for a confidence boost in Rome after crashing out of the WRC2 fight on Rally Estonia. The Latvia-based Russian has previous Rally di Roma Capitale experience to call upon, as does Rallye Team Spain’s emerging star Efrén Llarena. But while Llarena has some stage knowledge, he’s never driven his Fabia on Tarmac before.
*Ireland’s Craig Breen starts Rally di Roma Capitale for Team MRF Tyres on a high after finishing second overall on Rally Estonia and the previous ERC round, Rally Liep?ja.
*Former event winner Simone Campedelli returns to the Team MRF Tyres’ attack for his home round of the ERC (see ERC Q&A below for more information).
*Although Rally di Roma Capitale is all-new for Nil Solans, the Rallye Team Spain ace’s asphalt pedigree is not in doubt.
*Czech Erik Cais revved up for his return to Rome by finishing second to Simon Wagner on the Austrian championship Rallye Weiz last weekend in his Yacco ACCR Team Ford Fiesta Rally2.
*Four-time Hungarian champion Norbert Herczig (Škoda Rally Team Hungaria) is a known force on asphalt, as is CHL Sport Auto Citroën driver and Roma rookie Yoann Bonato from France.
*Umberto Scandola is a two-time Rally di Roma Capitale winner and heads the Hyundai Rally Team Italia challenge, which also includes defending Italian champion Andrea Crugnola, a winner of no fewer than 19 Rally di Roma Capitale stages in the past.
*Other top national drivers chasing ERC success in Rome include current Italian championship leader and former ERC3 Junior driver Fabio Andolfi, Tommaso Ciuffi, Damiano De Tommaso, Andrea Mazzocchi and Giacomo Scattolin.
*Giandomenico Basso has two ERC titles and two Rally di Roma Capitale victories on his impressive CV and returns to Škoda power after competing in a Volkswagen Polo last season.
*Italy-born Romanian Simone Tempestini is a five-time national champion and a member of the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory, while fellow Škoda driver Alberto Battistolli continues to show promise.
*Rachele Somaschini is back on ERC duty having stepped up to Rally2 level in a Citroën C3 for 2021.
*Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy-backed Callum Devine counts on Ford Fiesta power for his second Rome start. Compatriots Josh McErlean and Pauric Duffy compete in Hyundai i20 R5s.
*ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory member Grégoire Munster starts Rally di Roma Capitale for a third time hoping for a change of fortune following a luckless start to his ERC season. He’s joined on the entry list by fellow Hyundai Junior Driver Ole Christian Veiby, a Roma newcomer.
*Rapid Spaniard Iván Ares (Hyundai Ares Racing) makes his first start in Rome after finishing second on Rally de Ourense in his homeland last weekend. He took an ERC podium double on asphalt in 2020.
*Rome resident Albert von Thurn und Taxis makes a welcome return to ERC action, while Jaros?aw Koltun, Aloísio Monteiro, Luis Vilariño and Igor Wid?ak continue their respective ERC adventures.
*Dominik St?íteský is highly rated in his native Czech Republic and is using Rally di Roma Capitale to make his ERC debut.
*Dmitry Feofanov moved to the top of the ERC2 title table with his first category win on Rally Liep?ja. Reverting back to his Rally2 Kit-specification Suzuki Swift R4lly S, Feofanov faces opposition for production class success from a host of Roma rookies. They include round one winner Javier Pardo (Suzuki Motor Ibérica), Toyota Yaris driver Victor Cartier, Micha? Pryczek (Subaru Historic Rally Team) and Pardo’s Suzuki-powered team-mate Joan Vinyes.
*Dariusz Polo?ski and the returning Roberto Gobbin are contenders for Abarth Rally Cup success, while Csába Juhasz returns to Rally di Roma Capitale in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X after taking part last season in a Renault Clio R3T.
*The ERC Junior fight for drivers under 28 in Rally3 cars on Pirelli tyres is between Ford Fiesta Rally3 runners Oscar Solberg and Ken Torn, who won ERC3 Junior in Rome last season.
*Finn Sami Pajari makes his Roma debut leading ERC3/ERC3 Junior and the FIA Junior World Rally Championship following his category success in Estonia last weekend.
*Rallye Team Spain’s Pep Bassas provides strong opposition in ERC3, while Germany’s Nick Loof returns to Rome having scored ERC3 Junior podiums in Poland and Latvia. Loof, who recently celebrated turning 20, completed the Rally di Roma Capitale recce last year but has yet to tackle the event’s asphalt stages in anger.
*Renowned asphalt ace Jean-Baptiste Franceschi, from France, took an ERC3/ERC3 Junior win double in Latvia in Renault’s all-new Clio Rally4. Norwegian Ola Jr Nore partners Franceschi at Toksport WRT in a second Clio Rally4. Multiple ERC3 event winner Florian Bernardi is also Clio Rally4-powered for his eagerly-anticipated category return.
*Romanian Norbert Maior will be one to watch in a Peugeot 208 Rally4, while Martin László finished third in ERC3 on his Roma debut last season and favours asphalt over gravel. The Hungarian finished two places ahead of compatriot Adrienn Vogel, the top female scorer in ERC 2020.
*Rallye Team Spain’s Alejandro Cáchon is back on ERC3 Junior duty after non-starting in Liep?ja where Amaury Molle and Daniel Polášek both scored well. However, out of the trio, only Molle has previous Roma experience. ?ukasz Lewandowski battled back from rolling his Opel Corsa Rally4 to score ERC3 points in Latvia.
*Rising Italian star Andrea Mabellini is on a mission to top the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT order for the second event running, but Turkey’s Yigit Timur is keen on revenge for his Rally Liep?ja time penalty heartbreak. Paulo Soria, from Argentina, and French pair Bastien Bergounhe and Ghjuvanni Rossi complete the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT entry in their identical Clio Rally5s run on MICHELIN tyres.

ERC Q&A: SIMONE CAMPEDELLI
A former Rally di Roma Capitale winner, the rapid Simone Campedelli returns to Team MRF Tyres for his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship, which he’ll contest in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 alongside co-driver Tania Canton.

How much of a challenge is Rally di Roma Capitale for a driver?
“It’s not an easy rally, we have lost some stages that were really, really tricky like Pico, but for sure it’s still demanding. Losing the stages in the lower part of the region like Pico and Roccasecca means we have lost the hard-grip stages we had on this rally. In the other areas around Fiuggi, the surface is a bit more shiny with medium-grip Tarmac. Fortunately, we make this rally in July when we expect really good weather. You can use quite a hard set-up because you don’t have so many corners where you can cut. Because the two days are quite similar in terms of the surface, the set-up is a bit easier to achieve.”

To what extent will your previous event knowledge help you?
“I have a good experience of the kind of roads we have on this rally and some nice memories. But for sure there are changes. They make some stages longer, like Guarcino, there are some completely new stages and we left Pico. But when you know some of the roads you have an advantage in order to set up the car, you remember the procedures that you actuated in the years before and it’s a bit easier. You remember the bad places, the places where you can go flat out.”

How much knowledge do you have of your Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 on Tarmac?
“Even though we’ve done eight events in the Polo now, we’ve only done Rallye Sanremo on Tarmac after a last-minute opportunity from Sparco. I had the possibility only to make shakedown in dry conditions and the rally was wet. But we are positive because we have a test session before the rally where we will discover the MRF tyre on Tarmac. For sure we don’t start from nothing because we already know the characteristic of the car and after Sanremo I am a bit more calm about discovering the car.”

What do you think about the all-new Caracalla ACI Roma stage right in the heart of Rome?
“As a rally driver you always focus on the ‘real’ rally because the stages are really demanding. But from my point of view this is something we need in our world to get more people involved and passionate about rally. Like we say in Italy, ‘we need the bread every day’ and we have to create an atmosphere to help with the promotion and the visibility. I am happy the rally goes directly to downtown Rome.”

Will the high ambient and ground temperatures present a significant challenge, particularly to crews not from Italy contesting the event for the first time?
“For sure it can be really, really warm. But there not the really long stages like we had in 2017 and the drivers competing in the ERC are all really prepared for the high temperatures because they are at a certain level [of fitness]. I don’t think it will be a big factor but for the concentration and to achieve a good, consistent pace it’s important to drink a lot and prepare in the right way.”

As an Italian, what does it mean to you to be competing in your own country in the ERC?
“Driving in your home country is always beautiful but what is really beautiful is Rome because this rally is considered by the national TV channels and it’s really popular in the media. It’s a rally where you can show your speed, but the approach is the same as every rally although it’s an opportunity to show your skills with the other ERC drivers. The ERC always has a big appeal.”

You are part of the Team MRF Tyres’ line-up. What do you think of the potential and progress that the company is making in terms of tyre development?
“Last year when I met Vivek Ponnusamy and we started working together it was hard to imagine that they were so good in Rome, where they showed already a really good pace for such a new company. I’ve always felt from their side a big passion but a big strength. They want to reach the maximum level in rally and they are getting all the pieces of this puzzle to make it happen, like, for example, getting one of the best development drivers, Paolo Andreucci, who has a really good knowledge. I also have a really big experience and success. I will bet on them and I would like to see where they can get to. There is a lot of trust on both sides, they wanted somebody with their own personality who will say what they mean. They are just a few people at the moment, but everyone speaks in the right way and in one year they have won stages in the ERC with Craig Breen, Andreucci has won one rally in Italy and I’ve taken three podiums so it’s already a big achievement.”

Entry List

Posted: July 22, 2021 3:19 PM

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