ERC event preview: Rally di Roma Capitale

ERC event preview: Rally di Roma Capitale

13.07.2019: Rally di Roma Capitale Having been put to the ultimate high-speed gravel test in Latvia and Poland, the FIA European Rally Championship drivers kick-off the second half of the 2019 season on the all-asphalt Rally di Roma Capitale in Italy from 19-2

Rally di Roma Capitale



Having been put to the ultimate high-speed gravel test in Latvia and Poland, the FIA European Rally Championship drivers kick-off the second half of the 2019 season on the all-asphalt Rally di Roma Capitale in Italy from 19-21 July.




Essentials



Rally di Roma Capitale
What: FIA European Rally Championship round 5 of 8*
When: 19-21 July 2019
Where: Fiuggi, Ostia and Rome
Stages: 16
Distance: 203.40 kilometres
Surface: Asphalt
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 2 (2017 and 2018)



*Also counting for:FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, FIA ERC3 Junior Championship, ERC2, ERC3, FIA European Rally Championship for Teams, ERC Nations’ Cup, ERC Ladies’ Trophy, Abarth Rally Cup




Recent winners:



2018: Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov (Ford Fiesta R5)
2017: Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Ford Fiesta R5)
2016: Umberto Scandola/Guide D’Amore (ŠKODA Fabia R5)*
2015: Umberto Scandola/Guide D’Amore (ŠKODA Fabia R5)*
2014: Tonino Di Cosimo/Mario Papa (Ford Focus RS WRC 08)*
*Non-ERC event




Overview


Having been put to the ultimate high-speed gravel test in Latvia and Poland, the FIA European Rally Championship drivers kick-off the second half of the 2019 season on the all-asphalt Rally di Roma Capitale in Italy from 19-21 July.



A new addition to the ERC roster in 2017, Rally di Roma Capitale includes a ceremonial start and driving parade which passes a number of the historic city’s famous landmarks, before crews engage in two days of high-tempo competition on 16 stages to the east and west of Rome.



With four rounds run, Łukasz Habaj tops the standings but defending champion Alexey Lukyanuk is fighting back after a troubled start to the season. The Russian’s victory in Poland slashed the gap to Habaj to 11 points ahead of an event he won in 2018 following a tense duel with Giandomenico Basso.




Basso, a double European champion and national championship leader, is one of five Italian talents with ERC priority status competing in an R5 car in Rome. Three-time ERC champion Luca Rossetti and Rally di Roma Capitale winners Simone Campedelli – who will give M-Sport’s all-new Ford Fiesta R5 its ERC debut – and Umberto Scandola – who is entered under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner – are also set for action, as is ERC Junior graduate Andrea Crugnola.



Nikolay Gryazin and Mārtiņš Sesks are taking up their prize drives for winning the 2018 ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior titles respectively, as Chris Ingram and Sindre Furuseth look to follow in their wheel tracks. We two rounds left they are the respective leaders of the ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior championships.



Zelindo Melegari joins the Abarth Rally Cup for the first time as team-mate to category pacesetter Andrea Nucita. Emma Falcón returns to defend the ERC Ladies’ Trophy title she won in 2018.





Rally di Roma Capitale in 100 words



The progression of this exciting asphalt event, organised and promoted by Max Rendina, has been remarkable. Having run for the first time in 2013, Rally di Roma Capitale made its ERC debut in 2017 as Italy returned to the European championship for the first time since 2013 when Rallye Sanremo was on the calendar. 



It proved a big hit with a driving parade through the centre of Rome, a spectacular spectator stage around the Palazzio della Civiltà del Lavoro in the EUR district, followed by two days of action-packed rallying on stages to the east and south-east of the capital.




What’s new for 2019?



With the competitive focus shifting to the Saturday and Sunday, the traditional Friday evening EUR spectator stage isn’t included on a route that's otherwise largely unchanged from 2018, with the exception of the new Affile-Bellegra test on day two. Santopadre-Arpino and the event-closing Ostia Super Special have been adjusted for this year, with Ostia hosting a number of fan-friendly activities.



Changes to the ERC for 2019 include the renaming of the ERC Junior categories: ERC Junior Under 28 becomes ERC1 Junior, ERC Junior U27 becomes ERC3 Junior with continued support from Pirelli. R4-K and RGT cars are eligible for ERC2 points, the Abarth Rally Cup will be contested over six ERC rounds, while Rally Hungary joins the calendar for the first time as the deciding round in November.



Head to head: Basso v Rossetti




Two of the big guns of Italian rallying are also two of the ERC’s most decorated drivers with five European titles and 30 event wins between them. The Italian championship is their focus right now (Basso heads Rossetti by three points) but both would relish winning outright in their capital city.




Form guide: Filip Mareš



The Czech federation-backed promise was already a known quantity on asphalt in an R5 car but his breakthrough ERC1 Junior success on gravel in Poland underlined his star quality, while firing him into outside title contention with two rounds remaining.




How to follow?



On TV and online: Live coverage of selected stages on Facebook. Daily highlights on Eurosport, Eurosport Player. Videos on YouTube. ERC All Access on Eurosport on 23 July. Event highlights broadcast around the world.

Videos, news update and live timing: Available at FIAERC.com

ERC Radio: Live from the end of all stages and selected service park visits. Available at FIAERC.com or download the official ERC App


Social media: Follow the ERC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter








Don’t miss! ERC1 Junior champion Gryazin returns on prize drive


Nikolay Gryazin has confirmed the two rallies he will contest as his prize drives from promoter Eurosport Events for winning the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship in 2018. The Russian, 21, was given the choice of contesting any two rounds of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship and has opted for the asphalt-only Rally di Roma Capitale and Barum Czech Rally Zlín.



Gryazin will receive €50,000 from Eurosport Events for each rally he contests for a total of €100,000 and has enlisted the services of existing team Sports Racing Technologies to run him and co-driver Yaroslav Fedorov in a ŠKODA Fabia R5. Click to view the press release.






Campedelli chosen to give new M-Sport Fiesta R5 ERC debut



Simone Campedelli will have the honour of giving M-Sport’s all-new Ford Fiesta R5 its FIA European Rally Championship debut when he lines up for Rally di Roma Capitale. Winner of the event in 2017, the Italian competes under the Orange 1 M-Sport Rally Team banner in the Italian championship (CIR).



Having won the famous Targa Florio in Sicily back in May in M-Sport’s previous-generation Fiesta R5, Campedelli will use its replacement to chase ERC and CIR points. “I’m so excited,” said Campedelli. “It’s a big chance and Iam so appreciative that M-Sport gives me this opportunity.”




Hyundai power for double Roma winner Scandola in ERC




Umberto Scandola will become the latest top-level driver to compete in the FIA European Rally Championship in a Hyundai i20 R5. Scandola, the 2013 Italian champion, has been added to a Rally di Roma Capitale entry list that’s big on quantity as well as quality.



Partnered by long-term co-driver Guido D’Amore, Scandola follows Jari Huttunen’s lead by competing under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner, albeit as a customer driver. Scandola is focusing on the Italian Gravel championship this season but has form when it comes to Rally di Roma Capitale, winning the asphalt event in 2015 and 2016 prior to its elevation to ERC status.




Six teams battle for ERC Nations’ Cup story


Six teams will battle for success in the ERC Nations’ Cup on Rally di Roma Capitale. ACCR Czech Rally Team I, ACCR Czech Rally Team II, ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team, Estonian Autosport Junior Team, FPAK Portugal Team ERC and Rallye Team Spain are all backed by their respective ASNs or automobile federations to further underline the appeal of the FIA European Rally Championship.





Five facts:




1: Rome’s famous Colosseum, which features on the Roma parade route, is the largest amphitheatre ever built. Construction began in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80.


2: In stark contrast, Rally di Roma Capitale took place for the first time in 2013, joining the European championship roster in 2017.


3: The commune of event base Fiuggi, to the southeast of central Rome, was made famous by its natural spring water and the healing powers it possesses.


4: Rome was one of two European capitals to host ERC action in 2018 with Nicosia home to a stage of the Cyprus Rally.


5: Italy has celebrated 23 European championship triumphs over the years. Giandomenico Basso and Luca Rossetti are both three-time winners.





Richard Rodgers,  photos FIA ERC

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/rally-di-roma-capital-erc-event-preview---194036.html

13.07.2019 / MaP

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