Polonski wins ERC2 as Rome podium battle takes final twist

Polonski wins ERC2 as Rome podium battle takes final twist

22.07.2019: FIA European Rally Championship 2019, Round 5 of 8 Rally di Roma Capitale leg two 21 July 2019 Dariusz Poloński wrapped up a maiden win in both the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category and in the Abarth Rally Cup, but a close

FIA European Rally Championship 2019, Round 5 of 8
Rally di Roma Capitale leg two  21 July 2019





Dariusz Poloński wrapped up a maiden win in both the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category and in the Abarth Rally Cup, but a close fight for second took an unexpected late turn.


Poloński had taken the lead after Andrea Nucita, who had led for most of Saturday, retired after stage five and didn’t look back, bagging vital points over his rival in his pursuit of the Abarth Rally Cup title. Behind Poloński, a late battle was brewing between Loran SRL team-mates Nucita and Zelindo Melegari.


Nucita was the class of the ERC2 field, using home advantage and familiarity with the Abarth 124 rally to great effect to win almost every stage. Rather than sit back on his return on Sunday, Nucita pushed to the limit to catch Melegari, closing the gap to just 1.1s with two passes of the short Ostia superspecial to go.



Keen to make up the difference Nucita pushed on over the artificial jump in the stage, but broke a driveshaft after a heavy landing and lost precious seconds, the gap between the two ending up at 11.4s. There was late heartbreak for Mshari




Althefiri, who unlike his other ERC2 rivals, was driving a heavier four-wheel drive Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. With the more agile rear-wheel drive Abarths better suited to Rome's asphalt roads, Althefiri had settled into fourth place, only to retire between runs on the rally-ending Ostia superspecial due to a suspected clutch issue.



Melegari now leads the ERC2 standings by 18 points from Nucita in second, who in turn has a single point advantage over rally winner Poloński in third. The tables are turned in the Abarth Rally Cup, however, with Poloński now leading the standings by two points from Nucita.




What’s next? Round 6 of 8, Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 16-18 August:
Ever-present in the ERC since the championship’s streamlining in 2004, Barum Czech Rally Zlín is based in the South Moravian university city, 300 kilometres south of the Czech capital Prague.


It is a Tarmac test like no other due to the bumpy and sometimes broken nature of the road surface. To add to the challenge, several stages feature high-speed blasts through forests and intermittent showers are always possible.


While the weather might be hard to predict, huge numbers of fans follow the action, especially on the opening night-time Zlín superspecial stage. The rally has a long-term contract with the ERC.





 Richard Rodgers, photos DPPI

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/polonski-wins-erc2-rome-andrea-nucita---194515.html

22.07.2019 / MaP

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