Tweede en vierde plaats voor Abarth in Rally del Salento
Het Abarth team doet het nog steeds goed in het italiaanse Rally kampioenschap. In de Rally del Salento finishten de twee Abarths in de top vijf, waarbij Giandomenico Basso tweede werd en Luca Rossetti finishte als vierde, waamee het Abarth team leidt in zowel het rijders- als in het merkenkampieonschap:
A very strong performance from the two factory Abarth drivers, Giandomenico Basso and Luca Rossetti, on the 44th Rally del Salento saw both finishing in the top four, allowing the Scorpion brand to sit astride both the drivers’ and the manufacturers’ standings with three rounds of the Italian Rally Championship (CIR) completed.
Basso turned in another one of his trademark battling drives in the Abarth Grande Punto S2000, maintaining a place at the top of the leaderboard all the way, and with a heroic drive on the penultimate stage of the rally he closed right in on the rally leader, Skoda star Jan Kopecky. However, the Czech driver responded on the final test to claim victory over the Italian by the slenderest of margins, 3.2 seconds.
For Basso, co-driven as usual by Mitia Dotta, it was an invaluable haul of points, which allows him to move into third in the championship standings. The points were much-needed in the title race after Basso placed fifth on the opening round, the Rally 1000 Miglia, having suffered two punctures, and claiming the final step of the podium on the last round, the Rally dell’Adriatico, which was fought out on gravel. It was all the more satisfying as over the last two days Basso also out-fought former Abarth rally star and reigning Italian rally champion, Paolo Andreucci, widely acknowledged as the benchmark driver in Italian rallying. This was especially the case given that Basso is at the wheel of the ageing Abarth Grande Punto S2000, the very first of the new factory-developed breed of ‘Super 2000’ cars and which began its top-level rally career back in 2006 but in recent years has fallen away as the Italian team struggled for budget allocation, meaning recent development and new car build programmes have dried up and Abarth fallen well behind major rivals Ford, Peugeot and Skoda, while Andreucci pedals the Peugeot 207 S2000 which remains a highly competitive machine. With team-mate Rossetti claiming victory on the last round of the series, held on gravel, coupled with Basso’s stunning drive this weekend, these two back-to-back results demonstrate that in the right hands, the Grande Punto S2000 still remains a potent proposition on BF Goodrich tyres on both gravel and asphalt surfaces.
Meanwhile, fourth place for Rossetti this weekend allows the Italian to retain the drivers’ championship lead, his latest points coming of the back of a win and second place garnered from the first two events on the calendar, although with Andreucci finishing one place ahead of him this weekend, the Peugeot driver narrows the Abarth driver’s advantage to three points. After three rallies, “Rox” has 23 points and Andreucci 20, while Basso, the biggest beneficiary in the title hunt this weekend, moves onto 18 points to haul himself firmly into contention.
Rally winner Kopecky, who had collected just a solitary point from the first two rounds (having skipped the Rally dell’Adriatico) moves up to fourth place in the standings with 11 points, equal with leading Italian privateer Renato Travaglia (Peugeot 207 S2000) who was having a strong rally before problems dropped him off the leaderboard on the final stage. Rossetti in fact had to fight back after a puncture on the second stage that left him languishing down in tenth place. He battled back admirably but had a quiet rally by his usual high standards and never looked like threatening the fight for the podium positions. The privately-entered Abarth Grande Punto S2000 of veteran Italian rally legend Gianfranco Cunico meanwhile retired, while the rally also counted towards the inaugural Trofeo Abarth 500 and these machines were in action. Second and fourth place has allowed Abarth to wrest the lead of the manufacturers’ standings, the Italian brand now on 41 points, a cushion of eight points ahead of Peugeot (33). Skoda and Ford are tied for third place with 10 points each, while Subaru (5) is in fifth place. The next round of the Italian Rally Championship will be the Rally San Marino, scheduled to take place on July 2-4, which sends the series back onto gravel roads.
Italian Rally Championship, Rd 3: 44th Rally dell Salento, Final Classification: 1. Kopecky-Stary (Skoda Fabia S2000) in 1 hr 30’30”3 ; 2. Basso-Dotta (Abarth Grande Punto S2000) + 3”2; 3. Andreucci-Andreussi (Peugeot 207 S2000) + 22”8; 4. Rossetti-Chiarcossi (Abarth Grande Punto S2000) + 49”7; 5. Chentre-Pogliano (Peugeot 207 S2000) + 1’19”3; 6. Longhi-Baggio (Peugeot 207 S2000) + 1’20”9; 7. Navarra-Cerrai (Ford Fiesta S2000) + 1’35”7; 8. Perico-Carrara (Peugeot 207 S2000) + 1’59”0.
Italian Rally Championship, Drivers' Classification (after 3 rounds): 1. Rossetti (Abarth) 23; 2. Andreucci (Peugeot) 20; 3. Basso (Abarth) 18; 4. Kopecky (Skoda) and Travaglia (Peugeot) 11.
Italian Rally Championship, Manufacturers' Classification (after 3 rounds): 1. Abarth 41; 2. Peugeot 33; 3. Skoda and Ford 10; 5. Subaru 5.
Nieuws, uitslagen e.d. m.b.t. rally's.
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