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, ?ukasz 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 Martinš 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.
Source: rally i.e- stories