The Abarth 124 Rally has been in very tough but ultimately rewarding action on the prestigious Rally di Roma Capitale 2018, which counted as the third round of the 2018 FIA R-GT Cup, following on from two legendary rallies as Round 1 was the Rallye Monte Carlo and Round 2 the Tour de Corse.
Three Abarth rallycars were entered on the rally, which has only recently been elevated to become part of the FIA European Rally Championship and is based in Italy's capital city. All three entries endured everything thrown at them but survived to the finish of 15-stage/2-leg rally.
With the 124s being the only entries in the R-GT class the real battle was ‘in house’ and first of the 'Scorpion' cars home was the #30 of Raphaël Astier and Frédéric Vauclare, the pair ensuring they locked down the R-GT class win as well as finishing twenty fifth overall.
However, Astier and Vauclare had worked their way up to an impressive P13 overall, making light of a slow puncture suffered on the first stage, by the end of SS8, before a differential problem with their 124 Rally dropped them back down the order on SS12. “We had some problems with the car, but we won the R-GT, so it's good,” said the Frenchman afterwards.
Second R-GT car home was the #32 entry of Andrea Modanesi and Roberto Mometti. They endured a tough rally with early problems and then transmission issues late on which kept them at the tail of the running order and simply looking to get to the finish and collect points, which they did, reaching the finish line in thirty first overall.
“We are really happy to be here, I want to thank to the whole team,” said Modanesi after the rally.
The final Abarth car home was the #31 of Andrea Nucita and Marco Vozzo; they also endured early problems and were left in a race to survive and collect championship points. After getting a good start and setting the P22 time on the first stage they dropped to the back of the field on SS2.
They suffered electrical and differential issues later on in the rally but brought the car home in P32. “I'm not happy for the result, but it's racing,” said Nucita. “We had some problems during the weekend, that's it.”
The Rally di Roma Capitale counted towards the FIA European Rally Championship and overall the winners were Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov, the Russian crew driving a Ford Fiesta R5. Second place went to a genuine Fiat rallying legend, Giandomenico Basso, the Italian best remebered for his superb exploits behind the wheel of the iconic Fiat Punto S1600 and Abarth Grande Punto S2000 during the last decade.
With no one else contesting the FIA R-GT Cup this year, Abarth drivers hold in the first four places of the classification with three of five rounds now completed.
Leading the points is Astier, thanks to his wins on the two most recent rounds, the Tour de Corse and the Rally di Roma Capitale. His score of 50 points puts him ahead of Nucita, now on 33 points, fellow countryman Andrea Modanesi with 30 points and Frenchman Philippe Gache with 18 points.
Two more rounds of the R-GT Cup remain, the Barum Czech Rally Zlin comes up later this month and finally the Rallye International du Valais will be held in mid-October.
The Abarth 124 Rally has scored twenty four wins in the R-GT category across Europe during the first half of this season, although virtually all those wins have come unopposed. More importantly Scorpion crews have been on the podium in the overall rankings on three occasions with Italians Nucita and Vozzo and once with Romanians Florin Tincescu and Alina Pop.
Photos: Abarth 124 Rally (2018 season)
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