Umberto Scandola secures third place in Rally San Marino to continue Italian Championship charge, while Desi Henry delights in another British Rally Championship podium.
Umberto Scandola claims third overall at the Rally San Marino
In the fifth round of the Italian Rally Championship at the Rally San Marino, there was a strong performance from Umberto Scandola and his co-driver Guido D’Amore, driving for the ŠKODA Italia Motorsport (title photo above).
Their ŠKODA Fabia R5 finished in third place overall. The Italian championship counts the two legs of each rally as individual races, and after finishing third in Leg 1 and second in the Leg 2, Scandola scored valuable points towards the overall championship standings.
Conditions in San Marino were both hot and slippery making the rally a test for both the drivers and their technicians. And both legs proved to be close-fought battles between the championship’s main contenders.
Scandola pushed hard throughout the rally and particularly on Leg 2, where he was just a few seconds away from claiming a win. But the result leaves him in second place in the Italian championship, just 1.5 points off top spot and with plenty to play for in the final three rallies of the season.
Denis Colombini also performed impressively in his home rally alongside Italian co-driver Michele Ferrara. They finished fourth overall, with a fourth-placed finish in Leg 1, and it was only a mistake on the final stage of Leg 2 cost them a stronger finish there too.
Meanwhile, Luca Hoelbling / Mauro Grassi steered their ŠKODA Fabia R5, run by the Car Racing Team, to a sixth-placed finish overall, just behind a ŠKODA Fabia S2000 driven by Daniele Ceccoli / Piercarlo Capolongo which finished in fifth.
A mention must also go to the Wevers Sports car of German driver Albert von Thurn und Taxis and his Belgian co-driver Bjorn Degandt. Thurn und Taxis is an experienced driver, but more familiar with GT cars than rallying, so his 12th place overall in the ŠKODA Fabia R5 was an excellent performance.
The next round of the Italian Rally Championship, the Rally del Friuli Venezia Giulia, takes place from 26th to 28th August.
Desi Henry secures back-to-back BRC podium in the rain-affected Nicky Grist Stages 100
In the fifth round of the British Rally Championship (BRC) at the Nicky Grist Stages 100, Desi Henry and his Irish co-driver Liam Moynihan continued their excellent recent form with a third place finish. All the drivers endured difficult conditions as rainfall made roads treacherous, and the event was stopped after the fifteenth stage when a major accident required the attendance of all recovery crews.
For Desi Henry, it was his second successive podium place in the BRC and came after an understandably cautious start in the conditions. But as the event went on his confidence grew and he drove with consistency, winning stage 12 and coming second in three more to secure third place.
Just 17 seconds behind Desi Henry in fourth place overall was the ŠKODA Fabia R5 of David Bogie and his new Irish co-driver James O’Reilly. They made a confident start and sat in second place overall after the opening two stages.
But a heavy landing on stage 3 saw them break the intercooler pipe, forcing them to drive slower through both the third and fourth stage, which led to them dropping back to seventh place. They spent the rest of the rally climbing back up the field, but being caught behind slower cars on a couple of occasions saw them wind up in fourth place when the rally was halted.
The other ŠKODA Fabia R5 taking part was driven by Thomas Preston / Jack Morton. Preston had overcome flu before the event, but despite this limiting their preparations, they finished in 10th place overall.
The next round of the British Rally Championship is the Ulster Rally in Northern Ireland, which takes place on the 19th and 20th August.
COMING UP THIS WEEKEND
Tartu, eastern Estonia; 15th to 17th July; 6th round of European Rally Championship; gravel event, 16 special stages, around 211km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA Fabia R5 Teams:
Ralfs Sirmacis / Arturs Šimins (Sports Racing Technologies); Jaromír Tarabus / Daniel Trunkát (T&T Czech National Team); Raul Jeets / Andrus Toom (Sports Racing Technologies); Antonín Tlusťák / Ladislav Kučera (Tlusťák Racing)
Ralfs Sirmacis / Arturs Šimins won the ERC Junior Championship classification here last year.
Pößneck, eastern Germany; 14th to 16th July; 6th round of German Rally Championship; gravel event, 10 special stages, around 137km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA Fabia R5 Teams:
Fabian Kreim / Frank Christian (ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland); Dmitriy Biryukov / Evgeniy Kalachev (TGS Worldwide OU)
Fabian Kreim has two 1st and two 2nd place finishes from first 5 rounds of the German Rally Championship 2016; There was a ŠKODA on the podium at this event last year as Jaroslav Orsák and co-driver David Šmeidler finished third in their ŠKODA Fabia S2000.
Kangasala, near Tampere, south-west Finland; 16th July; Gravel event, 8 special stages, more than 100km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA Fabia R5 Team:
Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (Printsport Oy); Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula (TGS Worldwide OU); Jukka Metsälä / Sari Ohra-Aho
For all three ŠKODA Fabia R5 drivers, this event serves as preparation for the upcoming Rally Finland, which is the 8th round of the World Rally Championship.