Gustavo Saba wins FIA CODASUR Rally Championship with victory at the Rally del Atlántico, while Sylvain Michel finishes his French Tarmac title-winning season with a podium at the Rallye du Var.
Saba storms to victory at the Rally del Atlántico to clinch CODASUR Championship title
Gustavo Saba (title photo above) claimed his fifth successive victory – and with it the Championship title – at the Rally del Atlántico, the final round of the CODASUR South American Rally Championship.
Saba, along with his co-driver Fernando Mussano, dominated this ten-stage, two-leg event, leading after day one ahead of fellow ŠKODA FABIA R5 driver Didier Arias, with his only championship rival, and reigning champion, Diego Dominguez struggling somewhat in third place. And his control of the event continued into the second leg, as three stage wins ensured he took victory and with it the championship title.
Saba went into this event 32.5 points behind, but his maximum score of 73.5 points ensured he was crowned champion by a margin of 5 points.
It is Saba’s fourth win in the CODASUR Championship and his first in a FABIA R5. His last victory, back in 2013, was in a FABIA S2000. It was also the sixth successive time a Paraguayan driver has won the championship title; a proud moment for a rally-mad nation.
Saba’s fellow Paraguayan and FABIA R5 driver Didier Arias finished this event in 2nd place, 2 minutes behind his rival and compatriot. Ably supported by co-driver Hector Nunes, Arias secured his second podium finish from two CODASUR events this season, after a 3rd place result at the Rally Trans-Itapúa back in April.
The focus of both Saba and Arias now turns back to their domestic championship, as they both compete to see which will be crowned Paraguayan Rally Champion. That will be decided by the outcome of the final round of that Championship, the Rally de la República, which was postponed earlier this month because of heavy rain and is now scheduled for two weeks’ time.
NEWS IN BRIEF
- French Tarmac Rally Champion Sylvain Michel completed the season with a 3rd place finish for Team 2C Yacco at the Rallye du Var. They made a slow start but despite a puncture recovered well to finish just 1 minute 42 seconds behind the eventual winner. The result ensured their title was won by a margin of 68 points. Meanwhile, Pierre Roché / Martine Roché finished 5th here to end the season in 3rd place in the Championship, while Matthieu Margaillan / Mathilde Margaillan ended this rally in 7th place.
- Vincent Verschueren emerged victorious at the 6 Uren van Kortrijk in Belgium. Alongside regular co-driver Veronique Hostens, Verschueren clinched the win by a margin of just 2.1 seconds. The other ŠKODA FABIA R5 taking part, driven my Melissa Debackere / Cindy Cokelaere, finished in fourth spot, missing out on a podium place by just 20 seconds.
- The Tuscan Rewind – Moderno proved to be a hugely successful event for the Car Racing team. Their FABIA R5s secured a ‘1-2’ result for the team, with Alessandro Taddei / Andrea Gaspari claiming the win ahead of Vanio Pasquali / Franco Allegrini in this one-day, ten stage rally which took place in the Tuscany region of Italy.
- Elsewhere in Italy, at the Rally della Ciociaria, Emanuele Giannetti / Dany Moro narrowly missed out on victory in their ŠKODA FABIA R5. They finished in 2nd place, 13.7 seconds adrift, but having also incurred a 10 second penalty.
- In Croatia, at the Rally Show Santa Domenica, Péter Ranga / Tamás Szöke narrowly missed out on victory too, after finishing runners-up, but just 0.9 seconds behind the eventual winners.
- The Rally Lamias in Greece, which is the Greek Asphalt Cup Final, was beset by bad weather throughout its two days. This forced the retirement of Diamantis Tzampazis / Giorgos Polizois whilst in 2nd place and pushing hard for the win. But the eventual victors were also piloting a ŠKODA, as Panagiotis Kampilis / Marios Tsaoussoglou took the win in their FABIA S2000.