After facing the first races of the Italian Rally Championship with Crugnola-Ometto and those of the Italian Rally Terrain Championship with Scandola-D’Amore, Hyundai Rally Team Italia is ready to fight also for the FIA European Rally Championship 2021.
The first appointment on the calendar is for the weekend of 18-20 June in Mikolajki, 200 km north of the capital Warsaw, where the 77th edition of Rally Poland will start. In the race that opens the main European series of the specialty, 76 crews representing 25 different nationalities are expected. Among these, 39 at the wheel of Rally2 cars, the top category that also includes Umberto Scandola and Guido D’Amore with the Hyundai i20 Pirelli followed by SA Motorsport. The former Italian champions debut in the ERC with the aim of gaining experience and fighting for the podium soon.
For the 36-year-old driver from Verona and the 49-year-old navigator from Imperia these will all be new races,
completely to be discovered and interpreted. Long rallies with very high averages, where
they will meet the best international crews and the various local champions of the eight stages on the calendar.
“An absolute debut in the European Championship will be a new and exciting challenge for me and for Guido against drivers and cars of the highest level – underlines Umberto Scandola -. Undoubtedly the first goal is to grind kilometers, to know the tests well and then try to increase the pace in the second part of the various stages. Let’s start to have our say and we hope to be able to fight for the podium during the year. The European races have much faster averages and double the mileage compared to the Italian rallies, so it will be necessary to further raise the attention and manage the car and the tires in the best way. In the first races of this year’s Italian Rally Terrain Championship we showed that we have a very fast Hyundai i20 and the return to Pirelli tires also proved to be spot on. We are really curious to find out where we will be able to fit in internationally ”.
The 2021 European Rally Championship includes eight events, four on gravel and four on asphalt, including the Rally di Roma Capitale on 23/25 July. The Rally Poland is run entirely on dirt along 202 km of timed trials for a total of about 870 km of race. Among the main features a hard bottom with fast and bumpy sections and a sometimes variable weather given the latitude of the country. Technically, the participants and the race are comparable to a WRC rally, so much so that in 2017 the World Championship made a stop on these roads, where the Hyundai i20 WRC of Thierry Neuville – Nicolas Gilsoul won.
“The ERC undoubtedly represents a major challenge on an extremely stage
competitive, from a human and technical point of view – says team manager Riccardo Scandola -.
We were looking for new challenges and they wanted to get involved with the best of the specialty and in the last ones
months we decided together with our partners to race in Europe, as soon as we got the
allowed to move and travel. We are aware that the level will be higher than what we have found in some of our national races, but the challenges are at the base
of motoring and we are motivated to grow as quickly as possible also with the help of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing ”.