The scream of Corrado Fontana and Nicola Arena, winners of the third round of the Italian Rally Asphalt Championship at the Rally della Marca, among the Prosecco hills, still resounds.
The 2020 champion Hyundai i20 WRC duo had been missing for too long, ten rounds in all, from the top step of a tricolor race. He has chosen the 38th edition of the classic Treviso to return to success, which also brings a World Rally Car to excel in this series after three fasting rallies, in practice from last year.
A liberation that allows the Larian to shrug off a rather unfortunate start to the season and, in one fell swoop, to get back in full swing for the title fight, with four more rounds on the calendar.
It was a spectacular Rally della Marca, for two days and 6 special stages in total over 84 timed kilometers. Two time trials on the new “San Lorenzo” stage on Friday evening, also at night, followed by another four on Saturday on the traditional “Monte Tomba” and “Monte Cesen” sections.
Four out of six races won by Fontana, who built most of the success on Saturday. The driver from Como immediately jumped in the lead in the first pass on the selective mountain roads, then consolidated his advantage in the central pass on the famous Cesen descent, the longest stage of 21 km, where he dug the decisive furrow on all the opponents. .
The first in the order was the young Alberto Battistolli from Vicenza, out of the classification for the tricolor, coming from the European Rally. The ACI Team Italia driver sailed by Simone Scattolin on Skoda Fabia Rally2 had won the night test, which allowed him to finish the initial stage in the lead.
Then he showed that he had a great pace despite the lack of confidence on the asphalt and a different pace in his feet, considering the experiences in the international context, but he defended himself in second position up to close at 10.4 ” from the winners with the signing on the last race scratch.
This time Marco Signor and Patrick Bernardi, previous winners of the Marca, are forced to settle for the third step of the podium, who arrived with two second places in the championship. The driver from Caerano San Marco on his Skoda tried to the end, but seeing the WRC of Fontana slip out of his head, which in the mountain tests proved to still have important performances, he was satisfied with the points that allow him to become the new leader of CIR Asfalto, with just 2.5 lengths of advantage over the absent Simone Campedelli, winner of the first two outings.
In addition to the third place, Signor-Bernardi also won the victory for the fourth round of the 3rd Zone Rally Cup.
At the foot of the podium, again, are Giuseppe Testa and Emanuele Inglesi, back in tandem on the Venetian asphalts, always aboard Skoda. The Molisan has shown that he can also play for the overall victory, with a first part of the rally of great impact that saw him even close to the best time on the initial San Lorenzo. Then the difficulties already seen returned, in terms of set-up and tires, in the final phase up to closing in fourth place at 29 ” from the top.
In the final, however, there was no shortage of twists, which involved the placements in points for the big names in the championship. Among these finish racing before the finish line Luca Pedersoli and Anna Tomasi, eagerly awaited on their Citroen DS3 WRC, looking for a rematch after an unfortunate Salento, which also ended with the retirement after a small transfer accident and a subsequent brake problem. .
Similar epilogue this time too, after a weekend that started well and complicated in the central part, again due to problems with the brake pump that prompted the rider from Brescia to step aside for a test from the end, when he was seventh overall. Worse went to Corrado Pinzano and Marco Zegna on Volkswagen Polo Rally2, the great protagonists of a morning on the Tomba and Cesen which propelled them into the fight for fourth place until the last lap.
Then, before entering the last “Monte Cesen”, the Biella-born imitated Pedersoli by detaching the rear right in a transfer accident against a private truck, which left no particular consequences except those of the very bitter retirement.
Also in this round Andrea Carella climbs some positions with Luca Guglielmetti on the notes on the Skoda Fabia Rally2. The Piacentino, however, still does not seem to be the one who played for the title in the last season until the last round.
Al Marca has found the same unsolved problems with tires and setup of his Czech four-wheel drive that force him to do an apprenticeship in every rally rather than looking for the best time.
The other five positions do not distribute useful points for the Italian Asphalt Rally Championship, rather they reward several local and experienced drivers for the Zone Rally Cup which, among other things, offered a heavy score with a coefficient of 1.5.
Sixth place went to Paolo Benvenuti from Veneto with Jessica Perli on Skoda, who managed to overtake the last special on Schio driver Efrem Bianco, in the same car with Dino Lamonato.
The eighth place overall is worth a lot for the Veronese Federico Bottonio, with Sofia Peruzzi on another Bohemian Rally2, who earns the points to stay in the lead of the CRZ. The list of the top ten is completed by Marco Silva from Lecco with Chiara Brambilla and Venetian Emanuele Zecchin with Nicola Vettoretti, both of whom returned to action after a period of inactivity, also at the wheel of Skoda.
On the other hand, two standard bearers of the tricolor remain outside the points for CIRA. The Reggiano Ivan Ferrarotti, sailed by Massimo Bizzocchi, who suffered more than the other races driving his Skoda and found himself limiting the damage throughout the race.
Twelfth behind him was the Ligurian Francesco Aragno, in his seasonal debut and his absolute debut with a Skoda Fabia Rally 2, paired with Andrea Segir, after so much effort he still managed to cross the finish line and take away from Conegliano a baggage of important experience to continue his championship in the best possible way.
The twentieth and twenty-first positions put on the cover the winners of the Super 1600 classes, Walter Lamonato driver of Valdobbiadene with Beatrice Croda on Renault Clio, the best of two-wheel drive, and of Rally 4 with Andrea Strizzoli from Verona and Valentina Pozzan on Peugeot 208 .
FINAL RALLY CLASSIFICATION OF THE BRAND
1. Fontana-Arena (Hyundai I20 WRC) in 57’22.2; 2. Battistolli-Scattolin (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) at 10.4; 3. Mr-Bernardi (Skoda Fabia R5) at 15.7; 4. Head-English (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) at 29.0; 5. Carella-Guglielmetti (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) at 35.9; 6. Welcome-Perli (Skoda Fabia) at 1’19.1; 7. Bianco-Lamonato (Skoda Fabia R5) at 1’20.0; 8. Buttons-Peruzzi (Skoda Fabia R5) at 1’27.2; 9. Silva-Brambilla (Skoda Fabia R5) at 1’33.7; 10. Zecchin-Vettoretti (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) at 1’35.3;
ABSOLUTE CLASSIFICATION CIR ASPHALT
1. Mr 40pt; 2. Campedelli 37.5pt; 3. Head 26pt; 4. Fountain 24.5pt; 5. Carella 23.5pt; 6. Pinzano 23pt; 7. Ferrarotti 6pt; 8. Gino 4pt; 9. Bishops-Liburdi 3pt; 11. Mass 1,5pt