The event in Italy sets the seasonal record of the FIA European Rally Championship, which will be held together with the Sparco Italian Rally Championship from July 28th to July 30th. Over 30 participants in the Zone Rally Cup race.
21.07.2023 - The Rally di Roma Capitale 2023 will kick off with 92 registered participants. The event, organized by Max Rendina and Motorsport Italia, is scheduled from July 28th to July 30th as the sixth round of the FIA European Rally Championship and the fifth round of the Sparco Italian Rally Championship.
It represents the seasonal record for the continental series, featuring a significant presence of Europe's strongest drivers, who will compete against our home aces, always ready to perform well on the roads of Lazio. Many consider this rally to be one of the most technical events on the calendar, and it has been awarded as the best appointment for both series from 2019 to 2022.
Damiano De Tommaso will try to defend last year's victory, driving the Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, this time navigated by Sofia d'Ambrosio. However, the competition will not be easy. Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, currently leading the FIA ERC with one win and four second-place finishes, aim to continue their positive streak behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 N Rally2, entered by BRC Racing Team. Also, an eye will also need to be kept on the outgoing continental champions Efren Llarena and Sara Fernandez (Skoda Fabia RS), who will be the flagship of Team MRF Tyres, alongside numerous crews, including Martins Sesks and Renars Francis, currently second in the championship, also driving a Skoda Fabia RS.
The technical challenge is worth considering too, as all major manufacturers in the Rally2 category will be represented among the 40 cars participating: Skoda, Ford, Hyundai, Volkswagen and Citroen. Italian driver Andrea Mabellini, with Virginia Lenzi as his co-driver, will carry the number #3 on the doors, representing the Indian tyre manufacturer. This will be his fourth time in Rome, and it has been his best season so far. It is also noteworthy that Alexey Lukyanuk is making a comeback with one of the eight new Skoda Fabia RS, but the two-time winner of the Rally di Roma Capitale (2020 and 2018) has been inactive since 2021, which might put him at a disadvantage.
Yohann Bonato and Benjamin Boulloud in a Citroen C3 Rally2, who won the only asphalt race of the series in the Canary Islands this year, and finished third overall in Rome in the 2022 edition, should not be overlooked either. As for the Italian drivers, Andrea Crugnola and Pietro Elia Ometto in a Citroen C3 Rally2 are among the main contenders. They have achieved an impressive winning streak in all the Sparco CIAR races held so far and will undoubtedly try to fight for victory again after a technical issue cost them the lead last year.
Giandomenico Basso and Lorenzo Granai will reunite with the Skoda Fabia RS they debuted at the Targa Florio, while Fabio Andolfi and Nicolò Gonella (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) will also aim to excel in the overall standings. Paolo Andreucci's participation is notable, as the multiple Italian champion will join as a last-minute entry with the new Renault Clio Rally3 of Motorsport Italia, featuring the colours of Team MRF Tyres, and navigated by Rudy Briani.
Among the Italian drivers, Simone Campedelli and Tania Canton are registered in the European series with a Skoda Rally2 Evo, eager to achieve a good result. Alberto Battistolli and Simone Scattolin, with a Skoda Fabia RS, have recently returned to stable footing and are working to regain confidence in defence of ACI Team Italia's colours. Rachele Somaschini, with Nicola Arena on a Citroen C3 Rally2, has a full program in the FIA ERC this year and is actively engaged in promoting and raising awareness about Cystic Fibrosis research with the #correreperunrespiro (run for a breath) project, which has recently also become a book.
The challenges in all the other classes will also be interesting, with many Italian drivers ready for the home race of the continental series, where a lot of them aim to perform well. The Roman event will also be valid for the Italian Rally Junior Championship, the single-make series featuring Renault Clio Rally5 cars, promoted by ACI Sport in technical collaboration with Motorsport Italia. The ACI Team Italia will also be engaged with Daprà-Guglielmetti and Zanin-Pizzol, driving the Peugeot 208 Rally4 cars, which come from the Italian Junior championship.
In the CRZ category, which will take place on Saturday, July 29th only, there are over 30 registered crews (the list will be published shortly) and an important challenge is being prepared for the dynamics of the regional series, which will have its final round at the Rally del Lazio - Cassino, also organized by Max Rendina and Motorsport Italia, next October.
As mentioned, the event will kick off on Friday, July 28th, with Free Practice, Qualifying Stage, and Shakedown in Fumone, before heading to Rome for the highly anticipated prologue in the Eternal City. The cars will arrive around 16:00 at the Mouth of Truth and, from 18:00, they will be escorted in groups of 15 by the Local Police of Rome Capital in what has become the traditional parade through the city centre, ending at the Colosseum. Right by the Roman amphitheatre, at 20:00, the 2023 edition of the Rally di Roma Capitale will begin. From 20:05, the drivers will tackle the redesigned competitive section of Colle Oppio, the first competitive stage of the rally.
The rally will then continue on Saturday, July 29th, and Sunday, July 30th, between Fiuggi and Frusinate, with 12 more special stages, including the very long "Rocca di Cave-Subiaco" stage, over 32 kilometres long, scheduled for Saturday, and the "Santopadre" stage, over 28 kilometres long, scheduled for Sunday. The finish will be in Fiuggi from 18:00 on Sunday. Service Park, Rally Headquarters and Rally Village will be set up in Fiuggi. All the information to follow the event, including maps, schedules, entry lists and details about all the side activities planned for fans, enthusiasts, tourists, and families in both Rome and Fiuggi, is available at rallydiromacapitale.it/visitatori.