Fiat is coming back! Seven years after Luca Rossetti won the FIA European Rally Championship in a Grande Punto S2000, a current Italian car has gained another FIA title, when 27 year old Frenchman, Raphael Astier, clinched the cross-championship R-GT series with one event in hand.
The car was an Abarth 124 Rally, the retro-style car styled after Fiat’s official world and European championship cars in the early ‘70s, run by the Marseilles based Team Milano Racing.
The championship was first run in 2015, conceived as a series exclusively for two wheel drive cars in essentially standard specification, on selected well established asphalt events.
On the last three years the series has been won by a driver in a Porsche 997 GT3. This year the chosen events were Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse, Rally di Roma Capitale, Barum Czech Rally Zlin and finally the Rallye Internationale Valais in Switzerland.
Astier scored maximum points on the latest three events. Only once this year, in Barum Czech Rally, has a driver of anything other than an Abarth 124 Rally scored points.
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One week after the success of Astier in the Abarth, Oreca has announced a partnership with Milano Racing involving a new model run.
This incorporates the special rules available under the new M500X cars, and the team is planning to use these cars in national and international competition in 2019.
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24 year old Skoda Fabia R5 driver, Eerik Pietarinen, clinched the 2018 Finnish National rally championship by winning the Enset Oy SM-Ralli, finishing the event ahead of Emil Lindholm and Takamoto Katsuta.
39 year old Fiesta driver, Niki Mayr-Melnhof, became Austrian rally champion when he won the Wechselland Rally, comfortably in front of the Skodas of Johannes Keferbock and Gerhard Aigner.
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This weekend Kenyan Skoda Fabia R5 driver, Manvir Baryan, with Drew Sturrock, won his neighbouring Oryx Energies Rally of Tanzania 2018 and gained his second FIA African rally championship title. It was their fourth successive ARC win of the year.
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Last week Paraguayan Fabia R5 driver, Gustavo Saba, won the 2018 FIA Codasur regional championship for the sixth time when he won the Rally Santa Cruuz de la Sierra in Bolivia, the penultimate round of the series.
He finished the event ahead of Fiesta driver 17 year old Bolivian driver Marco Bulacia. Third was the Maxi Rally VW Gol Trend of Augusto d’Agostini.
The next weekend Bulacia was in Spain, winning their national gravel championship City of Cervera Rally in Cataluna, this time in a Fabia R5, beating the Peugeot 20 T16 R5 of Xavier Pons.
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Miscellaneous news. Top four places for Skoda drivers on the Belgian championship Omloop van Vlaanderen, headed by Kris Princen and Vincent Verschueren.
Some WRC rally teams have recently been in Greece testing for the forthcoming Turkey Rally, in hard and hot conditions expected to be experienced on that event. Toyota has been in Portugal.
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