Double Roma winner Scandola in Hyundai i20 R5 for home ERC round
Umberto Scandola will become the latest top-level driver to compete in the FIA European Rally Championship in a Hyundai i20 R5 when he contests his home round of the ERC from 19-21 July.
Scandola, the 2013 Italian champion, has been added to a Rally di Roma Capitale entry list that’s big on quantity as well as quality.
Partnered by long-term co-driver Guido D’Amore, Scandola follows Jari Huttunen’s recent lead by being entered under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner as a customer driver for what will be his first start on asphalt in one of the Korean machines.
“It’s my first Tarmac rally this year and my first time in the Hyundai on Tarmac so it’s quite complicated and not easy to restart in another car,” Scandola explained. “But we have the assistance of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing so we will be ready. Our target is to go fast, but to go fast we need confidence. But we don’t have to think about a championship, we are free to push if we have the feeling.”
Scandola is focusing on the Italian Gravel championship this season but has form when it comes to Rally di Roma Capitale, winning the asphalt event in 2015 and 2016 prior to its elevation to ERC status.
“I know this rally well, we won it two times,” said Scandola, 34. “Because 80 per cent of the route is the same it’s better for us for the confidence while we get the feeling with the car.”
By driving a Hyundai i20 R5, Scandola is rekindling his previous alliance with Andrea Adamo. The now Hyundai Motorsport Team Director was part of the factory Abarth rally team that gave Scandola his big break outside his native Italy in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge from 2006. “We know Andrea very well,” said Scandola. “He is very supportive, always present with calls and messages. But it’s not only me he’s like this with, it’s all the customer drivers.”
Huttunen, the 2017 FIA ERC3 Junior Championship runner-up, finished second overall on last month’s PZM 76th Rally Poland in a Hyundai i20 R5.
Rally di Roma Capitale starts at the famousCastel Sant’Angelo in central Rome at 19h00 CET on Friday 19 July and features 16 stages over a competitive distance of 203.40 kilometres.