ERC Junior graduate Crugnola begins Italian title defence
Andrea Crugnola, who battled Stéphane Lefebvre for the inaugural FIA ERC Junior Championship title in 2014, has started the defence of his Italian crown on this weekend’s Rally Il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio.
Switching from Citroën to Hyundai power for 2021, Crugnola has also notched up multiple European Rally Championship stage wins through front-running appearances on the ERC-counting Rally di Roma Capitale in recent seasons.
Peletto-backed Crugnola, who will continue his partnership with co-driver Pietro Ometto, has begun his campaign in a Pirelli-equipped Hyundai i20 R5 but is set to switch to the all-new i20 N Rally2 following the car’s planned homologation in the summer, potentially in time for Rally di Roma Capitale, which is scheduled as the fourth round of the ERC season from July 23-25.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Operations Leader, Andrew Johns, said: “Hyundai Italia have done a superb job of bringing together a team and driver combination under the Hyundai Rally Team Italia name that is clearly capable of winning the Italian national championship.”
Giandomenico Basso, the double European champion, is seeded two for Rally Il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio. Craig Breen, a five-time ERC event winner, starts number 12 in another Hyundai i20 R5, one place behind Hyundai World Rally Championship team-mate Thierry Neuville.
ERC regular Albert von Thurn und Taxis is entered in a Baumschlager Rallye & Racing-run Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, while other drivers with recent ERC experience competing on the asphalt event include 2019 ERC1 Junior champion Filip Mareš and ERC3 Junior points-scorer Rachele Somaschini.
Erik Cais, who was announced earlier today as the first member of the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory, will also be in action.