Tuesday | 12 Jul 2022

Battistolli plays down home hopes

Italian driver Alberto Battistolli has played down expectations for his home round of the ERC at Rally di Roma Capitale next week (22 - 24 July).

The Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo youngster’s pace has been on an upward trajectory at recent rallies, but he waved away suggestions of a podium push at the championship’s sixth round. 

Battistolli, unlike many Italian drivers, revealed he actually feels more confident on gravel events and admitted next week’s counter will be a learning exercise.

“Actually, Rome is like 600km from my house,” he told FIAERC.com. “I am Italian, so it is my home rally, but I am not so experienced on Tarmac and I think I will definitely struggle a lot more. 

“I think, in Italy, many drivers are more specialised on Tarmac. A lot of them start in karting and circuit racing because you can not drive a car before you are 18 years old. 

“Gravel is not so precise, but I like it because I am not a super precise person,” he continued. “I tend to make a lot of mistakes, and on gravel you can correct things a lot more easily!” 

There’s still a chance Battistolli could secure a championship podium this season, although the 24-year-old insisted his focus remains on development. 

He feels, with experienced co-driver Simone Scattolin alongside, big improvements have already been made and touted the previous round at Tet Rally Liepāja as the pair’s strongest performance to date. 

The duo won the Qualifying Stage and also posted a string of top-three times, but eventually finished seventh overall after overcoming a number of small dramas. 

“This year is all about developing and getting the feeling and experience,” Battistolli admitted. “We are looking forward to next year, and right now it’s all about learning and thinking where I can be. 

“I think, out of all the rallies I have done in the ERC, Liepāja was the one that I felt most confident on. 

“Simone is always telling me to be calm and not to do more than I should do. When the pace notes are good - which they were, even after two passages of recce - we know we can do a good job,” he added.

  • Full coverage from Rally di Roma Capitale will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.