Tuesday | 09 Aug 2022

Rome success lifts weight from Monarri's shoulders

Suzuki Motor Ibérica driver Alberto Monarri was relieved to get his first ERC Open win of his career at last month’s Rally di Roma Capitale.

The Spaniard joined the two-car Swift R4LLY S squad at the beginning of the season but was plagued by mechanical problems in the Azores, Canary Islands and also in Poland. 

Work was carried out on Monarri’s car before last month’s asphalt fixture and he beat team-mate Joan Vinyes by 20.6sec to record victory in the ERC Open category as well as finishing 21st overall. 

“I really needed this result of course for myself, but also for all the team,” Monarri told FIAERC.com. “Everybody has been working very hard all year and the luck was not coming to us. 

“But now I am very happy - I really needed this win and now we have to look forward to the Barum Czech Rally and I hope we can continue the same way.”

The three-day fixture was a real test for man and machine, with ambient temperatures peaking 40 degrees centigrade at some point over the weekend. 

Monarri explained the challenges involved with maintaining performance throughout the rally - especially on a 32km test such as Rocca di Cave - Subiaco. 

“It was really hard,” he admitted. “There were some very long stages and maybe the worst temperatures for rallying - it was maybe 44 degrees at times. 

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“You have to stay very focused in conditions like that because, with the heat, your performance can go down and when you are near the finish of the stage you can lose a little bit of concentration. 

“The car took everything perfectly and we didn’t have any problems with the tyres or the brakes or anything. The only issue was with the pop-off valve on the first loop of Saturday but we changed it in service and after that it was no problem.”

Suzuki is expected to field two cars for Monarri and Vinyes at Barum Czech Rally Zlín later this month (26 - 28 August). The entry list will be released next week.