Thursday | 23 Mar 2023

ERC’s Campedelli: “I put my rally in the rubbish”

Simone Campedelli was on course for a strong result on the opening round of the 2023 FIA European Rally Championship until a stage-three off wrecked his hopes in northern Portugal.

Driving for Team MRF Tyres, the 2022 Italian Tarmac champion clocked the sixth fastest time on leg one’s first full stage – despite starting 16th in wet and muddy conditions – but a trip into the ditch on the very next run proved disastrous for Campedelli and co-driver Tania Canton.

The 36-year-old explained what went wrong behind the wheel of his Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo on Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto.

“The first morning started quite well for us considering our road position but, unfortunately, on the second stage there was a bit of confusion at the start,” he said. “We were the first car to go minute-by-minute, but this was not understood by the marshals and I was told to start 10 seconds before [my time].

“I was really confused if I had started at the right time or not and I arrived for the second corner, a big-braking slow left-hander, missed the braking point and slide into the ditch. The spectators helped me, but I lost four minutes and at that point I put my rally in the rubbish.”

Plunging from eighth overall to an out-of-contention 52nd place, Campedelli gave his all to fight back and set several top 15 stage times in the process. But his early time loss restricted him to 23rd at the finish in Fafe.