Home hero Basso edges closer to first ERC win in six years
Giandomenico Basso is just two short superspecial stages away from a first FIA European Rally Championship win in six year, the two-time ERC champion leading Rally di Roma Capitale by 20.8s.
After a one minute penalty for Alexey Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Racing) demoted the Russian to third place, Simone Campedelli (Orange 1 M-Sport Rally Team) became Basso’s primary challenger.
What seemed a comfortable lead was suddenly transformed into a tense afternoon loop when Basso missed a junction on Rocca Santo Stefano and lost around 24 seconds.
“In the previous test I made a mistake at a crossroads. I lost the reference, I must have closed my eyes from sweat, I lost [a few] seconds and I couldn’t turn,” explained Basso.
“Everything’s OK. I’m usually used to attacking than defending myself. It is more difficult to defend.”
Campedelli is on course to score a debut podium for the brand new M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5, and has a comfortable 42.8s advantage over Lukyanuk in third.
But Lukyanuk’s potential podium is under threat, with a rapidly recovering Andrea Crugnola only one second behind in fourth, with just two runs of the 1.1 kilometre Ostia superspecial to go.
2014 ERC3 Junior vice-champion Crugnola was held up by a puncture he was forced to stop and change on stage four but has been dominant otherwise, winning 11 out of 14 stages so far.
Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) is on course for a second consecutive ERC1 Junior victory in fifth place, unable to keep Crugnola at bay but with a comfortable 19.1s advantage over Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) behind.
ERC1 Junior points leader Ingram leads Norbert Herczig (MOL Racing Team) by 3.7s in their battle for sixth place, with Mārtiņš Sesks (LMT Autosporta Akadēmija) seventh overall and completing the ERC1 Junior podium.
Umberto Scandola (Hyundai Motorsport N) and Vojtěch Štajf (ACCR Czech Rally Team) complete the top 10.
Ken Torn is two stages away from a third ERC3 win in a row in only his second event on asphalt, while Dariusz Poloński (Rallytechnology) is all set for ERC2 and Abarth Rally Cup victory, leading after SS13.