Monarri on for double success in Abarth Rally Cup and ERC2
Alberto Monarri has a 35.1s advantage over fellow Spaniard Carlos David García in the Abarth Rally Cup on Rally Islas Canarias, and also leads the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category.
The pan-European competition, which features identical Abarth 124 rally machines equipped with Pirelli tyres, produced a tight early lead battle. Abarth Spain pilot Monarri pulled a slim gap after the first two stages, with Dariusz Poloński right behind him.
But when Poloński hit a rock and broke a wheel on SS3, the Rallytechnology driver was forced to retire, narrowing the three-way lead battle down to two.
García’s strong run on Tejeda had put him ahead of Monarri but the positions switched back on the afternoon re-run of Valsequillo, with Monarri reclaiming a slim 1.7s lead.
However, Monarri was given room to breathe when García lost nearly half a minute on San Mateo. A fuel pump failure after SS7 also caused a late scare for García and his Ovrecame Competición team, though he was eventually able to complete leg one.
“It’s been a very good day,” said Monarri. “We had some problems in the morning with the water temperature. The team was looking for that and in the car everything was okay. For all the stages we have to be happy because the car as working perfect, our rhythm was going better so we are confident for tomorrow.”
Andrea Nucita was tipped to be a victory contender pre-event but his rally did not go to plan, a driveshaft failure costing him several minutes on the morning loop and eventually leading to his retirement.
Monarri also leads the ERC2 production category, his light, rear-wheel-drive Abarth very much suited to Gran Canaria’s narrow and twisty asphalt roads.
Azores Rallye class winner Juan Carlos Alonso is second aboard his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, ahead of a similar car driven by Zelindo Melegari and prepared by Neiksans Rallysport.
Melegari had to nurse a turbo issue during the afternoon, but completed leg one to avoid the need to return under Rally2 rules. His team had elected not to replace the turbo, given the amount of time needed to execute the swap would have led to significant time penalties.
Sergei Remennik had been scheduled to compete this weekend but his Russian Performance Motorsport-run car sustained heavy damage in a testing accident, forcing him to miss the rally, although he remained on Gran Canaria to complete the recce.