Polonski snatches Abarth Rally Cup and ERC2 lead late on
Dariusz Poloński took a shock late lead in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category and the Abarth Rally Cup on Rally di Roma Capitale after title rival Andrea Nucita retired.
Nucita (Loran SRL) used his home advantage to good effect, winning the first five stages of the day aboard his Abarth 124 Rally to build a 3m49s lead in both classes.
His quest for victory was helped by turbocharger and fuel pressure issues for Poloński (Rallytechnology) throughout the day, although the podium order was turned on its head late in the day.
A technical problem halted Nucita and forced him to retire, adding another dramatic twist to the title battle for the Abarth Rally Cup.
“It looks like he has a technical problem with the engine because he stops. It’s a big shame for him,” said Poloński.
Nucita’s team-mate Zelindo Melegari, who has competed in ERC2 with four-wheel drive Group N machinery since 2016, switched to the Abarth Rally Cup for this weekend and is second in both classes, 55.1s behind Poloński.
“It’s good we are at the end of the first leg,” said Melegari. “We are very tired but the car is so much easy to drive compared to the Group N but I have to learn the car and some set-up.”
Mshari Althefiri completes the podium places in his Group N-specification Mitsubishi Lancer. The Kuwait driver is making his asphalt debut and lost time struggling with overheating brakes on the morning loop.