Scandola ready for "demanding challenge" in ERC
Umberto Scandola, one of Italy’s most experienced and successful rally drivers, will embark on his first FIA European Rally Championship adventure in 2021.
The 2013 Italian champion and two-time winner of Rallye di Roma Capitale, his country’s ERC round, is gearing up for a full-season ERC bid.
Partnered by long-term co-driver and fellow Italian Guido D’Amore, Scandola will drive a Hyundai i20 R5 under the Hyundai Rally Team Italia banner and run by S.A. Motorsport Italia.
The 36-year-old explained why he’s chosen the ERC for 2021. “I like the mix of Tarmac and gravel. Maybe we will pay something because I have never raced on these roads but I hope to do well in the races with a similar layout to the one we find in Italy. Moreover, the ERC is also very popular thanks to the excellent work of the promoter and the media and together with my partners, who operate in some countries where we are going to rally, we felt it was an excellent investment to give visibility to our brands.”
Scandola, who is an entrepreneur in the textile sector, has made seven starts at ERC level and has prepared for a “demanding challenge” as he goes up some of regional rallying’s best drivers. “I am flattered to be able to announce my participation in the ERC together with Guido D’Amore and for this I want to thank all the people who believed in this project and who are supporting us to be at the start in the best way,” said Scandola. “Together with the team and our partners we have decided to tackle this important international commitment with the conviction of being able to have our say at these levels.
“The Hyundai i20 R5 has shown its competitiveness on all kinds of surfaces and it will be up to us to give 100 per cent against high-value crews and official teams. It will be a demanding challenge also because we do not know the races we are going to face, with the exception of Rome where we have won twice. We will be able to rely the technical support of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing. We want to do well in the first races on gravel, a type of surface that I really like, and then evaluate the new [Hyundai i20 N Rally2] that will arrive mid-season with the aim of making the most of all the possibilities we can build. ”
Riccardo Scandola, Team Principal of S.A. Motorsport Italia and Scandola’s older brother, said: “After two years with Hyundai we have decided to aim for the European championship. It will be an exciting challenge for everybody and we will face the best international teams head on with the aim of growing quickly and aiming for the top areas of the podium as soon as possible.”
The all-gravel 55th Azores Rallye is set to open the 2021 ERC season from May 6-8.