Fri 22 Jul 2022

De Tommaso fastest on historic Rome curtain-raiser

Damiano De Tommaso grabbed an early lead at Rally di Roma Capitale after setting the pace on Friday night’s spectacular opening stage in the Eternal City.

Modern-day rally cars met with breathtaking Italian history as Rome’s world-renowned 1,952-year-old Colosseum set the backdrop for the start of the FIA European Rally Championship’s (ERC) sixth round. 

Giandomenico Basso - twice a winner on this event - initially topped the timesheets, but the Hyundai i20 N Rally2 driver was handed a 10sec penalty for jump-starting. He made a similar error on Friday morning’s Qualifying Stage. 

That left De Tommaso in front - the Škoda Fabia Rally2 man edging 2021 runner-up Andrea Crugnola’s Citroën C3 Rally2 by 1.6sec. 

Filip Mareš had initially been De Tommaso’s closest challenger, but the Czech driver pulled over on the way back to service when the front left wheel studs of his Škoda sheared from the car.

“I enjoyed this beautiful stage, but we will see what happens tomorrow,” De Tommaso grinned. “I think it’s going to be a very difficult rally and the stages are very challenging.”

Team MRF Tyres Škoda star Simone Campedelli completed the leading trio just two-tenths of a second behind Crugnola. He had a tenth in hand over Yoann Bonato’s C3, with Ken Torn fifth in a Ford Fiesta Rally2. 

Torn ended the tight and twisty opener 3.1sec off the pace and tied on times with Fabia duo Mārtiņš Sesks and Simone Tempestini. 

Championship leader Efrén Llarena dropped 8.6sec and languishes outside the top 10 at the start of a weekend where he could clinch the title. He opted for a clean and tidy approach to stay out of trouble. 

The stage followed a colourful start ceremony at Castel Sant’Angelo where huge crowds lined the streets to cheer competitors on their way. 

The going gets tougher on Saturday as crews tackle 92.56km of asphalt stages over identical morning and afternoon loops. The two passes are separated by a mid-leg service in Fiuggi.

  • Full coverage from Rally di Roma Capitale will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM