Fri 28 Oct 2022

Confidence crucial for Škoda star Battistolli

Alberto Battistolli faced one of the toughest challenges of his motorsport career at RallyRACC Catalunya - Costa Daurada last week.

Weeks prior to the FIA European Rally Championship finale, Battistolli and co-driver Simone Scattolin found themselves recovering in hospital after their Škoda Fabia aquaplaned off the road at Barum Czech Rally Zlín. 

Spain marked the duo’s first time back in competition since the shunt and, unsurprisingly, Battistolli used the event as a learning experience to try and rebuild his confidence. 

An opening stage spin did not help the situation and, although the Italian driver’s improving speed was reflected in the stage times across the weekend, he told a lot of work remains to be done.

“I think I just lacked confidence in myself and everything the car was doing,” he explained. “I was constantly scared of trusting the pace notes and it was a difficult situation for myself and Simone. 

“It was really important for us to complete the rally and yes, we did get to the end, but I was really off the pace. I mean, I’ve never been so off-pace - it was worse than when I first began competing in the ERC.

“I think I’m still lacking something in my head that just needs to click.”

Getting that ‘thing’ to ‘click’ will be the hard part, however Battistolli - who finished seventh in the championship - has a plan.

That plan entails getting winter mileage on his favoured gravel surface before committing to a programme in 2023, which could potentially involve more ERC outings. 

“I’m planning to do some tests and some rallies on gravel because I think that’s the surface I have to go on to get the confidence back within myself,” he said.

“I still have an immense to desire to continue rallying and to enjoy it. For me there is university, there is work and then there’s rally - that’s my blow-off valve. 

“We’re still deciding what to do in 2023. I have no programme confirmed just yet but we will probably do ERC again - or at least some of the ERC rallies - and maybe even a couple of WRC rallies also. But like I said, we don’t know yet and we are still assessing things.”

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