Sat 25 Mar 2023

Mabellini praises ERC progression opportunities after making Rally2 step

Andrea Mabellini has highlighted the opportunity to progress “step by step” as one of the key benefits of competing in the FIA European Rally Championship.

The 23-year-old Italian made his ERC debut in 2020 and has progressed to a higher level of performance in each of the subsequent seasons.

After winning the ERC-based Abarth Rally Cup (pictured below) in his first year of European competition, Mabellini claimed the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT in 2021 behind the wheel of a Rally5-specification Renault. He then graduated to Rally4 level last season and although he didn’t quite make it three titles in succession, he finished runner-up in ERC4 and third in Junior ERC (then ERC4 Junior) alongside co-driver Virginia Lenzi.

“We started with the RGT, then the Rally5 [pictured below], then the Rally4 and now the Rally2 so we did almost everything, every year is something new,” Mabellini said. “We just miss the Rally3 but time is short and we need to go Rally2 but we are happy the ERC gives you this chance to make progress step by step.”

Despite his lack of experience of Rally2 machinery, Mabellini had made it into the top 10 on Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto earlier this month when he was forced to retire with three stages remaining due to damaged front-left suspension on his MRF Tyres Dealer Team Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo.

“During the first stage of the second loop we hit a rock inside a rail and that was it, broken rim, broken arm of the steering so nothing to do. It was the third corner of the stage and we only lose 30 seconds in the stage. But when we put the new wheel on and start the road section, the wheel was 90 degrees to the left and we knew something was broken. We tried to repair it, but we didn’t have the spare part inside the car.

“It was not easy to finish the rally like this, we are not happy with this, but we keep in mind we had a good pace during the entire weekend and maybe it will be better for Rally Islas Canarias. We are happy with our speed and thanks to everybody who helped us to be here, thank you to MRF Tyres, to our team RaceSeven and our sponsors. It was just a bit of bad luck but next time it will be better.”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
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Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM