Tue 18 Jul 2023

Home win boosts Rome-bound ERC ace Wagner

Simon Wagner warmed up for the expected red-hot FIA European Rally Championship action on next week’s Rally di Roma Capitale with victory on Rallye Weiz in his native Austria last weekend.

The back-to-back national champion completed the challenging Tarmac route with an advantage of almost 30sec for his second win on the Styria-based event, which doubled as a round of the Austrian championship and FIA European Rally Trophy.

Wagner, who placed fifth among the ERC contenders on Rally Islas Canarias in May, said the outing on home soil would help his Rally di Roma Capitale preparations considerably.

“It’s always important to have some serious competition just ahead of an ERC event and, of course, trying to get as much mileage as possible,” the 30-year-old said. “At Rallye Weiz at least two stages are quite similar to the stages from Rally di Roma.”

Wagner will pilot a Eurosol Racing Team Hungary-run Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 on Rally di Roma Capitale, which takes place from 28 - 30 July. His compatriot Gerald Winter will co-drive.

“The event will be not easy for sure as there are a lot of fast local stars as well as some very experienced top ERC drivers and we are definitely missing the knowledge there,” said the Michelin-equipped Wagner. “We have been there just once before, in 2018, in the Junior ERC category when we had to retire with a brake issue in stage three while leading the field. That means we have some good memories leading back then but we also know this event can be demanding with some extra-long stages in the mountains.

“But we are very looking forward to this hot event as the feeling with the new Fabia RS is getting better and the new Michelin tyres are helping us a lot to improve our pace.”

Junior ERC regular Timo Schulz also impressed on Rallye Weiz by taking fifth overall and RC4 category honours aboard his Opel Corsa Rally4. Romet Jürgenson, part of the FIA Rally Star training programme, won the RC3 division in a Ford Fiesta Rally3.

Photos supplied by Simon Wagner

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