Sun 23 Jul 2023

ERC @ 70: Why Basso still matters 20 years on

Twice FIA European Rally Championship title winner Giandomenico Basso remains one of the sport’s top references – 20 years on from his first victory in the series.

That’s the view of Alberto Battistolli, who is contesting the ERC’s 70th anniversary season this year and can count on Basso for guidance.

Basso, ERC champion in 2006 and 2009, combines driving flat out in the Italian championship with a role coaching rising star Battistolli, part of the ACI Team Italia young driver development programme.

“He comes to the races or we speak on the phone, but he gives me ideas and everything, basically,” said Battistolli, 25. “Of course some weekends it’s different when he has his own race but he’s a great man to have behind us and thanks to him and my co-driver Simone [Scattolin], I’ve done a beautiful growth. Obviously the goals have changed this year [because of my shoulder surgery] but I am very proud of what he has done for me.”

Battistolli was five years old when Basso won his first ERC event, Rally del Ciocco e Valle del Serchio, in March 2003, and was aged nine when Basso claimed ERC title number one in 2006 courtesy of victories in Turkey, Belgium, Bulgaria and Madeira.

“Of course I’m aware of what Giando did in the ERC but he’s still one of the fastest guys in Italy and still one of the fastest in Europe too and we will see that on Rally di Roma Capitale.”

While Rally di Roma Capitale will mark Battistolli’s 20th ERC appearance, Basso is a veteran of 52 ERC starts, with his success tally standing at 20 wins and 31 podiums so far.

Although the four-time Italian champion will turn 50 in September, Basso remains at the peak of his powers in his national championship having scored two second place finishes from three starts in 2023.

Basso and Battistolli will both drive Škoda’s latest-generation Fabia on Rally di Roma Capitale, which takes place from 28 - 30 July and counts for European and Italian championship points.

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