Mon 06 Nov 2023

Rossetti recalls “really, really important” ERC success ahead of greatest driver voting

With voting to decide the greatest driver in the 70 years of the FIA European Rally Championship opening tomorrow (Tuesday), Luca Rossetti looks back on winning the coveted title three times and why the ERC was more important than simply the success he achieved.

Rossetti, now 47, made his ERC debut in 2001, claimed his first championship crown seven years later, then added back-to-back titles between 2010-2011 to become one of only three drivers to be able to call themselves a triple European champion.  

The Italian, still a regular podium finisher on events in his homeland, took 12 ERC wins in 44 starts and relied on Peugeot and Abarth power to claim European title gold.  

Rossetti will go up against legendary Finn, Rauno Aaltonen – ERC champion in 1965 – in the first round of voting, which opens at 11:00 CET on 7 November.

He took time out of his busy schedule running a successful transport and logistics firm to reflect on this ERC career and what being included as one of the ERC’s top 16 drivers means to him.  

“The ERC was really, really important to me, especially in 2008 when the challenge [to win the title] was really tough,” Rossetti said. “Now it’s taken on a real continental size, let’s say, but at the time we were going to different countries and challenging with the local heroes.   

“Every rally was with almost new competitors, the rallies were really long, some were 300 kilometres, so the challenge was not only on the speed but also on managing the different situations. The rallies were also with a different format each time and they were very different from the national rallies I had done.

“It was a big achievement for myself and I am really proud of what I have done around Europe in that time. To win three times the European championship… to win one time, it’s okay, it can happen. To win three times many, many things need to happen.”   

Of his status as one of the’s 16 greatest drivers, Rossetti said: “It means a lot [to be in the vote], absolutely. It means I have done something in rally that at least makes sense of all the time and effort and commitment spent and also because it’s the oldest championship of rallying in the world. One day somebody will talk about what I have done driving a rally car around Europe. For myself it was not only sport, it was a chance, as an Italian guy, to travel around Europe, to meet a lot of people, new cultures, new things that opened your mind.

“Okay the cups, okay the championships but what these experiences leave in me, myself, are forever. While you are competing you don’t appreciate because you are so focused and it’s not easy just to simplify in a few words what the ERC means to me. Sometimes the challenge was not so tough but sometimes it was very tough. Maybe one day I could have the fourth title because there are three drivers with three tiles in the history and I am still young inside, I am like a teenager inside.”

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