Sat 25 Nov 2023

Semi-finals up next for ERC Greatest Driver final four

The ERC Greatest Driver semi-final line-up is fixed with Giandomenico Basso, Kajetan Kajetanowicz, Fabrizio Tabaton and Sobiesław Zasada in contention for the FIA European Rally Championship’s ultimate recognition.

With 10 ERC titles between them, Basso, Kajetanowicz, Tabaton and Zasada made it through from the round of 16 and then progressed from the quarter-final stage after topping their respective fan voting on each occasion.  

The first semi-final on Monday is an all-Polish head-to-head between triple ERC champions Kajetanowicz and Zasada. Semi-final two on Wednesday is an Italian-only contest between Basso and Tabaton, who both became European champion twice.  

The ERC Greatest Driver semi-finalists  

Giandomenico Basso: Still going strong after ERC title double
Giandomenico Basso might have turned 50 earlier this year but he’s still going strong with his second-place finish on July’s ERC-counting Rally di Roma Capitale proof that his pace remains potent. European champion in 2006 and again in 2009 driving for the factory Abarth team, the Italian was a rapid exponent of Fiat’s Punto Super 1600 before he stepped up to the Super 2000 equivalent.

Route to the semi-final:
Round of 16 versus Simon Jean-Joseph: Wins with 75 % of the vote
Quarter-final versus Dario Cerrato: Wins with 97 % of the vote

Kajetan Kajetanowicz: Three-in-a-row from the Polish prince who became King Kajto
While three drivers have won the ERC title three times, only Kajetan Kajetanowicz has achieved the feat consecutively, the Pole locking out the silverware between 2015-2017. ‘Kajto’ emerged as a contender when he scored the first win for an R5 car in the ERC after battling the elements to triumph on Rally Poland in 2013. He celebrated his maiden ERC crown in the Acropolis Rally service park as the event winner after heavy rain prevented the 2015 edition from running its course. He took a second Acropolis victory in 2017, one of seven notched up from 39 ERC starts. He’s since gone on to star in WRC2 and became the inaugural FIA WRC2 Challenger champion on Forum8 Rally Japan earlier this month.  

Route to the semi-final:
Round of 16 versus Jan Kopecký: Wins with 68 % of the vote
Quarter-final versus Luca Rossetti: Wins with 80 % of the vote

Fabrizio Tabaton: S4-tamer was a double European champion
Fabrizio Tabaton tamed a mighty Lancia Delta S4 to win his first FIA European Rally Championship crown in 1986 courtesy of six victories. When he became champion for the second time two years later, he was armed with a Delta Integrale. Although he triumphed just once in 1988, his consistency was key to his repeated championship success. He subsequently enjoyed a career in team management.

Route to the semi-final: 
Round of 16 versus Alexey Lukyanuk: Wins with 53 % of the vote
Quarter-final versus Renato Travagalia: 
Wins with 59 % of the vote

Sobiesław Zasada: ERC’s first triple title winner demonstrated great versatility
So significant was Sobiesław Zasada’s capture of his second ERC title in 1967 – one year after his first – that it earned him the Polish Sports Personality of the Year prize that year. Motorcycle competition actually provided his first motorsport fix until he took up four-wheel competition in 1951, initially as a circuit racer. Zasada, whose third ERC crown came in 1971, would go on to develop his vastly successful Zasada Group business empire, which has interests in property, manufacturing and motoring, amongst others. In 2021, Zasada became the oldest driver to contest a round of the WRC when he entered Safari Rally Kenya aged 91.  

Route to the semi-final:
Round of 16 versus Antonio Zanini: Wins with 76 % of the vote
Quarter-final versus Patrick Snijers: Wins with 73 % of the vote  

As part of the FIA European Rally Championship’s 70th-anniversary celebrations, 16 drivers were originally selected for the ERC Greatest Driver vote with taking a data-based approach to pick out 12 drivers who have won the coveted European Rally Championship at least two times. Four wildcards, based on their impact during a certain ERC era, were also selected. The ERC Greatest Driver, according to your votes, will be revealed on 1 December.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM