Sat 02 Dec 2023

One for the fans: Basso dedicates ERC Greatest Driver recognition to supporters

Giandomenico Basso has thanked FIA European Rally Championship fans after their votes earned him the prestigious ERC Greatest Driver accolade.

Basso, 50, beat Kajetan Kajetanowicz to the honour during the final round of voting on Thursday. The Italian had defeated fellow double ERC champions Simon Jean-Joseph, Dario Cerrato and Fabrizio Tabaton in earlier rounds.  

He said: “I thank all our fans. This result is above all yours because it means that we have succeeded in moving you with our results.  

“The European Rally Championship has always been in my heart and, whenever I could, I did my best to honour this competition. I embrace you and thank you again for your everlasting support.”

Basso, who scored his 32nd ERC podium with the runner-up spot on Rally di Roma Capitale in July, became European champion in 2006 and again in 2009. But he has revealed how he should have been a three-time title winner.  

“My worst ERC moment was probably in Madeira in 2005,” he said. “My co-driver Mitia Dotta and me were leading the race with a 22sec gap on Renato Travaglia. But on the last stage the car died due to a sensor failure. It could have been our first ERC title, we had to wait until the next season.”  

Despite that setback, Basso relished competing on the Portuguese island, once a regular on the ERC calendar.

“Every win in Madeira is a great memory for me,” said Basso, a four-time Rali Vinho da Madeira winner. “I loved that place and the people, so passionate and every year so kind with me. They are huge fans of ours.   

“Another great moment was in Ypres in 2006. It was our second time in Belgium and we had to face Freddy Loix, Bernd Casier, Bryan Bouffier, Patrick Snijers, Kris Princen and many other strong drivers on those so challenging stages. It was a great fight, one of my best wins.”  

The ERC Greatest Driver poll was part of FIA European Rally Championship’s 70th-anniversary celebrations. Basso and Kajetanowicz were among 16 legendary names shortlisted for the online vote.

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