Sun 21 Jan 2024

Moments that made ERC 2023 great: Daprà does it on the final stage in Fafe

Roberto Daprà reversed an overnight deficit of 1min 43.1sec to score his maiden FIA ERC4 victory as Ernesto Cunha tried but was unable to maintain his once comfortable margin on Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto last March.

Portuguese driver Cunha excelled during the rain-hit opening leg of the first event of the 2023 FIA European Rally Championship season with three stage wins as Italian youngster Daprà made gaining experience his focus following a tyre-damage delay.   

But Cunha’s lead would soon unravel after the SS11 watersplash during leg two as his co-driver Carlos Magalhães explained afterwards. “The first stage was not big attack because we had time enough to manage but on the second stage after the watersplash on a tight right corner the windscreen became completely foggy and we see nothing, we went off. The front-left tyre came out of the rim and we went to the end of the stage like that. We also had a small problem with the brakes and again on the third stage.”

Cunha returned to the midday halt in Fafe 19.4sec in front of Daprà, who would then close to within 4.3sec of the Portuguese leader with just the Power Stage remaining. And by going 13.285sec faster than his rival through the rally’s deciding 14.9 kilometres, it was then 21-year-old Daprà who triumphed by 9.0sec.

“Today was so much better than yesterday,” said Daprà. “We were 1min 43sec behind Cunha and then it became around 20sec [at the midday service] so we are really happy for the pace and now we are going faster than yesterday and pushing more. Our focus was still to finish the race and gain some points for ERC4, we didn’t want to take any risks or something that can lose time. I’m very happy because we said today that we must do our best in every condition and this is what we did.”  

Daprà’s first place in Fafe would prove significant for the ACI Team Italia ace and his co-driver Luca Guglielmetti in more ways than one. The points they scored on the Portuguese season opener made the difference as they become ERC4 champions for 2023 on the Rally Hungary season finale last October.

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