Sun 11 Feb 2024

Moments that made ERC 2023 great: Legend Andreucci shows his class in Rome

Italian legend Paolo Andreucci suffered a rare defeat when he returned to the FIA European Rally Championship on Rally di Roma Capitale in July – but that really didn’t matter.

The 58-year-old was making a one-off, but welcome, return to the ERC on his home event last summer. Rather than compete in a top-tier Rally2 car, Andreucci switched to the fledgling Rally3 class to drive a Motorsport Italia-run Renault Clio on MRF Tyres.  

“It’s a good car but we start the work only on this rally so it’s very new,” Andreucci said at the finish in Fiuggi after coming home in second position in class. “The car is fun, the brakes and gearbox are fantastic. We must do the development, adjust some things and also the set-up with the tyre but we improved.”

Italian champion on 11 occasions, Andreucci placed second to Jon Armstrong, who’d celebrated winning the ERC3 title prior to the rally start in front of the Colosseum in Rome.  

The Northern Irish driver’s performance, in an M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3, left a lasting impression on his veteran rival.  

“He’s a good driver because the stage times are very good and the difference to the Rally2 times is not much,” Andreucci added. “I see in the long stages he is very fast.”  

Armstrong said: “I said to Paolo it’s been a real privilege to go up against him, he’s a legend of the sport. We were quite a bit faster but he had a lot to get his head around.”

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