Mon 12 Feb 2024

Mabellini hoping to be great on all eight in ERC

Andrea Mabellini is getting set for a great eight in 2024 after landing a full-season FIA European Rally Championship campaign with Team MRF Tyres.

Mabellini emerged as one of the ERC’s brightest prospects in 2023 by scoring points and winning stages during his first season at Rally2 level. He was also voted the FIAERC.com’s Most Improved Driver of 2023 via an online poll.

 

After budget issues forced him to miss the final two rounds of the ERC season, Mabellini switched his focus to events closer to home and won Rally Monza, the Italian championship finale, last November.

 

The event gave Mabellini and co-driver Virginia Lenzi a first taste of the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 the duo will use to contest all eight ERC events in 2024 with the support of MRF Tyres.

 

“We will be racing with MRF Tyres for the full eight rounds and that will be fantastic,” said the 24-year-old Italian. “The ERC is a great championship and it’s important to be a part of this having started in Rally5 and now we are in Rally2. We are glad for the people who support us like MRF, our sponsor, and all the people who are helping us and to have the possibility to prove our talent, Scuderia Mirabella Mille Miglia, Northon Racing and also Delta Rally. It’s very important to have the possibility to prove our talent.”

 

“I already tried the car in Monza [last November] when we won the Italian championship final race so it’s a great car. For the ERC will be much more difficult. But we will see.”

Mabellini stepped up to the European championship’s top tier for 2023 after finishing runner-up in ERC4 and third in Junior ERC the previous season.

 

“Last year was difficult because it was our first year in Rally2 but I hope this year will be different,” Mabellini said. “We will work even harder than the previous year because of how we are preparing the season and how MRF is preparing the season. Everything is going by the plan so it’s nice, it feels very good for us.”

 

“For sure we have to have some results at the end of the rally, not just special stages like last year or some Power Stage wins,” Mabellini continued. “For us it will be important to prove that we have the possibility to go and be fast and to be on top of the category. We have new events, but we have five Tarmac events. It’s not easy but it’s easier for us because we have much more experience on Tarmac."

Mabellini highlighted the key role his co-driver and partner Virginia Lenzi, 25, performs.

 

“Virgi will always be by my side,” Mabellini said. “We always said it’s half a job for me and half a job from her because I am 100 per cent sure she is making everything perfectly and I am trying to do also the same. It’s very important to have her by my side, inside the car and outside the car. She knows me perfectly, she knows when I breathe and what I am thinking. It’s also important at the beginning of the stage to calm me down or to push me a little bit.”

 

Rally Hungary hosts the ERC season-opener from 12 - 14 April.

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