Sun 18 Feb 2024

Moments that made ERC 2023 great: Franceschi takes to two wheels

Mathieu Franceschi took taking to two wheels firmly in his stride on the opening stage of BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia last July.

A new addition to the FIA European Rally Championship for 2023, the event’s high-speed rollercoaster roads provided a spectacular playground for the ERC stars and their cars.  

In his first full ERC season, Franceschi was in full-attack mode on the Ölme stage when he approached Simone Campedelli’s stricken car nearing the finish of the 8.09km blast.  

Distracted for a split-second, Franceschi got out of shape through a sequence of fast-paced turns and ran wide on a right-hander, ending up on two wheels as his Škoda Fabia dropped into a ditch. But Franceschi regained control in an instant and reached the stage finish with the ninth fastest time.

“When I saw Campedelli next to the road I lose a bit my focus,” the 24-year-old explained afterwards. “For me it’s completely new this style of road, really fast for sure with a lot of jumps and corners on the crests, a big challenge.”  

BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia marked Franceschi’s final outing aboard his Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo prior to him switching to the latest-generation Fabia RS from Rally di Roma Capitale onwards.   He’d driven his outgoing Fabia to the 2022 French gravel title as well as claiming victory on all 10 events he contested that season, making his incredible save in Sweden even more significant.

“I drove this car since the beginning of last year and I won all the races in the French championship and the title as well so it’s a special car,” Franceschi said after completing BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia in seventh place. “It’s cool to finish the story on the Colin’s Crest stage, now I just hope to keep the car in the garage, but for this I need to ask my boss.”  

RALLY.TV subscribers can watch Franceschi’s incredible save by clicking HERE

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