Mon 15 Apr 2024

Franceschi: First ERC podium could have been a win

Mathieu Franceschi reckons he could have challenged for victory after he landed his first FIA European Rally Championship podium in a dramatic conclusion to V-Híd Rally Hungary yesterday (Sunday, 15 April).

The Frenchman started the final leg of the ERC season-opening event in seventh position, 37.6sec down on overnight leader Mikko Heikkilä. But he charged through to the runner-up spot behind Simone Tempestini after he added two more stage wins to the brace he claimed on leg one.  

“It was amazing, almost the perfect weekend,” said Franceschi, who was at the wheel of a Michelin-equipped Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 alongside co-driver Andy Malfoy. “Honestly to roll on stage three and finally finish P2, 17 seconds behind the winner when you lose one minute it’s incredible. And it was demanding having to clean the road a bit [on leg two], I really tried hard not to lose too much time.”  

As well as claiming his maiden ERC podium, 24-year-old Franceschi’s capture of his first Power Stage win means he heads to Rally Islas Canarias next month just four points behind early championship pacesetter Tempestini after he claimed five bonus points.  

“The best time on the Power Stage is five points, a real bonus, and big points for the championship,” the AMD Motorsport driver continued. “It’s really important to get big points early in the season. I’m really looking forward to Canarias now.”

Franceschi’s roll in his own words
After landing his maiden ERC stage win on SS2, Franceschi rolled on SS3, reaching the stage finish with damaged front tyres and a dented Fabia RS Rally2. He explained what went wrong.  

“The first stage [on Saturday] was really nice with my first scratch [stage win] in the European championship,” Franceschi said. “But in the next one we tried to push maybe too much and in a right corner I was too fast, I clipped the bank and we rolled.   

“During this moment we lose 10 seconds maybe but 100 metres after that the front tyres were damaged and it’s why we lose one minute. But it’s part of the game. This year is different, we want to push and we’re only here for that.”

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