Wagner gets Cais ready for ERC Roma with impressive home win
Simon Wagner not only demonstrated his considerable talent behind the wheel by winning Rallye Weiz last weekend – he also helped Erik Cais get up to speed on asphalt ahead of this week’s Rally di Roma Capitale.
Cais was using the Austrian championship round to prepare for Italy’s FIA European Rally Championship counter from July 23-25 and Wagner provided the ultimate benchmark for Czech driver Cais, who finished second in his Yacco ACCR Team Ford Fiesta Rally2.
With spectators in attendance following a relaxation of COVID-19 rules, Wagner and co-driver Gerald Winter took maximum ÖRM points by winning the rally and also topping the order on the points-paying Powerstage in their Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo. They now lead the Austrian championship standings as a result.
And the fans were treated to an epic contest with Wagner battling Hermann Neubauer for the lead throughout the opening leg, while Cais remained firmly in contention with a number of impressive stage times to hold second at the end of opening day, one place ahead of multiple national champion and ERC team owner Raimund Baumschlager.
While leg one took pace in dry conditions, overnight rain made for a slippery final day. With Neubauer out, Wagner eased his pace ever so slightly but still traded stage wins with Cais, who went fastest five times and matched Wagner’s time on the event-closing Powerstage.
“It was an all-successful weekend for us,” Wagner said at the finish. “Our entire team did an outstanding job and provided us with a Škoda Fabia perfectly fit for the demanding conditions. A big shout out goes to my co-driver Gerald Winter, who was one hundred per cent reliable despite the extreme conditions.”
The victory in Styria was even more significant for Wagner because it was his first start in a 120-years Fabia Rally2 Evo. Wagner’s car is one of 12 examples of the limited edition Fabia, which Škoda Motorsport has produced to celebrate its 120th anniversary.
“We are of course very proud to be, together with the Eurosol Racing Team, part of those selected to have received this honour and are even more pleased to be able justify the trust put in us with a victory for the 120 Edition,” Wagner added.
Wagner and Winter will continue their ÖRM title challenge on the Hartbergerland Rallye from July 31-August 1. Before then, Wagner will contest this weekend’s Rally Železniki in Slovania when he switches to a Ford Fiesta Rally4, co-driven by German Anne Katharina Stein.