Briefly about the rally in Sanremo, where several world-class drivers joined the local Italians
I don’t know how it is for you, but I remembered this rally best from the days when Pannizi with the Peugeot 206 WRC was unbeatable. He won this rally in 2000, 2001, and 2002, but later this and almost all other rallies were taken over by the beast named Sebastian, who won Monte Carlo this year.
This rally, which takes place near the French border and meanders along the shores of the Ligurian Sea, has been around for over 90 years and has had the title of “flowers” or “Sanremo Women’s Pearl” rally. The latter name was used to honor the Italian Women’s Rally Championships, which took place in the 1950s. For as long as thirty years it was the WRC event, then become the IRC, and eventually made it to the Italian Rally and Italian Asphalt Rally Championships. The roads there are narrow, winding, on one side a rock – on the other barrier. And some pot-holes.
While the local surnames of the fastest are certainly not only famous in Italy, they have been overshadowed by the other two. Among the names of A. Crugnola, D. De Tommas, S. Alberbert, F. Andolfi, and S. Miele there were M. Ostberg and C. Breen. Craig knows Ligurian coastal roads really well and arrived last weekend to pick up a third win with a third different car. In 2019, the Irish won with the Škoda Fabia R5 and last year with the Hyundai i20 R5. M-Sport singled out the Ford Fiesta Rally2 for the Irishman to cover more racing kilometers before WRC Croatia which will take place shortly. Unfortunately, Craig did not succeed in the third victory – he was let down by a car that had only minor issues at the start, but eventually stopped when the engine overheated.
Ostberg came to Italy in excellent shape. A couple of weeks ago, the Norwegian won a rally in his favorite Hungary, and last weekend he won Rally Mexico, an event on the road back to the WRC calendar. The third weekend came out even worse than for the Irish. Mads Citroen C3 Rally2 had problems with the engine from the very beginning. As mechanics failed to fix the car, the crew withdrew from the rally on Friday.
The Italians had to decide between themselves which was fastest on these legendary roads. The fight was really special and Fabio Andolfi won the race after 122 sports kilometers. Although Andrea Crugnola won the last stage by 0.9 seconds, he was short of another 0,9 seconds. Third place winner Damiano De Tommaso was 40 seconds behind the two.
Photos – Aldo Franzosi, Alessio Bergadano