Andreucci and Scandola against the big names of IRC at the Florio

The Italian Rally Championship heads to Sicily for the 96th edition of the oldest race in the world. Giandomenico Basso on Ford is among the favourites. In the Junior, the challenge continues between Campedelli and Nucita.

13/06/2012 – We are at the eve of the only, the unique and real Targa Florio, the race organized by Automobile Club Palermo, that is about to get to the heart of its 96th Edition. This edition is going to be even more exciting as it will not only valid for the Italian Rally Championship but also for the IRC, the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The first official act of the race is scheduled for tomorrow evening, Thursday 14 June, with start from Piazza Politeama in Palermo, at 20.00 (GMT+2), then the super special evening stage at the Bocca di Falco Airport at 20.44 and two legs will follow on Friday and Saturday to award spectacle to the fans that will be crowding the streets along the stages of the rally. Finish line and Podium Ceremony will be held on Saturday 16 June at 17.30 at the Belvedere of Termini Imerese.

This announces to be a race featuring the challenge among the top names of the IRC rally, such as the Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen, current leader of the series, his closest rival, the Czech Jan Kopecky, the German Sepp Wiegand, all on Skoda Fabia, and the Irishman Graig Breen on Peugeot 207, with the latter being the winner of the FIA Academy last year, against the main contenders of the Italian Championship – CIR – that has drivers like Paolo Andreucci with co-driver Anna Andreussi on Peugeot 207 among its ranks. The pairing will aim at the absolute victory in Sicily: “I reckon this is going to be one of the most difficult rallies I have ever run here – said Peugeot Italy's Andreucci – I had the chance to see the skills of IRC drivers at the Sardinia rally and I am aware that it is going to be tough for us but thanks to our engineers and to the support from Pirelli we certainly have what it takes to aim to the victory!”. Two other Italian talents will be fighting to get the legendary Targa: Giandomenico Basso, already winner of the Rally 1000 Miglia this year on his Ford Fiesta RRC who will be competing on two fronts, and Umberto Scandola, who in turn is hunting for that victory that would relaunch himself and his Skoda Fabia in the quest for the Italian title.

Alessandro Perico and Matteo Gamba both on Peugeot will have to be added to the contenders list as they are protagonists on top place of the Italian Rally Championship's standings. The home heroes Cerda Totò Riolo, on Punto Abarth, and Marco Runfola, brilliant third last year on Peugeot 207 Super 2000, will also be awaited among the protagonists.
Several initiatives will be linked to the 96th edition of the Targa Florio. The oldest race in the world will be an example of solidariety towards the earthquake stricken region Emilia Romagna that shares the same intense passion for motor-racing. All the cars competing will exhibit a sticker with the number 45500 set up by the Civil Protection to donate money to the people affected by the earthquake. In particular, the Ford Fiesta of the Veneto's driver Giandomenico Basso and on the Abarth Grande Punto of the home hero Totò Riolo will carry the sticker more than once.

The two sought-after titles, the Italian Rally Junior Championship and the Italian Production championship will live on Sicily's roads a probably crucial round. In the Junior classification the battle will involve Citroen and Renault, with the first having the Ds3 and the C2 R2 as the main challengers while the second will be defended by the New Twingo R2.
Simone Campedelli is currently leading the way on his Citroen C3 Ds3; behind him the Sicilian Andrea Nucita on Citroen C2 could be the man of the Targa.
A little bit more to the back three drivers will be competing on the small but still well-trained Renault New Twingo, Fabrizio Junior Andolfi, Michele Tassone and the Finn Mikko Pajiunen.
In the Production Championship the fight seem to involve two contenders: Ivan Ferrarotti on Renault Megane Rs and Max Rendina on Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.