Targa Florio to start from Palermo

The 98th edition with 93 entered drivers has been presented this morning in Palermo's City Hall. Starting Ceremony on Thursday 8 May in Piazza Politeama for the third round of the Italian Rally Championship and fourth of the Historic Rally Italian Championship.

The 98th Targa Florio will start from Palermo. Piazza Politeama will house the Starting Ceremony of the race organized by Automobile Club Palermo and by Automobile Club of Italy next Thursday 8 May at 20.30 local time. The race is the third round of the Italian Rally Championship, the fourth of the Italian Historic Rally and will also have validity for the National Rally Trophy with double coefficient. Headquarter of the event will be Campofelice di Roccella where technical verifications will take place from 8.00 to 13.30 at the Targa Florio Village, located within the residential village of Mareluna, that will also house service park and regrouping of CIR and of the National Rally Trophy. Edition number 98 of the race has been introduced this morning at the Palermo Town Hall in the presence of the Vice President of the Sicilian Regional Council, On. Antonio Venturino, of the Major Leoluca Orlando, the Sports Assessor Cesare Lapiana, Cefalù's Major Rosario Lapunzina, AC Palermo's President Angelo Pizzuto. For Automobile Club Italy Marco Rogano has been present as General Director of ACI Sport and the "Flying Dean" Nino Vaccarella, alongside the President of the V Commission of the Council Fausto Torta. The topic of the event has been Targa Florio, its historic importance and the growing promotion potential.

Modern cars will start day one from Piazza Duomo in Cefalù at 8.00 on Friday 9 May and will end it in Piazza Duomo of Termini Imerese at 19.29, while the racers of the National Rally Trophy will cross the final finish line. CIR drivers will end the first day after ten stages with "Targa", "Lascari" and "Cefalù" to be repeated three times, while historic cars will go through these stages only twice. The final stage of the day is going to be the spectacle stage "Città di Collesano", that will be covered by RAI Sport cameras and shown recorded. Racing cars will get back to the city center that witnessed in the past epic and decisive episodes. Nino Vaccarella will open the way to the racers in Termini Imerese on the legendary Alfa Romeo 33 that earned him the second of his three Targa Florios back in 1971. This exciting moment will also mark a continuous flow between past and present in the spirit that gave birth to the "Targa”. At the same time, on Friday 9 May at 19.14. historic cars will complete their day in Cefalù, the famous town that is a candidate to become UNESCO Heritage site that this year is going to be back to the most ancient race in the world.

Day two will take place on Saturday 10 May with the stages "Piano Battaglia" and "Campofelice di Roccella", to be repeated twice by the "Historic” cars and three times by the "Modern” ones. Historic cars will resume the race from Cefalù at 9.00 and will cross the finish line in Piazza Garibaldi of Campofelice di Roccella at 15.30 after four timed stages and a total of 534.97Km (117.65 of which timed). CIR drivers will start day two at 7.45 from Termini Imerese and will have to go through six stages with finish line set at 16.30 in Campofelice di Rocella, where the special "Targa Florio” will celebrate the arrival live on Rai Sport 2. The final press conference open to the public will follow in the town hall square.

Several sportive motives will enliven the the 98th Targa Florio, the race that still has open games in all its validities starting from CIR to Historic cars, TRN, Sicilian Championship and all single branded series. The Italian Rally Championship has seen three world debut in this season start. After the two debuts that took place at Ciocco – with the first race for the Gpl powered Ford Fiesta R5 and for the Peugeot 208 R5 T16 – the brand new Citroen Ds3 R5 driven by Rudy Michelini has been under the spotlight in Sanremo and now gets to Sicily with classification aims. At "Targa" Simone Campedelli will be at the season debut on the Ford Fiesta R5 run by Team Ford Racing with Massimo Bizzocchi at the notes. This edition of the championship will be full of young talents and will certainly live several twists. Umberto Scandola, on Skoda Fabia Super 2000 deserved to get on the top step of the podium inSanremo. The driver from Verona chased for a long time Giandomenico Basso, who won the opener at Ciocco, putting some pressure on him. This caused his fatal error that caused his retirement. The Tuscan driver seven time winner of the Targa Florio Paolo Andreucci hauled a third place at Ciocco with the Peugeot 208 at the debut but then had an early retirement in Sanremo due to engine overheating after surprising everyone with the extraordinary time set in the opening stage. This stop made headline news after 60 races finished in a row, but on the other end it gave Andreucci a counter-charge desire in Sicily. A lot of confirmations arrived in Sanremo, such that of Andrea Nucita who managed to take his Peugeot 207 Super 2000 to the second step of the podium after the unlucky retirement of Ciocco at the end of a race always run among the front runners. The Sicilian will certainly be hunting a crescendo of results starting from Targa Florio.Andrea Perego, on Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, comes from an extraordinary third place. Very good crescendo also for the young Giacomo Scattolon, Peugeot 208 R2, who is leading the Rally Junior Championship and harvested a fourth absolute place in Sanremo. Fabrizio Andolfi Junior on Renault New Clio R3, is leading the Italian Production Championship after the fifth absolute place in Sanremo. Very good has also been the race of Rudy Michelini who took the Citroen Ds3 R5 to the world's debut.

CIR Drivers Standings: 1. Scandola 27 ;2.Perego 16 ; 3. Basso 15 ; 4.Fabrizio Andolfi Junior 13 ; 5. Michelini 13; 6. Nucita 12; Scattolon; 10 Andreucci 10.

CIR Production Standings: 1.Andolfi J. 27 ; 2.Vittalini 22 ;3.Marchioro 16; Ferrarotti 15; Gheno 10.

CIR Junior Standings: 1.Scattolon 30 ; 2.Panzani 20; Carella 12; Albertini 12 ; Andolfi 8.

CIR Constructors Standings: 1.Peugeot 30; 2.Skoda 27; 3.Renault 20; 4.Mitsubishi 16; 5.Ford 15; 6.Citroen 8

CIR Constructors Production Standings: 1.Renault 52; 2.Citroen 22.

Italian Rally Championship Calendar: 14-16/03 Rally Il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio; 3-5/04  Rallye Sanremo; 8-10/05 Targa Florio; 6-8/06 Rally D'Italia Sardegna; 3.6/07 Rally San Marino; 28-30/07 Rally del Friuli Venezia Giulia; 19-21/09 Rally Adriatico; 10-12/10 Rally 2 Valli.

More information are available at www.acisportitalia.it - www.targa-florio.it