Grand finale of the season arriving at the Monza Rally, 101 points between Overall and Terra

One hundred or more reasons for the show are set for the last stage of 2023, on the mixed dirt-asphalt of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. On 1 and 2 December the dirt track specialists will challenge those of the top series, in a single race, together with many luxury outsiders. 7 young people from ACI Team Italia compete for the Junior tricolor. Show guaranteed over 78 km in 10 special stages, with live coverage on RAI and ACI Sport TV.

The Italian Absolute Rally Sparco Championship and the Italian Rally Terra Championship cross paths for a season finale never seen before. On Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd December the Monza Rally will offer the last stage of the two main Italian series in an atypical scenario, on the mixed route between dirt and asphalt entirely designed within the park and circuit in the Autodromo Nazionale Monza . 78 timed km divided into 10 special stages will propose, in the Italian version, a spectacle seen only in the two editions of the race valid for the World Championship, in ’20 and ’21. Although the two major titles in the CIAR Sparco and CIRT have already been awarded, the best interpreters of the specialty will be present at the start, alongside the talents of ACI Team Italy called to showdown for the CIAR Junior, a youth series still in search of the Champion and the only Italian title left vacant. A total of 101 crews are expected at the start, thanks to the presence of many exceptional drivers who bring 43 Rally2 cars to the top category. Also present were several speed specialists on the circuit recalled by the Monza event, as well as the two single-brand trophies twinned with the Italian series, the Suzuki Rally Cup which has already closed early, and the GR Yaris Rally Cup which will instead indicate its winner in the Temple of Speed.

PROGRAM IN BRIEF | The Monza Rally will begin to heat up on Friday morning, with the shakedown open from 8:00 to 12:00 to allow competitors to test the cars in competition trim. The race will start from the stage on the straight starting from 1.00 pm, towards the first timed section SSS1 Monza (2.53 km) scheduled from 1.12 pm. As usual, the initial Power Stage will award 3,2,1 points for the series within the CIAR Sparco and will be broadcast live from 1.05pm on RAI Sport HD (ch. 58 DT and raiplay) and on ACI Sport TV (ch. 228 Sky, 402 tivùsat, , Facebook @ACISportTV, @CIRally, @CIRallyTerra). The first day will already be very interesting from a competitive point of view, as it will propose three other special tests with a passage on the “Junior” test (7.33 km – SS2 2.55 pm) and a double evening lap on the longer “Serraglio” (12.5 km – SS3 5.13 pm, SS4 7.31 pm) to tackle with the headlights on. On Saturday the final phase will develop with six special tests starting from the double passage on the “Roggia” (12.18 km – SS5 8:04, SS6 10:24), followed by two laps on the same “Junior” (SS7 12:40 , SS9 3.19pm) and “Monza” (SS8 12.58pm, SS10 3.37pm). The curtain call on the rally and the 2023 season is scheduled from 4pm on the circuit’s straight.

CHALLENGE BETWEEN CHAMPIONS | The eighth round for the CIAR Sparco and the sixth for the CIRT bring with them a potential of exceptional talent and muscles, made up of the top national drivers, all engaged in a stage at maximum scoring coefficient 1.5, also for the Junior, Two Wheel Drive and R1 series. They will all race together in a single race for a final podium and a general ranking of the rally. But the pilots registered with the Assoluto will be transparent for the purposes of the Terra ranking; vice versa, all pilots with an Italian or San Marino license will be able to place themselves in the Overall ranking, but only those registered will be able to acquire the relevant points. To make the competition even more interesting there is the factor of the mixed surface , and the crews’ free choice of set-up and asphalt or dirt tyres, with a maximum of 12 tires to use. All factors that make the result unpredictable. But with the major titles already awarded, tactics are eliminated, so we can expect an equal comparison driven only by the desire to win.

A source of pride for the Absolute Champions Andrea Crugnola and Pietro Elia Ometto , who rightfully have the number 1 on the doors of their Citroen C3 Rally2 prepared by FPF Sport and with Pirelli tyres. The driver from Varese will therefore return to Monza two years after the great victory in the WRC3, this time to best archive the season of the second consecutive title, the third in the career for the couple. The main opponent for the Assoluto could be Fabio Andolfi from Savona, currently n°3 in the standings, again driven by Nicolò Gonella on the Skoda Fabia Rally2 of MS Munaretto, who will have the opportunity to gain the runner-up position at the expense of the absent one Bass. Among the priorities, the pair formed by Paolo Andreucci and Rudy Briani clearly stands out, having confirmed themselves as Italian Land Champions even before leaving for Monza. The absence of his rival Gryazin has in fact arithmetically confirmed the third consecutive victory of the dirt track title for the driver from Garfagni, who presents himself at the start in the standard formation, on the Skoda Fabia in the RS version managed by H-Sport, with MRF Tyres tyres. The comparison for the tire manufacturers is also fascinating, with Michelin fielding Tommaso Ciuffi and Pietro Cigni, they on the Erreffe Rally Team’s Skoda. As happened in the first coincidence between CIAR Sparco and CIRT, the Florentine will be able to try to show off in the comparison with the Assoluto, with the main objective of gaining the second final position in the Terra. Last chance also shared by Enrico Oldrati from Bergamo, who will make his first appearance of the season with Giacomo Ciucci, again on the Skoda of MS Munaretto. The Slovenian arrives in Monza with the desire to confirm himself among the best revelations of the season Bostjan Avbelj, The Italian Promotion Champion who together with his compatriot Damijan Andrejka will try to get on the overall podium again, as he did in the last round in Sanremo, and to confirm himself as competitive also on gravel at the wheel of Munaretto’s Skoda.

THE OUTSIDER | There are also many drivers who do not belong to the two championships, but can take advantage of the opportunity in Monza for a comparison at the highest levels. Andrea Mabellini from Brescia with Virginia Lenzi has demonstrated his talent in the European Championship and in the Italian Asphalt Rally Championship, and will try to reiterate it on the Northon Racing Skoda also on dirt roads. Similar story for Corrado Pinzano from Biella, among the protagonists of the CIR Asfalto and ready for the new challenge with Mauro Turati on the Bohemian Rally2 of PA Racing. Elwis Chentre from Aosta is a well-known face in the Regional Rally Cup, always worth watching among the Skodas, this time driven by Massimiliano Bay. There is no shortage of emerging young people, like the ACI Team Italia driver Roberto Daprà, a boy from Trentino who has just won the European RC4 title, Junior ERC vice-champion, who will ride the Skoda Fabia Rally2 for the first time, again driven by Luca Guglielmetti; then the eighteen year old from Como Marco Butti who, this year, showed off on the Italian circuits in the Italian GT Championship and with the victory of the Under 25 in the TCR Italy, at the start joined by Flavio Zanella in the Hyundai i20.

COMPARISON OF TWO SERIES | Already appreciated this year at the mid-season San Marino, the confrontation between the protagonists of CIAR Sparco and those of Terra will be repeated. In addition to the champions and the first pursuers, there are many crews that will animate this Italian epilogue. On the Absolute front, Rachele Somaschini could not miss the “home” challenge with Nicola Arena on the Citroen C3, chasing the ACI Sport Women’s Cup which sees her in second position. Among the Rally2s, many already know Monza, like the driver from Saluzzo Enrico Brazzoli paired with Luca Beltrame, the Larians Maurizio and Federica Mauri, the Savonese Francesco Aragno with Giancarla Guzzi, all on Skoda; while it will be the first appearance for the Roman Fabio Angelucci, this time assisted by Milena Danese on the Citroen C3. Among the Assoluto drivers, the Roman Michael Rendina will also be present, usually involved in the Two Drive Wheels and now ready to make his debut in Rally2 on the Sportec C3, always accompanied by Mario Pizzuti. The “dusty” members of the CIRT are also highly rated for the fight at the top, among which the names of the young son of art stand out Angelo Pucci Grossi, who together with Francesco Cardinali has already won the Under 25 trophy, from Versilia Emanuele Dati at the second presence with Manuel Fenoli on the notes, of the Greek Nikolaos Pavlidis, with the British Alan Harryman among the regular presences of the Italian Terra, all driving Skodas. Mattia Codato from Treviso will also return to action with Christian Dinale, on another Bohemian four-wheel drive.

JUNIOR FINAL | The only Italian title still at stake is the one in the CIAR Junior , so the seven ACI Team Italia crews who responded to Monza’s last call are ready to dance. The Champion in the youth series will then be crowned in the Temple of Speed, an objective which three drivers in the line-up set up by ACI Sport can still aim for, all on Renault Clio Rally5s prepared by Motorsport Italia and fitted with Pirelli tyres. At the top of the rankings is always Davide Pesavento from Vicenza with Marco Frigo, the most successful of the Under 27s who will try to complete a season always lived in command. Pesavento is the only one of the three title contenders who can win the championship even with a second place, while the other two will necessarily have to aim for first position in the race. Among these, Igor Iani from Ossola has a good chance, second force of the Italian flag with Nicola Puliani, while Francesco Dei Ceci from Caserta with Nicolò Lazzarini will start from the fourth overall position and will need the maximum points, as well as a series of coincidences, to graduate Sample. Less pressure, but a great opportunity in Monza also for the other elements of the “settebello” of ACI Team Italia, among which Matteo Doretto from Pordenone wants to gain positions with Andrea Budoia, still looking for the first satisfaction of the season. Marco Zanin from Treviso also wants to end the season on a high note, galvanized by his latest victory in Sanremo, again paired with Massimo Moriconi. So completing the Junior group will not be missing the Trentino brothers Geronimo and Francesca Nerobutto , often among the fastest on dirt roads, and the Arezzo Niko La Notte making his debut paired with the expert navigator Giovanni Bernacchini.

TWO WHEEL DRIVE | The Two Wheel Drive category is always monopolized by the Peugeot 208 Rally4. For the Assoluto the title has already been awarded to Gianandrea Pisani, absent in Monza, but there will be many of his best opponents starting from the vice-champion from Trentino Fabio Farina with Daniel Pozzi, then Gabriel Di Pietro from Ossola with Andrea Dresti, Giorgio Cogni from Piacenza with Alessandro Cervi, Emanuele Fiore from Liguria with Pietro D’Agostino and Graziano Nember from Brescia with Luca Catalano on the notes, all on traction cars front of the French brand. Running between two-wheel drive and very attentive to the ACI Sport Women’s Cup is the Friulian Arianna Doriguzzi Breatta , leader in the pink classification, again navigated by Simone Crosilla on another Peugeot. Everyone on the 208, including the dirt road specialists who will compete for the Two Wheel Drive Cup in the CIRT. The ranking sees Cogni himself in command, followed by Nicolò Marchioro from Padua with Marco Marchetti, and by the Florentine brothers Lorenzo and Cosimo Ancillotti , both with residual chances of winning the trophy. Keep an eye on the Como native Matteo Fontana , one of the young Italians emerging also in the international field in the WRC, who returns to tread the Italian roads always paired with Alessandro Arnaboldi on Peugeot.

EYE ON VALENTINO LEDDA | The name of Valentino Ledda , who will participate in the Monza Rally as winner of the ACI Sport Off Road Stage for the 2023 season, arouses much curiosity. The seventeen-year-old Sardinian driver, from Burgos, is among the representatives of ACI Team Italia and took part in the Youth Project of the Automobile Club of Italy which, this season, led him to make his debut in international rallies. Already Italian Autocross Champion, this year involved in the Latvian Championship together with his contemporary Giovanni Trentin as bearer of the national team, Valentino Ledda was the best student of the ACI Sport Federal School within the activity dedicated to aspiring rally drivers held in Maggiora, organized in collaboration with Yamaha Motor Europe Italian branch and Pirelli. Therefore he was offered as a prize the participation in this rally at the wheel of the Yamaha YXZ 1000 R, a four-wheel drive car already appreciated within the Italian Cross Country and Side by Side Championship on which he will be joined by the navigator Claudio Mele who accompanied throughout 2023.

GR YARIS RALLY CUP | At the end of the season the GR Yaris Rally Cup could not be missing, a Toyota trophy awaiting the name of the winner. You will be able to observe 16 registered cars at work, with some new names among the R1T 4x4s of the Japanese company. However, the ranking offers a subtle balance, with the Roman Simone Di Giovanni in the lead, with just three points over Jacopo Facco from Rovigo and eight over the Sicilian Salvatore Lo Cascio. Then, fourth is Tommaso Paleari, and fifth is the defending champion Thomas Paperini who in turn has just one point ahead of Fabrizio Andolfi Jr. In short, a challenge yet to be defined.

SUZUKI RALLY CUP | Always present alongside the CIAR Sparco is the Suzuki Rally Cup, which has reached its seasonal epilogue. Leading the way for the 12 trophy riders at the start will once again be Matteo Giordano and Manuela Siragusa, winners of the Japanese trophy for the second time in a row and Italian R1 Champions with six victories out of six on the Swift Hybrid. However, with the cup podium still to be awarded and the under 25 and Racing Start rankings even more uncertain, there will be no shortage of action on world clay. The champion will be worried first and foremost by Roberto Pellè navigated by Luca Franceschini, who will have to defend second place from the many young drivers present in Monza. In the final round for Suzuki there are 7 under25 trophy riders involved, more than half, among which Alessandro Forneris and Sebastian Dallapiccola stand out.

SPARCO RALLY ITALIAN OVERALL CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR 2023: March 10-March 11 | Rally Il Ciocco and Valle del Serchio; April 14-April 15 | #RA Rally Regione Piemonte; May 5-6 | Targa Florio Rally (coeff. 1.5); June 16-17 | San Marino Rally (coeff. 1.5); July 28-30 | Rally di Roma Capitale (coeff. 1.5); 8-9 September | 1000 Miglia Rally; 29-30 September | Rallye Sanremo; December 1-2 | Monza Rally (coeff. 1.5)

CIAR SPARCO RANKING: 1. Crugnola 159pt*; 2. Low 84pt; 3. Andolfi 64; 4. Avbelj 58pt; 5. De Tommaso 42pt;
CIR PROMOTION RANKING: 1. Avbelj 112pt*; 2. Ferrarotti 100pt; 3. Bottarelli 88pt;
CIAR TWO WHEEL DRIVE RANKING: 1. Pisani 97pt*; 2. Flour 61pt; 3. Cambiaghi 51.5pts; 4. Lucchesi 33pt; 5. Cardi 30.5pt;
CIAR JUNIOR RANKING: 1. Pesavento 85pt; 2. Iani 70pt; 3. Pederzani 58pts; 4. Chickpeas 55pt; 5. Doretto 46pt;

ITALIAN RALLY TERRA CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR 2023: 18-19 March | Rally Val d’Orcia; 20-21 May | Adriatic Rally; 16-17 June San Marino Rally; 15-16 September | Nuraghi and Vermentino Rally; October 21-22 | Marche Rally; December 1-2 | Monza Rally (coeff. 1.5)

CIRT RANKING: 1. Andreucci 72pt*; 2. Gryazin 52.5pts; 3. Wisps 37pt; 4. Oldrati 33pt; 5. A. Pucci Grossi 21.5pts;
*already Italian Champion

PHOTO 2023 available here
CIRT RANKINGS available here