Chardonnet claims debut podium with Pirelli
Former WRC3 champion Sebastien Chardonnet has claimed his first Italian championship podium with Pirelli, driving a Ford Fiesta R5 on the Rally dell’Adriatico. The Frenchman, contesting the Italian Rally Championship for the first time this year, finished second on the all-gravel event, after starting off cautiously but then picking up his pace over the course of the rally. He set two fastest stage times on his gravel debut in a Fiesta, but the overall picture of the championship remains unaltered, with reigning champion Paolo Andreucci – co-driven by Anna Andreussi – maintaining the lead in their Peugeot Italia 208 T16, even though this time they had to settle for fourth place.
Chardonnet underlined his talent by quickly getting to grips with the specialized Italian gravel, helped by the confidence given to him by his Pirelli Scorpion K4 and K6 tyres. Andreucci however was dogged by technical problems from the outset, and not even some bold tyre choices – which nonetheless carried minimal risk, given the versatility of Pirelli’s products – could help him fight all the way back to the top. In the end, his brave fightback ended just a few seconds off the podium. “It was a really good race; I enjoyed it all weekend,” said Chardonnet, co-driven by Maxime Vilmot. “The car was very good and a big thank you to Pirelli as well, who gave us very good support throughout the weekend. After Sanremo it was important to show that we could be on the pace, despite our lack of experience here in Italy. But the hardest part on the Italian championship is still to come: we need to confirm our position as genuine challengers and I think the best is still round the corner. I’m very happy though how our debut on gravel went with this car.” Pirelli also won all the support categories on the Rally dell’Adriatico, including the Juniors, Production, and two-wheel drive. The next round of the Italian Rally Championship is a true classic: the Targa Florio in Sicily at the end of May, which this year celebrates its 100th running.
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