Markko Martin's Subaru Impreza wins the 2007 Memorial Bettega, supplied by Pirelli
Bologna, 16 December 2007 - Markko Martin has added his name to the roll call of Bettega Memorial Rallysprint winners, which took place today to conclude the Bologna Motor Show. Driving a factory Subaru Impreza WRC running on PZero tyres, the Estonian emerged victorious in the final after five heats. His opponent was the Finn Toni Gardemeister, driving a Peugeot 307 WRC also running on Pirelli tyres,similar to the one that Martin drove on the World Rally Championship two years ago.
After competing only infrequently over the last two years, Markko gladly accepted the challenge of the Bettega Memorial Rallysprint, pitting himself against drivers of the calibre of Francois Duval, Jan Kopecky and Toni Gardemeister - as well as some of the top Italian stars such as Alessandro Bettega, Simone Campedelli, Dindo Capello and Paolo Ciuffi, who were also using Pirelli tyres. Campedelli, driving a Peugeot 307 WRC, had the satisfaction of beating Francois Duval (Subaru Impreza WRC) in the final of the night-time Coppa Dante Salvay. Nonetheless, he was powerless to resist the quick Belgian in the third-place play-off for the Memorial Bettega competition itself.
Martin said that winning the Bettega Memorial Rallysprint was a big source of satisfaction, as it is a race that has attracted some of the World Championship's top names as well as an extremely enthusiastic public. For Toni Gardemeister the Bettega Memorial Rallysprint had been an unlucky event for the past two years, as he had always lost in the final. Last year, the Finn was beaten in the final by Gigi Galli: co-incidentally driving exactly the same Pirelli-equipped Peugeot 307 WRC that Gardemeister used this year.
Mario Isola, Pirelli Competizioni's Rally Manager, praised Martin's success at the end of the event. "Markko, who was a Peugeot factory driver in 2005 when the team was supplied by Pirelli, demonstrated this weekend the benefits of a single-tyre formula, which will be the case on next year's World Rally Championship," he said. "By putting all the drivers on an equal footing in terms of tyres, this enables close competition fought to the nearest tenth of a second."