Sardina podium keeps Andreucci and Peugeot on course for Italian title glory
|Paolo Andreucci and Anna Andreussi|
Paolo Andreucci remains in the hunt for his seventh Italian Rally Championship title after he and co-driver Anna Andreussi took their Peugeot 208 T16 to a podium finish on the national section of Rally Italia Sardegna, round four of the Italian Rally Championship. The event, which ran behind the World Rally Championship round in Sardinia, covered a distance of 140.42 kilometres over six stages. It was decided on the final 59.13 kilometres of Monte Lerno on Saturday afternoon, when Andreucci was one of several drivers caught out on the rock-lined narrow roads, picking up a puncture on his Peugeot, which he was using on a gravel event for the first time following his win on the all-asphalt Rally Targa Florio last month. Although victory eluded him this time, Andreucci was still able to underline his pace and performance of his Pirelli-shod Peugeot with a fastest stage time on Friday. However, the multiple Italian champion was constantly hampered by dust, meaning that he had to constantly slow down to see the road ahead – and was also unable to avoid many of the sharp rocks that characterised the event. Andreucci’s third-place finish means he is now 12 points behind defending champion Umberto Scandola – who won his title with Pirelli last year – after four rounds, while Peugeot continues to top the Italian championship manufacturers’ classification with a 55-point lead over Ford. Pirelli supplied its Scorpion XR5 tyre for tough Sardinian roads. This tyre has the advantage of providing a high degree of precision, which is especially necessary on the Mediterranean island, as the drivers will need to stay in the ruts that were formed by the World Rally Cars in front. Pirelli senior engineer Matteo Braga, said: “We are still developing the latest generation of the Scorpion tyre. By moving away from the old, stiffer construction we have found more performance. But with any new product we are still fine-tuning the balance between performance and reliability. The tyre is lighter than before, the road conditions were very aggressive and rocks do damage tyres.” In addition to Andreucci, Pirelli supplied tyres to six other leading drivers including rising star Stefano Albertini, who finished fourth overall, and Renato Travaglia, who clinched the Italian Gravel Trophy (TRT) laurels in fifth place.
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