Rally2, Rally4, Historic Rally: Double gold for Team Italy as France add to their tally

Rally2, Rally4, Historic Rally: Double gold for Team Italy as France add to their tally

Medals were decided in all three Rallying disciplines of the 2022 FIA Motorsport Games on Saturday (29 October), as two gold medals went the way of Team Italy and Team France earned a dominant victory of their own.

The Rally2 honours were never in doubt from as early as Friday morning’s opening Special Stage action, as Team France’s crew of Mathieu Arzeno / Romain Roche grabbed the lead and entered Saturday’s seven remaining stages holding a healthy lead of 41 seconds in their Skoda Fabia over Team Spain’s José Maria López / Borja Rozada.

In fact, only one of the 14 Special Stages contested would not be topped by the Team Italy car, as they continued to eek out their lead by several seconds on each of the runs through the French tarmac roads of Le Grand Baume, La Grand Caunet and La Sainte Baume, to head to Circuit Paul Ricard with a lead of 1m18s over Team Spain.

The medals would ultimately be confirmed on the final Super Special Stage at Circuit Paul Ricard from a clean slate, in a Rallycross-style format for each of the three disciplines. Team France confirmed their dominance however with another stage triumph, beating Spain by 5.1s as the latter claimed silver. Team Estonia's duo of Georg Linnamäe / James Michael Morgan chased hard for second before their assault on the final stage came up short by 4.3s.

Missing out on medals were the Team Türkiye crew of Orhan Avcioglu / Burcin Korkmaz in their Skoda Fabia, just getting the better of fifth-placed Team Hungary and their pairing of Martin László / Dávid Berendi, who finished a mere three further seconds adrift after a tense run through La Sainte Baume on SS13 to round out the top five.

The Rally4 outcome began as an unknown after a breathtakingly tight to-and-fro fight for the top spot between Team Spain and Team Italy on Friday - headed by the former but only briefly in the battle for honours between the two Peugeot 208 crews. The Italian duo of Roberto Daprà / Luca Guglielmetti were rapid out of the blocks on SS8 to overturn a 1.1s deficit into a lead of 0.6s ahead of the formers leaders Oscar Palomo Ortiz / Rodrigo Sanjuan, steadily extending the gap before a swing of eight seconds on SS11 gave Team Italy the breathing space they needed.

They reached the final Super Special Stage at Circuit Paul Ricard with the lead in hand, which Team Italy successfully negotiated without drama in a tense top-three SSS shoot-out that resembled a Rallycross race to confirm the gold medal by a narrow buffer of 1.3s at the line, Team Spain coming home initially in second but a 10-second time penalty would bump them to bronze.

Team Türkiye did this time get to celebrate a medal and were therefore rewarded with silver after a sublime drive by Ali Turkkan / Ahmet Burak Erdener in their Ford Fiesta, having edged clear of the Team Portugal duo of Ricardo Sousa / Luís Marques (Peugeot 208) and fifth place finishers Team Belgium - their Renault Clio driven by Tom Rensonnet / Loïc Dumont.

Historic Rally was ultimately dominated by Team Italy as they grabbed the gold medal by winning every stage on the event. Their Audi Quattro, driven by Andrea Zivian / Nicola Arena, was only once challenged over the stages contested on Saturday but were comfortable in seeing out victory by 2m

Team Czech Republic claimed the silver medal as best of the rest of the crews with a strong showing throughout by Vojtěch Štajf / Vladimir Zelinka in their Opel Kadett, only narrowly missing out on a heroic victory on SS8 as they were 0.5s shy of the rampant Team Italy.

Bronze medal honours were taken by Team Spain with Antonio Sainz / David de la Puente in their Porsche 911 SC, beating Team Germany’s Siegfried Mayr / Renate Mayr who fought hard on their way to an impressive fourth place in their Volvo 244 GL. Fifth spot was Team UK’s Tim Jones and Steve Jones in their Chrysler Sunbeam, the final classification completed by the Team Slovakia pairing of Jaroslav Petran / Iveta Halčinová in their VAZ 21011.