Victory scored by Andrea Tonelli in the recent Historic Rally of the Central Adriatic is a major blow, a turning point for the Italian Rallye Terra Storico Championship that brings the driver from Reggio Emilia ever closer to an incredible encore.
At the wheel of his usual Ford Escort RS 1800 MKII, looked after by Power Brothers and Retro Corse, the Movisport flag bearer, always flanked by Roberto Debbi on the notes, started with the right foot at the first “San Fiorano”. , signs for the third time absolutely at the stop control.
With Englishman Matt in command of the action, the real surprise of the day, Tonelli’s Sunday became increasingly interesting and confirmed himself as the second force in the field.
At the end of the first round of the specials, he finished second in the overall, group and class rankings, beating out respectable opponents.
The first iteration of the three scheduled time trials seemed to go smoothly, but on the second “Colondello” the undisputed ruler of the standings, Britain’s Matt, was penalized, leaving Tonelli first place on an incredulous silver platter.
“We got off to a good start” – says Tonelli – “and we had a good pace and we managed to stay ahead of both Calzolari and Pelliccioni.” championship thought. At the restarts we suffered a lot because we didn’t have the hard tires that Pirelli didn’t produce yet and therefore had grip problems. In fourth, fifth and sixth we tried to stay consistent and keep the tire factor under control, but the third part of the lap scored a lot and didn’t make life easy for us. Matt’s navigator must have done something wrong and there was a three-minute penalty that practically took the lead that passed to us. In the meantime Pelliccioni had also stopped, but we couldn’t slack off too much because behind us Calzolari was putting a lot of pressure on us.”
Three special throws at the end and an 8.7 lead over Calzolari forced Tonelli to keep his focus high thanks to a third “San Fiorano” that saw the “Lupo” approaching a 4.
At a corner, the Reggio player placed the second set in “Molleone” and gave his direct rival a second place, while in the last “Colondello” the primacy was defended by five tenths.
A sweaty victory for Tonelli, just five and a half seconds ahead of Calzolari, plus a success in the third group and in the two thousandth class, which in a CIRTS, almost with two driving wheels, means a decidedly difficult score of points in a safe.
“Our escort took hits and hits,” adds Tonelli, “but they turned out to be mules. If I touch wood now, you never know that next time it will break. The team has worked hard and I want to say a big thank you to them both Power Brothers and Retro Corse. We were in our natural habitat, we did not have any particular deviations and we return from the middle Adriatic very satisfied. A win that brings our useful results to three in the Italian Rally Terra Storico Championship. We’re in good shape and we need to try and keep our focus on bringing that title home in 2023.”