ABARTH Fiat Uno Turbo Club of South Africa

Abarth’s return to Motorsport celebrated

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Abarth’s return to Motorsport celebrated

The rebirth of the legendary Abarth concern has been one of the most exciting projects launched by Fiat in recent years, and in Frankfurt the evocative scorpion brand is celebrating a stunningly successful return to the rally stages by showing the awesome Super2000 machine alongside the wild road-going essesse concept.

The Grande Punto Abarth S2000 couldn’t have made a better start to its rallying career. On its debut year in 2006 it won the Italian (CIR), European and Intercontinental (IRC) titles. Later this month it is poised to seal the Italian championship for a second consecutive year, while in the IRC a titanic scrap for honours with Peugeot is well underway.

It is in the IRC though where all attention is currently focused, as Abarth and Peugeot are locked in a season-long struggle for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles. After a disappointing performance during the last round, the advantage has tilted slightly towards the French firm, but the next round, the Sanremo Rally, which will be contested at the end of the month, is on Abarth’s home turf and a titanic scrap for victory is expected

Youngster Umberto Scandola will be back in a factory-run Grande Punto on the IRC for the first time since the Belgium Ypres Rally. The young Italian contested the Sanremo Rally in a Grande Punto Abarth for the first time last year, finishing in sixth place. The Abarth factory line-up will thus consist of Navarra, who is currently just five points off the series lead, Madeira Rally winner Basso, and Scandola. Anton Alén, who made his asphalt debut for Abarth on the Barum Rally Zlín, will not be driving in Sanremo, but could yet return for the Rallye du Valais in Switzerland next month. For Basso, the Sanremo Rally will be crucial as he stands a very good chance of wrapping up the Italian Rally Championship for the second consecutive year.

It will be a weekend of huge importance and more than 100 cars are expected to take the start of the Sanremo Rally on Thursday September 27.