1961 – 2011
The new tricolored season opens on the streets of the 34th Rally del
Ciocco e Valle del Serchio

23/03/2011 – The Italian 2011 Rally Championship opens tomorrow with the beginning of the 34th Rally del Ciocco e Valle del Serchio, scheduled for 18.40 local time (GMT+1). Both the race and the Italian championship are going to start from the small town of Barga, one of the most beautiful places of Garfagnana. The coming Italian season is not going to be an ordinary one: the Italian Rally Championship celebrates this year the 50th birthday as the first edition dates back to 1961 and awarded the first Italian title to Luigi Marsaglia at the wheel of a Fiat. In these 50 years the championship consolidated its features that make it the most competitive and spectacular National series in the world. The 34th Rally Il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio will be started by the opening ceremony in Braga's town centre tomorrow afternoon while the actual stages will begin Friday 25 at 8.01 local time with Day 1 ending at Ciocco at 19.00. The whole day will feature 6 stages for a total of 85km and 224km transfer summing up to 309km. Day 2 will start from Ciocco on Saturday and will feature 7 stages of 65.36km plus 184km transfer for a total of 250km. The end of the race is scheduled for 17.30 in Castelnuovo Garfagnana. The starting list contains 74 crews that entered the race.

The protagonists

Two crews are the favourite to win this round as well as the championship: the first is composed by Paolo Andreucci and Anna Andreussi, on Peugeot 207 Super 2000 lined up by the Italian branch of the French brand, while the second pair is composed by Luca Rossetti, Abarth official driver, and Matteo Chiarcossi on Abarth Grande Punto by team Trico. Gianfranco Cunico and Rudy Pollet on Peugeot 207 Super 2000 lined up by Island Motorsport will challenge them as will do Umberto Scandola and Guido d'Amore on Ford Fiesta Super 2000 by Car Racing, Elwis Chentre paired with Angelo Carlo Canova on Peugeot 207 Super 2000 by Autosport Valle d'Aosta and Alessandro Perico on Peugeot 207 of team PA Racing. Still to be discovered is the potential of Rudy Michelini and his navigator Michel Perna on Peugeot 207 Super 2000, that have a good CIR season on the scoreboard, as well as that of Alessio Pisi on Peugeot 207 Super 2000 belonging to Zerosette Racing, with the latter being a rookie in CIR but being very fast in Trofeo Rally Asfalto. In the production championship, equal chances for the Mitsubishi of Maurizio Angrisani and Fabio Gianfico, that of Massimiliano Rendina and the Renault Megane R.S. N4 driven by Daniele Griotti. An extraordinary season has to be expected in the Italian Rally Junior Championship, breeding ground of talents. The duel will involve the Renault Clio Rt3 of Andra Nucita and Andrea Carella, that of Alessandro Bosca and Marco Signor present from Ciocco, while Citroen will line up its official team starting from the 1000 Miglia round with two young talented drivers like Andrea Crugnola and Simone Campedelli.

The numbers of a success

Despite crisis winds blowing on the world car market, the level of drivers and cars taking part in the CIR is once again very high. After long negotiations, entered drivers announce an interesting season. Some numbers: 28 drivers entered in the Absolute Italian championship, 8 in the Italian Production, 7 in the Rally Junior. Abarth, Ford and Peugeot are the main contenders of the Constructors title, with the latter present with an official team. Two other constructors are Citroen and Renault entered young drivers and will undoubtedly be protagonist in the Italian Rally Junior, while Mitsubishi entered the Lancer evolution and the fight against Renault and its Megane R.S.N4 will be the main motif of the Italian Production championship. Interestingly, the Mini John Cooper works will make its debut, although not fighting for the Italian championship, with a car in the Super 2000 category powered by a 1600 turbo engine given to the Italian Production 2010 champion Andrea Perego. Finally, 74 crews will run the Ciocco Rally, this is the highest number of entered crews in the last 8 years.

Press Conference, CIR presentation and Doctor Glass Sponsorship

A meeting will be held in the press room of the rally located in the Centro Turistico of Ciocco on Friday 25 at 20.00 local time to celebrate the new championship and the novelties introduced in this season at the presence of CSAI's President (the Automobile Club Italia's Sportive Automobile Commission) Angelo Sticchi Damiani, the rally's patron Andrea Marcucci and managers of Teams and press officers. All the details of Doctor Glass's official sponsorship of the Italian Rally Championship will be presented too.

TV Coverage on RAI

The first round of the Italian Series will be covered by RAI with highlights on Rai Sport 2, live coverage of 30 minutes on Saturday starting from 14.30 and a special on Sunday at 18.00 on Rai2 within the motor-sport programme Numero Uno.