Exceptional entry list for the opener of the Sparco Italian Rally Championship 2021 in Ciocco

The highest Italian series will celebrate its 60th Anniversary at the Rally Il Ciocco on March 12th. A lot of champions and 164 cars will be awaited on the starting platform of CIR and of the ACI Sport Rally Zone Cup. The battle for CIR, CIR 2WD, CIR R1 will kick off from Garfagnana, while the CIR Junior will get underway at the Rallye Sanremo.

Sixty years of history, a lot of memories, excitement and the usual passion. The Sparco Italian Rally Championship 2021 starts from the noblest sentiment that inspires the sport. The 60th-anniversary edition of the Italian series has a lot of desire to restart. The new Title Sponsor, Sparco highlights further a Championship that is still high-class, despite its age. CIR starts from the usual fixed points, like the Rally Il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio organized by Organization Sport Events that will kick off the new campaign with its 44th edition. The championship will get underway on Friday, March 12th and 13th from the Tenuta close to Barga, Lucca, and will unfold in eight rounds around Italy in a mix of gravel and tarmac.

The tarmac of Ciocco focused a lot of attention from the world of motorsport and the opener of the Sparco CIR 2021 counts 164 entered crews. A lot of champions will be present and 44 drivers will compete on R5 cars. The ACI Sport Zone Rally Cup will have 67 cars challenging each other in the first of their six rounds that kicks off Zone 6. The rally will begin on Friday, March 12th at local 16.30 with the new Power Stage, the Live TV test “Il Ciocco” that will award the first championship points with live coverage on RAI, ACI Sport TV (the new TV channel of the Federation that will be active from Thursday, March 11th on SKY 228) and on the official channels of the Sparco CIR. The battle will continue on Saturday, March 13th with the three tests “Massa-Sassorosso”, “Careggine” and “Molazzana” repeated on three loops for CIR, while the Zone Rally Cup will run only the closing two loops. The Ciocco’s liaison will include 302,51 total kms, 93,42 of which competitive. The finish will be at 18.00.



Thierry Neuville, the Belgian official driver of Hyundai Motorsport, who is currently second in the World Rally Championship, will be back on the Italian roads to clock up some miles ahead of the next rounds of the FIA WRC. He will be in the Hyundai i20 R5 with his new co-driver Martjin Wydaeghe. The 11 times Italian Rally Champion Paolo Andreucci will also be present with Francesco Pinelli on Skoda Fabia R5. Both crews will not score points for the Sparco CIR.


A lot of big drivers will aim for the Sparco Italian Rally Championship 2021. The list is led by reigning champs Andrea Crugnola and Pietro Ometto, that will have the tricolour on the livery of the i20 R5 of Hyundai Rally Team Italia that they will take to the debut. Giandomenico Basso and Lorenzo Granai, will be back behind the wheel of the Skoda Fabia R5, this time run by CR Motorsport. Skimming through the entry list it seems to go back to two years ago, as Craig Breen will also be present. The Irish official driver for Hyundai in WRC will compete, together with Paul Nagle, in a i20 R5. The R5 lot will also include some young talents and some specialists as well. The CIR Asphalt champion Stefano Albertini, confirms the winning package of last year and will be on the Skoda with Danilo Fappani.

ACI Team Italia’s “golden boys” will also be present. The Junior champions Andrea Mazzocchi and Silvia Gallotti will be present on a Fabia, as their predecessor Marco Pollara (2019), Daniele Mangiarotti and Damiano De Tommaso (2018) with Massimo Bizzocchi, on C3, and the 2019 2WD champion Tommaso Ciuffi will be on another Czech R5 with Nicolò Gonella. Fabio Andolfi will be “back to the future” and will start a new chapter in the highest Italian series after six seasons in WRC and will be back on Fabia R5, this time with Stefano Savoia. Luca Bottarelli and Walter Pasini will be in the Ford Fiesta and Alessio Profeta with Sergio Raccuia in another Fabia, while Rachele Somaschini will prepare the Gravel Trophy with Giulia Zanchetta in a C3 R5.


Some other big names will hunt for the CIR with special care to the Asphalt Trophy. Among these, Marco Signor who came second in the Asphalt Trophy in 2020 and that will be back with Francesco Pezzoli in the Volkswagen Polo R5. Rudy Michelini will be in a similar car and will try to bounce back from last year with Michele Perna. Giacomo Scattolon and Giovanni Bernacchini, another driver from the Federation’s breeding ground, will be at the debut in the Polo and Antonio Rusce will be in the Fabia with Sauro Farnocchia. Stefano Baccega with Luca Oberti, Marcello Razzini with Rudy Pollet will be in the Skoda, while Fabrizio Andolfi Jr. and Marco Menchini in a i20. The 2020 winner of the Women trophy Patrizia Perosino will be again with her daughter Veronica Verzoletto in the Skoda R5. Interesting new entries are Thomas Paperini and Simone Fruini, that won the 6th Zone in 2020 and Liberato Sulpizio who comes from CIWRC with Alessio Angeli, in the Fabia R5.

The Italian 2WD Championship will also be at its new start with a lot of young drivers at the start as usual. Andrea and Giuseppe Nucita are definitely the favourites to the win, but they will be challenged by the emerging Christopher Lucchesi, Mattia Vita, Mirco Straffi and Nicola Cazzaro, all in the Peugeot 208 Rally4, while Roberto Daprà will be in a Fiesta and Fabio Farina in another 208. The CIRA 2WD 2020 champion Daniele Campanaro will also aim to the title on another Fiesta. Giacomo Guglielmini will also be on another Ford, while Alessandro Zorzi will be at the debut in the French R2. Ilario Bondioni will be back to the CIR in the 2WD on a 208 after several years in CIWRC.

The R1 Italian Championship will be packed. The series will compete in all rounds of the Sparco CIR. A lot of drivers that came to the fore in the previous seasons will be present like Davide Nicelli, who will be in the Renault Clio as Mattia Zanin, who comes from the Suzuki.

The start of the Championship will also kick off the Suzuki Rally Cup. The single make of the Japanese brand is a successful reality of the national rallying. In 2021 it will feature an excellent program of eight rounds, six in CIR plus the Rally Alba of CIWRC and Rally Città di Modena in the occasion of the National Final ACI Sport Rally Cup Italia 2021. A total of 17 cars will be present in Ciocco to fight for the sought after money prize. Five crews will be in the Swift Hybrid, like Simone Goldoni, while the others will be in the Swift R1 categories, with Andrea Scalzotto hunting for a second title after that won last year.


Zone 6 Rally Cup at the start

The Zone Rally Cup – Zone 6 – will also start from Ciocco with a really interesting qualifying for the National Final 2021. Among the 67 cars CRZ – 8 R5 – last year’s winner Luca Panzani will compete in the Skoda Fabia, and will be challenged by strong rivals like Claudio Arzà in the Citroen C3, Pierluigi Della Maggiora and Federico Gasparetti on Fabia, Andrea Marcucci, also on the Czech R5. Riccardo Pederzani, who was among the best of 2020 and in the National Final will be again in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000. The crews of the 2WD will be a lot and high level. Class R2 is going to be packed as usual with the 208 Rally 4 of Gabriele Catalini, while Marco Mori, Lorenzo Sardelli and Davide Giovanetti will be on the previous model.


In the picture: edition 2020


The ITALIAN RALLY SPARCO 2021: RALLY DEL CIOCCO E VALLE DEL SERCHIO | 12-13 March; RALLYE SANREMO |10-11 April; RALLY TARGA FLORIO | 8-9 May; SAN MARINO RALLY - coeff. 1,5 | 26-27 June; RALLY DI ROMA CAPITALE - coeff. 1,5 | 24-26 July; RALLY 1000 MIGLIA | 4-5 September; RALLY 2VALLI | 9-10 October; LIBURNA TERRA - coeff. 1,5 | 6-7 November


Updates at  www.acisport.it/CIR

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Bartolini Luca +39 3357553762 bartolini@acisport.it

Iacobini Chiara +39 338 6771956 iacobini@acisportspa.it

De Bonis Daniele +39 339 7573991 debonis@acisportspa.it