Italian rising star Andrea Mabellini came, saw and conquered the FIA European Rally Championship-based Abarth Rally Cup in 2020, taking the coveted title courtesy of three wins and one second place.
Along the way the 21-year-old earned an impressive €76,000 in prize money and challenged for the FIA ERC2 title on the season-deciding Rally Islas Canarias, eventually settling for second place behind champion Tibor Érdi Jr**. This is what the former circuit racer had to say following his success at the wheel of a Pirelli-equipped Abarth 124 rally.
What does it mean to you to be the winner of the Abarth Rally Cup for 2020**?
“We are happy to win this Abarth Rally Cup, it was the goal before the season. It was not easy because in Hungary and Latvia it was especially difficult. We were also in the race for the ERC2 title. We did our best, we did not win that one, but in the end we are happy.”
Given this is your first season of international rallying, you must be very satisfied with what you have achieved?
“I learn a lot, this was important, so thank you to everybody who allowed me to be here to do this season at the time of the coronavirus, the team and all the sponsors and partners. We are all happy with what we have achieved. Sure, we wanted to finalise it with the ERC2 title but it was not possible.”
After winning three times, it was a second place on Rally Islas Canarias in the Abarth Rally Cup. Did anything go wrong?
“It was a really difficult rally with the weather. We had some problems with the brakes [on the first morning] because we had a hard set-up for the dry condition but we had rain and we were locking the brake often. This made it difficult with the feeling. We were also too much slow in the conditions but almost every time we do a race on Tarmac this year it’s always raining, which is not so easy in an RGT car.”
What are you planning for 2020?
“I would like to be part of the ERC again and I am now watching what would be the best car for me in my opinion. We don’t know yet but we are watching.”
And you have one more title to chase this season, right?
“We will race in Monza [this weekend] with the Abarth 124 rally trying for the FIA RGT Cup. The expectations are for snow so it will be difficult with rear-wheel drive. But that’s rally, we have to manage.”
Recent ERC Abarth Rally Cup title winners
2020: Andrea Mabellini (Italy)
2019: Andrea Nucita (Italy)
**Subject to confirmation of the final results