27 August 2018

The Abarth 124 rally wins the FIA R-GT 2018 World Championship with a race to spare


  • Victory in the R-GT category in the Barum Czech Rally Zlìn in the Czech Republic wins the world title for the French pair of Raphael Astier- Frédéric Vauclaire, of Team Milano Racing.
  • Second place goes to Italian Tempestini, also in the running for the European Championship with the Bernini Rally team's Abarth 124 rally.


The French pair of Raphael Astier and Frédéric Vauclaire, in the Abarth 124 rally belonging to Team Milano Racing, have won the FIA R-GT world championship with a race to spare after their victory in the Czech Republic in the Barum Czech Rally Zlìn, the fourth event in the series, also valid for the European Championship.


Three wins in the three events where they have taken part - the Tour de Corse, the Rally di Roma Capitale and the Barum Czech Rally Zlìn - have enabled Abarth and the French driver to claim the world title with one race still remaining in the championships season: the Rallye du Valais, to be held in Switzerland from 18 to 20 October.


So in just its second season, the Abarth spider has won the most coveted title in the spectacular Gran Turismo class, confirming its status as queen of the category. Abarth 124 rally drivers occupy the top 5 positions in the FIA R-GT Cup rankings. Astier, with a score of 75 points, heads the list of Italians Andrea Nucita (33 points), Andrea Modanesi (30 points), Simone Tempestini (18 points), and French driver Philippe Gache (15 points).


What's more, in 2018 the 124 rally has picked up an amazing 26 victories in the Abarth 124 rally Selenia International Challenge, the single-make trophy for Abarth 124 drivers competing in the FIA R-GT Cup, the European Rally Championship and the national championships of Italy, France, Spain, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Romania, Slovenia, Belgium, Austria, Germany and Bulgaria.


In the Barum Czech Rally Zlìn, Astier also won the 2-Wheel Drive class, ahead of Italian (with Romanian licence) Simone Tempestini, paired with Romanian Sergiu-Sebastian Itu, in the Bernini Rally team's Abarth 124 rally. The Czech Republic event is one of the European Championship races with the best established tradition, and this year it attracted 121 entrants, representing 12 countries, and a large number of knowledgeable spectators. This year the course was made even trickier by the rain, which caused problems for Italians Andrea Nucita and Marco Vozzo, who went off the road in their Bernini Rally team Abarth 124 rally at the start of the first stage, and the Czech pair of Martin Rada and Jugas Jaroslav, who crashed at the end of the first day.


At the finish, Astier was, quite rightly, jubilant: "It was a perfect weekend, with the Team Milano Racing Abarth 124 rally doing everything we could ask of it, especially in the rain on the final section. This means victory in a prestige championship for us, and a well deserved title for Abarth, too. I'd like to thank my team and Abarth, for giving me a reliable, competitive car."


Turin, 27 August 2018



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