The racing career of the new Abarth 124 Rally kicks off with a bang with the car debuting in the 85th Monte Carlo Rally, the first race of the 2017 Rally World Championship to be staged from January 19 to 22.
Three private crews have picked the new Abarth 124 Rally to take on one of the most difficult yet prestigious races in the Championship, with the goal of putting the brand with the Scorpion badge and a glorious past in the speciality back at the top. The three crews embody three different types of drivers. Frenchman Francois Delecour, with his mate Dominique Savignoni, was official driver and 1993 World Championship runner-up. He won the international FIA R-GT Cup, which is the category in which the Abarth 124 Rally is competing, in 2015. Young Fabio Andolfi, with Manuel Fenoli, is seen as one of the more promising Italian drivers. He is sponsored for the race by ACI Sport in the scope of the ACI Team Italia young driver project. Finally, Gabriele Noberasco, with Daniele Michi, is a very fast and expert gentleman driver who has won many national competitions. He has competed in the Monte Carlo Rally several times, once at the wheel of an Abarth 500 R3T.
The three drivers supported by their respective teams - the French-based Milano Racing and Bernini Rally - have conducted several specific test sessions to prepare for the Monte Carlo race on the roads near Cuneo in Italy together with racing and test driver Alex Fiorio, who worked on developing and tuning the car with the Abarth Racing Team.
Various tweaks were assessed over the three days together with the Michelin tyres that are the crucial components of a winter competition on mountain roads like those of Monte Carlo. The drivers familiarised with the new Abarth 124 Rally and its many original features. The Abarth 124 rally breaks the mould by combining excitement and technology: rear-wheel drive guarantees the spectacle, while the very high-level performance is the result of painstaking development.
It is a Group R-GT model and therefore can compete in national and international races. The Abarth 124 rally Trophy organised by Abarth will count seven rallies - six of which on road and one on dirt - all the scope of the Italian Rally Championship. In this way, Trophy contenders may also compete for the new Group R-GT Italian championship title.
The jackpot is very rich with prizes for the absolute ranking, Under 23 drivers and teams. All prizes - 5000 Euro for the winner, 4000 Euro for the team and 2000 Euro for the Under 23 drivers - are cumulative. According to regulations, prizes will be given to the first three rankings, in each race and final, in each category. The real news of the jackpot is the addition of a prize for the best ranking teams with a final jackpot of 30,000 Euro. The Under 23 winner will also be given the opportunity to compete in the 2017 Monza Rally with the official Abarth 124 rally. Other prizes include an ACI Sport Federal Super Course and a "rally master" organised directly by the Abarth Racing Team. The winner of the overall ranking will receive their own street-legal Abarth 124 spider.
Turin, 5 January 2017