UK: Fiat Rally Cup season opener preview

ALL SYSTEMS GO FOR STILOS The Fiat Rally Cup Pirelli International Rally May 20/21 2005 Following the success of the inaugural Fiat Stilo Rally Cup single make rally championship in 2004, the series is back for 2005. Now called the Fiat...

ALL SYSTEMS GO FOR STILOS

The Fiat Rally Cup
Pirelli International Rally May 20/21 2005

Following the success of the inaugural Fiat Stilo Rally Cup single make rally championship in 2004, the series is back for 2005. Now called the Fiat Rally Cup, the 3 door Fiat Stilo will continue to provide the platform for this exciting manufacturer-backed rally championship. As in 2004 the 187bhp cars will follow seven rounds of the Kwik Fit Pirelli British Rally Championship, having missed just the Ulster Rally in 2004, the series starts on this weekend's Pirelli International Rally for the 2005 season.

The winner of this year's Fiat Rally Cup will pocket £2000 and with it the prestigious title of Fiat Rally Cup Champion 2005. The substantial event prize fund will continue with first, second and third placed drivers taking £500, £300 and £200 respectively on each rally. The rallies are a challenging mix of gravel and asphalt visiting England, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland kicking off with the daunting stages of Kielder forest.

2004 champion Tom Metcalfe will rejoin the fray, defending his position against three other contenders. He will be partnered by co-driver Howard Pridmore, who will pass on his valuable experience to the Dumfries based youngster. Welshman Leon Pesticcio, who led the Fiat assault on Wales Rally GB in 2004, will add the Pirelli to his varied programme in 2005. He and regular co-driver Tim Sturla will compete in the Italian National Championship along with a yet to be announced World Championship programme. Alessandro Bordignon may still take up the challenge, travelling from Italy for the classic Kielder stages. He has been a regular in the Trofeo Stilo, the Italian version of the Fiat Rally Cup, so should go well in his familiar machinery.

Having taken the new Formula 2000 crown in the 2004 BRC, the Stilo drivers will be keen to add this to their trophy haul at the 2005 awards ceremony. The category is part of the simplified scoring system and last year's winner Shaun Woffinden will be trying to defend his F2000 title. "I contested the International Rally of Wales as a warm-up for the season," he commented, "and the car ran faultlessly." He added, "It will be good to see how competitive the Stilos are against the other F2000 runners throughout the season, but our main concern will be to improve on last year's second place in the Fiat one-make series."

The rally starts from Carlisle City centre at 18.30 on Friday with seven stages over 46 miles. Centralised service is at Hadrian's Camp to the East of Carlisle and the P Zero Super Special stage will be well signposted from the City. The event concludes on Saturday with a further 11 stages over 78 miles, finishing back in Carlisle at around 18.15.

All the competitors are champing at the bit to get the Fiat Auto (UK) supported 2005 Fiat Rally Cup under way and the Pirelli International Rally will be a fitting start to another great season.

-www.stilocup.com

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Leon Pesticcio , Shaun Woffinden , Tom Metcalfe