In 2019, the Abarth 124 rally will continue to play a leading role on the international racing scene by competing in the European Rally Championship (ERC).
After an extremely successful season culminating in victory in the FIA R-GT Cup, the European Rally Championship and 11 national category championships, in 2019 the Abarth 124 rally is aiming to star once again and defend the titles it has won. The international focus will be on the ERC, within which the Abarth Rally Cup 2019 single-make championship will be held.
This single-make competition will consist of 6 races valid for the continental title, four of them run on tarmac and 2 on gravel. The 6 races selected from the FIA-ERC* calendar are:
- Rally Islas Canarias (Spain), 2-4 May, tarmac;
- Rally Liepāja (Latvia), 24-26 May, gravel;
- Rally Poland (Poland), 28-30 June, gravel;
- Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy), 19-21 July, tarmac;
- Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic), 16-18 August, tarmac;
- Rally Hungary (Hungary), 1-3 November, tarmac.
Both types of racing surface, gravel and tarmac, are perfectly suited to the characteristics of the Scorpion roadster which, as it has shown this year, is competitive and reliable on all types of terrain. In fact, it was on twisty roads with surfaces with poor or problematical grip that the Abarth 124’s excellent driveability, traction and balance came to the fore, and on many occasions it was quicker than the more powerful and – theoretically – higher-performing four-wheel drive cars. Such as, for example, in the legendary Montecarlo Rallye, when Andrea Nucita and Marco Vozzo recorded an incredible 4th best time overall – much faster than the official WRC Plus cars – in the event’s toughest special test stage, run on very slippery surfaces with a great deal of ice and snow.
The experience gained has encouraged the Abarth engineers to further develop their design and bring its performance to full maturity. Today, the 124 rally is ready to be a top competitor in any race and on all types of terrain. The Abarth 124 rally is now available at the price of 110.000€ including ERC Championship participation fee.
Luca Napolitano, Head of EMEA Fiat & Abarth Brands, commented on the new season: “In just two seasons, the Abarth 124 rally has established itself as the car to beat in the R-GT class, thrilling spectators and winning on all terrains. Rallies such as the Montecarlo and Tour de Corse brought rich rewards: in the Principality, the 124 Abarth finished amongst the WRCs in the race’s toughest special stage with the 4th best time overall, while in Corsica, not only was a 124 rally victorious but the four cars in the race actually took the chequered flag one after the other. Next year we want to improve on this year’s results, continuing to star internationally in the ERC with our Cup. At each race, we will have our own Abarth area with our hospitality, which will become the meeting-place for Scorpion drivers and fans. What’s more, we will be providing teams with real-time support thanks to our in-race parts service and full cover by our technical staff”. Luca Napolitano continued: “Racing has always been central to Abarth’s identity and embodies its values, and competition enables us to reinforce this bond with Abarth’s history and future. What’s more, it lets us try out technical innovations and new technologies in the toughest development conditions, ready for transfer to standard production models, because we want to offer our customers products with ever-improving performance and reliability”.
After two years in racing, the Abarth 124 rally has already recorded 50 R-GT category wins, crowning it as undisputed queen of the GT cars. A role achieved through an impressive series of successes in the field, often combined with excellent overall placings. What’s more, the Abarth 124 rally is helping both to make the championship more spectacular and to increase the number of competitors in the FIA R-GT Cup (in practice the GT world championship), which the Abarth 124 rally won driven by the French pair of Raphael Astier and Frédéric Vauclare from the Milano Racing Team.
The prizes on offer are very tempting, with € 12,000 for the winner of the R-GT class in each race, € 10,000 for second place, € 8,000 for third and € 4,000 for fourth. The Trophy winner will receive a final prize of € 30,000.
The complete rules of the Abarth Rally Cup 2019 will be published at a later date.
The Abarth Rally Cup 2019 is held within the FIA-ERC, European Rally Championship, sponsored by the Eurosport TV channel, which gives the participants a high degree of visibility. The teams and drivers taking part in the Cup will be supported during races by Abarth itself, and what’s more the “Scorpion village” will provide service areas for private teams, a hospitality area and the Abarth trailer with parts service. As well as in the Abarth Rally Cup, the car will be able to compete in all FIA races and national championships which admit the R-GT category. This enables the drivers and teams to optimise their investment by aiming to win the Cup’s generous prizes while also competing, in the same season, in other national and international championships.
The Cup will also provide spectacular entertainment and excitement for Scorpion fans attending the rallies. Abarth enthusiasts will be able to cultivate their Abarth passion by talking to the drivers, sitting beside them during the race weekends, and test-driving the production cars available for this purpose every weekend – in other words, through “first hand” experience of the cars’ performances, with a close-up view of how technology is transferred from the race to the road. One example is the new Abarth 124 GT, the special series that combines the thrills at the wheel which only a true roadster can give with the sinuous elegance of a coupé, thanks to a lightweight, safe, high-tech hard top, the only all-carbon fibre one on the market, just like the one fitted on the rallying version.
*Subject to FIA WMSC validation