ERC - ERC Roma pre-event press conference transcript | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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ERC - ERC Roma pre-event press conference transcript

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Lorenzo Granai, Nikolay Gryazin, Andrea Nucita, Luca Rossetti, Simone Campedelli, Sindre Furuseth, Cristiana Oprea and Umberto Scandola attended the pre-event press conference of Rally di Roma Capitale, round five of the FIA European Rally Championship 

Lorenzo, with you and Giandomenico Basso leading the Italian championship, what is your plan for this weekend?

We are going to race with a new beginning, the car will be the same but the team is different, so we have to set the car and fix the car for the race. We don't know with this kind of car. We did a pre-event test so we are happy about the car. The team is very good. We know the team from last year but we just came in the last week. We are going to make the best result that we can: for sure the Italian championship is very important but it's very difficult at the moment. We are very close from second and third positions, so we must look at our competitors and try to do the best we can. For sure, the European drivers will be very fast so we have to look even for them, because they get points for our championship, so it will be a very difficult race.

Welcome back to the ERC, Nikolay. What brought you to Rome?

Well, it's a long story! Last year we won the ERC1 Junior championship. It was a fight between me, Chris Ingram and Fabian Kreim and the reward was €100,000 from Eurosport Events. We could choose either one round in a World Rally Car from 2016, or two rounds in ERC. So we decided to drive two rounds in ERC with our team, SRT, with its car, the ŠKODA Fabia R5. We chose this race, ERC Rome and ERC Barum Rally, because it's Tarmac rallies and really much tough opposition, especially from the Italian drivers. It's very helpful for us because this year we are competing in WRC2 and WRC doesn't have many Tarmac races, so we decided to use some time for preparing.

Fastest time on the Qualifying Stage this morning Nikolay, even though you said you were trying to drive slowly. Why was that?

Today was really good for us. It was the same for us as last year so for us it was easier to start pushing from the first run in Free Practices one and two. In the Qualifying Stage we were a little bit slower and we didn't expect to win it and not have to choose first - but it happened!

Simone, you have the honour of driving the all new Ford Fiesta R5 in the ERC for the first time. What’s the car like to drive?

For sure the potential of the car is really, really high. We have a better engine, much more rear activity; the car looks a bit stiffer. For sure from my side I will have to adapt myself to the car, and this is the most difficult thing to do after four years with the previous model. The potential of the car is really high. Unfortunately, we struggled on the shakedown with some small issues, but we know that we have one of the best teams in the world behind us and we will be able to sort it. But it’s an honour to bring his car to an ERC event with M-Sport.

A big rally for you Andrea, driving an Italian car for an Italian team on an Italian rally. What’s your target?

It’s a very important rally for me and I am very happy to be here. We had a good result in Poland and we come here leading the Abarth Rally Cup. We are happy to be back on Tarmac.

Sindre, if you win the ERC3 Junior title this year you will get two drives in the ERC in an R5 car next year. How good would that be?

That’s why we are here. Currently it's a tight title fight. I think we lead by two points now but it's always difficult to see where we're at because there's only four out of six results counting. So even if we're leading the points it doesn't mean we're in the best position to win the championship. If we could secure a win either here in Rome or at Barum Czech Rally Zlín, we will be there. We will see. I think this is a great opportunity for us. We were here last year and I'm also prepared as much as I can be really. So let's hope for a good weekend and hopefully we will get to win this time.

Luca, this is your first Rally di Roma Capitale. What do you think of the event and the challenge you face following the recce?

Yeah, I think it looks nice! For sure it's very technical roads, a very demanding challenge for me and Eleonara, as it's the first time with such kind of roads with vertical movements; not only corners, you have to take care in everything and it will be, especially the first stage of the rally, I expect it will be very hard for us because even if you have good pacenotes and all the corners are good and right, it can be a little bit unpredictable right now and there are some difficult sections to go through for the first time in the rally cars. I think it will be a hard first day but I really like it. It is a very interesting challenge for us.

Welcome to the ERC Cristiana. Please tell us why you are competing in Rome and how hard you’ve had to work to get here?

Firstly, thank you for having me here. It's a great honour to be able to compete in the ERC here in Rome. It was very hard for me but also a dream to compete in the ERC and learn from the best, as you can see! For me it was a big challenge to overcome my limits because after two full seasons in the Romanian national championship, I wanted to learn more. Basically, this is why I chose Rally di Roma Capitale, because there are some very beautiful things for this event. This year I focused only on Tarmac events in preparation for more in the future.

Umberto, as a two-time Roma winner what are the ingredients you need to win this rally?

We two times Rally di Roma and for us it’s a beautiful rally. But it's very hard because the stages, like the Pico stage, it’s a very difficult. Here we do not fight for a championship, the Italian Gravel championship is our target this year. We don’t know the car on Tarmac so we don’t know the set-up. But I hope to take the win here.