With the first six stages completed on the XXXI Rally Elba Storico, round eight of the 2019 European Historic Sporting Rally Championship, Italian duo ‘Zippo’ and Nicola Arena are the leading EHSRC entry. The Category 3 Audi Quattro completed the first six stages in fourth overall, and first in class, behind three local crews, 51.4 seconds behind the overall leader Alberto Salvini in a Porsche 911 RS.
The first two special stages at Nisporto-Cavo and Capolivieri Innamorata were held in darkness on Thursday evening, with four more stages at Due Mari, Monumento, San Piero and Due Coli held on Friday.
The top EHSRC car at the end of the first two stages was the Lancia Delta Integrale of ‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons, the championship leaders finishing SS2 in second place overall just 15 seconds behind the similar Lancia Delta Integrale of Francesco Bettini. On the opening two stages of Friday, ‘Lucky’ went into the overall lead before a technical issue dropped the Lancia down the order to 10th overall on SS5. At the end of stage six the Lancia was 2 minutes 40 seconds behind the overall leaders as the competitors stopped for the overnight halt.
The top Category 4 EHSRC car was the Porsche 911 SC of Mats Mysell and Esko Juntilla, the Swedes lying seventh overall and 38 seconds ahead of ‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons. The BMW M3 of Will Graham and Michael Johnston was third in the Category 4 standings in 11th overall, 1m10s behind the Lancia of ‘Lucky’ and Pons.
The Category 3 battle was headed by ‘Zippo’ and Nicola Arena in their Audi Quattro, well ahead of their nearest EHSRC class challenger, the nPorsche 911 SC of Pentti Veikkanen and Timo Jaakkola, the Finns lying in 19th overall and 4 minutes 23 seconds behind the Audi.
Third in the EHSRC Category 3 standings after SS6 is the Toyota Starlet of the Lahti Historic Rally overall winners Esa Peltonen and Jyrki Saarto. The Finns lying in 31st overall and over six minutes behind the Audi.
Anders and Ingrid Johnsen were at the head of the EHSRC Category 2 standings in their Porsche 911 RSR and 12th overall. The Swedish couple are 26 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals Paolo Pasutti and Gionvanni Battista Campeis in a Porsche 911 RS, with the Rally Alpi Orientali Category 2 winners Maurizio Pagella and Roberto Brea in third, a further 11 seconds behind.
Category 2 championship leader Carlo Mylle is lying fifth in class in his Porsche Carrera RSR in 18th overall, just one place behind the fourth place Category 2 car, the Alfa Romeo GTam of Laszlo and Edit Mekler. The Belgian driver is one minute 12 seconds behind Anders Johnsen, while the Hungarians are 59 seconds adrift with four stages remaining on the final day of the rally.
Category 1 championship leaders Antonio Parisi and Giuseppe D’Angelo are looking for their second home win after the Italians took the class win on the Rally Alpi Orientali Historic last month. The Porsche 911S is lying 34th overall, 31 seconds ahead of their championship rivals, Ernie and Karen Graham in their Ford Escort Twin Cam. The British crew are in 38th overall.
The second leg of the Rally Elba Storico will consist of four special stages on Saturday 21st September starting with Volterraio Cavo – Barontini Petroli at 08h53 local time. This will be followed by Perone, Volterraio and concludes with Nisporto-Cavo at 13h48. The ceremonial finish will take place in Piazza Matteotti in Capolivieri from 15h25.