Rally di Roma competitors face a two-hour delay to the start of Saturday afternoon’s loop of stages on the European Rally Championship opener following incidents on all three of the morning tests.
Frontrunners Andrea Crugnola and Adrien Fourmaux crashed and blocked stages one and two respectively. The opener was delayed by one hour following the Italian’s shunt, the second for a similar amount of time.
That two-hour delay means the lead cars won’t be back in service until nine o’clock tonight.
A Rally di Roma spokesman told DirtFish: “We have been a bit unlucky today, these things can happen – but it happens many times in the same day. The race director and all of the staff are working really well. We will manage to continue the rally with this two-hour delay.
“We listen to the comments of drivers at media zone. Hopefully things should be better for this afternoon with lower temperatures, which should make things a little bit easier.”
The Rally Stars Roma Capitale – the separate three-car event for Rally1 entries from Hyundai Motorsport and M-Sport – will start the first afternoon test at 1706. The first ERC competitor starts 20 minutes later.
M-Sport team principal Richard Millener, who was running Fourmaux in one of the factory Fiesta R5 MkII machines, sympathized with the rally organizer despite the length of the delay.
“What are they supposed to do?” Millener said to DirtFish.
“When you’ve got a car upside down, on its roof and blocking the road, what are you supposed to do? They have to send in the recovery truck and that all takes time. I think the event organizers have done everything [they] could have done in this situation.”
DirtFish is awaiting comment from the FIA European Rally Championship on the situation, but understands there is no specific regulation regarding the maximum length of time a rally can be delayed, the only complication being if the delayed timetable ran outside of the permitted closing hours for the roads being used.