Italy’s plan to bring back rally action in 2020

Trading roads for circuits could be a solution


The governing body of Italian motorsport is considering an innovative approach to getting rallying up and running again, with a circuit-based championship proposed for the second half of the year.

Like the rest of the world, the first half of Italy’s domestic series has been postponed – with events like Brescia’s 1000 Miglia, the Targa Florio and Sardinia’s World Rally Championship encounter all put on hold due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of waiting for the stages to come back, Italian series organizers are proposing to take the stages to the circuits in a new series of between five and eight rounds of between 30 and 45 miles each. Automobile Club Italy (ACI) is looking into the proposal, and Pirelli’s Matteo Romano is in favour of the plan – especially if it helps to keep some of the privateer teams in the sport.

Romano said: “The whole project is based on the idea that it’s much easier from a health point of view to control events based at a race circuit rather than on normal roads. It doesn’t look like there’s much of an optimistic outlook for stage rallying in the near future.

“We can’t really consider this idea to be proper rallying and so we couldn’t call it the Italian Rally Championship, but if it helps to give teams something to work with, then it’s very welcome. If we lose some rallies this year, we have a chance to see them again next year, but if we lose some teams, I’ve no idea if we’ll see them again in 2021.”

Italy has a strong heritage of running circuit-based events, with the Monza Rally a traditional season-closing highlight. Past winners have included MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, 2013 WRC 2 champion Robert Kubica, Le Mans 24 Hours winner Rinaldo Capello, and 21st century WRC stars Sébastien Loeb and Dani Sordo.