Interest in the Abarth Rally Cup continues to build with Martin Rada becoming the latest driver to enter the one-make series run within the FIA European Rally Championship and reserved exclusively for the Abarth 124 rally on Pirelli tyres.
Having first tried the Italian car at the end of 2017, Rada has relied on Abarth power for the last two seasons, competing mainly in his native Czech Republic. For 2020 he’s embarking on an Abarth Rally Cup campaign starting on Rally Liepāja (14-16 August) and including Rally Hungary in November.
A big Italian car fan
Having campaigned an Alfa Romeo 147, Rada switched to an Abarth 124 at the end of 2017. “The step into the RGT class and into the Abarth 124 rally was quite the change,” he said. “To drive with a rear-wheel-drive car with this much power, it’s a challenge for anyone. But it was a logical step for me after the Alfa Romeo due to the brand continuation. It’s a joyful car and for sure it’s a highlight on the starting list of every race we go to.”
Rada, who will be co-driven by fellow Czech Jaroslav Jugas, has also pointed to the attractive prize fund of €180,000 that’s on offer as another reason for launching his Abarth Rally Cup bid. For sure the rewards in the Abarth Rally Cup are good motivation. For drivers it’s an opportunity to get finances for the championship and also for the car service and maintenance. But for me, personally, it is not the main reason for doing the ERC.”
First time on gravel
“It is my first time in Latvia and also my first gravel rally with this car,” Rada explained. “I did some races on gravel in Austria with my previous Alfa Romeo, but this is totally different. We put a lot of effort into the preparation of the car, we tested a bit and I believe we will enjoy this race and we will gather the fruits of our preparations. I am going to learn with this car on this surface and I believe that we will get a lot of new skills.”
Praise for Rally Liepāja organisers
“Our schedule for 2020 included five ERC races in the Abarth Rally Cup but due to the COVID-19 pandemic there were changes in our calendar. Also due to work issues we could not attend the race in Italy, so we decided that we will do our first ERC race of the season in Latvia. This race was in the original calendar and it is also our only opportunity to do the race on gravel. One of many challenges we will face are the restrictions around COVID-19. Czech Republic is now in the list of red countries so we have to follow restrictions and procedures so we could take part in this event. I am grateful that there is a way to take part in this rally and I really look forward to this race. It will be great fun with the Abarth on gravel, but also a big challenge.”
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