Umberto Scandola crashed into a pond on his first FIA European Rally Championship appearance outside his homeland in Belgium back in 2006.
Since then, the 36-year-old has made headlines for all the right reasons, with the 2013 Italian title a notable highlight alongside long-term co-driver Guido D’Amore.

For 2021, Scandola is embarking on his first full-season ERC campaign in a Hyundai Rally Team Italia-entered i20 R5 run by S.A. Motorsport on Pirelli tyres, starting from this week’s ORLEN 77th Rally Poland.

“It will be a new and exciting challenge for me and for Guido against drivers and cars of the highest level,” Scandola said. “Undoubtedly the first objective is to grind kilometre, to know the tests well and then try to increase the pace on the second pass of the stages. Let's start to have our say and we expect to be able to fight for the podium during the year.”

Although Scandola has strong pedigree on asphalt, he’s also widely known for his gravel prowess.

“European races have much faster averages and double the mileage compared to Italian rallies, so we need to raise our attention further and manage the car and tires as best as possible. In the first races of the Italian Gravel championship this year we proved that we have a very fast Hyundai i20 and the return to Pirelli tyres also proved to be spot on. We are really curious to find out where we will be able to fit in internationally.”

Team Manager Riccardo Scandola, Umberto’s older brother, said: “The ERC undoubtedly represents an important challenge in an extremely competitive stage, from a human and technical point of view. We were looking for new challenges and wanted to get involved with the best of the specialty. In recent months we have decided together with our partners to race in Europe, as soon as we have obtained permission to move and travel. We are aware that the level will be higher than what we have found in some of our national races, but challenges are the heart of motoring and we are motivated to grow as quickly as possible also with the help of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing.”
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