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The Abarth 124 rally is opening the 2019 season at the Monte Carlo Rally, the first event of the World Rally Championship WRC, with Enrico Brazzoli and crew-mate Manuel Fenoli (ITA) at the wheel of a Bernini Rally Team car.

The spider with the scorpion badge is the defending champion having won the FIA R-GT Cup, which is considered the Gran Turismo world championship, last year driven by Frenchmen Raphael Astier and Frédéric Vauclare. Brazzoli is a world champion in his own right, having won the two-wheel drive WRC3 Cup in 2018. This year, the Italian has chosen to repeat the international experience competing in the FIA R-GT Cup in the car that dominated the category.

The Monte Carlo Rally is an important event in the racing history of the Abarth 124 rally. In 2017, at its world debut, the car promptly demonstrated how competitive it was with the excellent performance scored by the young Italian Fabio Andolfi in team with Manuel Fenoli who this year will be running with Brazzoli. Italians Andrea Nucita and Marco Vozzo improved last year’s exploit by securing a resounding fourth absolute time among the official WRC four-wheel-drive cars in the toughest special stage race in bad weather with plenty of snow and ice.

Once again this year, snow and ice is expected for part of the race that will be starting on Thursday, January 24 from Gap and is sure to make the opening event of the World Rally Championship WRC even tougher. There will be two special stages on day one and six for the second leg on Friday 25. There will be four timed stages on Saturday 26 ahead of the grand finale on Sunday 27 with four more special stages, including two crossings of the legendary Col de Turini. In total, competitors will face 1,366 km, 323 of them at a timed speed split over 16 special stages.

Enrico Brazzoli was enthusiastic about the new car after the first trials. “For an Italian driver to compete in the Monte Carlo Rally in an Abarth is a dream come true. The car is very high performing and powerful and I am optimistic for the championship even if Monte Carlo is never an easy race and is famous for its traps and pitfalls”.

The Abarth tradition in this race is full of successes, like German Walter Rohrl’s victory in 1980 in a 131 Rally that paved the way to winning Constructors’ and Drivers’ championship titles that year.

For sports customers, Abarth is organising the Abarth Rally Cup 2019 single-brand championship this year in six prestigious races of the European Rally Championship FIA-ERC, with a jackpot and plenty of spectacle since the events have many followers. The Abarth Rally Cup will be starting on May 2 in the Rally Islas Canarias and will end with the Rally of Hungary on November 3.