Crugnola and Solari, the victors: party in Varese at the “Lakes Rally”

IT was a special Sunday for the Ford Fiesta WRC team: second title for the driver, first, for the navigator. On the podium, also Miele and Freguglia, who resisted attacks by Porro.

rally dei laghi 2017 crugnola solari

In Varese, you will not be able to pass; it was an entirely local podium at the 26th Lakes Rally, which took place on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March. And the person who climbed to the top step was the most expected of the bunch; Andrea Crugnola came first, thereby eliminating the disappointment over his premature withdrawal from the World Championship, and getting to wear the champion’s crown of the “Lakes Rally”, five years after his success in 2012. With the driver from Calcinate del Pesce, in the Ford Fiesta WRC (his racing debut was in a similar car), the popular navigator Fulvione Solari finally achieved the much sought-after victory in the local race.


But, as mentioned, the second and third placed teams were also local: Simone Miele and Roberto Mometti conceded with their heads high, ending in second place, 45″ behind, with satisfaction from winning three of the eight special trials. And with the certainty that the DS3 WRC will be an excellent travelling companion next season. Third place went to the veteran Beppe Freguglia, with Lisa Bollito from Piedmont. The driver of the Fiesta WRC had a big smile after he managed to keep behind him the strongest of drivers, Paolo Porro, who, like Pedersoli in 2016, found the new roads, and some really strong local drivers, tough going.


However, we should not just consider the “geographical” factor as we review the Lakes Rally podium. Right now, Varese can call on a group of very high-profile drivers, including Crugnola, who has had international success (and De Tommaso, who was absent today, and whose success is growing), Miele, Freguglia and Dipalma able to fight it out, in Italy, in their respective teams. We will see what the driver from Olgiate Olona, in particular, manages to do in the Italian WRC against Porro and partners.

Outside the first places, the Lakes Rally saw many other interesting battles; drivers who stood out include Spataro (first in R2B, excellent 12th, despite a target time imposed on Saturday), Bosetti (10th overall, and winner in the R3C, after a close duel with the equally good Marchetti) and Tondina (who took the “Saredi Trophy”, by winning the N3 ahead of Mariani).

Finally, confirmations for D’Alberto, in the N2, and for the experience of Canuto, first in the A5.

The rain played a part up to a point on the second day of competition: wet roads in the morning, but no particular problems for the drivers and navigators, who, on the day before, feared the conditions would be entirely different. And from the very start of the race, it was clear that Sunday would be Andrea Crugnola’s day. The driver from Calcinate del Pesce immediately beat Miele in the PS3 (Alpe-Valganna), pushing his Fiesta WRC to the top of the table. Behind, the positions were established and confirmed also in the subsequent trials, at least until the assistance: Miele maintained second place with authority, despite a good Freguglia behind him, and Giò Dipalma managed to keep ahead of Porro, of whom great things were expected.

However, the driver from Como made a comeback in the afternoon by achieving the second time in the sixth and seventh special trials. This was all to the detriment of Dipalma, who lost something on the Alpe trial and then collapsed on the Sette Termini trial, after hitting the rear, a difficulty that also characterised the seventh trial. Then, in the last one, Dipalma got even but left the R3 title for Pensotti. In the meantime, the “Lakes Rally” had lost another star, Corrado Pinzano, who got a puncture on the first slopes in the Cuvignone Valley, and had to leave.

Finally, the audience: the rehearsal is an absolute must, not only for fans, but also for the curious and those who, for once, want to follow the racing cars. Thousands and thousands of people first smelled the air in the pits, with assistance accessible to everyone, and then enjoyed the trial runs. All in all, the weather behaved, even on Sunday, when the surroundings of the Giardini Estensi gave that little extra to a race that deserves certain settings and certain cars. Finally, we would like to thank the many viewers who followed the live broadcast on VareseNews, which was made possible by the sponsors “Chicco d’Oro” and “Marazzato Group”, and conducted also with the support of Alexia Cunico, Maurizio Borserini, Luca Roncari and Alessandro Ripoli.

1) Andrea CRUGNOLA – Fulvio SOLARI (Ford Fiesta WRC) in 1:10’17.3; 2) Simone Miele – Roberto Mometti (Citroen DS3 WRC), + 45″6; 3) Giuseppe Freguglia – Lisa Bollito (Ford Fiesta WRC), + 1’14″7; 4) Porro – Orian (Ford Fiesta WRC), + 1’18″8; 5) Pensotti – Falzone (Skoda Fabia R5), + 3’21″8; 6) Puricelli – Pozzi (Citroen DS3 WRC), + 3’58″2; 7) Dipalma – “Cobra” (Ford Fiesta R5), + 4’03”; 8) Roncoroni – Brusadelli (Ford Fiesta R5), + 5’18″4; 9) Bosetti – Buzzi (Renault Clio R3C), + 6’56 “7; 10) Messori – Ungaro (Peugeot 207 S.20), + 7’28″8.

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