Gustavo Saba became the most successful driver in Rally de Erechim history today by claiming his fifth overall win in southern Brazil, where the third round of the FIA Codasur Championship was held.
The Paraguayan ace, co-driven by Argentina’s Fernando Mussano, has now been on top of the results with four different models of three manufacturers: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X in 2011 and 2012, Škoda Fabia S2000 in 2013, Škoda Fabia R5 in 2018 and Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 this year.
Predictably, Diego Domínguez and Héctor Nunes planned an early attack from their runner-up spot. The Hyundai i20 was quickest in the ninth special stage and reduced the gap to 10.9s, but Saba replied with two fastest times in SS10 and 11, admitting that the pressure almost made him roll in a corner.
Meanwhile, Domínguez suffered a rear tyre puncture in the penultimate test. The remaining pieces of rubber cut a brake pipe near the end, leaking all the fluid.
Alejandro Galanti and Marcelo Toyotoshi emerged fastest in the last Stage, called Verduleiros, getting a steady third position and controlling top Ford Fiesta user and fellow countryman Augusto Bestard, here co-driven by Edgardo Galindo.
With the Fabia brought from Bolivia, Roberto Saba and Claudio Ocampo completed the event in fifth. Augusto D’Agostini and Juan Pablo Carrera finished sixth with a Volkswagen Polo Maxi Rally, leaving RC2N victor Eduardo Peredo (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X), top local entry Juliano and Rafael Sartori (Polo MR), Carlo García (Lancer Evo X) and RC4 winner Diego Domínguez Jr. behind.
Federico Ensslin, only Uruguayan competitor, took his production Mitsubishi to eleventh place. In Asunción, Miguel Cabral is a traumatologist and Ramiro Ayala a lawyer, but here they clinched the RC3 title in advance driving a Honda Civic Type R. So did Domínguez Jr. in RC4 at the wheel of a Peugeot 208 R2.
In RC5, Brazilian André Allegretti claimed the win in a Ted Racing Fiat Palio. Team mate and manager Luis Tedesco dominated almost the whole way, but near the finish he voluntarily got a penalty and allowed Allegretti to score maximum points, based in the fact he is not competing in the Sudam series on a full-time basis. Paraguay’s Martín Tomas (joined in this rally by Uruguay’s Sebastián González), won the second leg and secured third position.
Gustavo Saba took 1h37m35.6s (96,47 kmh his average speed) to beat Domínguez by 18.3s and Galanti by 48.4s.
After the retirement of Milton and André Pagliosa in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, the Sartori duo celebrated a win as far as the Brazilian Championship is concerned. They took RC2 honours and finished 2m14.7s over Vítor Fischer’s Lancer Evo IX with Roberto Reijers in third (Peugeot 208 MR).
The other classes were won by Tedesco (RC4) and Evandro Carbonerra (Fiat Palio, RC5).
Finally, the regional Gaúcho Championship showed Julian Sartori heading the standings again, followed by Fischer y Carbonerra. Cristiano Beus (Fiat Palio) and Mauricio Jarczeski (Volkswagen Gol) were quickest in RC3 and RC4, respectively.
The South American Rally Championship resumes in Santa Cruz (Bolivia), 23-25th August.
Colaborou: Juan Cruz Mathus