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The FIA Rally Star Training Season participants are about to put theory into practice when they contest the San Marino Rally this weekend (June 16-17).

Organised by Federazione Auto Motoristica Sammarinese (FAMS) and counting as a round of the Campionato Italiano Rally (CIR) from ACI (Automobile Club d’Italia) Sport, the San Marino Rally is the first of six events carefully selected to equip the FIA Rally Star drivers with the best possible experience for their ongoing development.

With a service park located in the heart of San Marino city, the event begins with the San Marino Power Stage on Friday evening ahead of eight further special stages on gravel for a total competitive distance of 74.44 kilometres. While six stages take place across the border in Italy, three stages run within the Republic of San Marino.

The San Marino Rally’s gravel stages vary from technical to fast-paced in quick succession. They are similar in nature to what the FIA Rally Star drivers might encounter again in the future. Because selecting four drivers to progress to the FIA Junior WRC Championship for 2024 is one of the key objectives of the FIA Rally Star Training Season, the choice of the San Marino Rally was an obvious one to make.

The six FIA Rally Star drivers head to San Marino on the back of completing the intensive Training Camp in Sardinia last month, where a team of industry experts gave extensive advice and tuition on several important topics including preparing pacenotes, car set-up and maintenance, physical and mental preparation and conducting media interviews. The six also drove the Ford Fiesta Rally3 they will use during the Training Season on asphalt and gravel stages.

While stage times will be closely monitored on Rally San Marino, the FIA Rally Star drivers will be expected to demonstrate a clear understanding of the training they’ve received to date, as well as covering as many kilometres as possible.

Although Abdullah Al-Tawqi, Annia Cilloniz, Taylor Gill and Romet Jürgenson have competed on rallies, karter Jose ‘Abito’ Caparo and motocross rider Max Smart have yet to do so, making the San Marino Rally an exciting adventure where learning and progression will be paramount under the supervision of the FIA Rally Star Training Season team of instructors.

FIA Rally Star Project Leader Jérôme Roussel said: “The San Marino Rally provides an excellent opportunity to put into practice all the advice and guidance given during the FIA Rally Star Training Camp, while also gaining an understanding of stages that have similarities to some of the high-speed tests that appear on the FIA Junior WRC calendar. The event is also a chance to experience rallying for real and all the challenges and lessons that entails. But we also want these six young talents to show us more of their potential, without the pressure of competing in a full championship. I would like to warmly thank FAMS and highlight the welcome and support we have received, as well as the enthusiasm that was clear from the start of our discussions during the preparation of the FIA Rally Star Training Season calendar.”

Annia Cilloniz, 24, Peru said: “It’s the first event of the FIA Rally Star Training Season and we are very excited about it, but we also want to take it easy, step by step. As I have always said, this sport is all about learning and that’s what I want to do and why I arranged an extra day of testing in a Ford Fiesta Rally3. For sure I am very competitive, but I also know my limits and I have to build my strengths and everything in order to be the best. I really want to finish the rally and have more kilometres and more seat time in the car, that’s what I need now. I have also had the opportunity to walk around the streets of San Marino, it’s an amazing place, but my focus will very quickly turn to the test we have before the recce and then the rally, which starts on Friday with the shakedown and then the stages. I am also really excited to be working with my new co-driver Esther Gutierrez.”

FIA Rally Star Training Season participants (in San Marino Rally start number order)

36 Romet Jürgenson (23, EST) / Co-driver: Siim Oja (EST)
37 Taylor Gill (19, AUS) / Co-driver: Daniel Brkic (AUS)
38 Max Smart (20, ZAF) / Co-driver: Lorcan Moore (IRL)
39 Abdullah Al-Tawqi (24, OMN) / Co-driver: Ronan Comerford (IRL)
40 Annia Cilloniz (24, PER) / Co-driver: Esther Gutierrez (ESP)
41 Jose ‘Abito’ Caparo (26, PER) / Co-driver: ‘Willy’ Guillermo Sierra Ovalle (PER)

FIA Rally Star Training Season event schedule refresher

The FIA Rally Star Training Season consists of six events, four on gravel and two on Tarmac:

  • San Marino Rally (Gravel), June 16-17
  • Rallye Weiz, Austria (Tarmac), July 13-15
  • Rally Nova Gorica, Slovenia (Tarmac), September 22-24
  • Rally Saarema, Estonia (Gravel), October 6-7
  • RallyRACC, Spain (Gravel), October 20-21
  • Lausitz Rallye, Germany (Gravel), November 9-11

A test will take place ahead of each event along with an extensive post-rally debrief. The FIA Rally Star Training Season events have been specifically chosen to equip the drivers with experience of a wide variety of conditions and circumstances.

The six FIA Rally Star Training Season participants will compete in identical Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta Rally3s run by M-Sport Poland.

All costs are covered by the FIA with the best four drivers at the completion of the FIA Rally Star Training Season securing a fully-funded season in the FIA Junior WRC Championship in 2024.

Published by: FIA Rally Star

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