Fiat's official return to the rally scene started on Thursday 20th January at the Monte Carlo Rally, the first on the World Championship calendar, in which a Fiat Punto Abarth crewed by Mirco Baldacci and Giovanni Bernacchini will be taking part. Fiat is entering three championships in 2005: apart from the Junior World Title, it will be competing for the European Championship with Giandomenico Basso and Mitia Dotta and for the Italian Championship with Paolo Andreucci and Anna Andreussi, who took the title with the Fiat Punto Abarth in 2003.
The Junior World Championship, which is reserved for the under-28s and Super 1600s, will be fought out over 7 rallies: Monte Carlo, Italy-Sardinia, Acropolis-Greece, Finland, Germany, the Tour de Corse and Spain-Catalonia. There are 10 rallies in the European Championship, which starts out in April with the 1000 Miles. The other rallies on the calendar will be fought out in Poland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Greece and France. Finally, the Italian Championship starts on 20 March with the Ciocco Rally and consists of 10 events, four on unmade roads and six on asphalt.
Still on the subject of rallies, Fiat will continue to run its promotional trophy in 2005. The novelty this year is the entry of the Fiat Panda, which will join the tried and tested Punto and Stilo. The radically modified formula now means a wider range of choice of vehicles as well as the rallies themselves. It will be possible to take part with the Fiat Punto in the Super 1600, 1.8 HGT Group A and Group N versions, with the Fiat Stilo 1.8 16v in Group A and Group N versions, with Formula Start (strictly production) cars, the Fiat Punto 1.2 16v, 1.4 16v and 1.3 Diesel Multijet, and the Fiat Panda 1.2 e 1.3 Diesel Multijet. Competition rules also offer many possibilities considering that each driver can add together 6 point scores, multiplied by a coefficient that takes account of the difficulty and length of the rally, obtained in events that are valid for the Italian Championship (coefficient 18), the Trofeo Asfalto (coeff. 16), the Trofeo Terra (coeff. 16), the Coppa Italia (coeff. 15), the Challenge Ronde (coeff. 14), the Rallysprint (coeff. 12) and the Formula Start (coeff. 11). All results will count towards the calculation of class rankings in the Fiat Trophy. Important, as always, are the prizes for the winners: two Fiat Punto Abarth Super 1600s, which will be assigned to first place outright, and to the first Under-25.
Fiat Auto's sports activities will be rounded off with the Alfa Romeo track events. The company has in fact confirmed its participation at the World Touring Car Championship with four Alfa 156s driven by Gabriele Tarquini, Fabrizio Giovanardi, Augusto Farfus and James Thompson and with the organisation of the European Alfa Challenge, a single-marque championship whose leading player will be the Alfa Romeo 147 GTA Cup.Published 22 January 2005