Milan’s iconic city centre cathedral provided a stunning backdrop as the FIA World Rally Championship visited Italy’s capital of fashion and design this morning (Thursday).
Rally cars from all four 2018 manufacturer teams were on display in the picturesque Piazza del Duomo as a roadshow took the WRC to thousands of commuters and Christmas shoppers in the heart of the city.
The Citroën C3, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20 and Toyota Yaris World Rally Cars provided a memorable photo opportunity in the world famous square as the quartet appeared together for the final time in 2018.
They later lined up for an afternoon press conference ahead of this weekend’s Monza Rally Show (7 - 9 December) at the legendary race circuit nearby.
The piazza houses many of Italy’s most famous buildings, including the 14th century cathedral, the Royal Palace and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping area. It is Milan’s biggest tourist attraction.
After the daylong roadshow the cars will be on display throughout the three-day 40th anniversary Monza Rally Show.
“This was a very special occasion for the WRC,” said WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla.
“Taking the championship into the heart of one of Europe’s great cities, and presenting the teams and cars at Monza, puts the WRC in full view of tens of thousands of Italians and international visitors. It’s a superb showcase for our sport.”
As promotional highlights between rallies, the WRC’s visit to Milan and Monza followed last month’s WRC Gala Night in the shadow of Sydney’s famous Opera House.
A further roadshow is planned next summer in Estonia shortly before Neste Rally Finland, in addition to the 2019 season launch at Birmingham’s Autosport International show on Saturday 12 January.
M-Sport Ford’s Teemu Suninen will compete at Monza in both the rally and the Masters Show, which completes the weekend’s action on Sunday afternoon. The Finn will be partnered by new co-driver Marko Salminen for the first time.
Also competing are multiple MotoGP world champion and six-time Monza winner Valentino Rossi (Ford Fiesta WRC), nine-time motocross world champion Tony Cairoli (Hyundai i20 WRC) and WRC 2 regular Simone Tempestini (Hyundai i20 R5).
The rally starts on Friday afternoon and features Monza’s race track and perimeter roads, comprising nine special stages covering almost 145km. It is followed by the knockout Masters Show event.