Wed 04 Jan 2023

Champion Miele switches up for title defence

Mauro Miele has acquired a brand-new car to defend his Masters Cup title - and the Italian’s season gets underway in just over two weeks at Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 - 22 January).

The 66-year-old veteran became the inaugural winner of the Masters Cup, which was first introduced last year for WRC2-registered drivers over the age of 50.

Rule tweaks for 2023 mean that, although the age restrictions remain unchanged, the category is now also open to drivers in Rally3, Rally4, Rally5 and RGT machinery in addition to Rally2. 

Miele drove a Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo to glory in 2022. He’s sticking with the same trusty marque but has acquired one of the Czech manufacturer’s new Fabia RS Rally2 cars in preparation for another big year. 

“I've been following [the car’s] development,” Miele explained. “As soon as it was clear when it was coming, I said I wanted it.

“When I look at it, it seems like a huge leap forward and I like that. I hope it will be a good season, but it will be difficult to defend the title. I'm expecting more competition and I'll be 67 years old for Monte.”

Miele clinched the 2022 crown at FORUM8 Rally Japan - the event which pulled down the curtain on a season-long battle between him and Armin Kremer. 

Becoming a world champion, Miele says, fulfilled a lifelong dream - and he did it in style, posting the second-fastest time overall on a sodden Sunday Power Stage.

"I can't really put it into words [how it felt], but I actually said to myself that, if I were 40 years younger, I probably would have made it to the World Championships," he joked. 

"Those five minutes in Japan were exceptional, I made history as the oldest driver to score points in the WRC and I'm also the first WRC2 driver to finish so high in the Power Stage standings. I have done my record in WRC history - I can't do it again.”

Source & Images: Škoda Motorsport

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