Nikolay Gryazin has emerged as the driver to beat on Rally di Roma Capitale after he went fastest on the Qualifying Stage for round three of the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship.
With Konstantin Aleksandrov co-driving their SRT-run Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Gryazin set a best time of 2m08.875s on the 4.02-kilometre stage in Fumone to head Nil Solans, Andrea Crugnola (Hyundai Rally Team Italia), Miko Marczyk (ORLEN Team) and Norbert Herczig (Škoda Rally Team Hungaria).

The winner of Rally Liepāja earlier this month was 1.061s faster than Rallye Team Spain’s Solans and earns the right to choose his start position for leg one first when the road order selection takes place in Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo from 19h00 CET.

"I was a little bit surprised with my time," said the Russian driver. "We had a quite bad test before with the road but finally we found something [with the set-up] but I was not expecting it would work so well. We will see how it goes in the race and I hope I don't have to work on the set-up during the race. We try to be relaxed and make some good times."

Italian championship leader Fabio Andolfi went sixth quickest, while Andreas Mikkelsen was seventh fastest in his Toksport WRT-run Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo followed by Giandomenico Basso, the Rally di Roma Capitale winner in 2019 and last year’s Qualifying Stage pacesetter.

Grégoire Munster completed the top 10 ahead of fellow Hyundai Junior Driver Ole Christian Veiby. Craig Breen was P12 for Team MRF Tyres followed by Rallye Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena, Saintéloc Junior Team’s ERC points leader Alexey Lukyanuk and ERC newcomer Tomasso Ciuffi.

Javier Pardo posted the fastest time in ERC2 for Suzuki Motor Ibérica. Jean-Baptiste Franceschi was quickest in ERC3/ERC3 Junior in his Toksport WRT Renault Clio Rally4. Ken Torn topped the ERC Junior order, Dariusz Poloński was fastest in the Abarth Rally Cup, while home hero Andrea Mabellini clocked the quickest time among the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT contingent.

SSS0, Caracalla ACI Roma, is due to get underway at 20h08 CET with live coverage onFacebookandYouTube.

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