Frisiero – The unassuming champion

While most eyes at the Netier National Capital Rally were focused on who would win the overall event, or whether Mike Young could turn his fortunes around and beat team-mate Yuya Sumiyama, there was another APRC competitor who quietly collected the 2018 Pacific Cup title.

Fabio Frisiero started 2018 as an APRC debutant. And although he had some previous rallying experience in New Zealand and Australia, he had never competed at Whangarei or Canberra.

“It’s not been easy for me”, the Italian said after completing the Canberra round of the series.”

Fabio Frisiero, National Capital Rally 2018
“Jetlag and long distance make it hard. But I enjoy it so much. I appreciate a fantastic places and landscapes. They are unique in the world. I’m very happy to have made this choice.”

Partnering with his long-term co-driver Simone Scatollin for New Zealand and Jordi Barrabes for Australia, Frisiero has enlisted the help of championship winning team Race Torque who provide the Peugeot 208 AP4 rally car and team. “I am very lucky to know and work with them. You feel like family. And they are very professional.”

The Italian made a fantastic start to the series, beating the very experienced Sumiyama on the first day of Whangarei. The Japanese driver got the better of him on the final day in New Zealand, but Frisiero still made it to the finish, beating several of the strong local crews in the process.

Canberra, however, was a different story. Unlike the conditions he’d experienced at Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour, the Canberra stages were rough, challenging and unforgiving.

“Everybody says that Argentina Rally is the strongest rally and very rough. But I think this rally (Canberra) is similar to Argentina. The roads are very technical and it’s difficult to get a good rhythm.”

“(On Saturday) it was bad luck; I made a mistake. When we landed after a fast jump, I was on the left side of the road and we found a big hole. I damaged the car; it was my mistake.”

“Today we had a problem with fog and big stones this morning. We had punctures. But this afternoon it was all perfect.”

“Was fantastic for me to have my wife and my little daughter with me here in Canberra. For several years I desire to have them with me. So to win the Pacific cup is something amazing.”

“I’m very sorry for Mike Young. He’s very fast and I’m not happy that he’s not here (winning the Pacific Cup). So, I’m happy for our results, but I’m sorry for him.”

So having won the Pacific Cup and currently sitting only 22 points behind Sumiyama in the overall championship, will the Italian try to win the APRC title?

“For the moment my plan is Japan and India. But Lane (Heenan of Race Torque) and I have discussed it this week and over the next weeks we’ll decide if we can participate also at other events.”

“I’m more comfortable with the car now (after Whangarei and Canberra). Lane and his boys did a fantastic job. I would like learn more with this car. It would be great if these cars (the AP4 category) could be used in Europe. I think we can see more entries in rallies there. AP4 is a good compromise between a competitive car and costs.”

Fabio Frisiero, National Capital Rally 2018