Scandola ready for Madeiran challenge

Scandola ready for Madeiran challengeFrom IRC media [ 31/07/2008 ].
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Italian driver Umberto Scandola (pictured), who has been drafted in at the last minute to replace the illness-hit Anton Alen, says he is ready for the challenge of competing on the Madeira Rally.

Scandola has rallied in Madeira once before, in 2006, but he was forced to retire on the penultimate stage. This time, he is hoping for a strong overall result. On his last IRC outing, on the Rallye du Valais in 2007, Scandola finished on the podium.

"Madeira is a rally that I like a lot and the stages have not changed a lot since I did it in 2006," he said. "But obviously this is a big challenge for me as I have not competed on the IRC since last year and I wasn't expecting to compete this time. Having said that, you improve as a driver all the time, so I hope to put my asphalt experience to good effect."

Anton Alen was ruled out of the Madeira Rally three days ago, after he failed to recover from a virus. The young Finn will be back for the Barum Rally Zlin next month.

However, Giandomenico Basso - the winner in Madeira last year - has predicted a tough time for Abarth as the Italian team struggles to make up ground against Peugeot in the manufacturers' championship.

"It's hard to tell what can happen from the shakedown, but we tried a few different things with the differential and the tyres and it didn't make much of a difference to my times," he said. "That's a slight worry, but we will just have to see what happens in the rally."
The spectator superspecial through the streets of Funchal gets underway at 19:30 tonight (local time) and is expected to be watched by 30,000 people.