Rachele at the 2018 Monza Rally Show
Rachele Somaschini is a race and rally driver from Italy, who drives a Mini. She is the first driver with cystic fibrosis to take part in a World Championship rally.
She started competing in 2012, when she was 18, using a historic Alfa Romeo that belonged to her father. Her first events were hillclimbs.
In 2015, she began racing a BMW Mini, competing in the Italian Hillclimb championship.
In 2016 she took on the Mini Cooper Challenge on the track, and various Italian rallies. She won her class in the Mini Challenge and in the Italian hillclimb series. In rallies, she scored five class wins in Rally Show-type events, with a best overall finish of 22nd (out of 46), at the Motors Rally Show Pavia.
She teamed up with experienced co-driver Alessandra Benedetti in 2017, for more rally shows. Together they tried out a Peugeot 207 S2000 car as well as the Mini.
In 2018, she tackled the Sanremo Rally in a Peugeot 208 R2, finishing 30th. She also drove the Mini and a Citroen DS3 during the year, winning her class at the Adriatico and Due Valli events in the Citroen. It was in this car that she she scored a ninth place in the Tandalo-Vetture Rally, a single-stage hill-based event on gravel. Her first run in an R5 car was at the Monza Rally Show in December, where she was 70th overall in a Peugeot 208 T16..
Her first WRC rally was the 2018 Monte. She was classified 63rd overall in a Citroen DS3 R3T after a solid run, although only the top 56 finishers were permitted to take on the final stages.
She was invited to take part in the W Series all-female Formula 3 championship in 2019, but declined due to worries over her health and a desire to carry on with rallies.
Rachele uses her rallying as a way of raising awareness for cystic fibrosis, fronting a campaign called “Correre Per Un Respiro” (Racing For A Breath). She maintains her health and fitness through regular sessions with a specialist personal trainer, as well as the home- and hospital-based therapies used by many people with CF.
(Image from https://motorsport.motorionline.com)