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European Rally Championship
Updated: 11 min 34 sec ago

Zawada gets Hyundai for ERC Junior U28 step

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 12:00

Aleks Zawada will step up to the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship in 2018 – and this is the car he’ll drive.

The Pole had been planning an ERC Junior Under 27 bid having come so close to the crown last season. However, he’s switching from his Opel ADAM R2 to a top-of-the-range Hyundai i20 R5 instead with Rally Islas Canarias up first on his schedule.

“An opportunity arose that I just could not turn down,” Zawada explained. “The chance to compete in an R5 does not come along often, and it is something that I just had to jump on. It will not be easy but I have to believe in myself and I relish the challenge.”

Visit FIAERC.com soon for more on Zawada’s dream drive.

Hokkanen aims for Canarias ERC boost

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 07:00

Miika Hokkeanen will “come back stronger” when he returns to FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship duty on Rally Islas Canarias next month.

Hokkanen endured what he described as one the “toughest” events he’d ever contested following his Azores Airlines Rallye debut.

Co-driven by Jukka Pasenius, he was unable to go the distance and is already hoping for a change of fortune in Las Palmas.

“It was a very bad rally for us, one of the toughest for me ever,” said the Finn. “On Thursday our engine broke so we had to stay in the stage. In the first stage on Saturday our brake balance was completely to the front and we boil our brakes in the first stage and after that we didn’t have the brake in the front.

“After that it was just surviving so I was not happy. After the problems I have to come back stronger on the next rally.”

Photo: Chris Rawes/RawCast Media

Hokkanen aims for Canarias ERC boost

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 06:00

Miika Hokkeanen will “come back stronger” when he returns to FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship duty on Rally Islas Canarias next month.

Hokkanen endured what he described as one the “toughest” events he’d ever contested following his Azores Airlines Rallye debut.

Co-driven by Jukka Pasenius, he was unable to go the distance and is already hoping for a change of fortune in Las Palmas.

“It was a very bad rally for us, one of the toughest for me ever,” said the Finn. “On Thursday our engine broke so we had to stay in the stage. In the first stage on Saturday our brake balance was completely to the front and we boil our brakes in the first stage and after that we didn’t have the brake in the front.

“After that it was just surviving so I was not happy. After the problems I have to come back stronger on the next rally.”

Photo: Chris Rawes/RawCast Media

Drivers and Teams

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 16:41
content

Kasperczyk gets set for busy 2018 with ERC Junior points

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 07:00

Tomasz Kasperczyk recovered from a roll to finish the Azores Airlines Rallye seventh among the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship contingent – and set up a season of action in Europe and his native Poland.

The Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team driver, co-driven by Damian Syty, crashed on stage nine but was able to continue to service in Ponta Delgada where repairs to his Ford Fiesta R5 ensured he made the finish.

“I was five kilometres from the finish of stage nine when I lost the line and go a little bit too wide on some corners,” Kasperczyk explained. “I was a little bit too wide on the right side and I hit a little something on the rear and then I rolled three or four times. I was really sorry for the guys behind me because I block the stage.

“I was more happy on Saturday because we were driving after our team made a very good yesterday to repair the car, which was very good. On the second Grupo Marques stage I did the third best time, my first top-three stage time in the ERC.

"It was pretty tough weekend for us, but we finish it with a lot of new rally knowledge. We covered the distance of every special stage, which is important as every kilometre brings us vital experience. The Azores Rallye helped us to get into rally mode and check our pace ahead of oncoming challenges, both in the ERC and Polish championship.

“At the end I would like to appreciate the fantastic work by C-Rally, who managed to quickly fix our car after our roll and get us going again.”

Kasperczyk gets set for busy 2018 with ERC Junior points

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 06:00

Tomasz Kasperczyk recovered from a roll to finish the Azores Airlines Rallye seventh among the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship contingent – and set up a season of action in Europe and his native Poland.

The Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team driver, co-driven by Damian Syty, crashed on stage nine but was able to continue to service in Ponta Delgada where repairs to his Ford Fiesta R5 ensured he made the finish.

“I was five kilometres from the finish of stage nine when I lost the line and go a little bit too wide on some corners,” Kasperczyk explained. “I was a little bit too wide on the right side and I hit a little something on the rear and then I rolled three or four times. I was really sorry for the guys behind me because I block the stage.

“I was more happy on Saturday because we were driving after our team made a very good yesterday to repair the car, which was very good. On the second Grupo Marques stage I did the third best time, my first top-three stage time in the ERC.

"It was pretty tough weekend for us, but we finish it with a lot of new rally knowledge. We covered the distance of every special stage, which is important as every kilometre brings us vital experience. The Azores Rallye helped us to get into rally mode and check our pace ahead of oncoming challenges, both in the ERC and Polish championship.

“At the end I would like to appreciate the fantastic work by C-Rally, who managed to quickly fix our car after our roll and get us going again.”

ERC NEWSLETTER 09-18

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 05:16

Here's a recap on some of the latest developments in the FIA European Rally Championship following the season-opening Azores Airlines Rallye.

Gago wants more ERC Junior action

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 07:00

Diogo Gago doesn’t want his winning run in the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship to start and finish with his Azores Airlines Rallye success.

Gago completed a late deal to contest the Pirelli-supported category on the spectacular gravel event, which marked the start of the new ERC Junior season.

After winning his class against strong opposition, the Portuguese wants to continue his triumphant start with an outing on next month’s Rally Islas Canarias.

“I get the budget in the last two weeks to do [Azores],” said Gago, who attracted support from M Coutinho for his Azores bid. “It went well so it would be nice to go to Canrias and have the same [result] there. Then if Canarias finishes good we do one more but at the moment there’s no budget so it’s difficult.”

Gago wants more ERC Junior action

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 06:00

Diogo Gago doesn’t want his winning run in the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship to start and finish with his Azores Airlines Rallye success.

Gago completed a late deal to contest the Pirelli-supported category on the spectacular gravel event, which marked the start of the new ERC Junior season.

After winning his class against strong opposition, the Portuguese wants to continue his triumphant start with an outing on next month’s Rally Islas Canarias.

“I get the budget in the last two weeks to do [Azores],” said Gago, who attracted support from M Coutinho for his Azores bid. “It went well so it would be nice to go to Canrias and have the same [result] there. Then if Canarias finishes good we do one more but at the moment there’s no budget so it’s difficult.”

ERC Junior Larsen positive despite off

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 13:00

Frank Tore Larsen was still able to take plenty of positives from his Azores Airlines Rallye return, even though an accident on the final morning prevented him from finishing the FIA European Rally Championship counter.

Larsen, who is co-driven by Torstein Eriksen, was fifth in the ERC Junior Under 28 category when a crash on stage 11 put him out on the spot and caused a delay to the remainder of the rally after his Ford Fiesta R5 inadvertently blocked the road.

“We were too fast, missed the line into a left-hander and hit a tree with our front-right corner of the car,” Larsen explained. “We were okay but the rally was over. Before that we done a quite good, steady rally. We were punished a bit on Friday with the road position and you can see the difference in speed from the first to the second loop. I would have liked to have been faster but what can we do?”

Larsen continued: “I said to Torstein after the second Sete Cidades stage that this was worth the trip from Norway down here to do that stage in that fashion. We had to enjoy it because we have worked so hard just to be here.”

“Even though we would like to have been fighting in the top five, we had to take a breath and enjoy what we’re experiencing because this is something you get to do only a few times in your lifetime. I wanted to get to the finish and get some experience because I hadn’t been driving in four or five months and I felt I am a bit rusty. We will be back even stronger.”

Koči plans ERC Junior fightback following Azores exit

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 13:00

Martin Koči will “come back stronger” after his late woe on the Azores Airlines Rallye, the opening event of the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship, last week.

Koči was in a close battle for the ERC Junior Under 28 category win on his class debut when hefty contact left his ŠKODA Slovakia Motorsport Fabia R5 damaged and beyond instant repair.

“It was my mistake,” said Koči, who is co-driven by Filip Schovánek. “I touched too much in one corner and it ripped the wheel off. I’m sorry for my team, my sponsors, the fans and my family and I’m sad for me.”

He continued: “It might have been a good performance but that doesn’t change much right now. Until that point it was very good rally for us, we had good pace for my first gravel rally with this car.

“It was a very tricky rally and I was not pushing my maximum I would say because I find it a bit risky. You only score good points in the finish of the rally. I need to be more clever next time. We will come better and stronger.”

Remembering when… Botka beat Lukyanuk in Azores ERC battle

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 07:00

Alexey Lukyanuk might have produced a dominant display to win the Azores Airlines Rallye last week but the Russian didn’t always have things entirely his own way.

In fact, following the opening Lagoa test, Dávid Botka was 0.1s in front after claiming his maiden stage victory in the FIA European Rally Championship.

Although car issues would ultimately hamper Botka’s challenge, it was still a significant moment for the former ERC2 champion.

How Botka bossed Lukyanuk in strong start to ERC campaign

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 06:00

Alexey Lukyanuk might have produced a dominant display to win the Azores Airlines Rallye last week but the Russian didn’t always have things entirely his own way.

In fact, following the opening Lagoa test, Dávid Botka was 0.1s in front after claiming his maiden stage victory in the FIA European Rally Championship.

Although car issues would ultimately hamper Botka’s challenge, it was still a significant moment for the former ERC2 champion.

BRYNILDSEN BRINGS WINNING AMBITION TO ERC

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 17:08

Eyvind Brynildsen will embark on a major FIA European Rally Championship campaign, starting with Rally Islas Canarias from 4-6 May.​

Brynildsen brings winning ambition to ERC

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 13:00

Eyvind Brynildsen will embark on a major FIA European Rally Championship campaign, starting with Rally Islas Canarias from 3-5 May.

Brynildsen, a regular in the world championship, will drive a Ford Fiesta R5 for Autotek Motorsport. His programme will include the Acropolis Rally in Greece followed by the Cyprus Rally with a Rally di Roma Capitale run under consideration. The rapid Norwegian will then announce his schedule for the remainder of the campaign.

“The ERC is the best for me at the moment,” said Brynildsen, a class title winner in Norway last season. “It’s a championship with some of the best rallies of the year and the best fans and a championship I was very keen to try out after nearly 50 starts in the WRC.”

Brynildsen, who has recruited Anders Fredriksson to co-drive, revealed he would have begun his ERC campaign on the season-opening Azores Airlines Rallye had it not been for a new addition to the family. “My wife gave birth to our third child so we start off with Canarias and then move over to the most historic event of them all, the Acropolis Rally. Then we move to Cyprus and if all the pieces in the puzzle fall into the right places we will continue the championship and go on with Rally di Roma Capitale.”

The 30-year-old’s switch to the ERC will put him on a learning curve in terms of untried events, not that he’s fazed by the prospect. “I’m maybe not young and promising anymore, only promising! I have done quite a few rallies in my career and for many years I drove a truck and trailer in our family business, so my memory for roads is not too bad. I like the challenge with new rallies and it just motivates me to prepare myself better than anyone else.”

Of his decision to link up with Autotek, a team with an ERC event-winning pedigree, Brynildsen said: “Ken Skidmore and me have known each other for many years and Ken’s team is great. Each and every one puts an effort like 110 per cent at all time. I’m now hoping Alexey Lukyanuk [ERC title leader] gets a challenge from me when it comes to the show because I like to give the fans what they deserve.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “It’s great to welcome Eyvind Brynildsen to the ERC, a fast driver with a lot of experience at world level. The 2018 championship got off to a fantastic start with a record-breaking entry on the Azores Airlines Rallye, including 35 R5 cars. Eyvind will face strong competition but we have no doubt he’ll put on a strong show.”

Sesks battles to Azores ERC Junior podium

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 12:00

Mārtiņš Sesks has revealed the late drama that ruled out a potential shot at FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship victory in the Azores.

Making his debut for the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team, Sesks was in second place starting the final stage of the Azores Airlines Rallye when things went wrong for the Latvian.

“The start was quite tricky and confusing [with the stage stoppages and the notional times],” Sesks, an ERC Junior Experience graduate, explained. “We had a puncture on stage eight. It was a sharp left-hander, a big rut and a big hit. But the first loop was good, not too much risk to stay on the road.

“On Saturday it was quite tricky at the beginning of the first stage, I was a bit too sleepy and then I woke up. Then it was good. I had a good battle with Diogo [Gago] and it’s normal that he pushes hard as a local driver. In the last stage about five kilometres from the finish, I had no first and second gear. It was a difficult rally but, for me, when it’s more difficult it’s more enjoyable.”

Confidence returns after tree hit for ERC Junior Antunes

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 07:00

Pedro Antunes made his FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship debut on the Azores Airlines Rallye last month – but revealed how hitting a tree prevented him from going the distance.

The Portuguese prospect and rally rookie hit trouble on the second stage of the spectacular gravel event. Although he returned for the final leg, he retired the Peugeot 208 R2 he was sharing with co-driver Paulo Lopes two stages from home.

“On the first day I hit a tree and some lights went on so I decided to stop even though the car was okay,” Antunes explained. “It was a right corner, 11 kilometres from the start of the second stage. It was a difficult situation with the braking. I come back on Saturday but it’s frustrating because we are still gaining some experience and we miss one day of rallying and that’s bad. I was not very confident but I was getting the confidence back. The stages were difficult but everything was okay.”

Wagner denied in ERC Junior

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 19:00

Simon Wagner was denied a possible podium finish when the 2018 FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship got underway on the Azores Airlines Rallye earlier this month.

Austrian Wagner was still in contention for third place when late mechanical issues curtailed his challenge.

“In stage 14 the gear lever was coming loose and the powersteering failed,” the Austrian explained. “Then, before stage 15, the gearbox and engine mounting had failed so we could not start the stage.

“It’s very disappointing because I was driving the whole rally without taking risks just to finish, we were following the plan and then this happened so close to the finish.”

Yates impresses on ERC Junior debut

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 13:00

Rhys Yates made an instant impact on his FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship debut with third place in the category for young stars in R5 cars on last week’s Azores Airlines Rallye.

Yates was making his first appearance on the island event, his first start alongside co-driver Elliott Edmondson and getting his first run in a ŠKODA Fabia R5, was on form from the start with the fourth fastest time in qualifying.

“It’s been a really good weekend,” said the Briton. “We had a few spins getting used to the new car but I’ve really enjoyed it. There is a lot of stuff to catch you out and we had a few near-misses on the final stage. But I enjoyed every minute of it, it’s been awesome.

“We had a small spin on Thursday and then we had a small spin on Friday. It’s a little frustrating because if you take 30s off we’re a bit closer but I’m happy with where we were. Maybe you throw caution to the wind on a different rally and get away with it. Here there’s no chance.

“The fog was hard work and it made you more hesitant. But the car was absolutely spot on and Elliott has been bang on and it was good to use his experience from last year.”

Vita hits back with ERC Junior points

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 07:00

Mattia Vita hit back from early disappointment to score points on his FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship debut last weekend.

Italian Vita finished sixth in class on the Azores Airlines Rallye after restarting on the final day following a freak retirement on the first run through the iconic Sete Cidades stage.

“We were unlucky on the second day when we had the problem with the wheel and I could not finish Sete Cidades,” Vita explained. “Unluckily, 100 metres before the end the front left wheel bolts broke but luckily it was a slow corner. It was very frustrating.”

Despite missing several Friday stages, Vita was pleased with the experience he gained on hi gravel debut.

“I’ve taken a great, great package of experience from this race,” said Vita. “It’s amazing to finish this rally it’s a very, very difficult race but with amazing fans and amazing landscapes. It was my first steps on gravel and step by strep I’m learning the gravel but it’s difficult. I did not do mistakes, only some parts broke which can happen in a race like this.”

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ORLEN 74 Rally Poland / Rajd Polski

ORLEN 74 Rajd Polski

Kalendarz 2018

22-24 marca:

Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugalia)

03-05 maja:

Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)

01-03 czerwca:

Acropolis Rally (Grecja)

15-17 czerwca:

Cyprus Rally (Cypr)

20-22 lipca:

Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)

24-26 sierpnia:

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)

21-23 września:

Rajd Polski

12-14 października:

Rally Liepaja (Łotwa)