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ERC King Kajto continues world tour in Turkey

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 12:00

Record-breaking FIA European Rally Championship title winner Kajetan Kajetanowicz will take on his next world challenge when he contests Rally Turkey Marmaris this week.

Kajetanowicz became the first driver in ERC history to win three titles in succession last season and is utilising that experience – and his considerable talent – for a world championship campaign in 2018 in a LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5.

“Many people associate Turkish resorts with warm holiday atmosphere but for me it represents competing in high temperatures which can exceed 60 degrees inside a rally car,” said the Pole. “However, I am working on my fitness and stamina all year long. This is why I feel fully prepared for the challenges which for sure await us during Rally Turkey.”

The Marmaris-based event will be Kajetanowicz’s third appearance in the world championship this season alongside co-driver and fellow Pole Maciej Szczepaniak.

“This is a new rally for many competitors,” said Kajetanowicz. “It looks like the stages will require great car strength and when it comes to driving a sensible approach and clever strategy. We will be the only Polish competitors on the Turkish stages and we will keep that in mind, doing our best.”

Rally Turkey Marmaris takes place one week ahead of Poland’s round of the ERC, the PZM 75th Rally Poland from 21-23 September. Visit FIAERC.com soon to find out why top Turk Orhan Avcioglu is forgoing an outing on his home round of the world championship – an event he won when it ran as a candidate rally in 2017 – to compete in Poland.

Meanwhile, Kajetanowicz is one of 32 drivers with ERC experience competing on Rally Turkey Marmaris.

Photo: LOTOS Rally Team

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ERC Junior U27 graduate Huttunen in Hyundai for Poland

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 15:30

Jari Huttunen, last year’s FIA ERC Junior Under 27 runner-up, will be back on European championship duty in Poland next week – only this time he’ll be R5-powered.

Having won in R2 machinery last season – including in the Pirelli-supported ERC Junior U27 category in Poland – Huttunen was chosen for the Hyundai Motorsport Driver development Program (HMDP) for 2018. As well as selected tests and world championship rallies, Huttunen’s schedule includes the ERC-counting PZM Rally Poland from 21-23 September in a Hyundai i20 R5 when he will go up against a number of fellow ERC Junior U27 graduates.

“Rally Poland is an important event as part of my HMDP campaign,” said the 24-year-old Finn. “Not only does it help to give me more time in the car, but the gravel surface makes it a very good warm-up event for Rally GB a few weeks later. It will be my first event on gravel since Rally Finland, so hopefully we can show the same level of performance as we did there, and come away with a similar result.”

Huttunen placed second in class on his home round of the world championship in July and was also on form when he tackled the gravel-based Rally Estonia earlier in the month, finishing fifth in an i20 R5. With both events featuring high-speed gravel stages similar to PZM Rally Poland, Huttunen is expected to be among the frontrunners when action begins in Mikołajki next Friday (21 September).

Welcoming Huttunen back to the European championship, Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Jari is a great example of a driver with lots of natural talent who used the ERC as the platform for his step up from national to international level. In just one season in ERC Junior U27, Jari was able to gain valuable experience and showcase his skills to a wider audience to the extent he was handed a dream opportunity to drive in the world championship with support from a manufacturer for 2018.

“In fact, Jari is one of several ERC Junior graduates with R5 experience when you consider Fabio Andolfi, Emil Bergkvist, Jan Černý, Marijan Griebel, Nikolay Gryazin, Chris Ingram, Stéphane Lefebvre, Filip Mareš, Tamara Molinaro, Łukasz Pieniazek, Ralfs Sirmacis and Aleks Zawada have all driven R5 cars after graduating from competing in ERC Junior in R2 machinery. Jari will be only too aware of the strong competition he’ll face in Poland and it will be great to see him in the thick of the fight with a number of young, talented drivers.”

Huttunen’s Hyundai i20 R5 will be entered under the Hyundai Motorsport banner and prepared by the same BRC Racing Team that oversaw factory Hyundai driver Dani Sordo’s ERC debut on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last month. Meanwhile, the provisional entry list for the 75th Rally Poland, which counts as the penultimate round of this season’s all-action ERC, is due to be published tomorrow (Wednesday).

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport

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Winning weekend for ERC aces

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 06:00

Several FIA European Rally Championship drivers were on top form at the weekend with Marijan Griebel and Nikolay Gryazin among the notable winners.

Griebel (pictured) made it two German championship wins in succession with victory on ADAC Rallye Niedersachsen, while Gryazin came out on top in the battle to win the Polish championship-counting Rally Elektrėnai in Lithuania.

Rally Elektrėnai also marked ERC regular Łukasz Habaj’s debut in a ŠKODA Fabia R5. He finished sixth with fellow Poles and ERC drivers Tomasz Kasperczyk and Grzegorz Grzyb seventh and eighth respectively.

In Slovenia, Petr Tĕšínský co-drove Ondřej Bisaha to victory on Rally Nova Gorica. Tĕšínský is Dominik Brož’s long-term co-driver in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship.

On Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine in France, ERC Junior Experience student Hugo Margaillan won the 208 Rally Cup in P19 overall. Catie Munnings, a regular point-scorer in ERC Junior U27, was a non-finisher following an accident on stage four.

Photo: ADAC.de/motorsport

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Poland route to challenge ERC crews

Sun, 09/09/2018 - 06:00

Organisers of the PZM 75th Rally Poland have said the route of this year’s all-gravel FIA European Rally Championship counter will “challenge” crews.

The 15-stage event covers 214.92 competitive kilometres from 21-23 September and marks the Mikołajki-based rally’s return to the ERC schedule for the first time since 2013 when Kajetan Kajetanowicz took his breakthrough international victory.

Fun Friday
Following a day of testing on Tuesday and two days of reconnaissance on Wednesday and Thursday, the 75th edition of the world’s second oldest rally begins in earnest on Friday 21 September with a packed schedule. Up first in Talty from 07h30 local time is Free Practice and the Qualifying Stage for ERC priority drivers followed by shakedown for all other crews. The fastest 15 drivers in qualifying will select their starting positions for leg one from 14h10 in Mikołajki’s main square, which is also the venue for the ceremonial start from 15h00. Two hours later, the purpose-built Mikołajki Arena hosts SS1 with crews competing in pairs.

Speedy Saturday
Eight stages make up Saturday’s action with just the 19.60-kilometre Świętajno run unaltered from 2017. The stage includes the famous Rosochackie jump. Paprotki, which gets underway at 07h30 as the first stage of the day, and Stare Juchy run in opposite to last year with Paprotki shortened in length. Mikołajki MAX is all-new for 2018. It begins in Zelwagi and concludes in the Mikołajki Arena, venue of the rally’s first stage on Friday evening.

Showdown Sunday
The deciding leg two features three repeated stages for a competitive distance of 97.90 kilometres. The all-new Pozedrze stage is up first at 08h05 followed by Gołdap, the most remote stage on the itinerary, longer than before at 19.90 kilometres and run in an opposite direction to last year. The renowned Baronowo test, which is also run in reverse, closes the morning loop and is also the final stage of the rally ahead of the finishing ceremony in Mikołajki’s main square at 18h20.

Click here to view the full updated itinerary.

Photo: Dominik Kalamus/Rajdpolski.pl

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ERC Junior Experience in take learn from Griebel, Sordo

Sat, 09/08/2018 - 06:00

Tarmac-driving coaching from Marijan Griebel and a question and answer session with world championship star Dani Sordo equipped the ERC Junior Experience intake with more vital knowledge when the latest training sessions took place during Barum Czech Rally Zlín week (21-24 August).

Established in 2016 to provide drivers and co-drivers with the myriad skills required for their step up from national to international level, the ERC Junior Experience is open to competitors in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship, plus other drivers aiming for the top.

Erik Cais (Czech Republic), Hugo Margaillan (France) and Grégoire Munster (Belgium) have recently enrolled into the comprehensive programme that includes Sébastien Bedoret, Filip Mareš, Catie Munnings, Laurent Pellier and Mārtiņš Sesks among its graduates.

Training week #2 curriculum: Zlín, Czech Republic (21-24 August)
*Tarmac-driving coaching from double ERC Junior champion Marijan Griebel
*Pre-event testing session
*Car set-up advice from ŠKODA Motorsport engineer Yannick Willocx
*Tyre-changing practice with a target time of 1m20s
*Sport vision (eye) training with Sofie De Witte
*Reconnaissance of all Barum Czech Rally Zlín stages, round six of the FIA European Rally Championship
*On-stage first aid provision training
*Question and answer session with factory Hyundai driver Dani Sordo
*Media training with ERC Radio and Eurosport TV reporters Julian Porter and Chris Rawes

Griebel on hand to teach ERC Junior Experience intake
The current ERC Junior Experience intake benefited from Marijan Griebel’s considerable expertise when the double ERC Junior champion provided Tarmac-driving tuition during a special session on 21 August.

Fresh from scoring world championship points for the first time on ADAC Rallye Deutschland, Griebel accompanied the rising stars on a test stage and provided crucial advice and detailed feedback ahead of Barum Czech Rally Zlín, round six of the FIA European Rally Championship.

He said: “I grew up in ERC Junior and got all my international rallying experience in the ERC and so many great memories. This is why I didn´t hesitate to come to the Barum Rally and teach some young guns.”

Griebel continued: “For rally drivers the opportunities are quite rare where you have a driving coach and can get some thoughts and input from another experienced person. So I hope I gave them some suggestions of how to improve their driving style and teach them things like risk management of punctures and accidents and how to do a long rally like an ERC event.

“The ERC Junior Experience is a great opportunity for young talents to start their international rallying career. It’s a unique project in our sport which is really helpful to develop and get one step closer to a professional career.”

Sordo becomes advocate of ERC Junior Experience after Q&A session
Dani Sordo, part of Hyundai’s factory team in the world championship, believes training programmes such as the ERC Junior Experience need to be rolled out across the sport after hosting a question and answer session during Barum Czech Rally Zlín, where he was making a guest appearance in the FIA European Rally Championship.

Sordo spent 90 minutes with the ERC Junior Experience intake on 23 August and answered numerous questions about his career and also gave crucial advice to the emerging talents enrolled in the training programme, including his fellow Spaniard Efrén Llarena, Czech federation-backed Dominik Brož, plus newcomers Erik Cais (Czech Republic), Hugo Margaillan (France) and Grégoire Munster (Belgium).

“It was nice to meet these young talents and to try to help them by having a nice chat,” said Sordo, who went on to finish his ERC debut in third position. “We need more of this type of school for the young drivers. It’s like a chain because we need these people to come in with their new thinking and new style of driving. If you have the talent and want to achieve something, then you need to follow your dreams [by learning].”

What the ERC Junior Experience drivers said?
Erik Cais (Czech Republic): “I really enjoyed this experience. It gave me a lot new impulses in how to improve my driving and communication with my fans through social media. It was also very nice to meet Dani Sordo and the other guys from ERC Junior.”

Hugo Margaillan (France): “The ERC Junior Experience is amazing. We’re learning a lot of things for the future. The workshops are very interesting and allow us to see what are our weak points. I’m very happy to have been able to participate."

Grégoire Munster (Belgium): “It was a really nice experience. We learned different aspects of rallying like the technical parts but also the importance of the media around this sport. We also learned to train some particular parts of our body, like the eye training. And to end this course on a perfect way, we even had the amazing opportunity to meet Dani Sordo and ask him some questions about his career.”

Training week #3: Liepāja, Latvia, 9-12 October
Curriculum to include fitness training, gravel-driving tuition and event reconnaissance. To enrol or for more information contact Evelien Deschuytter, All In Motion, +32 473990342, evelien@allinmotion.be.

 

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Back to where it began for ERC Junior Munnings

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 06:00

Catie Munnings is back to where it began this week as she prepares to contest Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine from today (Friday).

Munnings sampled a rally car for the first time in the French town in September 2015. Three years on and the 20-year-old – a regular point-scorer in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship – will make her debut on the all-asphalt event, which boasts an entry of more than 150 cars and features 199 competitive kilometres.

“It’s where it all began for me,” said Munnings. “I came to watch the rally in 2015 and [was invited to test a PEUGEOT 208 R2] the day after. When the chance to drive here this year came up, I jumped at it.”

Munnings will compete in the 208 Rally Cup section of the event with her opposition including ERC Junior Experience student and French rising star Hugo Margaillan.

“It’s a pretty fierce pace in the 208 Rally Cup so it’s going to be interesting,” said Munnings. “There will be loads to learn from the experience so we have no expectations. I see it as a massive privilege just to drive here. Thank you so much to all those people who made it possible at such short notice.”

Munnings was a 17-year-old when she first came to Morzine. “We got an invite to try a 208 R2. I’d always been surrounded by rally cars and grown up driving buggies and old cars around the fields at home. But this was the first time I drove one properly.”

Since then Munnings has become a regular on European championship events, winning the ERC Ladies’ Trophy in 2016 and scoring regularly in ERC3 and ERC Junior U27, despite her limited experience.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” she said. “When I look back it was a crazy idea but at the same time it was a dream come true. I thought I am so luck to be doing this. If you’d told me back then what I’d be doing now, I would not have believed it.”

Spaniard Alba Sánchez will co-drive Munnings in a Saintéloc Junior Team-entered 208 R2. ERC event winner Bryan Bouffier is the top seed in a Hyundai i20 R5.

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Habaj gets new car for ERC decider

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 06:00

Łukasz Habaj will contest the deciding round of this season’s FIA European Rally Championship in a ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Previously Ford Fiesta R5-powered, the eSky Rally Team driver will use the Czech machine for the first time on this week’s Polish-championship-counting Rally Elektrėnai in Lithuania (7-8 September) before contesting Rally Liepāja, the 2018 ERC finale, from 12-14 October.

The car switch resulted in Habaj and co-driver Daniel Dymurski skipping last month’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín and means an outing on their home round of the ERC, the PZM 75th Rally Poland from 21-23 September, is undecided.

“The future is created by what we do today,” said Habaj, the 2015 Polish champion. “Of course, we really wanted to compete in [Zlín] because it is not only a true motorsport celebration, but a great chance to compare yourself with many top drivers.

“Our season is marked with many car issues and now it is clear that we will not reach the result we were working for. Therefore, we decided not to leave anything to chance and to check some new ideas before the 2019 season gets underway. What is more, I want to work to improve my gravel pace. This is why we focus on Rally Elektrėnai, round six of the Polish championship, instead of going to Zlín.

“We consider entering Rally Poland too, however this matter is still open. For sure we will tackle Latvian gravel stages in Rally Liepāja. In Elektrėnai and Liepāja we will use a Fabia R5, not the Fiesta. The M-Sport R5 car is still a very competitive machine in the hands of a skilled driver, however I would like to see what I can do behind the wheel of Fabia.”

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Pole Pieniazek signs up for home ERC run

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 14:00

ERC Junior graduate Łukasz Pieniazek will be back on FIA European Rally Championship duty when his native Poland returns to the all-action schedule later this month.

Pieniazek followed fellow young talents such as Fabio Andolfi, Emil Bergkvist and Stéphane Lefebvre by stepping up to the world championship after gaining experience – and results – in the Pirelli-supported ERC Junior category for R2 cars.

While the world championship is currently his focus with events in Great Britain and Spain also part of his upcoming programme, Pieniazek is relishing the prospect of returning to the ERC and contesting the 75th PZM Rally Poland from 21-23 September.

And by registering for FIA ERC Junior Under 28, the category for young stars in R5 cars, Pieniazek will be in direct competition with fellow emerging prospects including title leader Fabian Kreim, double event winner Nikolay Gryazin and Chris Ingram, the 2017 ERC Junior Under 27 champion.

“We’re really excited to be returning to the European championship on Rally Poland where we can compete in front of our home crowd, including our sponsors and partners,” said Pieniazek, 27. “I’m registered for the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship so it will be good to go up against some of the drivers I used to compete against in ERC Junior and it will also be great preparation for the upcoming world championship rallies we’ll be taking part in, Rally GB and Catalunya.”

Pieniazek will pilot a ŠKODA Fabia R5 for Finnish squad Printsport alongside co-driver and compatriot Przemyslaw Mazur. He has high hopes for a top result.

“I’ve done Rally Poland on two previous occasions, in 2016 when I finished sixth in class in a Citroën DS3 R3T and last year when I drove a PEUGEOT 208 T16 to P11 in my category. However, with World Rally Cars not allowed in the ERC, this will be the first time I’ll be able to fight for the overall top spots on what is one of my favourite events.”

ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley said he was pleased to welcome Pieniazek back to the championship he last contested in 2016 prior to his graduation to world level.

“It’s great Łukasz is returning to the ERC for his home round of the championship and for what will be a great opportunity to prove his talent against a highly competitive field,” said Ley. “Łukasz was a frontrunner in ERC Junior before his step up to world level and it will be interesting to watch him putting into practice what he has learned since graduating.”

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It’s 15 and counting for ERC-bound Polo R5

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 06:00

The FIA European Rally Championship debut of the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 has moved a step closer after it was announced that sales of the exciting new machine have reached the 15 mark.

Designed and built by the same team behind Volkswagen’s domination of the world championship from 2013-2016, the Polo GTI R5 is earmarked for customer use with the all-action ERC a likely destination for the car from next season.

“The Polo GTI R5 has completed around 9000 test kilometres to date, half of which were on gravel and half on asphalt,” explained Volkswagen Motorsport head Sven Smeets. “The entire development team has worked hard and delivered a first-class result, which has been confirmed by the initial reactions of customers.”

With homologation of the Polo GTI R5 due on 1 October and the first competitive outing set for Rally Spain from 24-28 October, it won’t be until 2019 that the first example of the car appears on ERC events when its debut will be eagerly anticipated.

“When defining the specification, we took great care to ensure that it would be easy for professional privateer teams to master the technical support of the Polo GTI R5,” added Jan-Gerard de Jongh, technical project manager for the Polo GTI R5.

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Monteiro: Zlín experience good for my ERC future

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 09:00

Aloísio Monteiro will turn his Barum Czech Rally Zlín negative into a positive in next season’s FIA European Rally Championship.

The Portuguese suffered late despair in Czech Republic last month when a fuel pump failure put him out on the final stage of the sealed-surface event, which was rain-affected throughout.

But with his focus already turning to 2019, Monteiro’s Zlin debut wasn’t entirely without reward as he gained valuable experience for next season.

“It's a fact that we can’t be satisfied with the result,” said the ARC Sport ŠKODA Fabia R5 driver. “We always aim to finish and get good results, but motorsport doesn’t always run as we would like. Still, I am very happy with this experience because it has greatly enriched my driver curriculum and gave us many information that we will use in future.”

Monteiro confirmed in Zlín his 2018 ERC campaign was the first of a two-year programme in the FIA championship.

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Miracles would do nicely for Magalhães after ERC title test increases

Mon, 09/03/2018 - 06:00

Bruno Magalhães remains in contention to win the FIA European Rally Championship despite being unable to prevent Alexey Lukyanuk from growing his title lead on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last month.

While Lukyanuk battled home hero Jan Kopecký for the outright victory, SEAJETS-backed Magalhães was a distant ninth at the finish.

The Portuguese ace explained why – on this occasion – he could not take the fight to those who would ultimately set the pace but that giving up is not part of the plan.

“The rally was very difficult, very tough,” said last year’s ERC runner-up. “I was trying all the time to improve the confidence but when it’s difficult to get the grip you don’t have the confidence and you just try to get to the finish.

“Barum Czech Rally Zlín is very, very specific and you need a very special set-up for this very special event. At this level you cannot arrive to a rally like that and make just 30 kilometres in a stage that is not [representative of] the rally.

“When you make 30 kilometres and go to the rally it’s not possible to fight. You need to make a good test with a lot of kilometres. Unfortunately, I just made 30 kilometres because of a question of money. It’s like that and after that you suffer during the rally because you don’t have the confidence and [this rally was] worse because it was raining.

“The situation is difficult and my position is not good. I need to be focused because even if you go slowly you go outside of the road. For me and for my budget I cannot touch [anything], I cannot crash. When you don’t have the confidence and you don’t have the car totally adapted in these conditions, then you can understand my job is difficult.”

At the finish of Barum Czech Rally Zlín on 26 August, Magalhães insisted he was not giving up on contesting the penultimate event of the ERC season, PZM Rally Poland from 21-23 September.

“Of course I try to be in Poland but even to be [in Zlín] was a miracle until the last hour,” he said. “But to be at six races and still [be] in with a chance [of the championship] is very good for us with a small team and a small budget. When you don’t have the chance to be correctly prepared for some events it’s not a big problem. For a specialist event like this you don’t have a chance.”

Magalhães trails Lukyanuk by 36 points after six ERC rounds.

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All-nighter goes unrewarded as Brož recalls early ERC Junior exit woe

Sun, 09/02/2018 - 18:00

Dominik Brož suffered home FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship heartache when a broken wheel resulted in his early exit from Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Brož, part of the ACCR Czech Rally Team, had high hopes of a strong finish in the Pirelli-supported category but his hopes were over early on Saturday morning when he attempted to leave service in Otrokovice.

“We hit a big wall on Friday night in the city stage and broke the wheel,” explained Brož, who is co-driven by fellow Czech Petr Těšínský. “We get a penalty but the mechanics worked all night to repair the damage. In the morning the car was okay but when we leave service the gearbox was not working and we could not leave service. It was very disappointing.”

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Stengg rolls with it for ERC Junior finish

Sun, 09/02/2018 - 12:00

Roland Stengg battled back from a high-speed roll to finish his Barum Czech Rally Zlín debut in fifth place in the highly-competitive FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship.

Stengg and co-driver and fellow Austrian Jürgen Heigl lost more than two minutes to their rivals when they hit trouble on the first day of the challenging sealed-surface event, which was effected by rain throughout.

“I was pushing a bit more than the first stages [on Saturday] because it was drying up,” Pirelli-equipped Stengg explained. “I missed a [pacenote] call from Jürgen in a very fast section and broke way too late. We went outside in the grass and rolled one time but the spectators put us back in after around two minutes. I was flat-out at 170kph and I was rolling at about 90kph. It was really fast.

“On the first stage [of Sunday] it was on a muddy left corner, there was a stone on the inside and I couldn’t really avoid it because we were just sliding so we got a front-left puncture and that really slowed us down. We then had a problem with the intercom so the plan was just to come to the finish with no big risks.”

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Munnings shrugs off illness to continue ERC Junior scoring run

Sun, 09/02/2018 - 06:00

Catie Munnings continued her strong scoring run in the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship with a battling performance on Barum Czech Rally Zlín late last month.

Munnings fought back from a stomach virus to claim her third top-six of 2018 in the Pirelli-supported category in the Saintéloc Junior Team PEUGEOT 208 R2 that was co-driven on this occasion by Alba Sánchez from Spain.

“It was a very difficult rally from the get-off, especially with being ill on the recce it was hard to make good pacenotes, they’ve been pretty basic,” said the Briton, who won the ERC Ladies’ Trophy category in Czech Republic. “And it was very difficult with so much mud and slippery surfaces you need to have very detailed pacenotes so it’s been difficult. We missed qualifying as well and normally that’s a good time to see where your pace is and make changes on the car.

“It was one of those rallies where you were counting down the kilometres to the end. I just wanted to get to the finish and there was no point risking anything. It was so easy to make a mistake. I’m just happy to be at the end.”

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Why it felt like a win in Zlín for ERC Junior Vita

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 18:00

Mattia Vita said his run to fourth place in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship on Barum Czech Rally Zlín felt like a victory.

Vita claimed fourth place in class for the second event running despite tackling the demanding Czech stages for the first time in his Tagai Racing Technology PEUGEOT 208 R2.

“We did no big mistakes and there was no damage on the car, which is a victory for us,” said the Italian university student. “We are improving and I see the lights at the end of the tunnel because on the short stages we are quite close to [the leaders].”

Despite the challenging nature of the rain- and mud-hit stages, Vita said he relished his first taste of the Barum Czech Rally Zlín roads.

“For me it’s enjoyable in these difficult conditions because I like rally, I like the mud on these stages, it’s fun, you slide but then sometimes you think it was dangerous.

“During the first stage of [Sunday] I went off for a few metres in a junction then the second one was very good for us. I was feeling very good in the car but then in the last stage [of the morning] I lost the concentration too much because I found very slippery conditions and eased the foot from the throttle and said ‘okay let’s go to the end and finish’. It was the most difficult race of my life for sure.”

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Černý: Home ERC round one to forget

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 12:00

Jan Černý’s home round of the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship was effectively over just after it had begun thanks to a mechanical failure on the very first stage.

Černý, who is part of his country’s federation-backed ACCR Czech Rally Team, was forced to complete the event under Rally2 rules following a troubled run through the Zlín street stage on Friday night.

“For sure the problems all started on the first stage where we lost the wheel, we didn’t hit anything, we just lost the wheel, the same like for [Václav] Pech,” Černý explained. “That was strange and quite difficult because we also got a five-minute penalty for not completing the stage.”

With his hopes of a strong result over, Barum Czech Rally Zlín turned into an exercise of damage limitation.

“It was the first proper stage [on Saturday] and I used the wet tyre, which I don’t really like. When I changed for the slick one it was quite good with good times in the top five. But then we had a puncture and lost more time.

“We started Sunday with the wet tyres, just one good stage for us, but we are at the finish and we have some points and that’s good although both rallies in the European championship this year have not been good for me.”

The post Černý: Home ERC round one to forget appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Good ERC Junior performance but no reward for Klausz

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 06:00

Kristóf Klausz was on form when he returned to FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship duty on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last week, holding fourth in class until the penultimate stage.

Unfortunately for the Pirelli-equipped Hungarian, a mud-coated section of road caught him out and led to his exit with fourth position seemingly secure alongside co-driver Botond Csányi.

“I think this was the hardest rally I have done, really challenging conditions, hard and slippery,” said Klausz. “We had two punctures on the first day but it was a good performance, we were in fourth place and we have not done so many rallies this year.

“We did not finish because after a right/left turn on stage 14 there was full mud on the Tarmac, we get out of line and hit the tree at the side of the track. The steering arm was broken and unfortunately we could not finish the rally.”

The post Good ERC Junior performance but no reward for Klausz appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Furuseth in ERC recovery mode after tough Czech break

Fri, 08/31/2018 - 18:00

Sindre Furuseth is hoping the 75th PZM Rally Poland will signal a change of fortune after bad luck dogged his progress in the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship for the second event running on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last week.

Furuseth’s record in the Pirelli-supported category reads two starts, two DNFs following a spate of mechanical failures, which have undermined his huge potential at the wheel of his SF Rally Opel ADAM R2.

After retiring from Saturday’s action when a snapped wishbone on landing a jump triggered a series of failures, the Norwegian restarted on leg two only for bad luck to strike again.

“We expected the left-hand side [wishbone] to be quite worn since the right broke so we changed both sides,” Furuseth explained. “But we think it was the upright on the left side that just snapped but we need to check the car properly when we get back [to Norway]. Everything was fitted as it should be, we change parts all the time so we don’t understand what happened, it’s not like we hit anything. But the driveshaft was pulled out of the gearbox and we could not continue. It’s disappointing, maybe the worse rally of my career.

“Now we must recover for Poland. I’m Scandinavian so I should be good on gravel but I believe I have a god package on Tarmac as well, it’s just wet Tarmac is not my favourite surface.”

The post Furuseth in ERC recovery mode after tough Czech break appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Late crash hits Falcón’s ERC hopes hard

Fri, 08/31/2018 - 12:00

As if a persistent gear-shift issue wasn’t bad enough, a high-speed final-stage accident compounded a frustrating Barum Czech Rally Zlín for ERC Ladies’ Trophy contender Emma Falcón.

The Canary Islander was hampered by a paddle-shift issue from stage five, then was slowed by a turbo boost pipe breaking free on stage 12 of the FIA European Rally Championship qualifier.

With one stage remaining, Falcón was on course to finish second in the ERC Ladies’ Trophy classification and ninth in ERC3 when she crashed on a long, left-hander on the last stage, fortunately without injury.

The post Late crash hits Falcón’s ERC hopes hard appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Avcioglu happy after playing the ERC’s survival game

Fri, 08/31/2018 - 06:00

Orhan Avcioglu belied his lack of Barum Czech Rally Zlín experience to finish as the third-best rookie on the FIA European Rally Championship counter, describing the rain-hit event as a “survival game”.

The FIA Balkan Trophy champion from 2017 placed P11 in the final classification in his Toksport WRT ŠKODA Fabia R5.

 “It was a survival game,” said the Turkish talent. “I tried to not make any mistakes and keep it steady. It was a really difficult rally, one of the most difficult of my life, but we finished P11 overall at my first time of trying. I tried to manage the conditions to the best of my ability and it worked. I am glad we finished and thank you to my team and all my supporters.”

The post Avcioglu happy after playing the ERC’s survival game appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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PZM 75. Rajd Polski / PZM 75th Rally Poland

PZM 75. 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)