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Updated: 29 min 38 sec ago

ERC Junior showdown special: Torn eyes the big ERC3 Junior prize

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 12:00

Ken Torn will have his eyes firmly on the prize when he starts the closing round of the 2019 FIA ERC3 Junior Championship tomorrow (Friday).

The Estonian Autosport Junior Team driver is in prime position to win the coveted title – and the prize of two drives in an R5 car on a round of the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship – having won three times from three starts in the Pirelli-backed category.

Ahead of the deciding Barum Czech Rally Zlín, which he’s contesting for the first time, the Ford Fiesta R2T driver said: “The prize is a very good opportunity because for a young driver to find the budget to compete in an R5 car is not easy, but the champion will get two rallies in an R5 car, which is very good.”

Of the challenge ahead on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, Torn added: “When I’ve watched the videos of the stages, they are different to what we had in Roma. You see some gravel on the road so maybe it will be one of the hardest rallies I have done.”

The post ERC Junior showdown special: Torn eyes the big ERC3 Junior prize appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior showdown special: Title outsider Mareš to “give everything”

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 09:00

Filip Mareš has vowed to “give everything” in order to snatch the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship from Chris Ingram’s grasp on home soil this week.

Mareš has narrowed Ingram’s once comfortable advantage to 30 points following back-to-back wins in Poland and Italy.

Unlike rival Ingram, Czech federation-backed Mareš has no scores to drop when the ERC1 Junior title is decided on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, with a prize of 100,000 euros up for grabs to contest the ERC rounds in Cyprus and Hungary later this season.

“We are glad that we even are in the title fight before Barum, it underlines our good season so far,” said Kresta Racing-run Mareš. “Now we are 100 per cent ready for the final round, to give everything into the fight for the title and try to make the season even better. Our plan is to present good speed, be consistent in every stage and finish the rally with no big mistakes. I am sure, we are able to do it.

“From the beginning of the season, the motivation is really high as the budget for the last two ERC rounds is in the game.”

The post ERC Junior showdown special: Title outsider Mareš to “give everything” appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior showdown special: ERC1 Junior title catalyst for overall crown, says Ingram

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 06:00

Chris Ingram says winning the ERC1 Junior title would be “huge” and the catalyst he needs to land the overall FIA European Rally Championship crown at the end of the season.

Ingram can take the ERC1 Junior spoils by effectively out-scoring rival Filip Mareš on Barum Czech Rally Zlín this week.

If Ingram prevails, he will receive 100,000 euros as his prize from promoter Eurosport Events to contest the season-closing events in Cyprus and Hungary, two scoring opportunities that could enable him to become the first Briton since Vic Elford in 1967 to secure the coveted FIA title.

“The Barum Rally will be very important as it will decide the ERC1 Junior Championship,” said the Toksport WRT driver. “Last year we had a strong pace at the end of the rally, setting times faster than legends like Kopecký, Lukyanuk and Sordo. I know what we have to do – I need to do my job to the best of my ability in every area.

“Winning the title would be huge and give us the chance to continue our fight for the overall title but I need to step up the game now.”

The post ERC Junior showdown special: ERC1 Junior title catalyst for overall crown, says Ingram appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Been here before: Arai reveals early Zlin ERC experience

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 18:00

Hiroki Arai is no stranger to the Barum Czech Rally Zlín stages, even though he’s never contested the FIA European Rally Championship counter before.

Arai was driven through the demanding sealed-surface stages by his father Toshi, when Arai Sr was competing on the event in an R4-specification Subaru Impreza run by Manfred Stohl, who is behind the Team STARD operation responsible for Arai Jr’s ERC1 Junior bid.

“When my father did Barum Czech Rally Zlín in the R4 Subaru I was allowed to be in the back seat of the car of the recce car, so I actually have some experience of the roads but not really much real experience,” said the Japanese driver. “I know they are faster and not as twisty as what we experienced in Rome. If it rains, then I expect the roads to be really tricky and this will make the stages very interesting.”

After missing Rally di Roma Capitale due to a clashing event, Ilka Minor returns to co-drive Arai’s Yokohama-equipped Citroën C3 R5.

The post Been here before: Arai reveals early Zlin ERC experience appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior Semerad expects big test on Zlin debut

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 12:00

Petr Semerád is braced for ‘the most difficult Tarmac rally in Europe’ when he returns to the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC3 Junior Championship in his native Czech Republic from 16-18 August.

Too young to drive on Barum Czech Rally Zlín until this season, the teenage talent will contest the sealed-surface event in the Opel ADAM R2 he took to the Czech Rallysprint title in 2018.

“Everyone knows this is one of the most difficult Tarmac rallies in Europe,” said Semerád, who is following in the wheel tracks of older brother Martin and father Josef by forging a career in rallying. “It’s very specific and a really big challenge with the cuts but I can’t wait. The roads can be very slippery with all the things from the trees falling onto the road. The driver who knows how to deal with the situation the best will do very well. I plan to go flat out.”

Of his decision to switch from a Peugeot 208 R2 to an Opel ADAM R2 for Zlín, Semerád explained: “I’m much happier with the Opel. I used the Opel to win the Czech Rallysprint title last year, so I’ve got some experience with this car.”

The post ERC Junior Semerad expects big test on Zlin debut appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk plays down the need to beat Kopecky in ERC

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 06:00

Alexey Lukyanuk has played down the importance of beating home hero and former ERC champion Jan Kopecký on Barum Czech Rally Zlín this week.

Lukyanuk has twice finished second to the ŠKODA Motorsport star on the sealed-surface event and led at the halfway point in 2018.

But with the defence of his FIA European Rally Championship crown at the forefront of his mind, Lukyanuk won’t go all-out to win in Zlín for the Saintéloc Junior Team.

“To beat Kopecký would be really nice but considering our position [in the championship] and the expectations of our sponsors and the team we need to take it a bit more careful,” said Lukyanuk. “If I find a good feeling with the car maybe we can get to a proper speed and be comfortable, but it’s not easy. We are still learning the car and exploring its limits to try to set it up for the best performance. We need more time to be at the top [in Zlín].”

Lukyanuk starts the 15-stage Barum Czech Rally Zlín with a six-point advantage over Łukasz Habaj. He’s more aware of the challenging nature of this ERC mainstay.

“It’s a huge challenge, one of the most exciting Tarmac events in the ERC calendar because it’s really scary with technical roads, which you should take only by relying on your pacenotes, pushing hard in the blind corners with bushes and trees, some gravel and jumps,” said Lukyanuk. “I really enjoy this event but definitely the most thrilling challenge is a wet Barum, but hopefully it will not be like this.”

The post Lukyanuk plays down the need to beat Kopecky in ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Klausz has that winning feeling ahead of Zlin ERC Junior outing

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 18:00

Kristóf Klausz starts this week’s ERC3 Junior decider on a high following a breakthrough victory in his native Hungary recently.

Klausz is dividing his time between his Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior campaign in a Peugeot 208 R2 and a programme of Mitropa events at the wheel of a ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Last month he won the Int. Baranya Kupa PRO+ in Hungary alongside regular co-driver Botond Csány in a Klaus Motorsport Fabia.

He said: “I arrive on [Barum Czech Rally Zlín] with a really good feeling after my first outright win in the Mitropa Cup in Hungary. It was a good result in an R5 car.”

Klausz made his Barum Czech Rally Zlín debut in 2013 and has five starts on the sealed-surface events to his name. He is targeting a podium following a strong showing in 2018.

“I have a lot of past experiences of this rally so I really would like to take this chance to fight for a podium,” he said. “This rally has many difficult stages, they are bumpy and it’s always difficult to always keep the car on the road. You also have to be careful with the cuts because some corners you can cut, in others there are stones and trees and other things like this.”

The post Klausz has that winning feeling ahead of Zlin ERC Junior outing appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC’s Monteiro is first Portuguese to rally new Fabia

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 12:00

Aloísio Monteiro will become the first driver from Portugal to compete in ŠKODA’s new-for-2019 Fabia R5 Evo when he contests Barum Czech Rally Zlín this week.

The FIA European Rally Championship regular will continue his alliance with The Racing Factory under the FPAK Portugal Team ERC banner.

“It’s a pride for me and The Racing Factory to be one of the first client teams to receive the new ŠKODAFabia R5 Evo,” said Monteiro, who made his Barum Czech Rally Zlín debut last season. “It shows all the confidence the brand has seen in our recent work. In competition terms, and of course, we will try our best at this event and demonstrate that we deserve this trust. More than thinking about a good result, which is nonetheless the objective, we have to find the best set-up for this car, a commitment that allows us to be fast and reliable throughout the event.”

Porto-based Monteiro will get support from ŠKODA Motorsport in making the transition to the new Fabia R5 Evo.“There is a very strong connection between The Racing Factory and ŠKODA Motorsport and that makes us feel more confident. We are sure this work will be rewarded at the end of the rally on Sunday.”

Monteiro is testing in the Czech Republic today (Tuesday). Meanwhile, with ERC3 Junior frontrunner Pedro Antunes not competing in Zlín, the FPAK Portugal Team ERC attack is down to one car on the 15-stage sealed-surface event.

The post ERC’s Monteiro is first Portuguese to rally new Fabia appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Franceschi prepared for “crazy” times in ERC

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 06:00

Jean-Baptiste Franceschi will be “perfectly prepared” for his Barum Czech Rally Zlín debut this week – once he’s completed two days of testing in readiness for the closing round of the 2019 FIA ERC3 Junior Championship.

Franceschi won on his debut in the Pirelli-supported category on the all-asphalt Rally Islas Canarias in May and is expected to be among the contenders for top spot in class in his Orsák Rally Sport Ford Fiesta R2T, despite his absence of event knowledge.

“It’s another new rally for me but I’ve always loved to follow this rally because of its particularity and atmosphere,” said the Frenchman. “To be honest, I don’t know anything about this rally except that this rally is crazy!

“Thanks to M-Sport, we will have two day of tests to be perfectly prepared for this event as much as we can. My goal in these tests is to find confidence on this very special and fast Tarmac. Then my main objective for this rally is to give everything I can to make a strong performance in front of a big army of 39 R2 cars. And to do a beautiful result for all the team of course.”

The post Franceschi prepared for “crazy” times in ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Blue not pictured but Adielsson is still an ERC Swede

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 18:00

Mattias Adielsson will continue to represent the Sweden National Team in the FIA European Rally Championship, even though he’s changed colours for this week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Adielsson has switched cars for the sealed-surface showcase, swapping his blue and yellow Saintéloc Junior Team-run Citroën C3 R5 for a Ford Fiesta R5, which is decked out in the colours of Czech squad Orsák Rally Sport, the outfit responsible for running Adielsson in Zlín.

The Sweden National Team is sixth in the ERC Nations’ Cup standings. Adielsson is testing in the Czech Republic tomorrow (Tuesday).

Photo: Facebook.com/mattias.adielsson.3

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I’m Batman! ERC Junior Gryazin reveals new look

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 12:00

This is the Batmobile-esque ŠKODA Fabia R5 Nikolay Gryazin will use when he takes up his second prize drive from Eurosport Events for winning the FIA ERC1 Junior crown in 2018.

The mainly black design is reminiscent of Bruce Wayne’s Batmobile from the Batman movies. It will appear on the stages of Barum Czech Rally Zlín from 16-18 August when Russian Gryazin and co-driver Yaroslav Fedorov will be among the contenders for victory.

The post I’m Batman! ERC Junior Gryazin reveals new look appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Q&A: Jan Kopecký

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 09:00

ŠKODA-powered Jan Kopecký is preparing to win his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship for the fifth season running. This is what the 2013 ERC champion had to say ahead of this week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

You have an incredible record on this rally and could make it five wins in a row this year. What would that mean to you?
“I don’t care so much about statistics, but for sure I would like to win here again. But this year, the situation is different for me. Last year, I was already Czech champion and could nearly press on regardless, but this year, I need to secure my title by scoring points here. Barum Czech Rally Zlín counts with factor 1.5 for the national championship, so I need to finish with the best possible result avoiding unnecessary risks.”

What factors do you put your success in Zlín down to?
“For sure it is my experience on these challenging special stages and especially last year, with the mixed weather conditions and occasional rain, I had a lucky hand with the tyre choice. On top of that, I can drive the ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo, which is since its homologation in April this year, is so far undefeated.”

The Pindula stage is back this year. Why is this stage so special in your view?
“Pindula is really a true iconic stage of Barum Czech Rally Zlín, I love to drive there. This stage features different kind of surfaces, is fast and runs over open areas, has tricky passages through villages and through the forests, the road is always dirty due to the cuts and can be muddy and very slippery in case of rain. At Pindula, you need to know exactly where to cut or not. And mistakes could be punished by the log piles [on the side of the road].”

You are the driver everyone wants to beat in Zlín. What pressure does this bring and how do you plan to turn this into a positive?
“This doesn’t give me additional pressure, only an extra motivation. In the past, I had really epic battles with Alexey Lukyanuk and I expect the same for this Barum Czech Rally Zlín. On top of that, I have to face the [other] top drivers of the FIA European Rally Championship.”

We are seeing the emergence of some young Czech drivers like Mareš, Cais and Talaš. What do you think of these drivers and their potential?
“It’s good to see the next generation of young talented Czech drivers, all three have a great potential. Filip Mareš made this season a huge step forward, he proved to be quick on Tarmac and on gravel too and delivered excellent results in the European Rally Championship and the Czech Rally Championship where he’s proved to be my biggest rival.”

The post ERC Q&A: Jan Kopecký appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Fit-again Lundberg ready for ERC3 Junior season finale

Sun, 08/11/2019 - 06:00

Elias Lundberg will be back to full fitness when the Pirelli-supported 2019 FIA ERC3 Junior Championship reaches its climax in Czech Republic next week.

Lundberg was forced to withdraw from last month’s Rally Roma di Capitale after sustaining a trapped nerve in his left arm, which made it impossible to drive his Opel ADAM R2.

“I’m back in good health after Rally di Roma Capitale and both me and my co-driver David [Arhusiander]are focused on ending the ERC3 Junior season on a high,” said Swede Lundberg.

“It was a pinched nerve in my left arm that caused our retirement in Italy, but to be honest, it was a trouble-filled season so far. We are even more determined to leave it all behind and finish the year with a good result. Most of all I would like to bring home a good result for my awesome guys in the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team to reward their hard work throughout the whole season.”

Lundberg has yet to sample Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s challenging sealed-surface stages but can’t wait for the event to begin on Friday (16 August).

“I’m really looking forward to Barum Czech Rally Zlin,” he said. “It’s a new type of rally for me and the competition in the ERC3 Junior will be as tough as usual. We’ll focus on increasing our pace on Tarmac and do our best.”

The post Fit-again Lundberg ready for ERC3 Junior season finale appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior Talas recruits Smid as deputy for Krajca

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 06:00

Jan Talaš will have a new co-driver when he bids for FIA ERC3 Junior Championship success on his home event, Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

With his regular co-driver Ondřej Krajča committed to Martin Vlček on next week’s all-asphalt contest, the ACCR Czech Rally Team prospect has recruited Tomáš Šmíd to navigate his Peugeot 208 R2.

“We did Rally Bohemia together and we will make everything to work at 100 per cent in the car,” said Talaš. “We would like to fight for the highest places, but we know very well it is a very difficult task as there is lot of fast local drivers from the Zlín region and also fast drivers from abroad so it will be big fight. I am bursting for this highlight of the Czech rally scene.”

Barum Czech Rally Zlín takes place from 16-18 August.

The post ERC Junior Talas recruits Smid as deputy for Krajca appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Barum Czech Rally Zlin facts and stats

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 18:00

The FIA European Rally Championship heads to Czech Republic for more action-packed entertainment next week (16-18 August). Here's a selection of facts and stats.

Essentials
What: FIA European Rally Championship round 6 of 8*
When: 16-18 August 2019
Where: Zlín, Czech Republic
Starts: 16h00, 16 August, Náměstí Míru, Zlín
Finishes: 16h58, 18 August, Náměstí Míru, Zlín
Stages: 15
Distance: 219.63 kilometres
Surface: Asphalt
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 15 (2004-2018)

*Also counting for: FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, FIA ERC3 Junior Championship, ERC2, ERC3, FIA European Rally Championship for Teams, ERC Nations’ Cup, ERC Ladies’ Trophy, Abarth Rally Cup

Recent winners:
2015-2018: Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (ŠKODA Fabia R5)
2014: Václav Pech Jr/Petr Uhel (MINI John Cooper Works S2000)

Five facts:
1: Zlín’s rise from small town to big city is credited to Tomáš Bat’a, who founded a shoe factory there in 1894. His old office – located in a moving elevator – is preserved in the Regional Authority Building 21.
2: Now established as a bustling university city, Zlín’s south-eastern Moravia setting is 300 kilometres from the Czech capital Prague and 220 kilometres from the Austrian capital Vienna.
3: Zlín became Gottwaldov from 1949-1990 after the first Czech communist president, Klement Gottwald.
4: Barum Czech Rally Zlín ran for the first time in 1971 and turns 48 this year. Jan Halmažna took the inaugural honours in a ŠKODA 1100 MB.
5: Event sponsor Continental Barum’s giant tyre factory and distribution centre in nearby Otrokovice hosts the rally’s permanent service park.

Key timings:
Autograph session: 19h00, Tuesday 13 August, Zlaté Jablko Shopping Centre, Náměstí Míru, Zlín
Free Practice (for priority drivers): 08h00-09h30, 16 August, Pohořelice (4.40 kilometres)
Qualifying Stage (for priority drivers): 09h35-10h20, 16 August, Pohořelice (4.40 kilometres)
Shakedown (for non-priority drivers): 10h25-13h00, 16 August, Pohořelice (4.40 kilometres)
Ceremonial start: 16h00, 16 August, Náměstí Míru, Zlín
Finishing podium: 16h58, 18 August, Náměstí Míru, Zlín

More information/resources, including event itinerary, entry list and maps:
https://www.fiaerc.com/event/barum-czech-rally-zlin-2019/

The post ERC Barum Czech Rally Zlin facts and stats appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC event preview: Barum Czech Rally Zlin

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 18:00

While the battle for the overall FIA European Rally Championship is still wide open with three events left, next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín takes on huge importance for five young hopefuls aiming to prove they have the talent to take title glory in the fiercely competitive ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior categories.

The sealed-surface event based in Zlín, the South Moravian university city, from 16-18 August marks the deciding rounds of the ERC’s two young driver divisions when two prize packages, each worth 100,000 euros, will be up for grabs.

Briton Chris Ingram and Czech Filip Mareš will face-off for the ERC1 Junior crown – the class for drivers in R5 cars aged 28 and under. As well as a prestigious FIA title, the winner will get 100,000 euros to contest the season closing ERC events in Cyprus and Hungary where they will bid for overall honours. ERC3 Junior, meanwhile, is a three-way fight for glory between Estonia’s Ken Thorn, Spaniard Efrén Llarena and Norwegian Sindre Furuseth. Drivers aged 27 and under compete in R2 cars on Pirelli tyres.

Ever-present in the ERC since the championship’s streamlining in 2004, Barum Czech Rally Zlín is a sealed-surface test like no other due to the bumpy and sometimes broken nature of the roads. To add to the challenge, several stages feature high-speed blasts through forests. Intermittent showers are always possible. While the weather might be hard to predict, huge numbers of fans follow the action, especially on the opening night-time Zlín superspecial stage. Taking place two weeks earlier than normal, Barum Czech Rally Zlín will also host the Czech championship decider.

Of the major route tweaks, the return of the legendary Pindula after a one-year absence leads the changes, which also include the Qualifying Stage running in reverse direction and the revival of the Kostelany test.

Once again Barum Czech Rally Zlín organisers have attracted a packed entry featuring some of the best drivers in the host country, across Europe and beyond. Fifty-seven crews with priority status appear on the list of registrations, which total 137 entries across all events.

Barum Czech Rally Zlín in 100 words
Ever-present in the ERC since the championship’s streamlining in 2004, Barum Czech Rally Zlín is based in the South Moravian university city, 300 kilometres south of the Czech capital Prague. It is a Tarmac test like no other due to the bumpy and sometimes broken nature of the road surface. To add to the challenge, several stages feature high-speed blasts through forests and intermittent showers are always possible. While the weather might be hard to predict, huge numbers of fans follow the action, especially on the opening night-time Zlín superspecial stage. The rally has a long-term contract with the ERC.

What’s new for 2019?
Taking place two weeks earlier than normal, Barum Czech Rally Zlín will host the final ERC Junior rounds of the season as well as the Czech championship decider. Of the major route tweaks, the return of the legendary Pindula after a one-year absence leads changes, which also include the Qualifying Stage running in reverse direction and the revival of the Kostelany stage.

Changes to the ERC for 2019 include the renaming of the ERC Junior categories: ERC Junior Under 28 becomes ERC1 Junior, ERC Junior U27 becomes ERC3 Junior with continued support from Pirelli. R4-K and RGT cars are eligible for ERC2 points, the Abarth Rally Cup will be contested over six ERC rounds, while Rally Hungary joins the calendar for the first time as the deciding round in November.

Talking points
*Defending champion Alexey Lukyanuk starts Barum Czech Rally Zlín leading the ERC standings for the first time in 2019. The Saintéloc Junior Team driver’s advantage of six points over erstwhile pacesetter Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) follows a low-scoring Rally di Roma Capitale for the Polish star, and a fourth-place finish for the Russian.
*Jan Kopecký, winner of the 2013 ERC title, is bidding for a fifth consecutive Barum Czech Rally Zlín victory in his factory ŠKODA Fabia R5, plus a fifth straight domestic crown (he leads the standings ahead of the Zlín-based national season finale). Kopecký is one of six drivers armed with the new Evo version of the Fabia for his home round of the European championship.
*Double ERC Junior champion Marijan Griebel also has a Fabia R5 Evo at his disposal, as do Tomáš Kostka, Simon Wagner, Albert von Thurn und Taxis and Aloísio Monteiro. See separate sections for more on Kostka’s road cycle racing exploits and Wagner’s step up in performance.
*The battle for the ERC1 Junior crown (and 100,000 euros to use for the final ERC rounds in Cyprus and Hungary) will be a straight fight between Chris Ingramand home hope Filip Mareš, who is backed by his country’s ASN, the Autoklub of the Czech Republic. Meanwhile, it’s a three-way fight in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior Championship between Ken Torn, Efrén Llarena and Sindre Furuseth. The winner gets two rounds of next year’s ERC in an R5 car as his prize.
*Nikolay Gryazin is taking up his second of two prize drivers from promoter Eurosport Events for winning the ERC1 Junior Championship in 2018 with Sports Racing Technologies.
*Former ERC Junior regular Jan Černý returns to European action having finished third on the last two rounds of the Czech championship. He’s third in his domestic table, one place ahead of Václav Pech, the last driver to win in Zlín prior to Jan Kopecký starting his run of success in 2015.
*MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig, the winner of four Hungarian titles, will be hoping to make amends in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 after crashing out in Zlín in 2018. He does so after a strong run in Italy last month. Experienced Czech Vojtĕch Štajfis also reliant on Polo power.
*Mattias Adielsson is switching from a Citroën C3 R5 to a Ford Fiesta R5 run by Orsák Rally Sport, the Sweden National Team driver taking advantage of a more affordable financial package for his limited funds as he bids to finish in the top three of the final ERC1 Junior standings.
*Japan’s Hiroki Arai once sampled the Zlín stages in the back seat of his father Toshi’s recce car before he was old enough to hold a driving licence of his own. He competes in a Yokohama-equipped Citroën.
*Both Adielsson and Arai will come up against Zlín rookie Miko Marczyk, whose ŠKODA Polska Motorsport Fabia is run by Czech rallying legend and three-time Zlín winner Roman Kresta, who is also behind the participation of Filip Mareš.
*Brazil’s Paulo Nobre continues his season-long ERC campaign with Motorsport Italia, but it’s a rare ERC start for a Czech contingent including Miroslav Jakeš, Roman OdložilíkTomáš PospíšilíkJaromír Tarabus and Hyundai i20 R5 drivers Martin Vlček and Petr Trnovec. One-time ERC stalwart Antonín Tlusťák is also returning to European competition.
*Not one but two members of the Březík family will be competing in Zlín with Martin Březík’s son AdamBřezík also taking part. Like ERC3 Junior Erik Cais, the younger Březík is a former downhill mountain bike racer. Martin Březík runs a bakery on the outskirts of Zlín.
*Zelindo Melegari heads to the Czech Republic from his native Italy leading the ERC2 title race having switched to an Abarth 124 rally ahead of last month’s Rally di Roma Capitale. Andrea Nucita, also from Italy, and Pole Dariusz Poloński are first and second in the Abarth standings with all three eligible for ERC2 points in their Pirelli-shod machinery.
*Argentine Juan Carlos Alonsowon on his last ERC2 appearance in Poland, while Kuwait’s Mshari Althefiri makes only his second start on a sealed-surface event. Hungarian Mátyás Nagy is set for his category debut. Like Alonso and Althefiri, Nagy will compete in Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Xs.
*Aside from ERC3 Junior title contenders Torn, Llarena and Furuseth, a number of young talents will be chasing success in the Pirelli-supported category.
*Czechfederation-backed Erik Cais led his class on his Zlín debut last season and starts the event boosted by his breakthrough podium in Italy last month.
*With his regular co-driver Ondřej Krajča committed to Martin Vlček, ACCR Rally Team’s Jan Talaš has recruited Tomáš Šmíd to navigate his Peugeot 208 R2.
*Along with ERC1 contender Aloísio Monteiro, Pedro Antuneswill represent FPAK Portugal Team ERC during his first Zlín start, while Gregor Jeets partners Torn in the Estonian Autosport Junior Team line-up.
*Jean-Baptiste Franceschi, who won on his ERC3 Junior debut on Rally Islas Canarias, returns in his now-familiar Ford Fiesta R2T.
*Having been forced to withdraw from Rally di Roma Capitale with a trapped nerve in his left arm, Elias Lundberg is back in action for his maiden Zlín appearance. The Swede’s fellow ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team driver, Grégoire Munster, made his ERC3 Junior debut in Zlín last season and demonstrated his strong sealed-surface pace on the last round in Rome. Since the Italian event, Belgian Munster finished an impressive eighth in class on the world championship-counting Neste Rally Finland, while he’s due to contest an ADAC Opel Rallye Cup round in Germany this weekend.
*Peugeot Rally Academy-entered Frenchman Yohan Rossel will battle Renault-powered compatriot Florian Bernardi in ERC3. However, Rossel’s team-mate Catie Munnings will no longer be including the Czech contest on her 2019 schedule.
*Turkey’s Orhan Avcioglu continues to acclimatise to ERC3 competition in a Toksport WRT Peugeot 208 R2 having rallied at R5 level in 2018. Belgian Amaury Molle partners Avcioglu at Toksport as he makes his first ERC3 Junior start since 2015.
*American Sean Johnston is a Zlín newcomer, as is talented Czech teen Petr Semerád, who gets an Opel ADAM R2 for his second ERC3 Junior start.
*ERC Ladies’ Trophy contender, Nabila Tejpar, is another driver with no previous Zlín knowledge, the Briton linking up with co-driver Hugo Magalhães for the first time.
*Hungarian Kristóf Klausz has previous Zlín experience to call on, as do compatriot Miklós Csomós and Bulgarian Ekaterina Stratieva, who is set for her 11th Zlín start.
*Czechs Adam Březík, René Dohnal and Jiří Navrátil are registered for ERC3 points for the first time.

Head to head: Kopecký v Lukyanuk
The former (Jan Kopecký) and reigning (Alexey Lukyanuk) FIA European champions are expected to engage in a thrilling battle for victory on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, even though both have their own title aspirations to consider. While Kopecký is going for a fifth win in Zlín, Lukyanuk has yet to triumph but finished runner-up in 2017 and 2018 to underline his pace and potential.

Form guide: Erik Cais
Backed by his country’s national ASN, the former downhill mountain bike racer scored his maiden ERC3 Junior podium on Rally di Roma Capitale following a strong display in his Ford Fiesta R2T. He was leading his class on his Barum Czech Rally Zlín debut last season until a puncture struck. Cais, who turned 20 earlier this month, is the son of experienced driver – and Czech class title winner – Miroslav Cais.

Event essentials
What: FIA European Rally Championship round 6 of 8*
When: 16-18 August 2019
Where: Zlín, Czech Republic
Stages: 15
Distance: 219.63 kilometres
Surface: Asphalt
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 15 (2004-2018)

How to follow?
On TV and online: Live coverage of selected stages on Facebook. Daily highlights on Eurosport, Eurosport Player. Videos on YouTube. ERC All Access on Eurosport on 20 August. Event highlights broadcast around the world.
Videos, news update and live timing: Available at FIAERC.com
ERC Radio: Live from the end of all stages and selected service park visits. Available at FIAERC.com or download the official ERC App
Social media:Follow the ERC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Daily news feed: Available on request by emailing media@fiaerc.com

The post ERC event preview: Barum Czech Rally Zlin appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

They said what? ERC Junior title contenders look ahead to Zlín decider

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 09:00

The battle for the ERC1 Junior crown on next week's Barum Czech Rally Zlín will be a straight fight between Chris Ingram and home hope Filip Mareš, while it’s a three-way fight in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior Championship between Ken Torn, Efrén Llarena and Sindre Furuseth.

As well as the prestigious FIA title, the ERC1 Junior winner receives 100,000 euros to use for the final ERC rounds in Cyprus and Hungary this season. For the ERC3 Junior champion, two rounds of next year's ERC in an R5 car are the reward.

Drivers count their best four scores from a possible six. Click here to view the provisional standings and see below for what the quintet have had to say prior to Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Chris Ingram (Great Britain, Toksport WRT), ERC1 Junior, first position (125 points)
“The Barum Rally will be very important as it will decide the ERC1 Junior Championship. I am disappointed I have not been able to drive to my potential on the last rounds of the championship and have taken a step back to see what has happened. In Barum last year we had a strong pace at the end of the rally, setting times faster than rally legends like Kopecký, Lukyanuk and Sordo. I know what we have to do – I need to do my job to the best of my ability in every area. Winning the title would be huge and give us the chance to continue our fight for the overall title but I need to step up the game now.”

Filip Mareš (Czech Republic, ACCR Czech Rally Team), ERC1 Junior, second position (95 points)
“First of all, I have to say we are glad that we even are in the title fight before the Barum, it underlines our good season so far. Now we are 100 per cent ready for the final round, to give everything into the fight for the title and try to make the season even better. Barum will be the highlight of the season in both the ERC and Czech championship. The fabulous stage Pindula is back on the itinerary, while other parts will be new for us. The competition will be very tough, and I am sure we will face many challenges during the rally. Our plan is to present ourselves with good speed, we want to be consistent in every stage and finish the rally with no big mistakes. I am sure, we are able to do it. From the beginning of the season, the motivation is really high as the budget for the last two ERC rounds is in the game. I trust, we can win the championship and I hope the Czech fans will help us to reach it!”

Ken Torn (Estonia, Estonian Autosport Junior Team), ERC3 Junior, first position (116 points)
“For sure it’s a very big thing. At the beginning of the season I didn’t expect to be taking part in the ERC, but every round has gone well, and we have been getting better and better. Now for the final round it’s possible to take the [championship] win. The prize is a very good opportunity because for a young driver to find the budget to compete in an R5 car is not easy, but the champion will get two rallies in an R5 car, which is very good. When I’ve watched the videos of the stages, they are different to what we had in Roma. You see some gravel on the road so maybe it will be one of the hardest rallies I have done.”

Efrén Llarena (Spain, Rallye Team Spain), ERC3 Junior, second position (110 points)
“My aim, obviously, it to win the rally and get the title. We know it's going to be really difficult because we depend on Ken Torn's result. Barum Czech Rally Zlín is always a big challenge for everybody. We have to attack and give the maximum of us from the beginning. Last year we were on the pace, we finished the first loop in third position, and we had planned to attack much more in the following stages, but, suddenly, we had to retire after a mechanical failure in our car. We could restart for the final leg, so we know all the route. It would be a dream to be ERC3 Junior champions, the best reward for the huge work made since last year by the Real Federación Española de Automovilismo(RFEDA) Rallye Team Spain project, the Mavisa Sport team, my co-driver Sara and me, and all the people behind us, supporting our programme.”

Sindre Furuseth (Norway, Saintéloc Junior Team), ERC3 Junior, third position (96 points)
“Barum is a really special and difficult event, with always a lot of unpredictability and things happening. We will attack the weekend as we have done all this year, try to be fast, but stay out of trouble. It would mean a lot to win the title because it really helps on making the step permanently to R5 and provides two great opportunities in 2020. After our mistake in Rome the title looks rather difficult for us, but we will definitely try to do our part of the job and win the rally.”

ERC1 Junior title contenders photos by Martin Husár with thanks.

The post They said what? ERC Junior title contenders look ahead to Zlín decider appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Tarabus, Trunkat get new look for home ERC counter

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 18:00

This is how the ŠKODA Fabia R5 of Jaromír Tarabus and Daniel Trunkát will look on next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Podium finishers in the FIA European Rally Championship in the past, the Czech duo will be eligible for ERC points after securing priority status.

Tarabus and Trunkát finished seventh on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last season, while the third place they scored in 2013 represents their best finishing position on the event so far.

Barum Czech Rally Zlín takes place from 16-18 August.

The post Tarabus, Trunkat get new look for home ERC counter appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Founding ERC Junior Pospisilik is R5 alive for Zlín

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 12:00

Tomáš Pospíšilík, one of the original FIA ERC Junior Championship intake from 2014, is returning to the category on his home event, Barum Czech Rally Zlín, only this time he’ll be at the wheel of an R5 car.

Pospíšilík, who made his ERC3 Junior debut on Rally Liepāja five years ago driving an R2-specification ŠKODA Fabia, is competing in the Czech firm’s R5 equivalent for what will be a rare start in 2019.

“I started on only a few races this year because I had two crashes, we had to repair the car and it cost a lot of money,” Pospíšilík explained. “This is my home race and to drive on it is like my dream. Last year we were on the 13th position. Now I want the top 10.”

Pospíšilík made three ERC3 Junior appearances in 2014. He’s pictured heading to P10 in class on Barum Czech Rally Zlín of that year.

The post Founding ERC Junior Pospisilik is R5 alive for Zlín appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Tejpar calls on experience of co-driver Magalhaes for ERC Ladies’ Trophy push

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 06:00

Nabila Tejpar will continue to build her experience in the FIA European Rally Championship backed up by newly-recruited co-driver Hugo Magalhães.

The Portuguese, for whom next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín will mark ERC start number 30, replaces Max Freeman alongside Tejpar for the all-asphalt event.

“Having Hugo alongside will help as he can bring his experience of the event and European roads to the team. He is extremely knowledgeable,” said Tejpar.

For Tejpar, meanwhile, Barum Czech Rally Zlín is the third ERC outing of her career following her second run on PZM 76th Rally Poland in late June. However, she has kept busy by appearing at selected demonstration events, including the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Eifel Rallye Festival.

“It feels like a very long time away from the championship but luckily I've not been out of the driver's seat for long since Poland,” said Briton Tejpar, who drove a Proton Iriz R5 at the German event. “The chance to drive the Proton was amazing, but I need to come back down to earth now and concentrate on the task ahead. Barum is certainly not going to be easy.”

Tejpar’s main focus in Czech Republic will be her pursuit of the ERC Ladies’ Trophy. With three events remaining, she trails compatriot Catie Munnings – the 2016 winner – by 11 points.

“I can't contest all the remaining rounds, so I need to score well to keep my ERC Ladies’ Trophy chances alive,” she said. “It’s not going to be easy, as I’m the most inexperienced of the contenders but that won't stop me trying for a win. I'm excited to see what happens.”

The post Tejpar calls on experience of co-driver Magalhaes for ERC Ladies’ Trophy push appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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PZM 76th Rally Poland - Newsfeed LEG 2

PZM 76. Rajd Polski - Etap 2

Kalendarz 2019

21-23.03.2019:

Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugalia)

02-04.05.2019

Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)

24-26 05.2019

Rally Liepāja (Łotwa)

28-30.06.2019

Rajd Polski

19-21.07.2019

Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)

16-18.08.2019

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)

27-29.09.2019:

Cyprus Rally (Cypr)

08-10.11.2019:

Rally Hungary (Węgry)