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Back to where it began as Johnston prepares for Poland ERC return

Sat, 06/22/2019 - 18:00

American Sean Johnston will return to the scene of his FIA European Rally Championship debut when he contests PZM 76th Rally Poland from 28-30 June.

Johnston took part on the high-speed gravel event when it last ran in September 2008. Although he wasn’t registered for ERC points at the time, the ex-sportscar racer gained considerable experience of the Masurian stages, finishing in P19 overall and fourth in the RC4 division.

“I’m happy, I learned a lot, I’m lovin’ it and I’m grateful to be here,” said the Saintéloc Junior Team-run Johnston following last month’s Rally Liepāja.

The post Back to where it began as Johnston prepares for Poland ERC return appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC3 Junior Lundberg reveals his second-half hopes

Sat, 06/22/2019 - 12:00

Elias Lundberg enters the second half of the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship season hoping for a lucky break.

Following an impressive debut podium on the Azores Rallye in March, the Pirelli-equipped ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team driver has endured a frustrating run of results.

The Swede, a Rally Poland rookie, said: “After a tough first half of the season we are hoping for a more trouble-free second half. Because this is what it takes to be successful in this highly competitive championship.”

Lundberg will be hoping to follow in the wheeltracks of fellow Swede Tom Kristensson when he contests PZM 76thRally Poland next week. Like Lundberg, Kristensson graduated to the ERC after winning the Germany-based ADAC Opel Rallye Cup before going on to triumph in Poland last September.

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ERC Rally Poland facts and stats

Sat, 06/22/2019 - 06:00

With the FIA European Rally Championship heading to Poland next week, here are some essential facts and stats.

Essentials
What: FIA European Rally Championship round 4 of 8*
When: 28-30 June 2019
Where: Mikołajki, Poland
Stages: 15
Distance: 201.42 kilometres
Surface: Gravel
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 10 (2004-2008, 2010-2013, 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:
2018: Nikolay Gryazin/Yaroslav Fedorov (ŠKODA Fabia R5)
2017: Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)*
2016: Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)*
2015: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)*
2014: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)*
*WRC event

Five facts:
1: Run for the first time in 1921 from the capital Warsaw over a 576-kilometre route to Białowieza, Rally Poland turned 75 in 2018, making it the second oldest rally in the world behind Rallye Monte-Carlo.
2: A founding round of the world championship in 1973 when current FIA President Jean Todt co-drove Achim Warmbold to victory on what was then a Tarmac event, Rally Poland’s ERC links date back to 1960 when German pair Walter Schock-Moll and Rolf Moll triumphed in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE.
3: Mikołajki in the picturesque Masurian lake district has been Rally Poland’s base since 2005, which marked the event’s switch from asphalt to gravel stages.
4: A three-hour drive north of Warsaw, Mikołajki is home to the gigantic Hotel Gołębiewski, which doubles as event HQ and has grounds large enough to accommodate the rally’s service park and superspecial stage, the Mikołajki Arena.
5: Pole Sobiesław Zasada, who became outright ERC champion in 1971 after taking two category titles in the 1960s, is the most successful driver in Rally Poland history with four wins.

Activities and opportunities:
Starts: 16h00, 28 June, Main Square, Mikołajki
Finishes: 15h10, 30 June, Main Square, Mikołajki
Headquarters: Hotel Gołębiewski, Mikołajki
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 10 (2004-2008, 2010-2013, 2018)
Stages: 15
Stage distance: 201.42 kilometres
Liaison distance: 457.44 kilometres
Total distance: 658.86 kilometres
Surface: Gravel
Free Practice (for priority drivers): 08h00-10h00, 28 June, Talty (3.26 kms)
Qualifying Stage (for priority drivers): 10h30, 28 June, Talty (3.26 kms)
Shakedown (for all drivers): 11h30-13h15, 28 June, Talty (3.26 kms)
Start order selection: 15h15, 28 June, Main Square, Mikołajki
Ceremonial start: 16h00, 28 June, Main Square, Mikołajki
Finishing podium: 15h30, 30 June, Main Square, Mikołajki

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

The post ERC Rally Poland facts and stats appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

They said what? ERC drivers look ahead to Rally Poland

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 18:00

PZM 76th Rally Poland hosts round four of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship from 28-30 June. This is what some of the leading drivers have had to say.

Łukasz Habaj (Poland) Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5: “I would like to continue the success story of other Poles who have won Rally Poland, but I need to focus on the championship standings at the same time. This is my ultimate goal – to stay on the top of the leaderboard until the end of the ERC season. Winning this event is a dream to me and I think I am able to achieve it. My plan is to drive fast and show consistent pace right from the beginning of the event. However, I will not go out on a limb. We want to be in the game for the victory, because it seems to be a pretty realistic goal. Nevertheless, I won’t even try to judge our chances as a percentage.”

Krzysztof Hołowczyc (Poland) Three-time winner, former ERC champion: “The Masurian gravel roads are literally magic. You will not find this magic anywhere else. The stages are very fast, yet pretty safe, as they run mostly through open areas. Experienced drivers claim that this is very nice rally and its headquarters in Mikołajki is an invaluable asset.”

Jari Huttunen (Finland) Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai i20 R5: “It’s a really nice rally with fast roads. I want to win after last year, but I know it will be difficult to do so because the competition is high.I enjoy driving the Hyundai i20 R5, especially on Rally Poland where the speed and performance of the car is strong. It is my job to show this but, as with every rally, I start with the aim to win and I will do my best to do so. I am also grateful to Hyundai Motorsport for giving me this extra opportunity to get some seat time on a high-speed gravel rally.”

Elias Lundberg (Sweden) ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team Opel ADAM R2: “After a tough first half of the season we are hoping for a more trouble-free second half. Because this is what it takes to be successful in this highly competitive championship. Little problems, little mistakes, high speed – that’s the simple key, otherwise you won’t win anything in the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship. We have no previous experience from Poland so we will try to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible together with our ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team and hopefully the sandy stages in Poland will suit us.”

Miko Marczyk (Poland) ŠKODA Polska Motorsport ŠKODA Fabia R5: “Of course, the priority is the Polish championship and with double points on Rally Poland it’s really important to be at the finish and be in the game. But I don’t want to think a lot about the points. I would like to have fun and be the best version of me as a driver that I can.Rally Poland last year was only my second event on gravel and I’ve not driven on gravel since then. The competition in the ERC is really high, but I hope I can use my knowledge and experience of last year to be a little more competitive and fight closer with the ERC guys. But I also need to stay calm, drive at my pace and not be over-pushing from the start.”

The post They said what? ERC drivers look ahead to Rally Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC event preview: PZM 76th Rally Poland

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:00

The all-action FIA European Rally Championship heads to Poland next week (28-30 June) with one point separating title chasers Łukasz Habaj, the home hero, and ERC1 Junior pacesetter Chris Ingram.

And with PZM 76th Rally Poland edition number 50 to count for ERC points, it’s fitting that not only is the championship battle tightly poised, the event’s appeal has attracted 102 entrants, the highest number since 1975, with 24 top-of-the-range R5 cars registered for the international section alone.

As well as counting for the ERC, the rally forms a Polish championship double-header, with points awarded on both days. It’s resulted in a strong turnout by home-grown drivers, including a trio of promising youngsters: Miko Marczyk, the RMSP leader, and R5 category newcomers Marcin Słobodzian and Kacper Wrȯblewski. Tomasz Kasperczyk, second to Marczyk in the RMSP points, is also firmly in contention.

ERC Junior has 21 rising stars bidding to build experience and establish reputations. A full ERC Junior preview will be issued on Monday 24 June. Meanwhile, Polish driver Dariusz Poloński will be a contender for victory in the new-for-2019 Abarth Rally Cup with competitors also eligible for ERC2 points.

Organisers have worked hard to deliver a compact route of just 659 kilometres by reducing the length of the liaison sections between stages. There are 15 stages in total beginning with the first of three runs of the purpose-built Mikołajki Arena stage, which drivers tackle in pairs, on Friday evening (28 June). Saturday’s itinerary features four stages run twice. On Sunday, there will be twin visits to three stages with the Mikołajki Max stage starting in the arena this year rather than finishing in it, as was the case in 2018. The event starts and finishes in Mikołajki’s Main Square.

Rally Poland in 100 words
One of the world’s oldest rallies returned to the ERC roster in 2018 after a five-year break as Rally Poland replaced Rally Rzeszow as the country’s round of the European championship for its 75th edition. First run in 1921, Rally Poland’s home since 2005 has been Mikołajki in the picturesque Masurian lake district, a three-hour drive north from the capital Warsaw, where high-speed all-gravel stages are commonplace. And it was in Mikołajki where Kajetan Kajetanowicz first emerged as a major force in the ERC, taking the event win in 2013 prior to beginning his record-breaking title treble sequence in 2015.

What’s new for 2019?
A reduction in the length of the liaison sections has meant for a compact route of 659 kilometres. The Mikołajki Max stage, used twice on leg two, starts in the arena this year rather than finishing in it, as was the case in 2018. Having run in early autumn last year, the event gets a fan-friendly summer date in 2019.

Changes to the ERC 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. Meanwhile, 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
*Home hero Łukasz Habaj heads the bulging entry but admits to being torn between bidding for a second ERC win of the season and focusing on preserving his ERC title lead, which stands at one point over ERC1 Junior leader Chris Ingram after three rounds. Ingram took his first international podium in Poland last year with a strong third place.
*Alexey Lukyanuk secured his maiden FIA European Rally Championship in Mikołajki last season, despite his high-speed crash on the opening leg. Having landed his first finish of 2019 in Latvia in late May, the Russian will be keen to continue that momentum as he aims to defend his crown.
*Miko Marczyk, the Polish championship (RMSP) leader, is bidding to improve on his fifth place overall from 2018, while R5 category newcomers and fellow Polish rising talents, Marcin Słobodzian and Kacper Wrȯblewski will also be eager to impress, as will Tomasz Kasperczyk, second to Marczyk in the RMSP.
*Kasperczyk, a former ERC Junior regular, and Marczyk have taken a win apiece in the RMSP this year.
*ACCR Czech Rally Team’s Filip Mareš returns to Poland – where he made his first start on gravel in an R5 car – on a high following his breakthrough Czech championship victory recently.
*Double ERC Junior champion and fourth seed Marijan Griebel is a Rally Poland newcomer. The German will be hoping for change of fortune after a luckless start to his season.
*Other event newcomers include ERC1 Junior contenders Mattias Adielsson and Hiroki Arai, plus Lithuanian talent Vaidotas Žala, who was rapid on his ERC debut in Latvia last month.
*Albert von Thurn und Taxis is also new to the high-speed stages in Masuria after a back injury kept him on the sidelines in 2018. The German will be armed with a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, which is the car of choice for multiple Hungarian champion, MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig.
*With a strong pedigree in production-based machinery, Lithuania’s Vytautas Švedas is set to make his first ERC start in a Polo, which he recently acquired.
*After missing the last two ERC rounds, Aloísio Monteiro returns to partner ERC3 Junior Pedro Antunes in the two-strong FPAK Portugal Team ERC line-up. Like Monteiro, Brazilian Paulo Nobre will rely on ŠKODA Fabia R5 power.
*Having co-driven Kajetan Kajetanowicz to a record three consecutive European championship titles, Jarek Baran is set for his first ERC start since 2017 when he links up with former world championship regular turned cross-country star Aron Domżała. It will be their second event together after they finished second on a practice event in Lithuania earlier this month with Toni Gardemeister’s TGS Worldwide team.
*In a late change to the entry, Mikko Lukka will take over from Antti Linnaketo as Jari Huttunen’s co-driver as Huttunen returns for a second crack at winning Rally Poland having come within 8.3s in 2018.
*Juan Carlos Alonso is back to fight for ERC2 points and will face opposition from Zelindo Melegari, Kuwaiti Mshari Althefiri – second on his ERC2 debut in Latvia – and Russian Dmitry Fefanov.
*Abarth Rally Cup contenders Dariusz Poloński and Andrea Nucita will also chase ERC2 points.
*As on Rally Liepāja, the popularity of the ERC3 category is once again demonstrated with a 19-strong entry, including 16 in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior division.
*Florian Bernardi will make his gravel debut bidding for his second ERC3 win of 2019 following his Rally Islas Canarias triumph last month.
*Like Bernardi, American ex-sportscar racer Sean Johnston – who made his ERC debut in Poland last September – and Pole Tomasz Zbroja aren’t eligible for ERC3 Junior points.
*But of the 16 that are, Rally Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena heads the category from Sindre Furuseth and FPAK Portugal Team ERC’s Pedro Antunes.
*Llarena came close to winning the class in Poland last September, just losing out in a thrilling battle with Tom Kristensson, now a contender in the Junior world championship.
*Estonian Ken Torn, who won on his ERC3 Junior debut on Rally Liepāja last month in a Ford Fiesta R2T, and Norwegian Steve Røkland will be in the thick of the victory battle, with Røkland finishing third behind Torn and Furuseth in Latvia. A full ERC Junior preview highlighting all the contenders will be issued separately.

Head to head: Furuseth v Røkland
Following their exciting battle for second in class on Rally Liepāja, Norwegians Sindre Furuseth and Steve Røkland will continue their pursuit of success in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC3 Junior Championship on PZM 76th Rally Poland. Both are newcomers to the Mikołajki event, but with high-speed gravel stages very much their natural habitat, Furuseth and Røkland have what it takes to bid for the category win.

Form guide: Vaidotas Žala
After showing pace in abundance on his ERC debut in Latvia, Lithuanian high-flyer Vaidotas Žala makes his first Rally Poland start on top form after winning the most recent round of his national championship. Žala scored seven top-six stage times on Rally Liepāja and would have challenged for a top-five finish had it not been for a time-consuming puncture on the third stage of the high-speed gravel event.

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 2 July. 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

The post ERC event preview: PZM 76th Rally Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Nucita versus Polonski in ERC Abarth Rally Cup victory battle

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 12:02

The battle for honours in the FIA European Rally Championship-based Abarth Rally Cup will be a straight fight between Andrea Nucita and home hero Dariusz Poloński.

Starting on Rally Islas Canarias in early May, the Abarth Rally Cup is contested over six rounds of the eight-event ERC and is open to competitors using the enhanced-for-2019 Abarth 124 rally, the lightweight, rear-wheel-drive Italian sportscar, which conforms to the FIA’s R-GT category technical regulations.

And following the FIA World Motor Sport Council’s decision on 5 December to allow R-GT cars to take part in the revitalised ERC2 category, Abarth Rally Cup drivers are eligible for points in the popular showroom class, while also chasing an attractive round-by-round and end-of-season prize fund.

On each round the following prize fund is offered: First position: €12,000;Second position: €10,000; Third position: €8,000;Fourth position: €4,000 plus four Pirelli tyres. At the end of the season the Abarth Rally Cup winner receives a final prize of €30,000.

Nucita and Poloński are in contention for Abarth Rally Cup honours on PZM 76th Rally Poland with Nucita winning the last round in Latvia.

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Homesick Kasperczyk in ERC return

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 18:00

Tomasz Kasperczyk can’t wait to contest PZM 76th Rally Poland – because he’s missing the FIA European Rally Championship.

Kasperczyk has been a regular in the ERC1 Junior category in recent seasons but is focusing his efforts on the Polish championship in 2019, in which he’s currently running in second place after winning the most recent round.

“To be honest, I miss the ERC,” said the 26-year-old. “On the other hand, I am focused on the Polish Rally Championship [this season] and it seems that this approach is paying off. We’ve had a pretty good start and only Miko Marczyk has scored more points, but we are working to change this situation.”

Kasperczyk is one of 24 drivers in R5 cars competing on the high-speed gravel event, the Pole lining up in a Ford Fiesta R5 for the Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team. He has prepared for the event by contesting a rally in Estonia.

“Recently I prefer to do a short rally instead of long pre-event test,” Kasperczyk explained. “We decided to do the Viru Rally in Estonia. Not only did we get in the fast gravel mood, but we polished our pacenotes on brand new stages. We had some powersteering issues, but when the car was working fine, we were pretty competitive. On a few stages only the World Rally Cars were faster than us. I think this is a good sign ahead of Masurian battle.”

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Holowczyc: Magic awaits ERC aces in Poland

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 12:00

Rallying legend and former ERC champion Krzysztof Hołowczyc says there will be magic in store on next week’s FIA European Rally Championship counter in Poland.

The home hero, who will drive one of the course-opening cars on PZM 76th Rally Poland, has excellent knowledge of the event’s high-speed, all-gravel stages and is a big fan.

He said: “The Masurian gravel roads are literally magic. You will not find this magic anywhere else. The stages are very fast, yet pretty safe, as they run mostly through open areas. Experienced drivers claim that this is very nice rally and its headquarters in Mikołajki is an invaluable asset.”

As well as his course car-car driving duties alongside his long-time co-driver Maciej Wislawski, three-time Rally Poland winner is the event’s ambassador.

The post Holowczyc: Magic awaits ERC aces in Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

FPAK Portugal Team ERC back up to full strength

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 06:00

FPAK Portugal Team ERC will be represented by its full quota of drivers on PZM 76th Rally Poland as Aloísio Monteiro returns to partner Pedro Antunes in the two-strong national federation-backed team.

Monteiro has missed the last two rallies, leaving Antunes to uphold Portuguese honour – and chase ERC Nations’ Cup points – albeit to good effect with impressive performances in the Pirelli-backed ERC3 Junior category.

FPAK Portugal Team ERC is one of seven teams competing in the FIA European Rally Championship with ASN support. The others are:

ACCR Czech Rally Team
ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team
Estonian Autosport Junior Team
Rally Team Spain
Sweden National Team

PZM 76th Rally Poland runs from 28-30 June.

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Tejpar chooses ERC for high-speed gravel adventure

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 18:00

Nabila Tejpar will continue her bid for ERC Ladies’ Trophy glory on next week’s PZM 76th Rally Poland.

The Briton top-scored in the class on Rally Islas Canarias in early May but skipped the last round in Lativa due to her Peugeot Iberica Cup commitments.

However, 25-year-old Tejpar will return to the FIA European Rally Championship on the all-gravel Polish stages from 28-30 June in her Pump Technology-backed, Pirelli-equipped Peugeot 208 R2, and will chase ERC3 Junior points in the process.

“We had a bit of a nightmare in the Canaries as the 208 was incorrectly geared for the roads we were using,” said Tejpar. “But, to be honest, I still loved every minute of the ERC and I’m delighted to be able to come back again in Poland.”

She added: “I don’t have any previous experience [in Poland] but I know the gravel stages are ultra-fast so fortune will certainly favour the brave. I’ll have to try and balance a good pace against the need for some solid points.”

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Marczyk is a man with a plan on ERC return

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 12:00

Miko Marczyk won’t just be trying to extend his lead at the top of the Polish championship standings when he contests the ERC-counting PZM 76th Rally Poland next week.

The 23-year-old, who claimed his first national championship event win in a fine fifth overall on Rally Poland last September, is back in his ŠKODA Polska Motorsport Fabia R5 and ready to compare his pace with his rivals from the FIA European Rally Championship.

After the opening two rounds of the Polish championship, Marczyk is first ahead of fellow young promise Tomasz Kasperczyk and ready to chase more success on the high-speed gravel stages of the Masuria lake district in northern Poland.

“Of course, the priority is the Polish championship and with double points on Rally Poland it’s really important to be at the finish and be in the game,” said Marczyk, who only began competing in 2016. “But I don’t want to think a lot about the points. I would like to have fun and be the best version of me as a driver that I can.

“Rally Poland last year was only my second event on gravel and I’ve not driven on gravel since then. We were six seconds in front of Łukasz Habaj and Daniel Dymurski. I think they made progress and now they are leading the ERC championship and I am really happy about that. Last year [current ERC1 Junior leader] Chris Ingram was 0.3s per kilometre faster than us so it will be good to see the difference this time. The competition in the ERC is really high, but I hope I can use my knowledge and experience of last year to be a little more competitive and fight closer with the ERC guys. But I also need to stay calm, drive at my pace and not be over-pushing from the start.

“The preparation last year was a little bit better because we had quite a lot of tests, a small event in Lithuania and then we had Rally Poland. This year we just have one test day according to the regulations and I’ve had a break of nine months since my last gravel rally. I just hope I will be smart, that’s the most important thing.”

Marczyk, who will be co-driven by Szymon Gospadarczyk, is registered for points in the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, the category for young stars in R5 cars. He won the Polish championship season-opening Rajd Świdnicki KRAUSE and finished second to Tomasz Kasperczyk, a former ERC1 Junior regular, on the last round, Rajd Nadwiślański. Kasperczyk is also on the Rally Poland entry list.

Based in Mikołajki, PZM 76th Rally Poland takes place from 28-30 June. It features 15 all-gravel stages over a competitive distance of 201.42 kilometres.

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Defend or attack? Poland entry-topping Habaj’s ERC conundrum

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 06:00

Łukasz Habaj admits he’s torn between pushing for a home win or preserving his FIA European Rally Championship title advantage on next week’s PZM 76th Rally Poland.

Habaj heads the title race by one point over British driver Chris Ingram, which hands him the coveted number one seed for the 50th Rally Poland to count towards the ERC.

Speaking at the official event launch in the Polish capital Warsaw yesterday, Habaj said: “I would like to continue the success story of other Poles who have won Rally Poland, but I need to focus on championship standings at the same time. This is my ultimate goal – to stay on the top of the leaderboard until the end of the ERC season.”

Co-driven by compatriot Daniel Dymurski, Habaj won the season-opening Azores Rallye in his Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5 and was on the podium on Rally Islas Canarias last month. But after losing out to Ingram both in terms of the overall result and day points scored on Rally Liepāja, Habaj is aware of the importance of an error-free drive

“Winning this event is a dream to me and I think I am able to achieve it,” said Habaj. “My plan is to drive fast and show consistent pace right from the beginning of the event. However, I will not go out on a limb. We want to be in the game for the victory, because it seems to be a pretty realistic goal. Nevertheless, I won’t even try to judge our chances as a percentage.”

Fifty-one crews, including 24 in R5 cars, have entered the international section of PZM 76th Rally Poland while the supporting categories bring the total number to 102, the highest number since 1975.

Click here to view the entry list.

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Huttunen aiming high on ERC Rally Poland

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 17:00

Jari Huttunen is returning to the FIA European Rally Championship in Poland next week (28-30 June) to chase the win that got away from him last season.

Runner-up in the ERC3 Junior rankings in 2017, Huttunen will drive in a 2Brally-prepared Hyundai i20 R5 under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner on PZM 76th Rally Poland.

The 25-year-old came within 8.3s of claiming victory on the high-speed gravel event last September after a time penalty in the closing stages and a final-stage puncture – the result of his charging recovery drive – restricted him to second place behind Nikolay Gryazin.

“It’s a really nice rally with fast roads,” said Huttunen, who set seven fastest stage times on Rally Poland last year, which he also contested in a Hyundai i20 R5. “I want to win after last year, but I know it will be difficult to do so because the competition is high.”

After finishing second to Chris Ingram in ERC3 Junior in 2017, Huttunen contested several rounds of the world championship in 2018 in a Hyundai i20 R5. He also carried out testing duties for Hyundai Motorsport in addition to tackling other selected events. He continues to represent the Korean make in 2019 and has taken part on rallies in his native Finland in a Hyundai i20 World Rally Car.

“I enjoy driving the Hyundai i20 R5, especially on Rally Poland where the speed and performance of the car is strong,” said Huttunen. “It is my job to show this but, as with every rally, I start with the aim to win and I will do my best to do so. I am also grateful to Hyundai Motorsport for giving me this extra opportunity to get some seat time on a high-speed gravel rally.”

While PZM 76th Rally Poland marks Huttunen’s first start in this year’s ERC, he has followed the results of the opening three rounds and reckons defending champion Alexey Lukyanuk will be his toughest opponent. Lukyanuk is one of 23 drivers on the provisional list of entries in a top-of-the-range R5 car.

Based in Mikołajki in the Masuria lake district, PZM 76th Rally Poland takes place from 28-30 June and features 15 all-gravel stages over a competitive distance of 201.42 kilometres.

The post Huttunen aiming high on ERC Rally Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Domzala recruits ERC legend Baran for home run

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 06:00

Aron Domżała will have a secret weapon up his sleeve when he returns to the FIA European Rally Championship on his home event, next week’s PZM 76th Rally Poland.

Domżała, whose last ERC appearance was on auto24 Rally Estonia in 2016, has recruited none other than three-time ERC champion co-driver Jarek Baran to guide him over the fast gravel stages that make up the fourth event of the season from 28-30 June.

And it’s been a promising start to the partnership with Baran co-driving Domżała to second overall on Rally Žemaitija in Lithuania last weekend, Domżała’s first stage rally since July 2018 and Baran’s first event since December 2017, his last with Kajetan Kajetanowicz.

“It’s quite new but it’s really nice,” said Domżała of his new alliance with Baran. “His experience helps me a lot, especially with my pacenotes. After the race [in Lithuania] we are quite well prepared [for Rally Poland], we understand each other, and things are quite easy between us. We got it fast.”

Domżała has made cross-country rallying his focus in recent seasons, winning the T3 section of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in 2017 and taking part on the Dakar Rally back in January. With a break in his off-road schedule, Domżała is returning to stage rallying in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 run by Toni Gardemeister’s TGS Worldwide concern.

“Cross-country rallying is fun but for sure it is quite different because the route is very long,” the 29-year-old Domżała explained. “I had the possibility to do Rally Poland and I agreed with Jarek we would be very well prepared to fight for a good result. For sure it will be hard to fight with the ERC drivers, but I feel good on gravel and have some experience of Rally Poland.”

Baran, meanwhile, guided compatriot Kajetanowicz to three consecutive European championship titles between 2015-2017. He has 86 ERC starts to his name.

The post Domzala recruits ERC legend Baran for home run appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC champions shine in Sardinia

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 06:00

A number of FIA European Rally Championship title winners were on form, while the top 13 places were filled by drivers with ERC experience, as Sardinia hosted the latest round of the world championship last weekend.

Of the former ERC champions in action, Esapekka Lappi placed seventh, Jan Kopecký P10, Kajetan Kajetanowicz (pictured) P12, Luca Rossetti P16 and Giandomencio Basso one place behind.

Meanwhile, Team OSCARO-backed ERC Junior Pierre-Louis Loubet scored his second class victory in succession with Kajetanowicz taking the runner-up class spoils. Tom Kristensson, second in ERC3 Junior last season, was third in the Junior world championship category.

Next up for the current crop of ERC title contenders is PZM 76th Rally Poland from 28-30 June.

The post ERC champions shine in Sardinia appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Big win for Czech ERC Junior crew

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 06:00

Filip Mareš and Jan Hloušek delivered one of the drives of their lives yesterday to claim their first Czech championship victory with first place on Agrotec Petronas Rally Hustopeče.

Backed by their national federation for a combined Czech and FIA European Rally Championship campaign, Mareš and Hloušek were fastest on four of the 10 stages in their Kresta Racing ŠKODA Fabia R5 to take the win.

Afterwards the ACCR Czech Rally Team driver said: “To everyone who helped us, thank you. It's a dream.”

Mareš and Hloušek will be back on ERC duty on Rally Poland from 28-30 June when they will chase ERC1 Junior Championship points.

Photo: Facebook.com/filipmaresrally

The post Big win for Czech ERC Junior crew appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Gravel “discovery” boosts Poland-bound ERC3 star Bernardi

Sat, 06/15/2019 - 06:00

Florian Bernardi has begun his voyage into the unknown with a successful gravel test ahead of PZM 76th Rally Poland.

A winner in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 category, Bernardi has limited gravel experience. As a result, he spent a day at the Drive Control centre in Monteils dans le Gard, France, where he was able to build his knowledge of loose-surface driving in his Renault Clio R3T.

“It's almost a total discovery of this surface, I have very little experience on gravel,” said Frenchman Bernardi, who was assisted by Drive Control’s Laurent Clutier and suspension partner R.Tec during the test. “The result of the day is very positive, we did 100 kilometres, which was essential before Poland.

“I immediately felt comfortable in the Clio, we were able to make set-up adjustments to gain experience and find the feeling. With the team around me we will be able to find a good set-up for the rally.”

Bernardi and co-driver Victor Bellotto will contest PZM 76th Rally Poland from 28-30 June in their usual FA Compétition-prepared Clio.

The post Gravel “discovery” boosts Poland-bound ERC3 star Bernardi appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Sports Racing Technologies on top in battle to be top ERC team

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 06:00

Sports Racing Technologies will start PZM 76th Rally Poland later this month leading the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams.

The Latvian squad, headed by Pole Łukasz Habaj, is seven points ahead of Saintéloc Junior Team with Germany-based Toksport WRT four points behind its French rivals in third position.

Rally Team Spain is fourth, Peugeot Rally Academy fifth, FPAK Portugal Team ERC sixth and ACCR Czech Rally Team seventh. Defending champion ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team is eighth with Estonian Autosport Junior Team and Citroën Rally Team completing the top 10 after three rounds.

The post Sports Racing Technologies on top in battle to be top ERC team appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Dream come true time as Svedas gets Polo for ERC

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 06:00

Vytautas Švedas will get an all-new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 for round four of the FIA European Rally Championship.

The Lithuanian has swapped his ageing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX for a top-of-the-range Polo. And following an outing on this weekend’s Rally Žemaitija in his homeland, Švedas will contest the ERC-counting PZM 76th Rally Poland from 28-30 June.

“We are really happy to step into Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 car,” said Švedas, whose last ERC appearance was in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX manufactured in 2008. “It is a dream come true for us after many years competing in just N4 machinery. We have waited a long time for this.”

Vaidotas Žala, who showed impressive pace on his ERC debut on Rally Liepāja last month, is the top seed for this weekend’s Rally Žemaitija.

Photo: Rimgaudas Budrys/Vytautas Švedas

The post Dream come true time as Svedas gets Polo for ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Top home talents battle for Pole position in ERC

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 06:00

Łukasz Habaj and Miko Marczyk will start their home round of the FIA European Rally Championship on top of the ERC and Polish title standings respectively.

Habaj holds a one-point advantage over Briton Chris Ingram in the ERC, while Marczyk (pictured) heads fellow young gun Tomasz Kasperczyk by seven points in the national championship race.

Marczyk and Kasperczyk have taken a win apiece in the Polish championship this year and both have experience of the Rally Poland stages, as does third-placed Marcin Slobodzian, who is in his first season of R5 competition following success in production-specification machinery.

PZM 76th Rally Poland takes place from 28-30 June.

The post Top home talents battle for Pole position in ERC 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)