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Updated: 38 min ago

From hospital times to rapid stage times: Magalhaes plots ERC Rally Liepaja comeback

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 06:00

Bruno Magalhães ended up in hospital on his first and only visit to Liepāja for Latvia’s round of the FIA European Rally Championship.

Battling for the ERC title in 2017, Magalhães suffered a back injury when he crashed on standing water during the Liepāja city stage.

He made a full recovery and returned to the ERC in 2018 when he scored a win and two podiums. And the multiple Portuguese champion is back on European championship duty in 2020, driving a Hyundai i20 R5 for Team Hyundai Portugal.

“The stages in Liepāja are incredible, giving us the chance to go flat out,” the 39-year-old told Rally Liepāja’s Roberts Graudiņš. “This event gave us valuable experience. I believe that Liepāja will not be my best event, as it is very different from Portugal, where we usually drive on mountain roads, and not wide open and fast stages like here. Anyhow, I will enjoy the event and try to do my best.”

Rally Liepāja is scheduled to open the 2020 ERC season from 29-31 May.

The post From hospital times to rapid stage times: Magalhaes plots ERC Rally Liepaja comeback appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

How ERC’s Griebel plans to learn from “one of the fastest on this planet”

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 18:00

Marijan Griebel has revealed how he plans to make the most of team-mate Alexey Lukyanuk’s pace and experience during the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship.

German Griebel, a double ERC Junior champion, and Russian Lukyanuk, the 2018 ERC title winner, are linking up to form a formidable two-car entry under the Saintéloc Juior Team banner in Citroën C3 R5s.

But while Lukyanuk is embarking on his second season driving one of the French machines, it will be Griebel’s first with C3 power.

“I’m sure, if you just assess [his] raw speed, Alexey is one of the fastest drivers on this planet,” said Griebel. “I guess especially on fast gravel roads I could learn a lot from him. I can watch some data of his driving and ask him some advice. Maybe I have to take place on the co-driver’s seat on one of the test sessions, but I’m not really sure if I’m that brave!”

Lukyanuk has already spoken of his plans to help Griebel adapt to the Citroën. “Marijan is consistent and experienced, an open guy and a nice guy I have known for many years,” said the Russian. “We can have a really strong year as team-mates and I am ready to share all my experience of the car to help him get to the speed he wants.”

The post How ERC’s Griebel plans to learn from “one of the fastest on this planet” appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Huge prize fund up for grabs in ERC Abarth Rally Cup

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 12:00

The Abarth Rally Cup will once again be a key feature of the FIA European Rally Championship in 2020 with a prize fund totalling €210,000 up for grabs. 

Featuring four events on asphalt and two on gravel, the 2020 Abarth Rally Cup is exclusively for the Abarth 124 rally on Pirelli tyres.

On each round, the following prize money will be awarded:

First position: €12,000
Second position: €10,000
Third position: €8,000

The winning driver receives an additional €30,000.

All six rounds count, while Abarth Rally Cup competitors will be eligible for the ERC2 production category.

The post Huge prize fund up for grabs in ERC Abarth Rally Cup appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

They came from Japan (to the ERC)

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 06:00

Several Japanese drivers have competed on FIA European Rally Championship events. Here are five.

Hiroki Arai
After a one-off outing on Rally Estonia in 2016, Arai returned to European championship action in 2019 for an ERC1 Junior campaign at the wheel of a STARD-entered Citroën C3 R5 as part of a development programme for Yokohama tyres. He impressed with his speed.

Toshi Arai
Hiroki’s legendary father Toshi is also no stranger to the ERC, winning the Tour de Luxembourg in 2000 driving a Subaru Impreza World Rally Car. An ERC Production Cup programme followed in 2013 when he landed a victory and two third place finishes, plus an overall podium on the Sibiu Rally in Romania.

Takamoto Katsuta
Firmly established as part of Toyota’s factory World Rally Championship line-up, Katsuta’s early career took him to the ERC-counting Rally Estonia in 2016. An opportunity to build his experience ended abruptly when he rolled into retirement on the opening stage of leg two.

Fumio Nutahara
Once a Production Car World Rally Championship title contender, Nutahara made two appearances on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, once in a Mitsubishi, once in a Subaru.

Ryo Seya
Like his compatriot Nutahara, Seya’s ERC experience comes from Barum Czech Rally Zlín, which he contested for the first time in 2019, placing P74 overall in a Peugeot 208 R2.

The post They came from Japan (to the ERC) appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

There’s a Silva lining as ERC drivers #RACEATHOME by contesting Azores Virtual Rallye

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 18:00

There was a Silva lining when drivers from the FIA European Rally Championship contested the Azores Virtual Rallye – the online version of the spectacular ERC event – last weekend.

Pedro Silva, from Madeira, beat more than 1110 rivals to top honours in a virtual Ford Fiesta R5, with ERC drivers past and present featuring in the top 20.

They included Alexey Lukyanuk, who won the real Azores Rallye in 2018 on his way to claiming that season’s European title, and former ERC Junior Jon Armstrong. Eyvind Brynildsen and Chris Ingram, the reigning ERC champion, also took part but were not among the 350-plus finishers. Meanwhile, João Carreiro was the leading Azorean driver in seventh place.

Online contest encourages fans to stay safe at home
With the real-life Azores Rallye postponed until 17-19 September** due government restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak, organiser Grupo Desportivo Comercial launched the 12-stage Azores Virtual Rallye to give fans their rallying fix and encourage them to stay safe at home.

Taking place from 23-29 March, the Azores Virtual Rallye was based on the Dirt Rally 2.0 game, available on the STEAM, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gaming platforms.

Because it was not possible to produce virtual versions of the spectacular stages that make the real Azores Rallye so appealing to fans and drivers, the Azores Virtual Rallye was based on special stages from New Zealand, due to their similarity with the layouts on offer on São Miguel island in the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

For example, the Waimara Point stage in New Zealand doubled as the Graminhais stage from the Azores Rallye, while the world-famous Sete Cidades volcano stage in the Azores used the Ocean Beach stage.

Following in Sousa’s wheel tracks
After Madeira-born Bernardo Sousa won the real ERC-counting Azores Rallye in 2014, Pedro Silva gave good reason for Madeiran celebrations in the virtual Azores after he beat Northern Irishman Jon Armstrong and Turkey’s Ali Türkkan, who lost 30s with a puncture on his AVCISport Mitsubishi Spacestar R5. “I’m very happy to be the second Maderia islander to win the Azores Rallye,” said Silva. “I would like to congratulate the organisation for the event and affirm that you can count with me on future editions of this race as well as others that might be held.”

World champion Armstrong in Azores return
Jon Armstrong, who won the virtual World Rally Championship crown in 2018 and finished runner-up last season, contested the Azores Rallye proper as part of his ERC Junior campaign in 2015. Having driven a Peugeot 208 R2 back then, Armstrong selected a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 for the Azores Virtual Rallye, which he tackled under the Official DiRT Rally Team banner.

Colin McRae Tribute squad wins Teams’ award
The Colin McRae Tribute outfit scored 964 points to head the Teams’ classification over MPM Motorsport Poland (924 points) and A-Sport 1 (906).

What’s next?
Grupo Desportivo Comercial’s SIM racing department is now working on a plan to celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary with a virtual rally featuring the rear-wheel-drive cars that competed on São Miguel in the 1970s and 1980s.

Results
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1sOj51WP8U9lz4fttIi9DQ18Q4GH5bVf-?usp=sharing

**Date subject to FIA ratification

Photo: Azores Virtual Rallye/DiRT Rally 2 screenshot

The post There’s a Silva lining as ERC drivers #RACEATHOME by contesting Azores Virtual Rallye appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC partner Pirelli backs efforts against COVID-19

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 12:00

Pirelli, Official Tyre Supplier of the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship, is playing its part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic close to its base in Italy.

The company’s global headquarters in Milan is within one of the country’s most affected regions, Lombardy. Pirelli has been organising charity collections and the distribution of vital medical equipment, including ventilators, masks, and aprons in an attempt to combat the disease.

Pirelli has also halted the production and launch of its famous calendar (for only the second time in its history) and donated an additional €100,000 intended for the calendar to action against coronavirus, bringing the total value pledged by Pirelli and its staff to a figure in excess of one million euros.

Its employees have also been giving their time as volunteers in a variety of roles. One of them is Pirelli’s head of Formula One and car racing Mario Isola, who is a volunteer ambulance driver – but this is nothing new for Isola, who has been driving ambulances for more than 30 years (as well as driving rally cars for fun, whenever his schedule allows).

Now, however, his charitable work – along with that of everyone at Pirelli – takes on a whole new significance, as Europe aims to get on top of the pandemic.

“Motorsport may have stopped for now, but at Pirelli we are all working as hard as ever,” said Isola. “Not just in our ordinary jobs, but also to deal with the challenge that we are all facing together. From my point of view, I’ve been carrying on the same volunteer ambulance shifts as always and doing what I can to help. Just because we have the coronavirus, it doesn’t stop people becoming ill as usual, so people volunteering in any role becomes even more important, and I have been giving all the time I can to the ambulance.”

The post ERC partner Pirelli backs efforts against COVID-19 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Ingram gets MG Metro 6R4 for new ERC Legends series

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 09:00

Chris Ingram will headline the new ERC Legends series, driving a famous MG Metro 6R4 in the FIA European Rally Championship’s spin-off category.

Ingram is the first ERC Legends driver announced in recognition of his ERC title triumph in 2019, while a number of other top talents will be unveiled soon.

“It’s an awesome idea and the car looks mega,” said Ingram, who will extend his title-winning partnership with co-driver Ross Whittock. “My father did a rally in the 1980s in a Nissan 240 RS with my mother co-driving, battling a Metro 6R4 eventually to finish second. These cars were unbelievably quick then and I’m sure they will still be just as quick now.”

Ingram, who is still working on an FIA World Rally Championship programme for 2020, has yet to test his MG Metro 6R4, but has first-hand experience of a Peugeot 205 T16, which rivalled the Metro for on-stage success in the 1980s.

“It’s obviously a different car but I’ve been lucky enough to drive Kevin Furber’s 205 T16 and that gave us an insight before we get to drive the Metro,” Ingram said. “I’m definitely going to go for it and won’t forget what day it is.”

The post Ingram gets MG Metro 6R4 for new ERC Legends series appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Three-time ERC champion Kajetanowicz helping local community amid coronavirus pandemic

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 18:00

Kajetan Kajetanowicz, winner of the FIA European Rally Championship three times in succession, is supporting a campaign in his home city of Ustroń to help the local community in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Taxi drivers in Ustroń are helping to deliver supplies to the elderly and those in quarantine, while members of a local club are sewing protective face masks to be given to those most in need.

“Many people in Poland, in accordance with the restrictions, are in quarantine,” said Kajetanowicz wrote on his official website, Kajto.pl. “Among them are the elderly who do not necessarily cope well with the situation. We want to help them together with the City Hall of Ustroń and with the support of the fantastic local community of my hometown. It is important that despite maintaining distance and other safety measures, which we have to take in such a situation, we do not forget to help others. Right now, especially, we need to unite and support each other. That is why I thank everyone who was involved in our joint action.”

Photo: Kajto.pl

The post Three-time ERC champion Kajetanowicz helping local community amid coronavirus pandemic appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

The ERC Qualifying Stage winners of 2019

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 12:00

On each round of the FIA European Rally Championship a Qualifying Stage is held to help determine the top 15 starting order for the opening leg of an event.

These are the ERC’s Qualifying Stage winners of 2019:

Azores Rallye (Portugal):
Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (ŠKODA Fabia R5, pictured)*

Rally Islas Canarias (Spain):
Pepe López/Borja Rozada (Citroën C3 R5)*

Rally Liepāja (Latvia):
Oliver Solberg/Aaron Johnston (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)*

PZM 76th Rally Poland:
Filip Mareš/Jan Hloušek (ŠKODA Fabia R5)*

Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy):
Nikolay Gryazin/Yaroslav Fedorov (ŠKODA Fabia R5)*

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic):
Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (ŠKODA Fabia R5)

Cyprus Rally:
Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)

Rally Hungary:
Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock (ŠKODA Fabia R5)

*Indicates driver eligible for ERC1 Junior points on rally in question

The post The ERC Qualifying Stage winners of 2019 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC first and last: Super 2000 victories

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 06:00

Super 2000 cars won a total of 75 FIA European Rally Championship rounds between 2006 and 2014. But who was the first to win in the ERC in an S2000 car and who was the last?

First winner?
Italians Paolo Andreucci (pictured) and Anna Andreussi won Rally 1000 Miglia on 22 April 2006 driving a Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000.

Last winner?
Esapekka Lappi and fellow Finn Janne Ferm took victory on Rallye International du Valais on 25 October 2014 at the wheel of a ŠKODA Fabia S2000.

The post ERC first and last: Super 2000 victories appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC’s flying Finns

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 18:00

Four flying Finns have won the FIA European Rally Championship.

One of the most successful rallying nations celebrated its first ERC champion in 1965 when the legendary Rauno Aaltonen took the crown.

Pauli Toivonen gave Finland more cause for celebration in 1968, but there would be a wait of 44 years for the next Finnish champion when, in 2012, Juho Hänninen came out on top of the title race.

But having waited 44 years for Hänninen’s European championship triumph, Esapekka Lappi (pictured) collected more ERC silverware for Finland in 2014.

The post ERC’s flying Finns appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC drivers Medici and Melegari help coronavirus effort in Italy

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 18:00

ERC drivers past and present, Davide Medici and Zelindo Melegari, are helping the coronavirus response in their native Italy.

Movisport driver Medici’s company, Medici Style Srl, is part of a group that is helping to produce 150,000 facemasks per day, as part of an initiative coordinated by Unindustria Reggio Emilia and Confindustria Emilia Area CentroComune di Reggio Emilia and the regional health department.

Meanwhile, Melegari, a regular in the FIA European Rally Championship's ERC2 division, has made a financial donation to the local hospital and hospice in Reggio Emilia as part of its efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo: Facebook.com/Movisport1999

The post ERC drivers Medici and Melegari help coronavirus effort in Italy appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Remembering when… Breen gives Peugeot’s 208 T16 debut ERC win

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 06:00

Craig Breen marked the debut of Peugeot’s 208 T16 with victory on the Acropolis Rally, the third event of the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship season, which finished in Loutraki on 30 March.

After Peugeot Rally Academy team-mate Kevin Abbring grabbed first place from Bryan Bouffier on stage two, Breen moved into a lead he wouldn’t relinquish on the fifth stage after a cooling issue stopped Abbring.

Breen, who was co-driven by Scott Martin, won four stages to finish 8.1s ahead of Bouffier with Kajetan Kajetanowicz completing the podium in Greece, one place in front of Esapekka Lappi, who would end the season as champion.

The post Remembering when… Breen gives Peugeot’s 208 T16 debut ERC win appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC 2020 calendar refresher

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 06:00

The FIA European Rally Championship is set to be contested over eight events in 2020. Here's a reminder.

FIA European Rally Championship calendar 2020
Round 1: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), 29-31 May
Round 2: 77th Rally Poland (gravel), 26-28 June
Round 3: Rally di Roma Capitale (asphalt), 24-26 July
Round 4: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (asphalt), 28-30 August
Round 5: Azores Rallye (gravel), 17-19 September**
Round 6: Cyprus Rally (gravel), 16-18 October**
Round 7: Rally Hungary (asphalt), 6-8 November
Round 8: Rally Islas Canarias (asphalt),3-5 December**

FIA ERC1 Junior Championship 2020
Round 1: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), 29-31 May
Round 2: 77th Rally Poland (gravel), 26-28 June
Round 3: Rally di Roma Capitale (asphalt), 24-26 July
Round 4: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (asphalt), 28-30 August
Round 5: Azores Rallye (gravel), 17-19 September**
Round 6: Rally Islas Canarias (asphalt), 3-5 December**

FIA ERC3 Junior Championship 2020
Round 1: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), 29-31 May
Round 2: 77th Rally Poland (gravel), 26-28 June
Round 3: Rally di Roma Capitale (asphalt), 24-26 July
Round 4: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (asphalt), 28-30 August
Round 5: Azores Rallye (gravel), 17-19 September**
Round 6: Rally Islas Canarias (asphalt), 3-5 December**

**Date subject to FIA ratification

The post ERC 2020 calendar refresher appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

#RACEATHOME: ERC Junior champion Llarena sends a message of advice and support

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 06:00

Efrén Llarena has issued a message to ERC fans, urging them to follow official advice and stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rallye Team Spain driver, who claimed an ERC3/ERC3 Junior title double in 2019, said: “For sure we don’t know how long we will be at home but follow the official advice, stay safe, stay at home and for sure we’ll be back as soon as possible. Thank you for your support.”

Llarena and co-driver Sara Fernández are preparing for their step up to the FIA European Rally Championship’s top division in 2020. They will compete in a Citroën C3 R5 run by Sports&You and also chase ERC1 Junior points.

The post #RACEATHOME: ERC Junior champion Llarena sends a message of advice and support appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC ace Lukyanuk backs “fantastic” Azores Virtual Rallye

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 06:00

Former ERC champion and Azores Rallye winner Alexey Lukyanuk has praised the Azores Virtual Rallye organisers for their “fantastic idea”.

Running from 23-29 March, the Azores Virtual Rallye is an online challenge based on the Dirt Rally 2.0 game, which is available on the STEAM, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gaming platforms.

Organised by Grupo Desportivo Comercial, the company behind the spectacular ERC event – postponed to 17-19 September due to the coronavirus pandemic – the Azores Virtual Rallye features 12 special stages to be tackled by each competitor in selected Rally2 (R5) cars.

Because it has not been possible to produce virtual versions of the spectacular stages that make the real Azores Rallye so appealing to fans and drivers alike, the Azores Virtual Rallye will be based on special stages from New Zealand, due to their similarity with the layouts on offer on São Miguel.

“We should always take everything that we can from every situation, so creating an opportunity to compete with professional drivers, e-sportsmen and rally fans on virtual stages is a really fantastic idea,” said Lukyanuk, who will contest this year’s FIA European Rally Championship in a Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 R5.

More than 800 simracers have entered the Azores Virtual Rallye, including reigning ERC champion Chris Ingram.

Image: Facebook.com/lukyanuk

The post ERC ace Lukyanuk backs “fantastic” Azores Virtual Rallye appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Rally Liepaja Q&A: Eyvind Brynildsen

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 06:00

With Rally Liepāja scheduled to host the opening round of the delayed 2020 FIA European Rally Championship season, the event’s Roberts Graudiņš spoke to Eyvind Brynildsen, who has the pace to challenge for victory on the high-speed gravel event.

This is one of the fastest events of the season and what happened to you in 2018 proves the Latvian stages can be very unforgiving?
“I would say that the stages themselves are a bit easier than in other events. You can read the road well. Unfortunately, if you do make a mistake, it can end your event, as we experienced first hand in 2018.”

How will the fact you’ve competed on Rally Liepāja two times before help your preparation for this year’s event
“I really enjoy this event. The special stages match well with my driving style, and this is a fantastic country with the greatest fans on the planet!”

Have you had a chance to take in the Latvian nature and enjoy Liepāja when not competing?
“Not really. I hope to have some time for that this year – this is a nice city with a wonderful port.”

How do you like the atmosphere and work of the organiser?
“As mentioned before, Rally Liepāja has incredible fan support. Special stages are filled with people, and this year one of them will have an opportunity to sit in the co-driver’s seat during my tests on the Monday before. That will definitely be an unforgettable experience.”

Latvians say that Liepāja is the birthplace of wind. What weather would you prefer for this year’s event?
“I am hoping for a sunny and eventful weekend! This year, I hope to be spraying champagne from the top step of the podium. I am looking forward to this event!”

The post ERC Rally Liepaja Q&A: Eyvind Brynildsen appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior Bassas: a life less ordinary

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 06:00

Pep Bassas will make his debut in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC3 Junior Championship in 2020, his prize for winning the Real Federación Española de Automovilismo (RFEDA)-backed Beca Júnior R2 title last season.

But the 26-year-old is no ordinary rally driver as this short career profile attests. And for Spanish-speakers, this video from Marca.com, available by clicking here, is not to be missed.

Hailing from the village of Seva (like former 500cc motorcycle world champion Àlex Crivillé) in the rally-mad Osona region of Spain, Bassas was essentially born into the sport.

His father, Josep Bassas (also known as Pep), was a Spanish rallying legend and was a rival to Carlos Sainz and Jesus Puras during their early careers.

After winning the Spanish title driving a BMW M3 in 1989, Bassas helped to establish his own team, Baporo Motorsport, but sadly succumbed to illness in 2008, aged 46. Pili Mas co-drove Bassas for several seasons. They later married but Mas also passed away.

A number of family and friends, including Antonio Zanini, the ERC champion of 1980, helped Pep Jr compete in the Volant RACC, the regional cup where Dani Solà began his career. He took the title, earning the support of RACC to compete in Beca Júnior R2.

After finishing second to Jan Solans in 2018, Bassas dominated the championship in 2019, taking the title and the 2020 ERC3 Junior prize drive in a Mavisa Sport-run Peugeot.

When he’s not competing, Pep works as a mechanic with Ramón Cornet, another young driver from Catalunya.

With thanks to Nacho Villarin

The post ERC Junior Bassas: a life less ordinary 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 2020

24-26.07.

Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)

14-16.08.

Rally Liepaja (Łotwa)

28-30.08.

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)

17-19.09.

Azores Rallye (Portugalia)

16-18.10.

Cyprus Rally (Cypr)

06-08.11.

Rally Hungary (Węgry)

03-05.12.

Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)