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It’s vamos time as Llarena secures ERC1 Junior step up in Rallye Team Spain Citroen C3 R5

Thu, 03/12/2020 - 06:00

Efrén Llarena will get the chance to prove his talent in Rally2 machinery when he steps up to the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship for 2020.

After claiming an ERC3/ERC3 Junior title double in 2019, the 24-year-old has secured a full-season campaign in a Citroën C3 R5 run by Sports&You.

He will enjoy the full support of Citroën Racing and the Rallye Team Spain initiative from RFEDA (Real Federación Española de Automovilismo). Sara Fernández will co-drive.

Happy and proud Llarena looks ahead to 2020
“I'm very happy to make real this project and, at the same time, really proud for the support of Citroën Racing,” said Llarena. “At the end, we have the opportunity to face a full-season programme in the main category of ERC, driving an R5 car: a Citroën C3 R5 with Rallye Team Spain colours, run by Sports&You.”

From intense times to exciting times
“The last months were quite intense, but, thanks to the support of all my sponsors, we have been able to build up an exciting project. As usual, Sara and me will be giving everything we have to fight for the top positions in the ERC.”

From national scholarship winner to the ERC’s top tier
A qualified mechanic, Llarena graduated to the ERC in 2018 as his prize for winning the Beca Júnior R2 scholarship. He finished third in the ERC3 Junior standings that year before taking the title – and the ERC3 crown to boot – the following season. For both campaigns he used a Mavisa Sport-run Peugeot 208 R2 co-driven by Sara Fernández.

Prize drive explained
Llarena’s prize for winning the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior title in 2019 is two ERC1 Junior events in 2020 in a Rally2-specification ŠKODA Fabia run by Motorsport Italia. Although Motorsport Italia remains an integral part of ERC with a strong record for developing young talent, due to Llarena’s separate alliance with Citroën Racing, an agreement was reached for Llarena to graduate to ERC1 Junior in a Citroën C3 R5 run by Sports&You.

The post It’s vamos time as Llarena secures ERC1 Junior step up in Rallye Team Spain Citroen C3 R5 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

From watching to competing: Botelho secures dream ERC1 Junior entry for home rally

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 18:00

Rafael Botelho will go from big fan to big chance when the FIA European Rally Championship visits his home island for the Azores Rallye.

A native of Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, where the spectacular gravel event is based, Botelho will drive a ŠKODA Fabia R5 for The Racing Factory as he continues his transition from Rally4 to Rally2 level.

While his agreement covers the Azores Rallye and the other events that make up his local championship, the 25-year-old is working to secure the budget to contest additional rounds of ERC1 Junior.

A big pleasure to be a part of it
“I started riding motorcycles when I was three and rallies was always my passion. I remember when I was four or five going to Tronqueira or Sete Cidades to see the rally, so for me this is a big pleasure and it’s important to be part of it. My target was to be in ERC1 Junior for my home round and I’m very excited to be competing against these very good, young drivers. I’ve done one rally in this car but it was only 50 kilometres so I don’t have much experience, but this is a dream come true.”

All set for the big format change
With the traditional Saturday stages moving to Friday and vice versa, Botelho is preparing for a “big, big change” alongside co-driver Rui Raimondo. “The rally starts with a very demanding day and the first stage, Graminhais, is 24 kilometres. Tronqueira is also more than 20 kilometres and then you have Vila Franca São Brás, which is very narrow with lots of loose gravel. Last year the first leg was 24 kilometres and that’s the length of the first stage. Really, it’s a day of survival because it will be tough for the drivers and the cars and it will need a different approach, you will have to be very focused.”

Hoping for a long discussion
“On the positive side, if you can say this, Saturday will be a shorter day. It will be a pleasure to finish with Sete Cidades and I really hope the rally can be discussed until the end with the fight open.”

From McRae to Meeke, Kankkunen to Kubica, Botelho was watching and competing
“I remember watching Alister McRae, Juha Kankkunen, Jani Paasonen and thinking they were the best. As a young kid with a huge passion for the rallies, it made me think I want to be a driver and do the Azores Rallye. Then in 2009 when the IRC came, I really loved this time because I had a special appreciation of Kris Meeke, who won. My first time doing this rally was in 2013. It was also my first rally but Eurosport made an interview with me at the end of Tronqueira. This was very special. It was the time when Robert Kubica was in the Azores and I was very encouraged to have an F1 star and a good driver taking part.”

Ready for one, hoping for more
“At the moment I have the budget to do the Azores. After the Azores, and according to the results, I will try the best with my sponsors to do other events but I don’t say what events because I don’t know.”

The partners making Botelho’s dream possible
Rafael Botelho’s ERC1 Junior debut is being supported by The Racing Factory, ŠKODA Azores, BAHCO (International Tools) and Pavão Enterprises Inc.

The post From watching to competing: Botelho secures dream ERC1 Junior entry for home rally appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Amaury aims high in ERC3 Junior

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 12:00

Amaury Molle will embark on an FIA ERC3 Junior Championship adventure in 2020, joining Delta Rally to drive a Peugeot 208 R2.

Molle, a class winner in his homeland, has tried the young driver class for size on two previous occasions but this season will be his first full campaign in the Pirelli-supported category for Rally4 and Rally5 cars. Frenchman Florian Barral will co-drive.

Zlín outing a perfect try-before-buy for Molle
“It is with great pleasure that Florian and I announce this programme for this new season,” said Molle. “I absolutely wanted to carry out a complete programme, preferably abroad. The challenge of ERC Junior is the best way to do it. Being promoted by Eurosport Events is a key we also have to take into consideration. After my last ERC experience on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last year, I saw how good the ERC is for visibility and atmosphere. It made me sure the ERC should be my future target and it’s what I am concluding now. I can't wait to discover every rally of this championship and the first race in the Azores.”

Realistic expectations from Belgian hopeful
“I am entering with the previous version of the Peugeot, which is still the current one as the new one comes during the season. But I know the car and its reliability. That is why for the few first events, the goal will be to get as much points as possible. Even if I am a bit more eager like other drivers in ERC Junior this year, I must not forget I have experience of only one round and the drivers I’m against have more experience than me. I have lots to learn on some surfaces and I know the competition is high.”

Molle to Czech back to move forward
“In the ERC we have to push all the time but we also have to think about getting to the finish to be in the best place at the end of the year. Barum was so short after our early exit due to a pacenote mistake, but this year we will be more prepared as we only knew very late that we were going to be competing there.”

Rally2 can wait… for now
To underline his ambition, Molle made two starts in Rally2 machinery in his homeland last year. While the category is a future target, the focus is on front-wheel drive for 2020. “Doing a programme in 4WD was not realistic in order to get it right. Therefore, engaging in a programme like this with a range of car that I know well is a more logical choice. After driving a ŠKODA Fabia R5 at the 2019 Rallye de Wallonie with Delta Rally, the team made me an offer and I could not miss the opportunity to do a championship like the ERC.”

Gravel debut in store
Molle’s ERC campaign will provide a long-awaited opportunity to compete on gravel, a prospect he’s relishing. “Finally! I’m going to be able to drive on a surface that I’ve enjoyed for a long time. I have practically learned to drive on gravel, so to compete in the ERC on this surface makes me happier.”

Co-driver Florian Barral ready for great challenge
“I am happy to renew my collaboration with Amaury,” said Barral. “The challenge proposed is great, but thanks to Delta Rally and the Peugeot 208 R2, we have the right resources to shine but we also have a lot of work to do.”

Delta team to call on previous ERC experience
Delta Rally has a long and successful history in the ERC and will put that knowledge to good use for its alliance with Molle and Barral in 2020. “I am very happy to have been able to sign this contract,” said Riccardo Cappato, Delta Rally Team Manager. “An ERC programme for a young driver is a very good opportunity and we will do everything to ensure that it is the best season possible. We know the ERC from our various recent championship experiences and will bring the necessary experience for Amaury.”

Partners making Molle’s ERC3 Junior season possible
The following partners are supporting Amaury Molle’s ERC3 Junior campaign: ServiMat.be, Beobank, Humi Tech Air, Neuronics.be, Soudomeca Industries, ServiPools.be and Doneux.

The post Amaury aims high in ERC3 Junior appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Azores champion Rego among island talent set for ERC opener

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 06:00

Luís Miguel Rego, the back-to-back Azorean champion, is one of a number of local drivers set to contest the ERC season opener from 26-28 March.

Rego, who has eight Azores Rallye starts to his name, claimed a best finish of fifth on his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship in 2014.

He is due to appear on an entry list featuring a number of islanders including Miguel Correia, Ruben Rodrigues and multiple champion and former Azores winner Ricardo Moura. Details of Ponta Delgada-based Rafael Botelho’s planned entry will be announced soon.

The post Azores champion Rego among island talent set for ERC opener appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk thanks Arnautov, welcomes new ERC co-driver Eremeev

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 09:05

Alexey Lukyanuk will have a new co-driver by his side when he challenges for FIA European Rally Championship success in 2020.

With Lukyanuk’s long-term co-driver Alexey Arnautov taking a break from competing, Lukyanuk has recruited another Russian, Dmitriy Eremeev, to share his Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 R5.

Although he’s not competed extensively in recent seasons, Eremeev has partnered several rapid Russian drivers in the past, including Stanislav Gryazin, Sergei Uspenskiy, Alexander Dorosinskiy, plus Vasiliy Gryazin for a handful of ERC rounds in 2014.

“I will go with a new co-driver this year, Dmitriy Eremeev, but first I would like to say how I enjoyed the years spent with Alexey. He was my co-driver since 2009 and we won a lot of rallies and championships together. He’s the strongest guy I know mentally, he’s so calm and responsible. He was taking care of many things around me, supporting me and giving me freedom to focus on my driving. With Alexey it was so natural and easy, so calm within the car together. I massively respect these years and our passion, our results, our friendship.

“Dmitriy was a co-driver to some really fast drivers and he has some good experience. Okay, he was not intensively rallying for the past five years but I really like his attitude. It was not easy to find a person to match my expectations because I had a high benchmark with Alexey. But Dmitriy is a strong choice. We’ve had some pacenote training and we made quite good steps with our preparation. I am pretty confident we will come to the first event well prepared and ready to deliver good results from the first stages.”

Arnautov offered this advice for his replacement: “Keep calm and do your job, the guy on the left knows what he is doing!”

The post Lukyanuk thanks Arnautov, welcomes new ERC co-driver Eremeev appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Q&A: Alexey Arnautov

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 09:00

After guiding his friend and compatriot Alexey Lukyanuk to the FIA European Rally Championship title in 2018 and nine wins from 34 ERC starts together, respected Russian co-driver Alexey Arnautov is taking a break from competing. This is what he’s had to say ahead of the 2020 ERC season.

What’s made you take a break?
“It was quite hard to spare the time for rallies and it’s rare that a boss will grant you eight weeks out of the office. I really appreciate they were able to support me but I plan to focus on my main job. Another part is my family. I hope to spend more time with my daughters and, finally, after five years of competing in the ERC have vacations together.”

How much did you enjoy your time spent in the ERC with Alexey?
“We had a fantastic career together with ERC rallies held in wonderful places. I really enjoyed the rally schedule over the last years even though my work colleagues were very envious. I will miss our fans in the various countries we went to.”

What were your best memories?
“Winning in Estonia with the Mitsubishi Lancer in 2015 was very special, but I will also include the various races in Azores, Canarias and Czech Republic. Whether it was a win or lose story, I was always expecting a dramatic fight to the very end.”

Will you come back?
“That’s the tough question! Let’s see. So far I plan to skip one year and relax a bit.”

What advice do you have for Dmitriy Eremeev, your replacement?
“Keep calm and do your job, the guy on the left knows what he is doing!”

And this is what Alexey Lukyanuk had to say about Alexey Arnautov:
“He was my co-driver since 2009 and we won a lot of rallies and championships together. He’s the strongest guy I know mentally, he’s so calm and responsible. He was taking care of many things around me, around us with logistics, with communication with organisers, the planning. So, I really am thankful to him for supporting me in that way and giving me freedom to focus on my part, on driving, on preparations. Now I have to do it on my own and it’s distracting me a bit. I will sort things out and make them work but with Alexey it was so natural and easy, so calm in the car together. I massively respect these years and our passion, our results, our friendship. We’re still close of course and Alexey helps me with small things. It’s a very good background. But Dmitriy is a strong choice. We’ve had some pacenote training and we made quite good steps with our preparation and I am pretty confident we will come to the first event well prepared and ready to deliver good results from the first stages.”

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

No pressure as Russian Rocket Lukyanuk prepares for second Saintéloc ERC season

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 09:00

Alexey Lukyanuk has vowed to continue his ‘pressure-free’ approach to the FIA European Rally Championship after re-signing with the Saintéloc Junior Team for 2020 to drive a Citroën C3 R5.

The 2018 ERC champion narrowly missed out on back-to-back titles in a thrilling final-stage showdown with Chris Ingram on Rally Hungary last November. With Dmitriy Eremeev recruited in place of Alexey Arnautov – who is taking a break from co-driving after more than 10 years as Lukyanuk’s wingman – Lukyanuk will bid for more ERC success in 2020, albeit with the overall title not at the forefront of his mind.

I’m fast but I need to continue working
Described by a rival as “one of the fastest drivers on the planet”, Lukyanuk’s ERC career hasn’t been without its share of excitement and incident. That’s why the 39-year-old Russian has made becoming an even better driver a main goal this season, even if that’s at the expense of the championship. “I know I am fast but I am a bit sad that it’s not always transforming into really good results. I still have a lot of passion inside and energy to push, to fight and to deliver good results, good speed. I just need to continue working on my driving, on the car and that’s it.”

Driving is the focus for nine-time ERC event winner
“Rallying really matters to me. Modern cars are so exciting to drive, so easy to control and go really fast in and get a lot of joy. This sensation is the most important. Of course, it would be nice to support these feelings with good results. The championship is important, I cannot deny it, but if you want to win it you put so much pressure on yourself. My idea is to focus on my driving. Each year it looks like we’re getting more experience, getting stronger. Sometimes it holds you back because the experience is a heavy weight on your shoulders, so it’s important not to overhang yourself with all the knowledge, stay easy and relax and get fun from driving. It’s probably the main strategy thing for me. To achieve that we have a lot of sub-goals and sub-measures, which I am not ready to share. But I don’t really think about reclaiming our title because winning once is already an achievement.”

Why second Saintéloc season makes sense
“We started last year from a blank sheet of paper and now we know much more about the car and the team, so definitely it will be much easier for everyone. I believe we can improve the car even more and extract a bit more speed and reliability. It’s interesting to continue our work because all last year we were searching for the balance, for the set-up, for solutions to get more grip, especially on Tarmac. But the car is very solid and powerful, easy to control. It’s interesting to see where we can get to with the C3.”

Eight is just fine again in 2020
“Eight events is a good balance with the locations, there are some fantastic sights for each rally. I have very good memories on some of them, some events were not so fantastic but eight events, almost one rally per month, is a good schedule and not so bad for the budget. The rallies are challenging, there are local drivers who are very fast so it should be an exciting year.” 

Lukyanuk thanks Arnautov, welcomes Eremeev
“I will go with a new co-driver this year, Dmitriy Eremeev, but first I would like to say how I enjoyed the years spent with Alexey. He was my co-driver since 2009 and we won a lot of rallies and championships together. He’s the strongest guy I know mentally, he’s so calm and responsible. He was taking care of many things around me, supporting me and giving me freedom to focus on my driving. With Alexey it was so natural and easy, so calm within the car together. I massively respect these years and our passion, our results, our friendship. Dmitriy was a co-driver to some really fast drivers and he has some good experience. Okay, he was not intensively rallying for the past five years but I really like his attitude. It was not easy to find a person to match my expectations because I had a high benchmark with Alexey. But Dmitriy is a strong choice. We’ve had some pacenote training and we made quite good steps with our preparation. I am pretty confident we will come to the first event well prepared and ready to deliver good results from the first stages.” A Q&A with Alexey Arnauov is available by clicking here.

Lukyanuk on new team-mate Griebel: Here to help and be helped
“Marijan is consistent and experienced, an open guy and a nice guy I have known for many years. 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. I am ready to share with any of my team-mates. But the Azores is getting closer and closer. I miss the ERC because it’s been a long time at home. I am happy it will all start soon.”

Saintéloc’s Ducher delighted to keep his man with support from Pirelli and Citroën Racing
Saintéloc Junior Team’s Vincent Ducher, who has welcomed support from Pirelli and Citroën Racing, said: “There was no reason not to try to keep Alexey in the team. Alexey won more stages than any other driver last year and came very close to the title. We always learn from defeat and have analysed the past season in great detail and what we need to do to be even more successful this year.”

Where to watch Alexey Lukyanuk in 2020
Azores Rallye, 26-28 March; Rally Islas Canarias, 7-9 May; Rally Liepāja (Latvia), 29-31 May; 77th Rally Poland, 26-28 June; Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy), 24-26 July; Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 28-30 August; Cyprus Rally, 9-11 October; Rally Hungary, 6-8 November.

The post No pressure as Russian Rocket Lukyanuk prepares for second Saintéloc ERC season appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Huge interest as ERC Azores Rallye entry deadline day approaches

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 22:00

Entries for the FIA European Rally Championship-counting Azores Rallye are due to close at 24h00 on Tuesday 10 March.

And with registrations continuing to roll in, demand for entries for the island-based gravel spectacular has been huge.

Click here for more information.

The post Huge interest as ERC Azores Rallye entry deadline day approaches appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Spectacular ERC Azores Rallye promo video published

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 21:46

Azores Rallye organisers Grupo Desportivo Comercial have published a spectacular promotional video ahead of the upcoming FIA European Rally Championship season opener.

Produced in association with ERC promoter Eurosport Events, the video can be viewed here.

The post Spectacular ERC Azores Rallye promo video published appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Live TV coverage for ERC Azores Rallye

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 21:00

The first stage of the Azores Rallye, the opening round of the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship, will be shown live on RTP Açores and Eurosport on Thursday 26 March.

At the official event launch in Ponta Delgada this evening, ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley also confirmed that four stages will be shown live on Facebook, while daily highlights will be broadcast on Eurosport.

“We’re really happy to announce live coverage of the Azores Rallye in collaboration with our strong partner, RTP,” said Ley. “RTP and Eurosport will work hand in hand to broadcast live coverage of the PDL city stage on Thursday evening.

“We will also keep our 23-minute highlights programme on Friday and Saturday night, plus the 23-minute magazine programme after the event and continue with our live online coverage from four stages.”

The all-asphalt PDL Stage on the streets of the capital Ponta Delgada measures 1.20 kilometres in length and is due to begin at 19h30 local time on Thursday 26 March. Crews will tackle the stage in reverse-seeded order.

The post Live TV coverage for ERC Azores Rallye appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Azores Rallye update

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 19:44

FIA European Rally Championship promoter Eurosport Events and 55th Azores Rallye organiser Grupo Desportivo Comercial remain in frequent dialogue regarding the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

In parallel, Grupo Desportivo Comercial remains in frequent dialogue with the relevant authorities within the Portuguese government.

Although this is a constantly evolving situation, as of 9 March there has been no order issued to postpone the 55th Azores Rallye. Similarly, no quarantine process has been put in place for any foreign nationals arriving in mainland Portugal or the islands of the Azores. Therefore, the event is due to take place, as scheduled, from 26-28 March.

Should this situation change, and a postponement ordered, only at this time would work begin to agree a new date for the rally.

Finally, the Azorean government has contingency plans for anyone experiencing symptons of the COVID-19 virus upon their arrival on São Miguel island.

Any updates will be issued as necessary. There will be no further comment at this time.

The post ERC Azores Rallye update appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Champion Alonso on ERC1 move: When you have passion you never retire

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 12:00

ERC2 champion Juan Carlos Alonso has ended all talk of retirement by announcing a three-event campaign in the FIA European Rally Championship’s top division.

Alonso, from Argentina, celebrated winning the ERC2 title on the Cyprus Rally last September by stating he was in the “last stages” of his career and could hang up his helmet following his success. But he will return to the ERC, which he’s described as his “home for life”, joining The Racing Factory from Portugal to pilot a ŠKODA Fabia R5. Juan Pablo Monasterolo will co-drive.

Exciting ERC1 move like a dream
“We are very excited with this challenge for 2020, it’s a real dream for me and my co-driver to be in ERC1,” said Alonso, who commutes from his native South America for his European championship campaign.

Ready to fight with the big boys
While Alonso is synonymous with Mitsubishi Lancers, he does have some experience in Rally2 machinery. In 2017 he made five starts in the top-level category, landing a class podium on his country’s round of the world championship. “The last time I drove R5 machinery was in 2017, too long time, but that is a challenge I want and like. It will be fun to be with the big boys in a fight.”

Farewell tour begins
Although Alonso is adamant that he won’t retire, he concedes that the 2020 season is likely to be his last in the European championship. “This will be my last season in the ERC and I want to have fun and have more memories. But when you have passion with motorsport, real passion like me, you never retire. I need to look to new challenges and objectives. Maybe I retire from this level because it is too demanding, but I think I will still be rallying in my country with my beloved Evo X.”

Tarmac test essential as 2020 goals are set
Alonso plans to contest the Azores Rallye, Rally Islas Canarias and 77th Rally Poland in 2020. “These are rallies that I love and I want to get at least one experience with an R5 on Tarmac. By winning the championship in 2019, all our dreams came true. We did things with passion and commitment and for sure you will have more achievements. But for 2020 my only goal is to have fun and maybe a top 10 in ERC1 will be the cherry on top of the pie!”

Where to watch Juan Carlos Alonso in 2020
Azores Rallye, 26-28 March; Rally Islas Canarias, 7-9 May; 77th Rally Poland, 26-28 June.

The post Champion Alonso on ERC1 move: When you have passion you never retire appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Class victory boosts Bassas ahead of ERC Junior debut

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 06:00

Pep Bassas signalled his intent for FIA ERC3 Junior Championship success by winning his class on Rallye Tierras Altas de Lorca on Saturday.

The Rallye Team Spain scholarship driver was using the Spanish championship round to prepare for the Azores Rallye from 26-28 March, where he will begin his Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior campaign with the full backing of his national federation, RFEDA.

"We are so happy with the result of this rally because that was our opportunity to carry out some kilometers before the Azores Rallye,” said Bassas, who was competing in a Mavisa Sport-prepared Peugeot 208 R2 alongside co-driver Axel Coronado. “Our times were quite good and we think we are ready to try to fight for the European rallies. With some test before the rally we think we could be competitive. We can’t wait to go to Azores to start the championship.”

While Bassas was taking a class victory in Spain, ERC Junior podium finisher Austrian Simon Wagner was in action in Croatia where he and co-driver Gerald Winter took victory on INA Rally Kumrovec in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo.

The post Class victory boosts Bassas ahead of ERC Junior debut appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Revealed: Stratieva’s new ERC look

Sun, 03/08/2020 - 21:00

This is how Ekaterina Stratieva’s Peugeot 208 R2 is set to look in this year’s FIA European Rally Championship.

Stratieva marked International Women’s Day earlier by announcing her entry on the ERC season-opening Azores Rallye from 26-28 March.

The Bulgarian is linking up with the Saintéloc Junior Team once again. The French squad guided her to the ERC Ladies’ Trophy title in 2019, while the points Stratieva scored in Cyprus and Hungary last season helped Saintéloc win the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams.

The post Revealed: Stratieva’s new ERC look appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Jindriska Zakova co-drives ERC Junior Cais to Spanish podium

Sun, 03/08/2020 - 18:00

Jindřiška Žáková woke up on International Women’s Day a podium finisher after co-driving Erik Cais to third overall on the previous day’s Rallye Tierras Altas de Lorca in Spain.

Cais was using the gravel event to prepare for his ERC1 Junior campaign, which starts on the Azores Rallye from 26-28 March.

The Yacco ACCR driver set top-three stage time on six out of eight stages in his Ford Fiesta R5 MkII.

Afterwards, the Czech talent said: “This event was a really great test before Azores. We have tried different set-ups and third place overall in quite a strong starting field is really positive. It is giving us lot of pleasure and motivation for the future. For us, it was really great race."

Pepe López, who won last season’s ERC-counting Rally Islas Canarias, finished second overall to fellow Spaniard Nil Solans.

Photo: Vandraq Studio / Javier Jimenez

The post Jindriska Zakova co-drives ERC Junior Cais to Spanish podium appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Rachele Somaschini to promote cystic fibrosis awareness during first ERC campaign

Sun, 03/08/2020 - 09:02

Rachele Somaschini will combine her first FIA European Rally Championship campaign with building her experience at international level and promoting the #CorrerePerUnRespiro (Race for a Breath) initiative, which aims to raise aware of cystic fibrosis, a condition the Italian has struggled with since birth.

The Milan driver is set to contest all eight rounds of the ERC, including her home event, Rally di Roma Capitale in July. She will pilot a Citroën DS3 R3T with Tuscan Chiara Lombardi co-driving to extend a partnership that began in 2018.

ERC dream a great growth opportunity for Somaschini
“Taking part in the European championship is a great growth opportunity for me,” said the 26-year-old. “First of all, I have to thank my sponsors who have made this dream a reality. Our goal is to give our best and we are aware that it will not be easy. The organisers of the races and of the championship itself welcomed us with open arms and assured us of their support during our European debut. It will certainly be a year full of news and among these there may also be a change of car during the season.”

Somaschini remaining positive during challenging times
“I’m remaining positive although the situation is rather difficult, above all owing to the occurrence of the coronavirus emergency in Italy and as a consequence the need to cancel most of my commitments. However, we are looking for ways to do everything we can, whilst trying to preserve and maintain a good standard of health that, for people like me, who have a disease that already compromises the respiratory tract, remains a top priority.”

Rallying for a very good cause
Somaschini competes with a simple message at the forefront of her mind: illness will not win if research is supported. It prompted her to create an awareness campaign, #CorrerePerUnRespiro (Race for a Breath), which combines her passion for motorsport with increasing knowledge and understanding of cystic fibrosis and supporting its vital research.

As well as promoting #CorrerePerUnRespiro, Somaschini will raise awareness of the work of the Italian Fondazione Ricerca Fibrosi Cistica ONLUS FFC, (Foundation for Research on Cystic Fibrosis Onlus). This promotes, selects and finances advanced research projects to improve the duration and quality of life of patients and to definitively defeat cystic fibrosis. Recognised by MIUR (Italy’s research and education ministry) as a promoter of scientific research on the disease, it makes use of a network of 900 researchers and the work of more than 140 delegations and support groups.

Those wishing to make a donation can do so by bank transfer: Fondazione Ricerca Fibrosi Cistica ONLUS, IBAN IT 27E0 2008 1171 8000 1021 34939, Reference: #CorrerePerUnRespiro

The post Rachele Somaschini to promote cystic fibrosis awareness during first ERC campaign appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Team player Ekaterina Stratieva prepares for ERC magic

Sun, 03/08/2020 - 09:01

A little over four months since she helped the Saintéloc Junior Team win the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams, Ekaterina Stratieva is returning to the French squad for an ERC3 campaign.

Winner of the ERC Ladies’ Trophy in 2019, Bulgarian Stratieva will start her season on the Azores Rallye at the wheel of a Peugeot 208 R2 but hopes to switch to the new-for-2020 208 Rally4, once the car becomes more readily available later in the year.

How return after long lay-off got Stratieva’s ERC career back on track
Stratieva hadn’t competed for almost a year when she landed a late entry to contest Barum Czech Rally Zlín last August. After finishing second in class to Nabila Tejpar, Stratieva secured the funds to contest the subsequent Cyprus Rally, where a category win set up an unexpected title challenge on Rally Hungary. When Tejpar crashed out of the event in treacherous conditions, Stratieva kept going to not only clinch the ERC Ladies’ Trophy but take third in ERC3, a result that helped Saintéloc Junior Team win the ERC Teams’ title alongside Alexey Lukyanuk and Sean Johnston.

“To drive again with Saintéloc means more experience in a professional team knowing I can be relaxed in my mind because everything will be done properly,” said Stratieva. “It is a pleasure to be part of a big international team like Saintéloc. And after this long brеаk from racing that I had, Vincent [Ducher] and the team helped me to wake up fast. We had a very good car and good set-up in Hungary and for sure this helped me a lot to win the ERC Ladies’ Trophy and take the points for Saintéloc.”

Car swap planned for later in the year
Stratieva and co-driver Georgi Avramov will start their ERC3 bid in a Peugeot 208 R2 but hope to switch to the new-generation 208 Rally4 later in the year. “My goal, together with Vincent, Saintéloc and Peugeot Sport, is to try the new Peugeot 208 Rally4 at the end of the year on some race in the ERC or maybe a rally in Bulgaria,” Stratieva said. “But for now, my focus is on the Azores and the first race of the season.”

Why there’s magic in store for Stratieva
Stratieva made her Azores Rallye debut in 2013 and returned in 2014. This year’s 55th edition of the Ponta Delgada event will mark a long-awaited return. “The Azores was my first big international gravel rally. The island is like magic, a really nice place and completely different than other rallies,” she said.

Ducher happy Stratieva is returning
Saintéloc Racing Rally Manager, Vincent Ducher, is hoping to count on Stratieva’s ‘reliability’ as the Saint-Etienne squad bids to win back-to-back FIA European Rally Championship titles. “For sure Ekaterina helped us win the Teams’ title last year so it’s important to have reliable drivers. We have worked together to get more sponsorship for her and she will also be able to learn from her team-mates.”

Did you know?
Stratieva, who began competing in 2006, was given the keys to the city of Zlín when she made her 10th start on the Czech Republic’s ERC qualifier in 2018.

The post Team player Ekaterina Stratieva prepares for ERC magic appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Adrienn Vogel goes for it with ERC bid

Sun, 03/08/2020 - 09:00

Hungarian Adrienn Vogel is using International Women’s Day (Sunday 8 March) to announce her FIA European Rally Championship programme for 2020 when she will form an all-female alliance with co-driver and compatriot Ivett Notheisz.

After making her first ERC appearance on her home round of the championship last November, Vogel has secured a four-event campaign, starting on 77th Rally Poland and concluding on Rally Hungary. She will also contest Rally di Roma Capitale and Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Kilometres matter for Vogel
With her 2020 European campaign marking a first foray at international level, Vogel is mindful of the need to gain as much experience as possible. “I would like to do as much race kilometres as I can, and I would like to know the stages in all the countries we've chosen,” said Vogel. “To get experience on gravel stages and to be faster and stronger on each round are my goals.”

ERC event selection key
“The countries we’ve chosen are important for our main sponsor. But all these rallies are technical and challenging. Rally Poland has the fastest and most difficult gravel stages on the calendar. Rally di Roma Capitale is complicated because of the heat and the long stages. We expect tight, bumpy stages and changeable conditions on the Barum Rally, while Rally Hungary is tricky because of the difficult weather like we had last year.”

A perfect opportunity
Vogel, who finished eighth among the 2WD contingent on Rally Hungary last season, has described her upcoming campaign in the European championship’s ERC3 category as a “perfect opportunity to improve and to have more and more experience.”

Key partners highlighted
Platinum Oil, Orlen Team, Bau92, Inoxvilág, H1System, Pilis Autóüveg, Beflex, Pirelli, Q-service and Mercarius will support Vogel’s maiden ERC season, which she’ll contest in a Ford Fiesta R2T run by Orsák Rallysport and Roger Racing Team.

Where to watch Adrienn Vogel in 2020
77th Rally Poland, 26-28 June; Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy), 24-26 July; Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 28-30 August; Rally Hungary, 6-8 November

The post Adrienn Vogel goes for it with ERC bid appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC to celebrate International Women’s Day with triple driver announcement

Sun, 03/08/2020 - 06:00

The FIA European Rally Championship will celebrate International Women’s Day today (Sunday 8 March) by announcing the programmes of three female drivers for the upcoming ERC season.

They will be made from 09h00 CET with the trio joining Emma Falcón in this year’s championship after the Canary Islander revealed her ERC campaign last month. Keep visiting FIAERC.com for all the news.

The post ERC to celebrate International Women’s Day with triple driver announcement appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Nevermind the testing, ERC Junior Cais goes for the real thing

Sat, 03/07/2020 - 06:00

Erik Cais is stepping up his preparations for the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship with an outing on Rallye Tierras Altas de Lorca in Spain this weekend.

After testing in Austria recently, Cais and his Yacco ACCR Team had planned to conduct more out-of-competition running. Instead, the Czech talent and his co-driver Jindřiška Žáková are contesting the opening round of the Spanish Gravel and Supercopa championships in their Ford Fiesta R5 MkII.

While, building his experience of M-Sport’s latest Rally2 offering is objective number one for Cais ahead of the ERC season-opening Azores Rallye later this month, the ERC3 Junior graduate has been impressive form so far by going second fastest on the qualifying stage yesterday.

Rallye Tierras Altas de Lorca features eight stages throughout today (Saturday) over a competitive distance of 103.08 kilometres.

Photo: Vandraq Studio / Javier Jimenez

The post Nevermind the testing, ERC Junior Cais goes for the real thing 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

29-31.05.

Rally Liepaja (Łotwa)

26-28.06.

77. Rajd Polski

24-26.07.

Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)

28-30.08.

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)

17-19.09.

Azores Rallye (Portugalia)

09-11.10.

Cyprus Rally (Cypr)

06-08.11.

Rally Hungary (Węgry)

03-05.12.

Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)