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European Rally Championship
Updated: 36 min 48 sec ago

ERC1 Junior: Ingram heads Toksport 1-2

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 19:17

Chris Ingram kicked off his FIA ERC1 Junior Championship hopes in style with victory on the Azores Rallye, leading a Toksport WRT 1-2.

Ingram started leg two in second place, nearly half a minute behind Team OSCARO-backed driver Pierre-Louis Loubet. His fellow ŠKODA Fabia R5 hit trouble almost immediately, however, suffering a water pump failure at the end of Graminhais that forced him to retire.

From there Ingram was unchallenged and headed a 1-2 finish for his Toksport team, with Alexandros Tsouloftas finishing in second place.

“That was the most difficult weekend ever. It’s been the most difficult Azores I’ve ever done,” said Ingram.

“There were so many mistakes from me. I should have been more relaxed, I shouldn’t have been chasing it.”

With ERC1 Junior in the bag he was chasing a podium – one he eventually got when Alexey Lukyanuk rolled out on the final stage – but took hard tyres in rainy conditions in the hope it would be drier than expected.

“We’ve been on a hard tyre which in these conditions isn’t the best idea, but I’m really happy to have won ERC1 Junior.”

“We were fifth overnight and we don’t want to be fifth, so we knew everyone else would be on the soft tyre so we took hards as a gamble.”

It was also a great start for Tsouloftas, who kicked off his ERC1 Junior campaign with second place.

“Wow, what a rally! I never thought about it being this difficult,” he said. “I’m really happy being second on the podium and those points for the ERC1 Junior, I’m really happy.”

Miguel Correia completed the ERC1 Junior podium for ARC Sport, though suffered a near miss when damaging his Ford Fiesta R5 on the final stage, to the point the door handle fell off the passenger-side door.

Sweden National Team’s Mattias Adielsson had lost 10 minutes through retiring with an electrical issue on Thursday but came back to finish fourth, though like Correia, suffered last minute drama.

He clipped a bank on Tronqueira, the final stage of the rally, squashing his exhaust to the point his car was not able to drive.

Adielsson used the wheel-jack in the boot of his Saintéloc Racing-prepared Citroën C3 R5 to try and open it up, but eventually resorted to punching a hole through the exhaust with a screwdriver.

The Swede eventually finished the stage eight minutes down on Ingram but successfully collected points for fourth place.

Pedro Almeida also returned under Rally2 on Saturday but retired on Vila Franca Sao Bras, his ŠKODA Fabia R5 making contact with a solid object and breaking the rear suspension.

The post ERC1 Junior: Ingram heads Toksport 1-2 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Habaj scores maiden ERC win on the Azores Rallye

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 18:47

2015 Polish rally champion Łukasz Habaj has taken his first win on the international stage with FIA European Rally Championship victory on the Azores Rallye.

Climbing his way up to second place this morning by overhauling ten-time Azorean champion Ricardo Moura, Habaj then moved into first place when reigning ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk picked up a puncture on the penultimate stage of the rally.

Habaj’s victory is also the third consecutive win for his team Sports Racing Technologies, who ran Nikolay Gryazin to the ERC1 Junior title last season, and the first Polish winner of an ERC round since three-time champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz at the Acropolis in 2017, 657 days ago.

“Thanks to all the team, Pirelli and SRT, they did an incredible job again. I don’t know what to say,” said an elated Habaj.

“We were working very hard, almost two years. This is our third time here, last year we had some pretty good pace but technical issues ruined the result and had massive bad luck. I think it’s just turned around.”

Moura secured second place, finishing 8.4s behind Habaj. Lukyanuk, who initially fell to third place, then retired on the final stage, rolling his Citroën C3 R5 on the very first corner of Tronqueira.

That promoted ERC1 Junior winner Chris Ingram to the final podium position, finishing 42.2s adrift of rally winner Habaj, with Team Hyundai Portugal’s Bruno Magalhães fourth and Ricardo Teodósio completing the top five.

Teodósio scored three stage wins out of five on leg two but fell short of catching Magalhães, the pair separated by 17.1s by the finish.

Marijan Griebel completed the rally in sixth place, with Alexandros Tsouloftas capping his first Azores Rallye appearance with seventh overall and second place in ERC1 Junior.

An arduous rally for Bernardo Sousa included a roll on Sete Cidades on Friday and three punctures but he still scooped eighth place, over two minutes behind Tsouloftas.

Though Vojtěch Štajf was struggling with slow corners, overshooting several junctions, the ACCR Czech Rally Team driver still finished in one piece and picked up ninth place for his perseverance.

Paulo Nobre completed the top 10. “You cannot imagine how happy I am to have finished this rally!” he exclaimed at the finish, with P10 his second ever points finish in ERC.

The post Habaj scores maiden ERC win on the Azores Rallye appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk puncture hands Habaj last-stage ERC lead

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 17:54

Alexey Lukyanuk has lost the lead of the Azores Rallye to FIA European Rally Championship regular Łukasz Habaj with one stage to go after picking up a puncture on the Graminhais test.

The reigning ERC champion managed only five kilometres of the 24km test before picking up a slow puncture on his Saintéloc Racing-prepared Citroën C3 R5, losing 1m28.3s and promoting Habaj to first place.

“It happened 5km into the stage. It’s a slow puncture, I didn’t touch anything. It’s absolutely frustrating,” said Lukyanuk at stage end.

Sports Racing Technologies driver Habaj now has an 18.6s lead over 2016 Azores Rallye winner Ricardo Moura with only the 22km Tronqueira stage remaining,

Lukyanuk dropped to third place after his puncture, 40.9s off the lead and 5.2s ahead of ERC1 Junior leader Chris Ingram. However, he has ruled out trying a last-ditch attempt to climb back up the order.

“We think it’s too dangerous to try and attack now. The time is gone with this wheel, so we have to accept it and move on,” he concluded.

Live pictures of the grand finale of the Azores Rallye are available to watch on https://www.fiaerc.com/live-streaming/ from 15h59 local time (17h59 CET).

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Heartbreak as Schwedt goes OTL on ERC debut

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 17:03

Roman Schwedt has endured heartbreak Azores Rallye style, running out of time quite literally on his FIA European Rally Championship debut.

The 19-year-old German and co-driver Lina Meter, 20, were eighth in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior category starting Saturday’s final five stages. But a lengthy delay on stage 13 following an off resulted in them arriving at the regroup in Ponta Delgada three minutes beyond the permitted 15 minutes of lateness allowed by the regulations.

After a challenging run in the mud and rain of Graminhais, Schwedt lost time in Tronqueira when he went off the road and hit a tree. Although he was able to continue, there was more woe on Vila Franca – São Bras, as the Team ROMO driver explained.

“This morning was really crazy,” said Schwedt, competing on his first gravel event in a front-wheel-drive car. “We had some really bad luck in the first stage as we couldn't see anything through the window and in the second one, I made a little mistake and we hit a tree in the front and damaged the car.

“On the stage after this, I'm not on the point [of concentration] and something is damaged, so we slipped off the road and stopped. It was a left corner, there was lots of mud and water. We stopped for too long. Two fans came along and pushed us out but it was too late. We were three minutes too late [for service], so it's rally over.”

The post Heartbreak as Schwedt goes OTL on ERC debut appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ACCR’s Brož mucks in to help ERC3 Junior rival Munster

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 16:30

Two FIA ERC3 Junior Championship rivals demonstrated their sportsmanship on the Azores Rallye, with ACCR Czech Rally Team's Dominik Brož getting doused in mud to help Grégoire Munster.

Both Brož and Munster had returned from retirement on Friday to compete on leg two of the Azores Rallye, but became stuck in the same section of the Vila Franca – São Bras stage.

"I was on third gear going downhill and there was a lot of water, so we were just aquaplaning and we were stuck on the side of the road, just one metre away from the road but in the field," explained ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team driver Munster.

"It was difficult to get out of this field so Dominik helped us getting out of there."

While Munster was able to press on and finish the stage nearly five minutes down on stage winner Efrén Llarena, Brož remained stuck and retired, with dirty overalls as a souvenir of his adventures.

"I sent him a message to thank him. I also covered him with mud, so I'm really sorry for that!" said Munster.

Munster is now up to eighth place in ERC3 Junior on his second start in the category.

The post ACCR’s Brož mucks in to help ERC3 Junior rival Munster appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Llarena increases ERC3 Junior lead as Antunes drops back

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 15:16

Efrén Llarena scored two stage wins on the Azores Rallye this morning to extend his FIA ERC3 Junior Championship advantage to 31.8s, as Portuguese rival Pedro Antunes fell back.

Peugeot 208 R2 pair Llarena and Antunes were separated by only 8.8s heading into Leg Two but their fortunes immediately went in separate directions.

Rally Team Spain’s federation-backed hope Llarena smashed the ERC3 Junior field by 13.9s on Graminhais, with Saintéloc Racing’s Sindre Furuseth immediately moving into second place.

Llarena also went on to win the Vila Franca Sao Bras stage, while Furuseth scored top time on Tronqueira, with the pair now separated by 31.8s.

Antunes meanwhile dropped nearly half a minute compared to Llarena with a stall, and his luck would only get worse on the wet and windy Tronqueira test.

Getting the rear of his Peugeot loose on a corner exit, Antunes struck a wall, damaging the suspension on his car and dropping over a minute, which put him down to fifth place.

Elias Lundberg moved into third place immediately afterwards and Simon Wagner also nipped past into fourth, though Antunes would quickly reclaim that place from Wagner on Vila Franca Sao Bras, as the Team Stengg Motorsport driver retired mid-stage.

Behind fourth-placed Antunes, ACCR Czech Rally Team’s best-placed driver of its ERC3 Junior trio Erik Cais set the third-fastest time on Vila Franca Sao Bras to take fifth place in the overall ERC3 order from Peugeot Rally Academy’s Yohan Rossel.

Cais’ ACCR team-mate Jan Talaš is now up to sixth in ERC3 Junior and seventh, behind Rossel, in ERC3, though has over two minutes in arrears to his compatriot ahead.

Talaš had been locked in a tight battle with Team ROMO’s Roman Schwedt, the pair trading places repeatedly since yesterday afternoon. But Schwedt’s rally ended with a technical problem on Vila Franca Sao Bras, putting him out of eighth place in ERC3 Junior.

Sean Johnston is now up to eighth in ERC3 on his class debut with Saintéloc Junior Team, with Rally2 returnees Dmitriy Myachin (TBRacing) ninth and Steve Røkland P10.

Catie Munnings had been set for a top 10 finish but rolled on the treacherous Tronqueira stage, forcing her to retire.

The post Llarena increases ERC3 Junior lead as Antunes drops back appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk holds ERC Azores lead as Habaj takes second

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 14:39

Alexey Lukyanuk weathered stormy conditions to hold his FIA European Rally Championship lead on the Azores Rallye, while Łukasz Habaj stormed into second place.

Reigning ERC champion Lukyanuk had won nine out of ten stages on Leg One but a dramatic shift in conditions from Friday’s sunshine to Saturday’s deluge of rain and blustery gales meant he didn’t win any this morning.

Such was the difficulty of Saturday’s three morning stages that even Lukyanuk was caught out by the conditions on the last of the three tests, Vila Franca Sao Bras.

“Incredible, absolutely incredible,” said Lukyanuk at stage end. “We made a stupid mistake, going straight on at one junction and stalling the engine. The grip is changing so much, you can’t believe it. I have never, ever, ever seen conditions like these. [It was] probably the worst stage in my life.”

His 43 second lead is now over Sports Racing Technologies’ Łukasz Habaj, who won the Graminhais stage to pass ten-time Azorean champion Ricardo Moura for second place.

Despite being one of the most experienced drivers of all time on this event, even third-placed Moura was struggling to cope with the challenging stage conditions.

“I have never run stages like this before,” he said. “We have fog which is coming and going. I want to survive, and nothing more. I need to get to the finish line. Nothing else matters.”

ERC1 Junior leader Chris Ingram moved up to fourth overall with the demise of Team OSCARO’s Pierre-Louis Loubet, who suffered a water pump failure on his ŠKODA Fabia R5 at the end of Graminhais and was forced to retire. He is within striking distance of a podium, only 6.6s behind Moura.

Portuguese championship pairing Bruno Magalhães and Ricardo Teodósio were flying as first cars on the road, the stages turned to mud and avoiding them from having to sweep loose gravel aside.

Teodósio won both the Tronqueira and Vila Franca Sao Bras stages to rocket up the order from P10 to sixth, with Team Hyundai Portugal’s Magalhães also moving up from eighth to fifth place. However, Teodósio is catching Magalhães quickly, with only 5.1s separating the pair.

Marijan Griebel dropped to seventh place, losing nearly a minute on Graminhais with a puncture and losing a further minute on Tronqueira through a lack of confidence.

Ingram’s Toksport WRT team-mate Alexandros Tsouloftas moved up to second in ERC1 Junior and eighth overall with Loubet’s retirement.

Miguel Corriea remains third in ERC1 Junior but his ARC Sport team-mate Pedro Almeida, who had returned under Rally2 this morning after crashing out on Friday, retired again on Tronqueira. He hit a wall and broke his ŠKODA Fabia R5’s rear suspension.

Bernardo Sousa is a miraculous ninth overall despite a myriad of troubles all weekend, which included three punctures in two days and a dramatic barrel-roll on the Sete Cidades volcano stage yesterday.

He was aided by the withdrawal of Luís Rego this morning due to illness, who had been in seventh place overnight.

ACCR Czech Rally Team’s Vojtěch Štajf has now moved into the top 10 thanks to others hitting trouble, his safety-first approach paying off.

The post Lukyanuk holds ERC Azores lead as Habaj takes second appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Tronqueira whips up a storm for ERC crews

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 13:57

Stormy conditions on the Tronqueira stage brought some interesting twists to the FIA European Rally Championship action on the Azores Rallye.

Strong winds and heavy rain pushed the ERC crews to their limit, with the conditions catching out several drivers.

While Ricardo Teodósio took a surprise stage win, beating rally leader Alexey Lukyanuk by 7.3s, others hit trouble.

ERC1 Junior contender Pedro Almeida was forced to stop when he sustained right-rear suspension damage to his Ford Fiesta R5.

The podium battle in ERC3 Junior was also shaken up when FPAK Portugal Team ERC driver Pedro Antunes struck a wall and broke his rear suspension, dropping over a minute and potentially ruling him out for the rest of the rally.

Antunes had dropped to third on the prior stage, Graminhais, and then fell to fourth when he lost over a minute on Tronqueira.

Fellow ERC3 Junior competitor Erik Cais summed up the almost unbelievable conditions on a stage known for its jungle-like appearance.

“It was a hurricane! We had big rain on the start. It was like in Jurassic Park! I waited for a T-Rex but I didn’t see him,” quipped the ACCR Czech Rally Team driver.

The post Tronqueira whips up a storm for ERC crews appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC1 Junior leader Loubet forced to retire

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 13:05

Team OSCARO athlete Pierre-Louis Loubet has lost a potential FIA ERC1 Junior Championship victory on the Azores Rallye, being forced to retire by a water pump failure.

Loubet had gone third fastest on Leg Two’s opening test Graminhais, only 8.4s off stage winner Łukasz Habaj, but a water pressure issue halted his ŠKODA Fabia R5.

He had attempted roadside repairs with co-driver Vincent Landais at the end of SS11 but ran out of time to fix the problem, forcing him to retire on the spot.

“It’s just bad luck,” said a dejected Loubet. “I think the performance this morning was not so bad because during the stage, we had a lot of alarms.

“We were a little bit lacking concentration, so the time was not bad as at the end, we tried to go slowly because of everything happening on the dash. It’s like that, unfortunately.

“­­We were leading ERC1 Junior so it’s good, it would give confidence to win something, but it’s like that.”

Chris Ingram now leads ERC1 Junior in a Toksport WRT 1-2 from Alexandros Tsouloftas, with ARC Sport’s Miguel Correia in third.

The post ERC1 Junior leader Loubet forced to retire appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Follow the ERC live… in the jungle!

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 09:00

The winner of the opening round of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship will be decided today when the Azores Rallye concludes live on TV and online.

Five stages remain on the all-action gravel spectacular with both runs of Tronqueira shown as they happen on RTP Açores and via the ERC’s official website and Facebook page.

Located on the far east of São Miguel island, Tronqueira is known locally as the ‘Jungle Stage’ due to its dense vegetation and tree covering. And, at 21.99 kilometres in length, it represents another sting in the tail for the crews chasing ERC success. The watersplash near the finish is another highlight.

Coverage from Tronqueira begins at 10h20 local time with the stage action getting underway at 10h26. Coverage of the second pass starts at 15h40 and will include footage from the stage finish followed by the podium ceremony in Ponta Delgada from 18h10 local time.

Azores Rallye live on ERC Radio
ERC Radio will broadcast live coverage of the five stages that make up the deciding leg of the Azores Rallye. Julian Porter and Chris Rawes will be reporting live from the finish of all stages and offering their expert insight and analysis. ERC Radio is available at FIAERC.com or via the ERC app.

The post Follow the ERC live… in the jungle! appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Habaj holds Azores podium after “best day” in ERC

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 23:09

Łukasz Habaj is firmly in the fight for a podium finish on the Azores Rallye after his “best day” in the FIA European Rally Championship so far.

The Polish champion from 2015 is third overall heading into Saturday’s final leg, 6.0s behind local hero Ricardo Moura.

“I am very happy, I didn’t have any problems,” said Habaj. “We stayed out of the rocks and things like that. The car was great, we had strong pace and I’m very happy to be here because I was afraid of this day. The stages tomorrow I know them a little bit better, they suit me better and I’m really happy.

The Sports Racing Technologies driver continued: “I don’t have a chance to win but there is a good battle for second and more than 100 kilometres to catch second and defend our third position.”

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Teodósio tops Azores start order for second leg

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 22:00

Ricardo Teodósio will head the FIA European Rally Championship start order for Leg Two of the Azores Rallye, with 108 kilometres of stage facing the crews on Saturday.

Current Portuguese championship points leader Teodósio had started Friday’s set of seven stages in eighth place but had dropped to P10 by the finish line of the Vista do Rei / Feteiras stage, putting him first on the road tomorrow.

ERC1 Junior podium-sitter Alexandros Tsouloftas will follow him out two minutes later as second car on the road.

Conversely, Alexey Lukyanuk will restart P10 on the road as rally leader, with Ricardo Moura and Łukasz Habaj starting just ahead of him as the second and third placed cars in the rally after Leg One.

ARC Sport’s Pedro Almeida is set to return to try and secure a points finish in ERC1 Junior, along with erstwhile ERC2 leader Sergei Remennik plotting a Rally2 return on Saturday.

ERC3 Junior trio Steve Røkland, Dominic Brož and Grégoire Munster are all hoping to restart tomorrow after their respective retirements. Røkland had suffered a driveshaft failure after hitting a rock, ACCR-backed Brož lost a wheel and Munster was halted by electrical issues.

ERC Ladies’ leader Catie Munnings will also be back, halted only by running out of spares when she suffered a double puncture on the Sete Cidades stage.

The Azores Rallye action concludes with five stages, starting with Graminhais at 09h45 local time (11h45 CET).

SS12 and SS15, Tronqueira, will be broadcast online at https://www.fiaerc.com/live-streaming/ with coverage of SS12 starting at 10h20 local time (12h20 CET) and SS15 coverage beginning at 15h40 local time (17h40 CET).

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ERC3 Junior: Llarena weathers Antunes comeback to hold Azores lead

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 20:19

Efrén Llarena weathered a comeback drive from Pedro Antunes to hold first place in the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship on the Azores Rallye, with the top four separated by less than 30 seconds.

Rally Team Spain driver Llarena, who built the Peugeot 208 R2 he drives from scratch in conjunction with co-driver Sara Fernández, stole the lead away from Antunes on SS4.

From there their fortunes initially diverged, with the FPAK Portugal Team ERC driver dropping down to fourth place for much of the day, caused mainly by going 18.5s slower than Llarena on SS4 after overshooting a junction.

But Antunes rebounded quickly, catching his fellow national federation-backed driver with a flat-out run through Sete Cidades aboard his Pirelli-shod Peugeot 208 R2.

Clocking a time 10.8s faster than anyone else in ERC3 Junior, Antunes closed the lead gap to only 5.1s and climbed back to second, though a stage win on SS9 helped build Llarena’s lead back up to 8.8s by day’s end.

Sindre Furuseth had spent much of the day yo-yoing between second and fourth place but ended the day third, 16.2s behind Llarena. He picked up minor damage to his Saintéloc Racing-prepared Peugeot on the afternoon pass of Sete Cidades by clipping a bank – as many of his class rivals had also done.

Furuseth still pulled clear of the sole remaining ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team car of Elias Lundberg, with his team-mate Grégoire Munster forced to retire with an electrical problem.

Lundberg had been fighting illness all day but initially still rose to second place. That progress was undone on SS7 when he hit a rock, causing excessive toe-out on one of his wheels and compromising his car’s handling. He dropped back to fourth place in ERC3 Junior, 11.9s behind Furuseth and 29.2s in arrears to Llarena.

Mirroring Lundberg’s woes, Simon Wagner’s steering had been knocked out of alignment of the morning pass of the same Pico da Pedra stage that caught out Lundberg later on, compromising his speed for the subsequent pair of stages.

After repairs made at midday service, Wagner’s pace improved, setting a pair of second-fastest times to end the day only 18.6s behind Lundberg in fifth place.

Peugeot Rally Academy’s Yohan Rossel, entered in the main ERC3 category only, dropped from third to sixth over the course of Friday’s seven stages, complaining of a lack of grip throughout the day.

ACCR Czech National team pair Erik Cais and Jan Talaš finished Leg One sixth and seventh in ERC3 Junior. Cais suffered a left-rear puncture on Pico da Preca’s afternoon pass but immediately rebounded, carving 10s out of Rossel’s advantage to close to within half a minute of sixth place in the overall ERC3 classification.

Team Romo driver Roman Schwedt completes the ERC3 Junior runners in eighth place and ninth overall in ERC3, his biggest drama coming when a nose-heavy landing on Sete Cidades took his front bumper off.

Furuseth’s Saintéloc team-mate Sean Johnston completes the top 10 in ERC3, with Rally2 returnee Dmitriy Myachin completing all seven stages successfully after rolling his TBRacing Peugeot on Thursday.

Dominic Brož had been running ahead of his fellow ACCR-backed team-mates but his rally came to an end on Sete Cidades. He had already been driving through the stage with his tailgate open after stopping to change a puncture, caused by contact with a wall.

Only a few kilometres later he was forced to retire when, coming across the flying finish, the front-right wheel of his Peugeot came off, leaving him stranded.

Steve Røkland was forced to retire from sixth place when he hit a rock and broke a driveshaft, while ERC Ladies leader Catie Munnings had to stop after Sete Cidades when she picked up a double puncture when carrying only a single spare tyre.

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ERC2: Alonso on top amid day of high drama

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 19:37

Argentine pilot Juan Carlos Alonso is atop the FIA European Rally Championship's ERC2 category after a day of high drama on the Azores Rallye.

Alonso and chief rival Sergei Remennik had been trading fastest times on Leg One's first three stages on Thursday afternoon and swapping the lead, often separated by only a few tenths of a second.

Friday was a stark departure from those close margins. Despit being seven minutes behind Remennik at one point, Alonso reclaimed the lead of ERC2 on the day's final stage.

Problems began for Alonso when he suffered a puncture and hit a wall on SS4, the first stage of the day, and dropped half a minute to Remennik. That gap then expanded to seven minutes when he had to stop to change another puncture on Sete Cidades, while also sustaining both a broken driveshaft and clutch.

But the tables turned dramatically on the afternoon loop, when it was Russian Performance Motorsport driver Remennik's turn to lose time hand over fist.

Broken power steering on SS7 cost Remennik over a minute and was only a sign of more troubles to come, picking up a puncture only a few hundred metres into the Sete Cidades afternoon rerun. Though he fixed his power steering for SS9, he suffered a second puncture on Vista do Rei / Feteiras, reducing what had been a gap of over seven minutes at midday service down to just 43.0s.

Though he still led there was one last moment of heartbreak for Remennik, as his Mistubishi Lancer refused to fire up at the start of the Marques superspecial. Unable to take the start, he was forced to retire, handing the lead to to Alonso.

Luís Pimentel had also been due to participate in ERC2 this weekend but was forced to withdraw before Leg One, due to an issue with his Subaru Impreza's fuel tank.

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ERC1 Junior: Team OSCARO’s Loubet edges clear of Ingram

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 19:24

Pierre-Louis Loubet scored an overall stage win on his way to forming a 21.4s lead over Chris Ingram on the Azores Rallye in their battle for FIA ERC1 Junior Championship honours.

Toksport WRT’s lead driver Ingram closed to only one second behind fellow ŠKODA Fabia R5 runner Loubet on SS4 but both drivers then hit trouble on the first pass of Sete Cidades, though Ingram came off worse.

Set around the perimeter of a volcanic crater, Sete Cidades’ fearsome reputation came to pass once again, with both Loubet and Ingram suffering spins.

In the Brit’s case, he stalled and lost over 20s, which knocked his confidence back and allowed Team OSCARO-backed driver Loubet to gradually increase his lead for the rest of the day.

That gain included an outright stage win for Loubet, being the only driver to go faster than overall  rally leader Alexey Lukyanuk all day with fastest time on SS6.

Ingram’s team-mate Alexandros Tsouloftas immediately moved from fifth to third on the first stage of the morning, passing ARC Sport duo Pedro Almeida and Miguel Correia.

Tsouloftas had been road-sweeping for the entire ERC field on Thursday but started down the road order today, affording him more grip and the ability to set faster times. He finished the day 57.3s adrift of class leader Loubet.

Correia finished the day fourth after his ARC Sport team-mate Almeida crashed out on the morning pass of Sete Cidades, while Sweden National Team’s Mattias Adielsson completed the top five.

Adielsson was scuppered by electrical failure on Thursday that forced him to retire after the Marques superspecial and take a 10 minute penalty, then felt unhappy with his set-up on Friday morning.

But a suspension change to make his Saintéloc Racing-prepared Citroën C3 R5's ride more firm transformed both his pace and his mood, even going fastest of the ERC1 Junior contenders on the day-ending Marques superspecial.

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Lukyanuk leads in Azores as ERC podium battle intensifies

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 19:03

Alexey Lukyanuk’s Azores Rallye lead grew with six stage wins on Friday, increasing his lead on the FIA European Rally Championship opener to 40.1s over Ricardo Moura.

Having gotten to grips with his SEAJETS-backed new-for-2019 Saintéloc Racing Citroën C3 R5, he pulled away from those behind, leaving multiple Portuguese and Azorean champion Moura to fight off those behind. Łukasz Habaj is only six seconds behind Moura in the final podium place.

Third placed Sports Racing Technologies driver Habaj, who described today was his “best day on the ERC ever”, is fending off a recovery drive from FIA ERC1 Junior Championship class leader Pierre-Louis Loubet in fourth, who dropped time this morning with a spin.

A win on the morning pass of Vista do Rei / Feteiras helped Team OSCARO driver Loubet close to only 4.9s behind Habaj.

Like Loubet, Toksport WRT’s top driver Ingram spun on the morning pass of Sete Cidades and dropped back, but still ended Leg One in fifth overall and second in ERC1 Junior, 21.4s behind Loubet.

Ingram passed ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior champion Marijan Griebel, who was struggling with brake issues on the rear of his Volkswagen Polo and dropped to sixth on Sete Cidades.

Luís Rego is seventh overall and tops the Portuguese championship runners, 19.8s ahead of Bruno Magalhães, who has switched to Team Hyundai Portugal for this year.

Too low a ride height on Magalhães’ Hyundai i20 R5, along with using a set of used tyres, slowed him down on the morning loop, though he expects to be faster tomorrow with fresh sets of tyres available for all the remaining stages tomorrow.

Alexandros Tsouloftas is third in ERC1 Junior and charged from P15 to ninth overall, only 9.8s behind Magalhães, having been forced to road sweep on Thursday as first car on the road.

Running much further down the order today, Tsouloftas’ speed picked up, moving past Miguel Correia in ERC1 Junior before demoting Ricardo Teodósio to P10 overall.

The post Lukyanuk leads in Azores as ERC podium battle intensifies appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Rally Team Spain star Llarena storms to ERC3 Junior lead

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 15:20

Rally Team Spain's national federation-backed star Efrén Llarena has stormed into the lead of the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship on the Azores Rallye, taking two stage wins.

Starting the morning third, 6.6s behind 2017 ERT Junior champion Pedro Antunes, Llarena leapt straight to first place on Pico da Preca with the fastest time, beating Antunes by 18.5s who had overshot a junction.

With Pirelli tyres fitted to his Peugeot 208 R2, Llarena then went fastest on Vista do Rei / Feteiras to boost his lead even further, finishing Friday’s morning loop 13.4s up on Elias Lundberg.

ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team’s Swedish talent had been nursing illness since the rally start and despite barely being able to speak, Lundberg was still able to let his driving do the talking.

Lundberg was fifth in the ERC3 classification overnight but went straight from fifth to third with a stage win on Sete Cidades, then took second place away from Antunes on SS6 to move into second in both the ERC3 and ERC3 Junior classifications.

Sindre Furuseth dropped over 10s on Sete Cidades, dropping the Saintéloc Racing driver down from second to fourth place, though he moved back into third with a strong time on Vista do Rei / Feteiras and is only 1.5s behind Lundberg.

Despite dropping back from the lead to fourth place this morning, Antunes is still very much in the fight, only 2.2s behind Furuseth and 17.1s behind Llarena.

With Roland Stengg forced to withdraw before the rally after a crash in pre-event testing, it was left to Simon Wagner to uphold Team Stengg Motorsport’s honour. He was able to climb from seventh to fifth in ERC3 Junior despite steering damage sustained on Pico da Preca.

Peugeot Rally Academy’s lead driver Yohan Rossel dropped from third to sixth in ERC3, though his fall down the leaderboard was cushioned by Steve Røkland being forced to retire with a front-right driveshaft failure after hitting a rock.

Erik Cais is now sixth in ERC3 Junior ahead of ACCR Czech Rally Team cohort Jan Talaš, who was struggling with engine trouble but still passed Team Romo’s Roman Schwedt, who is eighth in ERC3 Junior.

Fellow ACCR-backed driver Dominic Brož suffered a nightmare run on Sete Cidades, hitting a wall and having to stop and change a puncture. As Brož crossed the flying finish, his car shedded its front right wheel, forcing him to retire on the spot.

Grégoire Munster was forced to stop with electrical trouble on Sete Cidades, which promotes Saintéloc’s Sean Johnston to P10 in ERC3 and Rossel’s Peugeot Rally Academy team-mate Catie Munnings to P11.

The post Rally Team Spain star Llarena storms to ERC3 Junior lead appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk extends ERC Azores lead, Moura second

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 14:37

Alexey Lukyanuk extended his advantage over the FIA European Rally Championship field on the Azores Rallye, leading 10-time Azorean champion Ricardo Moura at Friday’s midday service.

Reigning champion Lukyanuk, driving a Saintéloc Racing-prepared Citroën C3 R5, won both the Pico da Pedra and iconic Sete Cidades stages, finishing the Friday morning loop 19.2s ahead of multiple Portuguese champion Moura.

ERC1 Junior leader Pierre-Louis Loubet had started the day only 3.1s behind Lukyanuk but took a steady approach to SS4, dropping to fourth behind Moura and Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies). The Team OSCARO athlete then dropped more time with a spin on SS5 but quickly rebounded by winning SS6 by 3.7s.

Habaj still holds the final podium place overall and is only 2.4s behind Moura in second, with Loubet a further 10.2s behind Habaj in fourth.

Previous ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior champion Marijan Griebel (Baumschlager Rallye & Racing) climbed to fifth overall despite nursing a gear change issue that cost him time on the Sete Cidades stage. His gain came at the expense of Chris Ingram, who dropped to sixth with a spin and stall on the same stage as Griebel’s gear shift trouble.

Though he lost over 20s with his delay, crucially Ingram is still second in ERC1 Junior, one minute ahead of his Toksport WRT team-mate Alexandros Tsouloftas, who is third in class and P11 overall.

Team Hyundai Portugal’s Bruno Magalhães, a two-time winner on this event, dropped from seventh to P10, taking a set of used tyres to save fresh sets of rubber for later in the event. Though he lost three positions due to the lack of rear grip, he hopes to bounce back with his saved sets of new tyres later on.

Norbert Herczig slotted his MOL Racing Team Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 into eighth place, splitting Portuguese championship duo Luís Rego in seventh and Ricardo Teodósio in ninth.

Sweden National Team’s young hope Matias Adielsson had been forced to retire overnight due to electrical issues but is already back up to fifth place in ERC1 Junior after Pedro Almeida crashed out of fourth place on the tricky Sete Cidades test.

Sergei Remennik is now comfortably out front in the ERC2 production car category, with chief rival Juan Carlos Alonso struggling with car damage. Alonso picked up a puncture and hit a wall on SS4, then had to stop to change another puncture on Sete Cidades, while also carrying driveshaft damage to his Mitsubishi Lancer.

The post Lukyanuk extends ERC Azores lead, Moura second appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Watch volcano racing ERC style live on TV and online today

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 09:00

Action from one of international rallying’s most spectacular special stages will be broadcast live when the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship season-opening Azores Rallye continues today.

Sete Cidades, which takes crews along the rim of a spectacular volcanic crater lake, is one of four individual stages being broadcast live RTP Açores, plus live streaming on the official ERC website, FIAERC.com, and Facebook page.

Described as one of the greatest spectacles in sport by 2015 Azores Rallye winner and world championship podium finisher Craig Breen, Sete Cidades will be run twice today (Friday 22 March) with both visits broadcast as they happen and featuring breath-taking helicopter camera footage from the Eurosport Events production team.

As well as the two visits to Sete Cidades, Friday’s live programming also includes the return to the Marques superspecial for the day-closing action.

ERC Azores Rallye live coverage refresher (all timings CET-2, subject to change)

10h30-12h58: Sete Cidades 1 (SS5, from 10h39)
14h30-19h00: Sete Cidades 2 (SS8, from 14h38) and SSS Marques 2 (SS10, 16h26)

The post Watch volcano racing ERC style live on TV and online today appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Herczig heads ERC start order for day two of Azores

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 22:00

MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig will run as the first FIA European Rally Championship car on the road during tomorrow’s Rally Azores action.

Finishing Thursday’s single afternoon loop P10 overall, Herczig now restarts his Baumschlager Rallye & Racing-prepared Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 at the top of the start order, followed by a trio of local experts.

Ricardo Teodósio is second in the start order, having struggled with a damaged suspension arm that knocked one of his wheels into positive camber and compromised the handling of his ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Behind him are Luís Rego and current ERC vice-champion Bruno Magalhães, who has switched from a Fabia to Team Hyundai Portugal for this year.

The rest of the top 10 as they stood after SS2 is reversed, with SS3 not counted for road order calculation due to being a superspecial stage.

That means Marijan Griebel’s unfortunately timed puncture on SS2 puts him fifth on the road despite gaining a place on SS3, having dropped down from third due to his puncture.

Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies), ERC1 Junior’s Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT), Ricardo Moura, Team OSCARO’s Pierre-Louis Loubet and rally leader Alexey Lukyanuk will run in positions six through ten in the start order tomorrow.

Dmitriy Myachin, who retired on SS1 when he rolled his TBRacing PEUGEOT 208 R2, will attempt to restart tomorrow as the last car out, set for departure 1h26m after Herczig.

Friday’s stages begin with the 11 kilometre Pico da Pedra test, with Herczig scheduled to kick off proceedings at 09h53 local time (11h53 CET).

Both the morning and afternoon loop take in the iconic Sete Cidades stage that circles the volcano sharing its name, finishing with another run of the Marques superspecial that concluded Thursday’s action.

The post Herczig heads ERC start order for day two of Azores appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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PZM 75. Rajd Polski / PZM 75th Rally Poland

PZM 75. Rajd Polski

Kalendarz 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)