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Season recap #6: Kopecký fights back for home ERC glory

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 06:00

Jan Kopecký scored a record-extending seventh Barum Czech Rally Zlín victory against a strong FIA European Rally Championship field, pushed to the very end by ERC title leader Alexey Lukyanuk.

Faced with mixed conditions during the rally’s final loop of stages, ŠKODA Motorsport’s Kopecký made a bold choice, selecting dry-weather tyres as those around him went for a mixture of standard and extreme wets, Lukyanuk on the former from Pirelli. Kopecký’s boldness was rewarded, winning a mostly dry SS13 and SS14 to steal first place away from Lukyanuk before edging out the Russian rocket by 7.5s in a tense finale alongside co-driver and fellow Czech Pavel Dresler.

But while Lukyanuk remains winless in Zlín, his championship advantage is up to 36 points over Bruno Magalhães, who placed ninth in the final reckoning in his SEAJETS-backed entry.

Third place was decided in an even closer fight, with world championship star Dani Sordo clinging on to a podium finish by a mere 0.3s from local rally ace Miroslav Jakeš.

Sordo had taken extreme wets for the final loop but without enough surface water on the stages, his factory-supported Hyundai i20 R5 was sliding around with a lack of grip. Though Jakeš fell short of a shock late podium by the narrowest of margins he did jump from fifth to fourth, passing FIA ERC Junior U28 class winner Nikolay Gyrazin, who eased off to ensure top points in the category for young stars in R5 cars.

Second place in ERC Junior U28 looked set to go to Filip Mareš but a final-stage crash ended the Czech federation-backed driver’s hopes. This handed runner-up honours to category points leader Fabian Kreim, who had been flying through the final afternoon loop with a clever tyre strategy from the Baumschlanger Rallye & Racing team that runs his ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland Fabia.

Chris Ingram moved up to third in ERC Junior U28 after Mareš dropped out. Pushing flat out to try and catch Kreim, Ingram had several moments during the final test, coming home 9.6s shy of his German rival. He did successfully pass Rufa Sport driver Jaromír Tarabus for seventh place overall, only for a time penalty to drop him back to eighth.

Magalhães struggled with set-up issues, picking up only two points in his championship fight against Lukyanuk in ninth. PEUGEOT Rally Academy talent Laurent Pellier finished fourth in ERC Junior U28 and also picked up the final ERC point, taking P10 ahead of Orhan Avcioglu.

Tibor Érdi Jr secured a second consecutive ERC2 title subject to confirmation of the final results. Mārtiņš Sesks won the Pirelli-supported ERC Under 27 category for the second event running, while Catie Munnings was victorious in the ERC Ladies’ Trophy.

There was late drama in the FIA RGT class. Simone Tempestini had established a strong lead over Raphaël Astier on leg one but lost some of his lead on the final morning. A hydraulic pump failure on Tempestini's Abarth 124 progressively cost him more time on each stage of the final loop, dropping him behind eventual winner Astier into second. Petr Nešetřil completed the RGT podium in a Porsche 997 GT3.

Words of a winner (Jan Kopecký): “This means a lot, especially after the problems we had with the punctures,” said Kopecký, ERC champion in 2013. “It was unbelievable, like a nightmare but after showed some good performance yesterday I was still believing when I woke up today. We really used the support from the fans, it was really important.”

Category winners
FIA ERC1: Jan Kopecký (CZE)/Pavel Dresler (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5
FIA ERC2: Tibor Érdi Jr (HUN)/György Papp (HUN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
FIA ERC3: Mārtiņš Sesks (LVA)/Renārs Francis (LVA) Opel ADAM R2
FIA ERC Junior Under 28: Nikolay Gryazin (RUS)/Yaroslav Fedorov (RUS) ŠKODA Fabia R5
FIA ERC Junior Under 27: Mārtiņš Sesks (LVA)/Renārs Francis (LVA) Opel ADAM R2
ERC Ladies’ Trophy:
Catie Munnings (GBR) PEUGEOT 208 R2

The post Season recap #6: Kopecký fights back for home ERC glory appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Season recap #5: Lukyanuk’s ERC title hopes on track with Roma win

Wed, 12/26/2018 - 06:00

Alexey Lukyanuk resisted a late challenge from double FIA European Rally Championship title winner Giandomenico Basso for victory on Rally di Roma Capitale, securing his third win of the season alongside co-driver Alexey Arnautov.

Basso had more than halved Lukyanuk’s lead in a single stage on the final afternoon, but ran out of competitive kilometres to catch the Russian Performance Motorsport driver, falling short by 7.5s.

Grzegorz Grzyb held two rivals at bay to secure a “dream” podium, which far exceeded his own expectations for this rally. Ten-time Italian champion Paolo Andreucci had closed to within two seconds of Grzyb in fourth but crashed out.

His other challenger for a podium was ERC Junior Under 28 category winner Fabian Kreim. Keen to secure his first class win and vital points for his championship challenge, Kreim focused on reaching the finish while improving his confidence, happy to let Grzyb escape and finish fourth overall.

Bruno Magalhães settled for fifth, while ERC Junior U28 runner-up Chris Ingram was a star performer on leg three, scoring his first outright stage victory on SS13, shared with Basso on equal times. Ingram had started the final day 50.9s behind ŠKODA junior driver Juuso Nordgren but made up all that time plus more, jumping to sixth overall with one stage remaining and demoting Nordgren to seventh.

Fredrik Åhlin was in good spirits, capturing a second consecutive ERC Junior U28 podium finish on his way to eighth overall. Like Ingram he had lost time with a puncture on leg two but also with a driveshaft failure on day one, overcoming both for a strong class finish.

Orhan Avcioğlu came agonisingly close to finishing in ninth, coming into the rally’s final stage with only 1.3s in hand over local entrant Marco Pollara. A botched handbake turn at a roundabout on Ostia’s rally-closing superspecial sent him into the barriers, costing him nearly seven seconds as he reversed out. Pollara seized on Avcioğlu’s error, taking advantage of his mistake to score ninth on his ERC debut and demote Avcioğlu to P10.

The FIA RGT class was won by Raphaël Astier, who beat his Abarth 124 rivals Andrea Modanesi in second and Andrea Nucita in third. Astier secured victory despite being forced to nurse his car home with a broken differential through the final loop. Modanesi and Nucita had both retired on day two.

Words of a winner (Alexey Lukyanuk): “I’m happy. It was a long and tough event with a lot of stories around with crashes, delays, fire, punctures and stones but we had joy, we had fun and thanks to the organisers for a great. Maybe next time they will make it even better in some aspects. Thanks to my competitors for the great fight, we enjoyed it a lot and congratulations to everyone who reached the finish of this tough rally.”

Category winners
FIA ERC1: Alexey Lukyanuk (RUS)/Alexey Arnautov (RUS)
FIA ERC2: Tibor Érdi Jr (HUN)/György Papp (HUN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
FIA ERC3: Mārtiņš Sesks (LVA)/Renārs Francis (LVA) Opel ADAM R2
FIA ERC Junior Under 28: Fabian Kreim (DEU)/Frank Christian (DEU) ŠKODA Fabia R5
FIA ERC Junior Under 27: Mārtiņš Sesks (LVA)/Renārs Francis (LVA) Opel ADAM R2
ERC Ladies’ Trophy: Catie Munnings (GBR) PEUGEOT 208 R2

The post Season recap #5: Lukyanuk’s ERC title hopes on track with Roma win appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Season recap #4: Home ace Galatariotis seals Cyprus ERC win by 0.6s!

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 06:00

Home hero Simos Galatariotis became the first Cypriot winner of his country’s FIA European Rally Championship counter for a decade with a dramatic last-gasp victory over Bruno Magalhães by 0.6s.

In what was the third-closest finish in recent ERC history, Galatariotis and co-driver Antonis Ioannou triumphed despite carrying a front-right puncture to the end of the closing ENEOS Golden Stage. Although victory eluded SEAJETS-backed Magalhães and namesake co-driver Hugo by the smallest of margins, the Portuguese move to the top of the ERC standings at the halfway point of the season.

Nasser Al-Attiyah had stormed into first place on the penultimate stage, taking 20.6s out of Galatariotis to gain a 2.3s lead with one stage remaining. However, Al-Attiyah was forced to stop and change a puncture close to the finish of the Cyprus Rally’s final test, his attempts to continue with a deflating tyre for several kilometres ultimately in vain.

ARC Sport’s Magalhães overtook Al-Attiyah in-stage moments before the finish line to snatch second and the ERC points lead. The Portuguese driver's approach of being sensible and avoiding rocks at all costs paid dividends, ensuring another top result after his win on the EKO Acropolis Rally.

Four-time Hungarian champion Norbert Herczig was promoted to a surprise second consecutive podium by Al-Attiyah’s delay, finishing 1m21.4s behind Galatariotis aboard his MOL Racing Team ŠKODA Fabia R5. Al-Attiyah settled for fourth for Autotek Motorsport after his late tyre change, while fifth went to Toksport WRT’s Orhan Avcioğlu, his first ERC top five.

ACCR Czech Team-entered Vojtĕch Štajf beat Dávid Botka to sixth by 13.4s, while Albert von Thurn und Taxis scored his first ERC points of 2018 in eighth. Petros Panteli sealed ninth overall and the ERC2 win for the Q8 Oils Rally Team, ahead of a rapidly recovering Alex Tsouloftas in P10. It was an astounding day’s work from Tsouloftas, going fastest on leg two to score seven bonus points and also win the Golden Stage cash prize.

Laurent Pellier dominated ERC3 in a Saintéloc Junior Team PEUGEOT 208 R2, while Emma Falcón beat Catie Munnings to ERC Ladies’ Trophy honours.

Words of a winner (Simos Galatariotis): “Thank you everybody for watching, the support was excellent and we felt it. Of course it’s a great feeling to win the rally, especially after the last stage when we thought all was lost when we had not one but two punctures. In the end we saw people cheering towards the finish line and we said ‘what’s going on here?’. But with a bit of luck – we also deserved it – we are here now!”

Category winners
ERC1: Simos Galatariotis (CYP)/Antonios Ioannou (CYP) ŠKODA Fabia R5
FIA ERC2: Petros Panteli (CYP)/Kyprias Christodoulou (CYP) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
FIA ERC3: Laurent Pellier (FRA)/Geoffrey Combe (FRA) PEUGEOT 208 R2
ERC Ladies’ Trophy: Emma Falcón (ESP) Citroën DS3 R3T

The post Season recap #4: Home ace Galatariotis seals Cyprus ERC win by 0.6s! appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Season recap #3: Magalhães joins rally greats with Acropolis ERC glory

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 06:00

SEAJETS-powered Bruno Magalhães joined an illustrious list of winners with victory on one of the toughest events of them all, the EKO Acropolis Rally, alongside co-driver and namesake Hugo Magalhães.

In doing so, the Portuguese reignited his faltering FIA European Rally Championship title bid as Russian rival and ERC leader Alexey Lukyanuk made do with bonus points only following his exit on leg two.

MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig finished a career-high second with 24-year-old Pole Hubert Ptaszek completing an all-ŠKODA Fabia R5 podium as Tibor Érdi Jr and Amittrajit Ghosh from India claimed the ERC2 and ERC3 spoils respectively.

Magalhães was more than a minute in front starting leg three’s closing four stages. But a cautious drive avoiding the punctures which had afflicted many of his rivals earlier in the event, meant his final margin of victory was trimmed to 29.1s at the finish in Lamia.

Behind, Herczig and TRT Krezus Rally Team’s Ptaszek secured their first ERC podiums in second and third respectively, with four-time Hungarian champion Herczig taking time out of Magalhães in three stages from four.

Eyvind Brynildsen brought his Autotek Motorsport-prepared Ford Fiesta R5 home in fourth, unable to catch Ptaszek despite pushing as hard as he could throughout leg three’s four stages. Cypriot frontrunner Simos Galatariotis finished an excellent fifth, Grzegorz Grzyb claimed sixth in his Rufa Sport ŠKODA Fabia R5, ahead of fellow Fabia runner Jourdan Serderidis, the top Greek finisher, in seventh and Turkey's Orhan Avcioğlu in eighth.

Brazilian Paulo Nobre was elated to score his first ever ERC points in ninth with Érdi Jr completing the top 10. Alexey Lukyanuk returned from retirement to score maximum leg points on Sunday, over a minute faster than nearest rival Juuso Nordgren across today’s four stages.

Words of a winner (Bruno Magalhães): “Sometimes in our lives, dreams come true. To win a rally like Acropolis, my name in the album of winners, is absolutely great. Thanks to my sponsors, they believe in me for many years. It’s a big pleasure to win in the country of SEAJETS, and I want to dedicate this to them. Thank you to my team.”

Category winners
FIA ERC1: Bruno Magalhães (PRT)/Hugo Magalhães (PRT) ŠKODA Fabia R5
FIA ERC2: Tibor Érdi Jr (HUN)/György Papp (HUN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
FIA ERC3: Amittrajit Ghosh (IND)/Ashwin Naik (IND) Ford Fiesta R2
ERC Ladies’ Trophy: Emma Falcón (ESP) Citroën DS3 R3T

The post Season recap #3: Magalhães joins rally greats with Acropolis ERC glory appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Season recap #2: ERC Rally Islas Canarias hat-trick for Lukyanuk

Sun, 12/23/2018 - 06:00

Alexey Lukyanuk held off the threat from the leading FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship drivers to make it three Rally Islas Canarias wins in succession following a sublime performance alongside co-driver Alexey Arnautov on Gran Canaria’s demanding all-asphalt stages.

In doing so they have become the first crew since Luca Rossetti and Matteo Chiarcossi in 2011 to win the first two events of an ERC season, a result that enables them to extend their title advantage in their Pirelli-equipped Russian Performance Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5 on the back of 10 stage wins from 14.

Nikolay Gryazin and Yaroslav Fedorov landed the ERC Junior Under 28 spoils in style in second overall with a deliberately “calm” approach. After winning the Qualifying Stage on Thursday, they claimed two more stage bests in their Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5, which ran on Michelin tyres.

Behind Gryazin, a late turn of speed decided an epic battle for the final podium position between ERC Junior U28 drivers Fabian Kreim and José Suárez. Kreim had edged ahead early on day two after taking third place on the first night, and though Suárez, in a Hyundai Motor España i20 R5, retaliated just before penultimate service, ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland-backed Kreim confirmed his first ERC podium finish with a storming drive through the rally’s final stage.

ERC Junior Experience graduate Laurent Pellier capped a fantastic second ERC appearance with a top five overall finish, following on from his first ever stage win on Friday morning’s second test. PEUGEOT Rally Academy’s young star also recorded his first top five in ERC Junior U28, coming fourth and only 1.5s behind third placed Suárez.

Diogo Gago made it two ERC Junior Under 27 wins from two starts following a thrilling battle with Mārtiņš Sesks, which had been a three-way scrap in the Pirelli-supported category until Efrén Llarena crashed heavily in his Rally Team Spain entry on the final morning, fortunately without injury to neither he nor co-driver Sara Fernández.

Tibor Érdi Jr recovered from his Azores Airlines Rallye exit to dominate ERC2 by going fastest on all but one stage. And with round one winner Juan Carlos Alonso failing to finish due to a technical issue, Érdi Jr’s title defence is back on track, despite a throttle fault causing him to stop three times on the last run to make emergency repairs.

Championship newcomer Florian Bernardi claimed the ERC3 victory in his Renault Clio, while Canary Islander Emma Falcón took the ERC Ladies’ Trophy spoils ahead of Catie Munnings, who overcame a late scare when a sensor issue struck nearing the finish of the final stage.

Words of a winner (Alexey Lukyanuk): “I am very very happy. We were winning a lot of stages and showing good confidence. We had some worries that the young drivers here would push really hard but we managed to do a good job, the weather was okay for us, the starting position was very clever and helped us to maintain a good speed. Thanks to Pirelli for tyres, everything worked well with no big problems so quite good for us.”

Category winners
FIA ERC1: Alexey Lukyanuk (RUS)/Alexey Arnautov (RUS) Ford Fiesta R5
FIA ERC2: Tibor Érdi Jr (HUN)/György Papp (HUN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
FIA ERC3: Florian Bernardi (FRA)/Victor Bellotto (FRA) Renault Clio R3T
FIA ERC Junior Under 28: Nikolay Gryazin (RUS)/Yaroslav Fedorov (RUS) ŠKODA Fabia R5
FIA ERC Junior Under 27: Diogo Gago (PRT)/Miguel Ramalho (PRT) PEUGEOT 208 R2
ERC Ladies’ Trophy: Emma Falcón (ESP) Citroën DS3 R3T

The post Season recap #2: ERC Rally Islas Canarias hat-trick for Lukyanuk appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Season recap #1: Lukyanuk lands the big prize with Azores ERC win

Sat, 12/22/2018 - 06:00

Alexey Lukyanuk laid down an emphatic marker for his ERC rivals to aim for, leading the Azores Airlines Rallye from the opening afternoon all the way through to the final stage, and capping his wining start to this year’s FIA European Rally Championship with donuts before the finish line.

Portuguese drivers Ricardo Moura and Bruno Magalhães gave their all, but had no answer for Lukyanuk’s rapid pace, while fellow Pirelli-equipped Chris Ingram was one of a number of ERC Junior Under 28 stars to excel on the demanding gravel spectacular with a class win on his step up to R5 as the ERC Junior Under 27 champion.

Martin Koči had been leading ERC Junior U28 up until the penultimate stage on his Azores debut but the ŠKODA Slovakia Motorsport driver would retire six kilometres from the start of the final run, ripping off the front-left wheel of his Fabia R5.

Diogo Gago secured the Pirelli-supported ERC Junior Under 27 laurels on his home event, beating Rally Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena to first place. Llarena started the closing Tronqueira test – one of several broadcast live on RTP in the Azores, Portugal and beyond – in third place but took advantage when ADAC Opel Junior Rallye Team factory driver Mārtiņš Sesks was delayed by gearbox issues.

Juan Carlos Alonso mounted an incredible comeback to win ERC2, recovering from a broken fuel pump on Thursday to make up three minutes and beat Sergei Remennik to victory after the Russian lost time with a time-consuming spin in Tronqueira on Saturday morning.

Words of a winner (Alexey Lukyanuk): “I am absolutely happy because with [Ricardo Moura and Bruno Magalhães] it was a great battle. They won the two previous years so I am really proud to be in this company and happy to win in front of so many spectators who always support us and cheer us. Thank you very much for your support Azores!

Category winners
FIA ERC1: Alexey Lukyanuk (RUS)/Alexey Arnautov (RUS) Ford Fiesta R5
FIA ERC2: Juan Carlos Alonso (ARG)/Juan Pablo Monasterolo (ARG) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
FIA ERC3: Diogo Gago (PRT)/Miguel Ramalho (PRT) PEUGEOT 208 R2
FIA ERC Junior Under 28: Chris Ingram (GBR)/Ross Whittock (GBR) ŠKODA Fabia R5
FIA ERC Junior Under 27: Diogo Gago (PRT)/Miguel Ramalho (PRT) PEUGEOT 208 R2
ERC Ladies’ Trophy: Tamara Molinaro (ITA)

The post Season recap #1: Lukyanuk lands the big prize with Azores ERC win appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Radio reporters pick out their stars and moments of 2018

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 06:00

ERC Radio reporters Julian Porter (left) and Chris Rawes (right) have taken time out of their preparations for the festive season to discuss another memorable FIA European Rally Championship campaign. This is what stood out for the intrepid pair in 2018.

JP: Nikolay Gryazin only dropped two points in his four scores to win the ERC Junior U28 Championship and showed some great speed, taking the fight to overall champion Alexey Lukyanuk from time to time.

CR: Mārtiņš Sesks showed some amazing talent by winning the U27 title but also by demonstrating that he has matured as a driver after participating in the ERC Junior Experience. He has the attributes to become European champion and a world champion in the future. He’s quick and marketable, a bit like a young Andreas Mikkelsen.

JP: Alexey Arnautov is not only the ERC champion co-driver for 2018 but probably the bravest co-driver in the championship alongside the ever-spectacular and ever-brave Alexey Lukyanuk.

CR: Julian thinks Alexey Arnautov is brave but I’m going with another Russian, Yaroslav Fedorov. A nice guy and also very brave sitting alongside the blisteringly quick Gryazin, Fedorov has relaxed a bit more with Nikolay’s driving this season, which has allowed him to open up a bit more to show that his ever-present mascot Porky Pig isn’t the only one in the team that can have fun.

JP: Fabian Kreim’s improvement from the Azores through to Latvia was quite amazing and proof of his obvious talent. It was also great to see ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland making a smart move by investing in an ERC programme again and giving a young, promising driver the chance to impress outside his homeland.

CR: Despite having a surname that has taken me all season to learn to pronounce correctly, our young Turkish driver Orhan Avcioglu has the right attitude. He understood that he wasn’t going to be as quick as his U28 team-mate Chris Ingram during his first season in the ERC, but Orhan has a plan mapped out in the ERC and is sticking to it with 2018 for learning and 2019 for podiums. Plus, he also hands out some amazing snacks to the ERC Radio team at events!

JP: Toksport WRT deserves plenty of credit, guiding Chris Ingram during his transition from R2 to R5 machinery and entering a car for Orhan Avcioglu on event round.

CR: This is a real hard one for me to choose as both ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team and Saintéloc Junior Team have shown great commitment to the ERC and also in developing the skills of their young drivers. But if I have to pick one then it would have to be ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team by a slim margin. They have a great professional set-up in the service park, the ADAM is strong and quick and they have developed some very quick drivers too, U27 runner-up Tom Kristensson being one of them and one to watch in the future.

JP: Efrén Llarena and Sara Fernández’s crash on Rally Islas Canarias was a big blow as they were in the battle for the lead at the time. But what stood out for me was Sara’s determination to get going again, despite the front wheel being ripped off.”

CR: The drama that unfolded in the final kilometres of the Cyprus Rally’s final stage was amazing, Nasser Al-Attiyah's hope for a victory were shattered with a puncture, Bruno Magalhães could have won but Simos Galatariotis just did enough by 0.6s. The drama was palpable, pure ERC!

The post ERC Radio reporters pick out their stars and moments of 2018 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Cyprus power: Tsouloftas plots ERC Junior title bid

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 09:00

Young Cypriot Alex Tsouloftas has emerged as an early contender for ERC Junior title glory in 2019 after signing with DBO Motorsport GmbH for an FIA European Rally Championship bid.

Despite limited experience, Tsouloftas finished fourth on his FIA European Rally Championship debut on the SEAJETS Acropolis Rally in 2017, his first event in an R5 car. On the Cyprus Rally two weeks later he was in second position after nine stages until a double puncture dropped him out of contention. But he hit back by completing the event’s Golden Stage as the fastest local driver, earning the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy for his impressive efforts.

Tsouloftas took part on two ERC rounds in 2018. On the EKO Acropolis Rally he retired with differential failure after setting a top-two stage time. He dropped out of the podium fight on the Cyprus Rally due to a mechanical failure but restarted on day two, winning the leg and going fastest by more than 20 seconds on the Golden Stage, a performance that led to calling him the ERC’s Golden Boy.

Previously successful in powerlifting and strongest man competitions before injury, Tsouloftas will swap his family-run Citroën DS3 R5 for a ŠKODA Fabia R5 from the Germany-based Toksport organisation, which guided Chris Ingram to the runner-up spot in ERC Junior Under 28 in 2018. The 26-year-old will be eligible for points in the overall classification and in ERC1 Junior – the category for drivers who are 28 or younger at the start of 2019 competing in R5 cars.

“The ERC is the ultimate training ground for young drivers aiming for the top,” said Tsouloftas. “With events on all kinds of surfaces and conditions and promoted on a global scale on Eurosport and other networks, the ERC is the go-to championship to build up your career before the highest level. And ERC1 Junior is great to showcase myself. My target is the ERC1 Junior title and thereafter try to aim as high as possible in the overall classification. However, I know that the first year is for building up experience of all events and getting familiar with all kinds of surfaces. At the same time, I will be aiming for the Cyprus championship title with my Citroën DS3 R5, so it will be a year full of fun.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “We’ve followed Alex closely since he made a strong impression on his ERC debut in 2017 and we’re really pleased he’s been able to put together an ERC Junior campaign with a top team. With experience of only one event on the 2019 calendar, Alex has plenty to learn but he’s already shown an ability to adapt to new surroundings quickly and show a strong pace.”

The 2019 ERC season consists of eight rounds, four on asphalt and four on gravel. Tsouloftas’ home event, the Cyprus Rally, is scheduled for 27-29 September and counts for overall points.

The post Cyprus power: Tsouloftas plots ERC Junior title bid appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

New book charts ERC season

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 18:00

Respected publishing house McKlein has released Rallying 2018 – Moving Moments to celebrate the sport’s all-action season, including the FIA European Rally Championship.

The best images from McKlein illustrate the action and emotion, while creative texts from Anthony Peacock summarise all the drama as it unfolded.

Building on McKlein’s successful Moving Moments yearbook from 2017, this year’s version promises to be even better with 12 pages devoted to the ERC.

The book is available in English and German from online bookstores such as Amazon or or from by clicking here.

The post New book charts ERC season appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Double ERC champion Griebel wins big with prestigious ADAC award

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 06:00

Marijan Griebel, who won FIA European Rally Championship Junior titles in R2 and R5 machinery in successive seasons, has landed more major silverware.

Last Saturday night, the German was honoured as the ADAC Motorsportler of the Year for 2018 following his capture of the Deutsche Rallye Meisterschaft title and his first world championship points.

“To win the ADAC Motorsportler of the Year is the icing on the cake at the end of a great season, which started relatively difficult but took a good turn,” said Griebel. “Together with my co-driver Alexander Rath, the team and my supporter Armin Kremer, we worked hard. This year, I also dreamed of starting at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland in a World Rally Car in the top class, where we also showed a top performance.”

A clip celebrating Griebel’s career so far is available by clicking here.

Photo: ADAC Motorsport

The post Double ERC champion Griebel wins big with prestigious ADAC award appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC season review on Eurosport tonight

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 06:00

Eurosport will broadcast the FIA European Rally Championship season review tonight (18 December). On air from 22h45-23h45 CET, the programme will round up all the action from another exciting ERC season.

Check local listings for more details. A number of replays will also be broadcast.

The post ERC season review on Eurosport tonight appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Big prize fund for ERC-bound Abarth Rally Cup

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 06:00

Successful drivers in the Abarth Rally Cup, which will run on six rounds of the FIA European Rally Championship in 2019*, will chase a substantial prize fund.

On each round, €24,000 will be shared out between the top four finishers in the Abarth Rally Cup, while the end-of-season winner will get €30,000.

The round-by-round prize fund is broken down as follows:

First position: €12,000
Second position: €10,000
Third position: €8,000
Fourth position: €4,000

Click here for more information.

*Subject to FIA World Motor Sport Council validation

The post Big prize fund for ERC-bound Abarth Rally Cup appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Barum Czech Rally Zlín up for prestigious award

Sun, 12/16/2018 - 18:00

Barum Czech Rally Zlín, a mainstay of the FIA European Rally Championship, is in contention to win a prestigious award for the second year running.

Forming round six of the 2018 ERC season, Barum Czech Rally Zlín has been nominated for the Zlatý volant’s motorsport event of the year accolade against other showpiece events such as Brno’s MotoGP round and the Czech Truck Prix at Most.

Voting is open and available by clicking here. Voting closes on 21 January with the winner announced at a gala evening in the Czech capital Prague on 20 February.

The post ERC Barum Czech Rally Zlín up for prestigious award appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Why there’s already a favourite for Czech ERC glory

Sat, 12/15/2018 - 18:00

Czech Republic’s round of the FIA European Rally Championship might be 245 days away but there’s already a strong contender for victory in Jan Kopecký.

The 2013 ERC champion and factory ŠKODA Motorsport star won Barum Czech Rally Zlín for a record-extending seventh time last August alongside co-driver Pavel Dresler.

And with ŠKODA Motorsport confirming Kopecký will defend his world and domestic titles in 2019, the Czech is highly likely to be on the starting line when Barum Czech Rally Zlín hosts the sixth event of next year’s ERC from 16-18 August.

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FIA’s ERC2 ruling delights ORECA

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 12:00

The recent decision of the FIA World Motor Sport Council to allow R4-K cars to compete in the FIA European Rally Championship and be eligible for its ERC2 division has pleased ORECA, the company behind the FIA’s R4-K concept.

From 2019, R4-K cars will chase ERC2 points alongside R-GT and traditional N4 machinery, which represents another boost for the showroom category.

ORECA has developed and is responsible for distributing the R4 kit of components, with R4-K cars in action and achieving success in national championships around the world.

Carlos Pina Vaz of ORECA said: “We were delighted that R4 kit cars will be competing in the ERC2 class of the 2019 European Rally Championship. Given the kit’s four-wheel-drive aspect, its ability to adapt to both gravel and asphalt, as well as its performance/cost ratio which is perfectly in keeping with the philosophy of teams and drivers competing in the ERC, the R4 class seemed particularly relevant to the context of the ERC.

“There already was a strong interest, this announcement has now truly generated enthusiasm among teams already involved with R4 as well as those willing to go into it.”

Click here for more information on FIA R4-K. 


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Magalhães reiterates hopes of 2019 ERC action

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 09:00

Bruno Magalhães used the recent ERC Awards Ceremony to reiterate his hopes of a return to the FIA European Rally Championship in 2019.

Magalhães pushed Alexey Lukyanuk for title glory in his SEAJETS-backed ŠKODA Fabia R5, only to run short of funds ahead of the penultimate event of the season in Poland.

In his absence, Lukyanuk became the first Russian to win the ERC title while a further non-entry on Rally Liepāja, coupled with a second consecutive victory from Nikolay Gryazin, meant the Portuguese slipped to third in the final reckoning.

“I am going to try to continue in ERC because it’s the championship l love,” Magalhães said earlier this season. “The last two years were the best of my career. I achieved very important results. It was a very, very good atmosphere in these last two years and I am going to do everything I can to continue so I am focused now on 2019.”

Magalhães was one of two ARC Sport-run drivers honoured in Paris on 3 December with Emma Falcón (left) also in attendance to receive her reward for winning the ERC Ladies’ Trophy.

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Seeing Valentino Rossi in rear-view mirror surreal, says ERC Junior Yates

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:00

Podium-scoring FIA ERC Junior Rhys Yates has described competing against MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi – his childhood hero – as a surreal experience following his Monza Rally Show top 10 on Sunday.

Yates, who landed a podium on his ERC Junior debut on the Azores Airlines Rallye last March, was making his second appearance at the Italian Grand Prix venue’s traditional season closer, which Rossi won for a seventh time.

After driving an R5-specification Ford Fiesta to P18 overall at Monza in 2017, Yates stepped up to the World Rally Car version of the car last weekend and claimed a fine ninth overall with experienced French co-driver Denis Giraudet.

“Yet again the Monza Rally Show never fails to amaze me and what a great way to return to the event with a top-10 result,” said Brettex-backed Yates.

“The crowds and atmosphere are sensational but the real honour is being able to compete alongside my childhood heroes like Valentino Rossi. It was pretty surreal heading through Ascari and looking in my rearview mirror to see Rossi chasing me down.

“It’s been a real honour to compete [at Monza] once again so huge thanks to HK Racing for the car and of course to Denis for stepping into the co-driver’s seat again. It’s certainly been a weekend I really won't forget in a hurry.”

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Abarth Rally Cup joins forces with ERC

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 16:05

The Abarth Rally Cup will run in conjunction with the FIA European Rally Championship in 2019*, bringing together the hugely exciting one-make series and the leading regional competition promoted by Eurosport Events under a long-term agreement with motorsport’s world governing body.

Contested over six rounds of the eight-event ERC, the Abarth Rally Cup is open to competitors using the lightweight, rear-wheel-drive Italian sportscars, which conform to the FIA’s R-GT category technical regulations. The Abarth 124 rally is available for €110,000, which includes the ERC registration fee.

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

“We are very pleased to enter into what we hope will be a long-term and fruitful partnership with the Abarth Rally Cup organisers and we thank Abarth for placing its trust in the FIA European Rally Championship,” said Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator. “Abarth is an illustrious name synonymous with rallying and we are delighted the company is opening the latest chapter of its motorsport story in the ERC.

“During 2018 we were given the opportunity to watch Abarth 124 rally drivers competing on selected rounds of the ERC as part of the FIA RGT Cup and it was clear that there is a lot of interest, plus a strong level of drivers and teams. The Abarth 124 rally also brings another dimension to ERC events, its viewers and fans as a fast and spectacular lightweight, rear-engined sportscar, which is available at a very interesting price.”

Luca Napolitano, Head of EMEA Fiat & Abarth Brands, commented: “In just two seasons, the Abarth 124 rally has established itself as the car to beat in the R-GT class, thrilling spectators and winning on all terrains. Rallies such as the Monte Carlo and Tour de Corse brought rich rewards: in the Principality, the 124 Abarth finished amongst the World Rally Cars in the race's toughest special stage with the fourth best time overall, while in Corsica, not only was a 124 rally victorious but the four cars in the race actually took the flag one after the other. Next year we want to improve on this year's results, continuing to star internationally in the ERC with our Cup. At each race, we will have our own Abarth area with our hospitality, which will become the meeting place for Scorpion drivers and fans. What's more, we will be providing teams with real-time support thanks to our in-race parts service and full cover by our technical staff.”

Napolitano continued: “Racing has always been central to Abarth's identity and embodies its values, and competition enables us to reinforce this bond with Abarth's history and future. What's more, it lets us try out technical innovations and new technologies in the toughest development conditions, ready for transfer to standard production models, because we want to offer our customers products with ever-improving performance and reliability.”

As part of the agreement between Eurosport Events and the Abarth Rally Cup, a dedicated highlights video will be published at and via the ERC’s social media channels on each rally. Abarth Rally Cup drivers will also be featured in the weekly ERC Newsletter and through articles published at In addition, Abarth Rally Cup drivers will be invited to take part in promotional activities on ERC rounds, such as pre-rally press conferences and selfie sessions.

Meanwhile, a dedicated Abarth Rally Cup area will be created in event service parks, while Abarth Rally Cup drivers will enjoy ERC priority status, which gives them a seeded entry and access to Free Practice and the Qualifying Stage among other operational and promotional benefits.

The 2019 Abarth Rally Cup will be contested on the following FIA ERC events*:
Round 1: Rally Islas Canarias, 2-4 May (asphalt)
Round 2: Rally Liepāja (Latvia), 24-26 May (gravel)
Round 3: Rally Poland, 28-30 June (gravel)
Round 4: Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy), 19-21 July (asphalt)
Round 5: Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 16-18 August (asphalt)
Round 6: Rally Hungary, 8-10 November (asphalt)

On each round the following prize fund will be offered:

First position: €12,000
Second position: €10,000
Third position: €8,000
Fourth position: €4,000

At the end of the season the Abarth Rally Cup winner will receive a final prize of €30,000

 For more information on the Abarth Rally Cup visit:

 *Subject to FIA WMSC validation

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Rossi wins outright, former ERC champion Rossetti tops R5 class at Monza

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 06:00

While MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi won the Monza Rally Show for a seventh time yesterday, Luca Rossetti, a three-time winner of the FIA European Rally Championship claimed victory in class in a Hyundai i20 R5.

Driving a Friulmotor-run Hyundai, Rossetti finished P10 overall at the Italian Grand Prix venue, one place behind ERC Junior Under 28 podium finisher Rhys Yates, who was competing in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC for the first time.

Other ERC drivers past and present in action included Andrea Crugnola, Giandomenico Basso and Giacomo Scattolon, who were classified third, fourth and fifth respectively in the R5 category.

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport

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Event-winning ERC team links up with WTCR racer Panis for Trophée Andros

Sun, 12/09/2018 - 06:00

There’s no rest for Saintéloc Racing during the winter with the French squad in action in the Trophée Andros ice-racing series, which begins in Val Thorens this weekend (8-9 December).

Saintéloc guided Miika Hokkanen and Simon Wagner to ERC Junior podiums and Catie Munnings to runner-up in the ERC Ladies’ Trophy in 2018. It’s running three cars in the Trophée Andros, which takes place over six events in France and Andorra.

Among its Trophée Andros line-up is Aurélien Panis, son of former Monaco Grand Prix winner Olivier Panis and a point-scorer in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO for Comtoyou Racing.

Photo: Trophée Andros

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PZM 75. Rajd Polski / PZM 75th Rally Poland

PZM 75. Rajd Polski

Kalendarz 2019


Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugalia)


Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)

24-26 05.2019

Rally Liepāja (Łotwa)


Rajd Polski


Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)


Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)


Cyprus Rally (Cypr)


Rally Hungary (Węgry)