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Updated: 11 min 57 sec ago

ERC Azores Grupo Marques superspecial doubles up after all

Fri, 03/06/2020 - 18:00

The fan-friendly Grupo Marques superspecial will be used twice on the Azores Rallye, which is scheduled for 26-28 March, after all.

Initially, organisers of the FIA European Rally Championship counter had been unable to fit in a second visit due to the compact nature of the itinerary for 2020. However, there the quarry-based stage west of Ponta Delgada will be used on both legs of the spectacular island rally.

The first visit to Grupo Marques is scheduled for 16h13 local time on 27 March with the second visit due at 12h04 on 28 March. Grupo Marques measures 4.10 kilometres in the length and the layout allows two drivers to go head to head.

Click here to view the updated itinerary.

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Turn up the Bassas! Rallye Team Spain scholarship winner graduates to ERC3 Junior

Fri, 03/06/2020 - 12:00

Pep Bassas will get the opportunity to follow in countryman Efrén Llarena’s wheel tracks by stepping up from national to international level with the full backing of his national federation, RFEDA (Real Federación Española de Automovilismo).

Twenty-six-year-old Bassas is joining Rallye Team Spain for an FIA ERC3 Junior Championship bid alongside co-driver Axel Coronado. They will compete in a Mavisa Sport-run, Pirelli-equipped Peugeot 208 R2, and begin their campaign with a practice event, Rallye Tierras Altas de Lorca, this weekend.

Bassas gets set to follow Llarena to ERC
For Bassas, the career progression chance is his reward for winning the Beca Júnior R2 title in Spain last year. As part of an alliance between RFEDA and ERC promoter Eurosport Events, the Beca Júnior R2 winner is offered a season in ERC3 Junior, an opportunity given to Llarena and Sara Fernández in 2018.

"In 2019 we fulfilled our goal of winning the Beca Júnior R2 scholarship to ensure a prize as good as the one offered by the Real Federación Española de Automovilismo, through the Rallye Team Spain programme,” explained Bassas.

Keen to prove talent but braced for tough competition
Pep Bassas, who has never competed outside of the Iberia region, will make his ERC debut on the Azores Rallye from 26-28 March with his national event, Rally Islas Canarias, up next from 7-9 May.

“We are very happy and proud to be part of this great project,” said Bassas, whose late and legendary father Josep won two ERC rallies. “We start out in ERC3 Junior with the ambition of being ahead and trying to win, we will have rivals that will make it difficult for us, but we will try to give our best. Both my team, Mavisa Sport, and my co-driver, Axel Coronado, and I think we can do a good job.”

Mavisa Sport the perfect platform
Having overseen Efrén Llarena and Sara Fernández’s ERC3 Junior programme for the last two seasons, Mavisa Sport is considered the perfect platform for Pep Bassas and Axel Coronado as they build their experience of international competition. Barcelona-based Mavisa Sport, which guided Llarena and Fernández to the 2019 ERC3 crown and Llarena to the ERC3 Junior title last season, won a tendering process organised by RFEDA earlier this year.

Key partners on board
Consejo Superior de Deportes (CSD), Reale Seguros, Loterías y Apuestas del Estado, Real Federación Española de Automovilismo (RFEDA), Peugeot España, RACC, Pirelli, Federación Catalana de Automovilismo (FCA) and Total are supporting Bassas in his bid for ERC3 Junior success.

Where to watch Pep Bassas 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.

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If in doubt, call on former ERC Azores winner Lukyanuk!

Fri, 03/06/2020 - 06:00

Dmitry Feofanov is calling on expert advice from 2018 Azores Rallye winner Alexey Lukyanuk ahead of his debut on the spectacular island event.

Feofanov has included the Ponta Delgada-based round on his 2020 FIA European Rally Championship schedule and called on his fellow Russian for some driving tips.

“I have asked Alexey Lukyanuk to help me this year and I am happy that he agreed,” said Feofanov. “He shares some tips about particular rallies as well and helps me to improve my driving skills. It looks like I will get a priceless experience.”

The post If in doubt, call on former ERC Azores winner Lukyanuk! appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

BBC documentary recounts Ingram’s ERC title triumph

Thu, 03/05/2020 - 18:00

A mini documentary charting Chris Ingram’s capture of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship has been released by British national broadcaster the BBC.

Too Skint to Win? from BBC Sport hears from Ingram as he walks the streets of his native Manchester one week before the ERC finale in Hungary last year, and then follows him during the event.

In the documentary the Toksport WRT driver reveals to BBC Sport’s Matt Warwick the impact the loss of his main sponsor on the eve of the 2019 season had, and how his financial struggles took their toll.

“Going to a rally was living the dream,” Ingram said, “whereas at home I was stressed, a bit down, especially when I didn’t know if I could do the next rally and carry on everything I’ve sacrificed my life for. It actually made me pretty depressed. “At times I’ve lost connection from my family and everyone from my whole life because I’ve dedicated everything to this sport.”

Ingram, who was co-driven to the FIA European Rally Championship by Ross Whittock, relied on a crowdfunding campaign launched by his mother Jo to help secure the budget to compete in Hungary. He has yet to announce his plans for 2020, although he remains determined to make a full-time step up to the FIA World Rally Championship.

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Flying Finn Emil Lindholm recruited as Team MRF Tyres expands ERC development programme

Thu, 03/05/2020 - 10:00

Promising Finn Emil Lindholm will become the latest young driver to prove their talent in the FIA European Rally Championship after Team MRF Tyres announced an expansion to its ERC-based development programme.

The Indian tyre company has chosen the ERC for its return to international competition in 2020, with the combination of asphalt and gravel events ideal for MRF Tyres’ ongoing data gathering and product testing.

Lindholm, 23, has been recruited to join Irishman Craig Breen under the Team MRF Tyres umbrella. While Breen will compete in a Hyundai i20 R5, Lindholm will drive a ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo. His fellow Finn, Mikael Korhonen, will co-drive.

With its products being tested by two different teams using two different types of car, MRF Tyres’ learning mission in the ERC will be accelerated.

Lindholm ready to get to work with Breen a “yardstick”
“MRF Tyres is really serious and already has a great product for winter rallies,” said Lindholm, who finished second in class on Rally Sweden last month. “I’m in no doubt they’ll deliver in the ERC and keep on pushing with the development. Personally, I hope I can support MRF Tyres with knowledge [and] serve them in the development of their complete tyre range. Craig will be there and he will be quite a yardstick for us.”

Why it’s not just about tyre development
“Sure, the development part is important, but as we’ve seen from Craig on the [recent Finnish championship] SM Itäralli, he was fast on a tyre that had never seen snow before,” said Lindholm. “That means the product will be good and that’s why I’m expecting some good stages times from myself. That’s what I should strive for in my career and I think MRF Tyres hope for some good times too.”

ERC chance a career boost for Lindholm
“Progression is the main thing for us, but the level in the ERC is high, the rallies are completely new for me so there will be lots and lots of learning. I still want to do the world championship and this is a good step forward. It means a lot that MRF Tyres chose me for these rallies. I think Rally Finland last year was one of the deciding factors. Okay, we had some issues, but the speed was there and I think they thought that this is a young guy who has potential and they thought to give me a chance. I am happy about that.”

Like father, like son
Emil Lindholm will be an Azores Rallye rookie when the event takes place from 26-28 March. However, his father Sebastian, once a factory driver in the world championship, has started the spectacular gravel event three times, in 1995, 1996 and 2002, albeit without registering a finish. “So far, I’ve looked at a few onboards from previous years and that can help give you an idea of the stage profile and the conditions,” said the younger Lindholm. “Okay, my father has been to the Azores back in the day so I will have a chat with him as well. Other than that, I don’t think there’s much else I can do to prepare.”

Extensive tyre development programme continues in the ERC
MRF Tyres’ ERC campaign follows a year of testing and development with Craig Breen and Emil Lindholm selected to continue that process, albeit in highly competitive conditions.

MRF Tyres Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Arun Mammen, said: “We are excited to enter the European Rally Championship in 2020 after winning nine titles in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. We have a frontrunner with Craig Breen, and we are excited to support the career of another fast and young driver in Emil Lindholm. It will be a great relationship as he will help develop and prove the pace of MRF Tyres and we look forward to helping him achieve his potential in the European Rally Championship.”

Where to watch Emil Lindholm in 2020
Azores Rallye, 26-28 March; Rally Liepāja (Latvia), 29-31 May; 77th Rally Poland, 26-28 June; plus one additional event to be confirmed.

The post Flying Finn Emil Lindholm recruited as Team MRF Tyres expands ERC development programme appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC returnee Magalhaes up and running with home top two

Thu, 03/05/2020 - 06:00

ERC comeback king Bruno Magalhães marked himself out as a driver to beat on the Azores Rallye later this month after he finished in second place on Rallye Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras, the opening round of the Portuguese championship, last weekend.

The multiple ERC event winner, who is contesting a dual national and European championship campaign in 2020, beat national champion Ricardo Teodósio to the runner-up spoils in his Team Hyundai Portugal i20 R5.

Five-time Portuguese champion Armindo Araújo won the gravel event on his debut in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo run by FIA European Rally Championship entrant The Racing Factory.

The Azores Rallye takes place from 26-28 March.

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing

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Next-generation Griebels take note: don’t delay register for ERC Junior today!

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 18:00

Drivers aiming to emulate Marijan Griebel’s FIA ERC Junior title double can register for ERC1 Junior or ERC3 Junior via a new online entry portal.

Griebel, from Germany, famously won back-to-back ERC Junior titles, claiming the ERC3 crown in 2016 before landing the ERC1 version the following season. Earlier today, the 30-year-old talent’s FIA European Rally Championship campaign in a Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 R5 was announced.

The ERC Junior entry portal information on eligibility and also includes a link to the FIA online registration process that must be followed before drivers can sign up for either ERC Junior championship. The entry portal is available at this link: https://www.fiaerc.com/erc-junior-entry-form/ 

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Gr-eat news! Double ERC Junior champion Griebel returns

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 12:00

Having won back-to-back ERC3 and ERC1 Junior titles, Marijan Griebel will chase more success in the FIA European Rally Championship in 2020, armed with a Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 R5.

Griebel, 30, is joining the winner of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship for Teams for what is initially a five-event campaign but could be extended to include more rounds depending on budget.

A serving police officer, Griebel is one of Germany’s best rally drivers having taken the national title in 2018 and scored world championship points in the same year, when he finished eighth overall on ADAC Rallye Deutschland in a Citroën DS3 WRC.

“Saintéloc has massive ERC experience, working together with stars like Craig Breen and Alexey Lukyanuk in the past, and I’m convinced they will give me a fast car,” said Griebel, who will be co-driven by Stefan Kopczyk for the first two events before Pirmin Winklhofer takes over. “In contrast to my programme last year, I’ll have a test before each round and will be much better prepared than in 2019. So, it should be a great opportunity.”

Serious competition just part of the ERC’s appeal
Griebel made his European championship debut in 2014 for a three-event campaign. After winning the ERC3 Junior title in 2016, he stepped up to R5 (now Rally2) level and promptly won the 2017 ERC1 Junior crown, having finished second on his debut in the category on the ERC-counting Cyprus Rally the previous October. He’s a big fan of the championship and the competition on offer.

“The ERC has totally cool rallies with demanding stages on some of the most beautiful places of our continent,” Griebel said. “I guess the competition will be even higher than the years before with a lot of fast drivers having already published their full-season campaigns. So, every rally will be a unique challenge again and I can’t wait to get started.”

Title prospects being kept in check
Griebel will start his ERC attack on the Azores Rallye (26-28 March) – where he finished second overall in 2017 – before contesting Rally Islas Canarias from 7-9 May. With funding in place for three additional events, which he’ll announce in due course, the German concedes a title bid will be a tall order. “If I drive, I want to win. But to fight for the championship will be a huge task. On one hand, there are a lot of fast drivers, and on the other hand, five events are for sure not enough to win this championship. But if the start of the season should be good, I really hope to find some more money for one or two additional events.”

Saintéloc’s Ducher has monitored Griebel’s progression
By signing Marijan Griebel for the 2020 ERC, Saintéloc Junior Team’s Vincent Ducher will finally get the opportunity to work with a driver he has admired from afar for several seasons. “We watched him win the ERC3 Junior title in 2016 so we know he is a good driver. He has very good knowledge of the ERC and we know he will show his speed and good results with the C3.”

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Excitement grows as ERC Rally Liepaja Rally Guide 1 is published

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 06:00

Rally Liepāja organiser RA Events has published Rally Guide 1 for its ERC counter from 29-31 May.

Part of the FIA European Rally Championship family since its inception in 2013, Rally Liepāja features high-speed gravel stages around the cities of Talsi and Liepāja.

Click here to download Rally Guide 1.

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Remembering when… Kubica was fast in ERC

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 18:00

Polish motorsport legend Robert Kubica who, like new ERC1 Junior contender Miko Marczyk is supported by PKN Orlen, took part on five rounds of the FIA European Rally Championship between 2013 and 2014.

After making his debut on Rally Islas Canarias, which marked his comeback to international motorsport after he suffered serious injuries during an accident on a rally in Italy in 2011, Kubica scored his first ERC event finish on the Azores Rallye in April 2013.

Driving a Citroën DS3 RRC, Kubica completed the Ponta Delgada event in sixth overall following a time-consuming roll, having led for the first six stages on the back of a succession of fastest times.

He took part on two more ERC events in 2013, including Rally Poland, before he landed a dramatic final-stage victory on the 2014 season-opening Internationale Jänner Rallye, this time in a Ford Fiesta RRC.

The post Remembering when… Kubica was fast in ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Why Polish champion Miko Marczyk is ready to fly in ERC

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 15:00

National champion Miko Marczyk is preparing to fly in more ways than one when he contests the 2020 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship with backing from Polish oil company PKN Orlen, ŠKODA Polska and Volkswagen Financial Services.

The 24-year-old has never previously taken an aeroplane to compete on a rally but all that will change this season when embarks on his first major international adventure.

Szymon Gospdarczyk, who has co-driven Marczyk since midway through 2017, will continue to serve as a guiding light, while Marczyk’s partnership with Kresta Racing remains in place with the Czech outfit on hand to prepare the Rally2-specification, Michelin-equipped, ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo.

Marczyk gets set for international career take-off
After winning the prestigious RSMP (Rajdowe Samochodowe Mistrzostwa Polski) title in 2019, Marczyk identified the ERC as his number one choice for career progression.

“The ERC is the natural and best step for me after the Polish championship,” said Marczyk, who only began competing in 2016 with nothing more than limited experience in indoor karting to count on. “The rallies in Poland are very good but the level of roads and the competition is bigger in the ERC than in the national championship. The ERC is therefore a good place to learn and develop and also to fight with other young drivers from European countries before I take the next step.

“Until now, I have never had the opportunity to go to a rally by aeroplane, it will be my first time in the Azores and I am really glad and happy about this. I would like to develop fast in the ERC, it’s like a big adventure and I hope step by step to be a good part of the championship.”

What works for Kubica works for Marczyk too
Marczyk has retained the support of all the partners that helped him to the 2019 Polish title, while attracting additional backing from new main sponsor PKN Orlen, which has made possible his step up to European level. The company is also supporting Marczyk’s compatriot, Robert Kubica – a former ERC stage winner – in his Alfa Romeo test and reserve driver role in Formula One.

“My partners from the last year – ŠKODA Polska, Volkswagen Financial Services, Michelin, Rallyshop.pl and Rożek Brokers Group – will continue to support me. It’s a big honour for me that for 2020 we have a new main sponsor, which is PKN Orlen, the biggest petrol company in Poland. I am very happy and thankful for all this support and now I want to concentrate on being the best rally driver I can be.”

Why the ERC1 Junior title can wait
While Marczyk is aiming for the very top of the sport, he doesn’t want his ERC campaign to be for one year only. “If we look at history, it’s not easy even for the best drivers to drive well in their first year in the ERC,” Marczyk said. “First, I need to understand the roads and the big competition in the ERC, but then I also need to understand the importance of being at the finish line in the highest position possible to get the experience and the points.

“I want to be in the ERC for the future and I know from the Polish championship it’s very hard to get good scores in first year. For sure I will try to be as fast as possible on my home event, 77th Rally Poland, but I know that our partners look at the final standings at the end of the year, not after one stage or one rally. That’s why it’s important to be at the finish line and this will be my strategy.”

In Gospdarczyk Marczyk trusts
Marczyk has highlighted the role performed by his co-driver and compatriot Szymon Gospdarczyk. “I am really happy to work together with Szymon,” said Marczyk, who has a fourth and a third place from three ERC1 Junior starts. “He’s still a young co-driver but from the other perspective much more experienced guy than me. He’s highly motivated real sportsman.”

Where to watch Miko Marczyk 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.

The post Why Polish champion Miko Marczyk is ready to fly in ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Devine revs up for ERC Azores with first i20 R5 gravel run

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 06:00

Callum Devine’s 2020 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship campaign is go after the Motorsport Ireland-backed talent made his first gravel start in a Hyundai i20 R5.

Co-driven by Brian Hoy, Devine was contesting the recent Samsonas Fivemiletown Spring Rally in Northern Ireland in preparation for his upcoming European campaign, which begins on the Azores Rallye from 26-28 March.

The Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver used the event to learn more about the i20 R5 in loose conditions. After a consistent start he gained confidence throughout the event, making set-up changes as he gained confidence behind the wheel of the Korean machine.

He wrote on Facebook: “Happy with our progression on the loose in the PCRS Rallysport Hyundai i20 R5 as we prepare for the ERC opener. We made some set up changes throughout the day and on the last four stages we took three fastest times and a second fastest time which moved us up to third overall.”

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing

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Marczyk gets PKN Orlen backing for ERC1 Junior bid

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 18:00

Polish champion Miko Marczyk will contest the 2020 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship with backing from PKN Orlen.

The 24-year-old will contest the six-event series for young stars in Rally2 cars starting with the Azores Rallye from 26-28 March.

Szymon Gospadarczyk will co-drive his ŠKODA Fabia R5.

A full announcement, including comments from Miko, will appear at FIAERC.com soon.

Photo: Facebook.com/Mikomarczykmotorsport

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Finnish podium “very encouraging”, says ERC’s Breen

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 12:00

FIA European Rally Championship driver Craig Breen described his podium finish on the SM-Itäralli in Finland last weekend – his first competitive outing on MRF tyres – as “very encouraging”.

Breen and stand-in co-driver John Rowan finished third on the national championship event in a BRC Racing Team-prepared Hyundai i20 R5.

Afterwards, Breen wrote on Facebook: “What a super day flying through the Finnish forests. Incredible roads and perfect conditions and, in the end, a very encouraging third place overall. First rally ever for [the] MRF ice tyre and we are all so pleased already with the performance with so much more potential ready to be unlocked in the future. Massive thanks to John Rowan for doing an impeccable job on the notes, and to all at BRC for taking care of the car.”

Breen’s ERC campaign gets underway on the gravel-based Azores Rallye from 26-28 March. He will compete under the Team MRF Tyres as part of a major development programme with the Indian manufacturer.

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing

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ERC drivers are podium visitors during winning weekend for Adielsson

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 06:00

Craig Breen and Bruno Magalhães, who have both announced major FIA European Rally Championship campaigns for 2020, were podium finishers at the weekend.

Breen finished third on SM-Itäralli in Finland, while fellow Hyundai i20 R5 driver Magalhães took the runner-up spot on the Portuguese championship Rallye Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras, one place ahead of national champion Ricardo Teodósio.

Meanwhile, Mattias Adielsson, who placed third in the ERC1 Junior Championship in 2019, won Rally Vännäs, the second event of the Swedish championship season, in a ŠKODA Fabia R5.

The 2020 ERC season gets underway on the Azores Rally from 26-28 March.

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ERC Rally Liepaja one of a kind

Sun, 03/01/2020 - 06:00

Latvia’s ERC counter, Rally Liepāja, will be the only rally to take place in the country this year, further increasing the importance of the event.

After unseasonal warm temperatures led to the axing of Latvia’s two winter events, Rally Alūksne and Rally Sarma, the national championship will be made up of the ERC-counting Rally Liepāja in the Kurzeme region west of the capital Riga, plus two scheduled events in Estonia and one in Lithuania.

Taking place on high-speed gravel stages between the cities of Liepāja and Talsi from 29-31 May, Rally Liepāja is the third event of the FIA European Rally Championship season. It’s also part of the FIA Baltic Rally Trophy, the Latvian Rallysprint Cup, while the Youngtimer Rally Liepāja regularity rally will also take place around the main ERC-counting event.

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Continuity key as Herczig revs up for ERC opener

Sat, 02/29/2020 - 12:00

Four-time Hungarian champion Norbert Herczig will hope to benefit from the continuity factor when he contests the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship opener in the Azores from 26-28 March.

As in 2019, Herczig will contest the São Miguel event in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 run by Baumschlager Rallye & Racing under the MOL Racing Team banner. Ramón Ferenc, his navigator for the past two seasons, will continue to co-drive.

Herczig, who placed fifth in last season’s European championship standings and has two ERC podiums to his name, was sixth on his Azores debut in 2018 and ran in the top six on the event last year only for mechanical issues to force his retirement on the opening leg, his first event in the Polo.

Although little has changed in the Herczig camp over the winter, a brand-new Polo GTI R5 has been readied.

“We are ready, fresh and well prepared,” Herczig’s spokesperson said.

Herczig plans to announce his programme for the remainder of 2020 at a later date.

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Entries open online, prize packages confirmed for ERC Junior

Fri, 02/28/2020 - 12:00

Entries for the 2020 FIA ERC1 Junior and FIA ERC3 Junior championships have opened via a new online process, while promoter Eurosport Events has confirmed the career-development prize packages on offer to the two eventual champions.

From today (28 February) a new entry portal is available for drivers to register for either ERC1 Junior or Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior.

The portal provides information on eligibility and also includes a link to the FIA online registration process that must be followed before drivers can sign up for either ERC Junior championship. The entry portal is available at this link: https://www.fiaerc.com/erc-junior-entry-form/ 

Prize packages to promote career progression
ERC promoter Eurosport Events has announced the following prize packages for the 2020 season:

ERC1 Junior: the winning driver will receive a grant of €100,000 to contest the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship season-deciding events in Cyprus (9-11 October) and Hungary (6-8 November) in a Rally2 car and with a team of his or her choosing. The grant of €100,000 will be split equally between the two events, which are not part of the ERC1 Junior schedule. By contesting these two events, it is hoped the ERC1 Junior champion could challenge for the overall ERC title. Full terms and conditions are included in the entry portal.

ERC3 Junior: a grant of €100,000 will be allocated to Motorsport Italia to run a Rally2-specification ŠKODA Fabia on Pirelli tyres on two rounds of the 2021 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship for the 2020 ERC3 Junior champion. The events will be determined by Eurosport Events in consultation with Motorsport Italia and the winning driver. A testing programme will also be included. Full terms and conditions are included in the entry portal.

Multi-national entry assembles
Even though the formal entry procedure has only just begun, several drivers have already announced their plans to contest either the ERC1 Junior or ERC3 Junior championship in 2020. They include Erik Cais (Czech Republic), Callum Devine (Ireland), Dominik Dinkel (Germany), Nikolai Landa (Austria), Javier Pardo (Spain) and Dennis Rådström (Sweden). A number of other drivers will announce their ERC Junior programmes ahead of the season-opening Azores Rallye from 26-28 March.

A proud histor
ERC Junior provides a highly competitive platform for drivers stepping up from national level aiming for the sport’s highest echelon – and has a proud history of doing so. Recent ERC Junior graduates include:

Fabio Andolfi: ERC Junior competitor 2014 > Junior world championship competitor 2020
Emil Bergvist: 
ERC Junior champion 2015 > Junior world champion 2018
Marijan Griebel: ERC Junior champion 2016 > ERC1 Junior champion 2017 > World championship point-scorer 2018, German champion 2018
Nikolay Gryazin: ERC1 Junior champion 2018 > Hyundai Motorsport WRC2 driver 2020
Jari Huttunen: ERC3 Junior runner-up 2017 > WRC3 driver 2020
Chris Ingram: ERC3 Junior champion 2017 > ERC1 Junior runner-up 2018 > ERC champion 2019
Tom Kristensson:
ERC3 Junior runner-up 2017 > Junior world championship leader 2020
Stéphane Lefebvre: ERC Junior champion 2014 > factory Citroën WRC2 driver 2018
Filip Mareš: ERC3 Junior third place 2017 > ERC1 Junior champion 2019 > WRC3 driver 2020
Mārtiņš Sesks: ERC3 Junior champion 2018 > ERC1 Junior 2019

ERC Junior explained
Established in 2014 as a joint initiative between ERC promoter Eurosport Events and the FIA, motorsport’s world governing body, ERC Junior provides a highly competitive platform for drivers stepping up from national level aiming for the sport’s highest echelon. Since 2017, ERC Junior has been split into two divisions based on driver age and car performance. ERC1 Junior is for drivers born on or after 1 January 1992 using Rally2 cars. ERC3 Junior is for drivers born on or after 1 January 1993 competing in Rally4 and Rally5 cars on Pirelli tyres.

Calendar 2020
The 2020 ERC1 and ERC3 Junior calendars are as follows:

Round 1: Azores Rallye (gravel), 26-28 March
Round 2: Rally Islas Canarias (asphalt), 7-9 May
Round 3: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), 29-31 May
Round 4: 77th Rally Poland (gravel), 26-28 June
Round 5: Rally di Roma Capitale (asphalt), 24-26 July
Round 6: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (asphalt), 28-30 August

Entries for the ERC1, ERC2 and ERC3 championships have also opened. Click here for more information.

The post Entries open online, prize packages confirmed for ERC Junior appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Feofanov: ERC2 title would be a great story to tell my grandchildren

Thu, 02/27/2020 - 06:00

Dmitry Feofanov has emerged as the first driver to challenge Tibor Érdi Jr in his bid for an ERC2 hat-trick as registrations continue to roll in for the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship.

Feofanov, from Russia, is committed to at least the opening four events of the upcoming season when he will drive a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X for the respected Prospeed operation.

That commitment means he will make his first competitive start on asphalt on May’s Rally Islas Canarias following the gravel-based, season-opening Azores Rallye in late March. Normunds Kokins will co-drive.

Having tried the ERC for size with a three-event campaign in 2019, Feofanov explained what’s brought him back for more in 2020 and what he hopes to achieve when his opposition will include the returning two-time ERC2 champion Tibor Érdi Jr from Hungary.

Why have you chosen the ERC for 2020?
“When I tried the ERC last year, I found that there was another level of everything – difficulty, organisation, size of events, etc – in comparison to national competitions in the Baltics. I liked that and I felt I was part of something big, a real great sport competition. And I can be competitive there if I do things right. I have also found that there is a real chance to fight for the title because of an affordable budget, as the Group N is still in the game and I am not sure I will have a similar opportunity in the future so it is worth to try now.”

What are your aims and objectives for this year?
“As a minimum I would like to get more experience of how to drive ERC rallies, particularly the events I did not participate in last year. Also, I will do my best to be at ERC2 podium at the end of 2020.”

How much would the title mean to you?
“Of course, if this happens, it will be the highest possible reward for me as a rally driver at the moment. A year ago, I even did not dream about that. But, also, it would be one of the biggest achievements in my whole life as the rally is a big part of it. And a great story for my grandchildren!”

Is it possible you will contest more than four events?
“Yes, sure. We will see the results after the first four. I will understand my feelings about Tarmac, etc, so in the beginning of July it will be more clear which remaining events we should go for.”

You will make your Tarmac debut this year. Excited or apprehensive?
“Canarias will be my first Tarmac-only rally. It may be a bit hard because of the lack of experience.  But definitely I am excited and I hope to enjoy it. I will do my best to be prepared as much as possible during remaining time frame before the event.”

For 2020 you are joining Prospeed, a team with a strong record in ERC2?
“Prospeed has several years of experience in ERC. They know how to be prepared for ERC events, how to work and manage things during events with proper car set-ups. This is important. That was the main reason to join them for the current season. I believe that their knowledge should definitely help to achieve better results and to avoid some mistakes.”

Where to watch Dmitry Feofanov 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, plus other events to be added.

The post Feofanov: ERC2 title would be a great story to tell my grandchildren appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

No joke but a dream: ex-mountain bike champion Cais steps up to ERC1 Junior

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 06:00

Erik Cais will step up to Rally2 (formerly R5) level in the FIA European Rally Championship – three years after injury forced him to call time on his hugely successful downhill mountain bike racing career.

Cais, 20, is swapping the Ford Fiesta R2T he drove to second place in ERC3 and fourth position in Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior in 2019 for a top-of-the-range Ford Fiesta R5 MkII, prepared by his existing team Orsák Rallysport.  It will be run under the Yacco ACCR Team banner, in deference to his main partners, Yacco and the Autoclub of the Czech Republic. Jindřiška Žáková will continue to co-drive.

All roads lead to Zlín for ERC1 Junior contender Cais
Cais will begin his ERC1 Junior campaign on the Azores Rallye from 26-28 March and contest the remaining five ERC1 Junior rounds, including the deciding Barum Czech Rally Zlín, his home event, from 28-30 August.

“It’s really great to be in an R5 car in the European championship as soon as possible to learn and grow,” said Cais. “The R2 was really great for the first step but R5 is what we need to know for the next years. But if you asked me on my 18th birthday, when I was in hospital with a broken collarbone after a bike crash, if I would be sitting in a rally car, I would say you are joking. Now, three years later, I am in the ERC in an R5 car and it’s absolutely a dream. It’s something I never expected after three seasons in rallying. It’s impossible for my head but now it’s going on so I have to focus.

“For now, ERC1 Junior is the priority and we will see how the season goes before we decide about the final two rounds in Cyprus and Hungary.”

Rally2 trials prompt pacenote upgrade
Cais took part on seven ERC3/ERC3 Junior events in 2019 but was forced to miss Rally Islas Canarias while he sat his final school exams. That clash allowed what was, at the time, a one-off step up to R5 on the Vančík Rallysprint Kopná, with Žáková partnering him to second place overall. And he built on that impressive debut by finishing P10 in the R5 class and P11 overall on Rallye du Var last November.

“I knew the Kopná stages so I could drive really fast,” Cais explained. “But Rallye du Var was something new for me and I learned a lot of things, including changes to my pacenotes. I don’t change the full pacenotes but in some corners the apex is different between R2 and R5 so I need to change the pacenotes a bit. The first races of this season will be almost new. I know the Azores from last year but not so much. I know it will be really difficult but I will try to be on the limit as much as I can and do the best I can to use as much as possible the potential of this car.”

Continuity cheers Cais
Cais admits the continuity factor made possible by extending his partnership with Orsák Rallysport and Jindřiška Žáková will help him to acclimatise to the ERC’s top tier. “It’s really important because Jindřiška knows the rhythm of what I want in the car and everybody at the team knows each other so we can grow.”

Hard to compare two- and four-wheel achievements
Cais, who began downhill mountain bike racing aged seven, was a factory rider at World Cup level. However, while training for the 2017 season, he crashed and broke a collarbone in four places. After a lengthy recovery period, Cais decided to call time on two-wheel competition and switch to four, following his father Miroslav into rallying in 2018. It was an inspired move and only a late puncture denied Cais the 2WD category win on Barum Czech Rally Zlín against strong international opposition.

Asked if success in the ERC would top his achievements on the saddle, Cais said: “It’s really difficult to compare the mountain bike to the rally car because in mountain bike you only have one stage around three kilometres in length but with 400 people wanting to beat you. In rallying you have 20 or 30 people in your category wanting to beat you and you have to fight for two days, which is really difficult. I still need to learn about how much power I can do on the first stage compared to the end of the day, where you can go absolutely flat out and where you can only set the time. On the bicycle, you have only flat out and if you do a mistake you know it’s impossible to take it back. In rallying you can try to push and I really want to try and do my best to make our partners proud.”

Yacco, GPD, Autoclub of the Czech Republic, Cais, VP Racing, Pirelli, A-Team, P1 and Hothess will support Cais’s ERC1 Junior Championship bid.

Did you know?
Like his role model Colin McRae, Erik Cais was also born on 5 August, albeit four years after the rallying legend’s world championship triumph. With McRae a childhood hero and Cais’s father Miroslav among the Czech Republic’s best 10 drivers between 1997 and 2008, it was no surprise when Cais Jr took up the sport and in impressive fashion to boot.

Where to watch Erik Cais 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. Plus additional rallies to be confirmed.

The post No joke but a dream: ex-mountain bike champion Cais steps up to ERC1 Junior 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)