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Updated: 34 min 42 sec ago

Lukyanuk keeps Hungary lead despite SS5 puncture

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 16:07

Alexey Lukyanuk maintains a 20s margin at the front of Rally Hungary over ERC title rival Chris Ingram despite sustaining a right-rear puncture on a dramatic SS5.

Saintéloc Junior Team’s Lukyanuk came into the first stage of the afternoon loop with a similar margin over the Ferenc Vincze’s ŠKODA Fabia R5, with the latter also suffering a puncture on the Újhuta test.

While others elected to stop and change wheels, Lukyanuk battled on to the end of the stage, finishing fifth and only losing 20s to stage winner Ingram.

Ingram is now second in the classification after gapping Filip Mareš in third, while Vincze dropped to tenth after shipping over three minutes.

The post Lukyanuk keeps Hungary lead despite SS5 puncture appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Abarth ERC ace Nucita set to restart

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 16:00

Andrea Nucita will restart on leg two of Rally Hungary to keep alive his hopes of winning the first Abarth Rally Cup to take place within the FIA European Rally Championship.

Nucita just needs to finish the event to deny rival Dariusz Poloński the 30,000 euros on offer to the champion, but there we were early fears when Nucita retired his Abarth 124 rally shortly after leaving service inNyíregyháza this morning.

Following repairs, which included changing a faulty sparkplug, Nucita will be back in action on Sunday when seven stages are scheduled.

The post Abarth ERC ace Nucita set to restart appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

When Nagy got a helping hand in the ERC

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 16:00

This is the moment when Mátyás Nagy needed people power to get him back on the road on Rally Hungary’s second stage this morning.

Nagy, who his making his debut in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category, lost more than two minutes during the incident but was able to continue only to suffer a front-left puncture on stage five.

The post When Nagy got a helping hand in the ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Birthday to forget for ERC’s Mayr-Melnhof

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 15:00

Niki Mayr-Melnhof’s birthday celebrations were short-lived after gearbox failure put him out of Rally Hungary this morning.

The 2018 Austrian champion was expected to challenge for a strong finish on the FIA European Rally Championship season-closer only for trouble to strike some six kilometres from the finish of the third stage of the event.

“The first stage today was okay, we took it really cautious because of our starting position,” said Mayr-Melnhof, who turns 41 today. “We had a lot of mud on the road in the cuts so we tried to take it easy and we were quite happy with the set-up.

“On the second stage after the refuelling the first part was really good, but 20 kilometres into the stage on a fast, downhill section I started noticing a noise, then all of a sudden the fifth gear exploded, then fourth, then the third gear. We tried to continue but the car was stuck in second gear so we stopped and that was it.”

Mayr-Melnhof is expected to restart on day two of the Nyíregyháza-based event.

The post Birthday to forget for ERC’s Mayr-Melnhof appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC points leader Ingram “too cautious” amid tricky morning stages in Hungary

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 14:24

FIA European Rally Championship points leader Chris Ingram says he has got to keep pushing despite the road conditions on Rally Hungary making life difficult during the opening loop of stages.

Ingram, who leads the overall standings by 19 points over Łukasz Habaj, currently occupies the final spot on the podium in third, just 1.2s ahead of Filip Mareš.

The Toksport WRT driver started the day well, increasing his lead over his Czech rival to nearly 10s before losing time on the final stage before service.

Ingram said: “We’re not taking any risks out there, everything is going to plan so far and we can definitely go faster [than we are].”

“As long as I don’t have any rubbish stages like the last one, we’ve got enough pace to get the podium that we need.

“Every time I drive well, we’re faster. I always have a bad stage and Filip catches up but on every other stage, we’re faster than him.”

Ingram bemoaned the fact he was almost too careful amid increasingly muddy stages during the morning. The British driver says he must now find the balance between caution on the slippery roads and pushing to keep Mareš behind him heading into the second leg on Sunday.

“[I was] just far too cautious on the mud. We got the information that it was just horrific and I think we were expecting it to be much worse [than it was]. But you’ve still got to keep pushing.”

The post ERC points leader Ingram “too cautious” amid tricky morning stages in Hungary appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Toth returns to ERC 16 years after last win expecting a “fierce battle”

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 14:00

The FIA European Rally Championship is back in Hungary after 16 years and the last Hungarian to win an ERC event on home is attending the inaugural Rally Hungary this weekend.

In 2003 János Tóth Jr, the seven-time national champion, won the Int. Michelin Budapest Rallye.

He’s present in Nyíregyháza in his role as mentor to drivers competing in the Peugeot 208 Rally Cup, giving advice on tyre use and strategy. But he’s also following the action at the head of the field and the three-way title battle.

“The field is much stronger than it was 16 years ago, and the title is being decided here, so we can definitely expect a fierce battle,” said the Hungarian rallying legend. “To tell you the truth, I hope that the Hungarian drivers can benefit from [contesting their] home race, because they have already driven on these stages many times.

“It will be a very tough rally, the treacherous weather conditions have confused some things, but a great atmosphere is guaranteed, because Hungarian fans are fantastic as they have always been.”

Asked what advice he’d give to the Hungarian drivers, Tóth Jr said: “Compete without any pressure and [be] relaxed. If they feel stressed, they can make mistakes easier, that would cost a lot on these stages.”

The post Toth returns to ERC 16 years after last win expecting a “fierce battle” appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Habaj targeting strong finish to ERC season after eventful Rally Hungary start

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 13:53

Łukasz Habaj remains focused on finishing the final ERC round of the year positively after a troublesome start to his Rally Hungary.

The Pole, who is driving a Sports Racing Technologies-prepared Skoda Fabia R5, was forced to miss the qualifying stage on Friday after crashing in practice which affected his starting position on Saturday’s leg.

Habaj, still in the hunt for the overall ERC title, made significant gains during the morning loop of stages, despite getting temporarily stuck at a hairpin towards the end of SS4.

Habaj said: “We had a puncture, but I think the biggest time loss was on one of the hairpins where we got stuck and I just couldn’t start. It was so slippery that the car was drifting with no control and then I just had to reverse and I couldn’t start.”

“Other than that, the car is working well, the tyres are also very good. I took it quite easy on the first stage, but on the second one I think we were a little bit quicker, but if you are 17th on the road in these conditions it is very difficult.

“This was also one of the reasons for this time loss. Hopefully for the next loop, we will be able to start getting closer to the guys in front of us.”

Habaj enters the second loop of the day in ninth position, over two minutes adrift of overall leader and defending ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk, and he is nearly a full minute behind eighth-placed András Hadik.

Nevertheless, Habaj is concentrating on building confidence and speed with the aim of reaching the finish tomorrow.

“I am just focused on the next service at the end of the next loop,” Habaj added.

“I want to reach the finish on Sunday with good pace and leave this rally with the feeling that I did my best, did what I could and that I was fighting until the end.”

The post Habaj targeting strong finish to ERC season after eventful Rally Hungary start appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Devine “building confidence” with each stage on ERC return

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 13:19

FIA European Rally Championship returnee Callum Devine believes his confidence is gradually increasing with each stage as he tackles Rally Hungary in his Hyundai i20 R5 for the first time this weekend.

Alongside co-driver Brian Hoy, the Northern Irishman currently lies fifth in the overall classification after four stages so far, just under a minute off the pace of rally leader Alexey Lukyanuk.

Having only tested the car once prior to the event, Devine is happy with the progress made in the opening loop, despite having to tackle difficult driving conditions.

“We’re here to get miles and we’ve got to remember that. It’s a great opportunity to get this chance,” Devine said.

“I’ve never driven in these conditions before and we are building up the pace. This is our first time in the Hyundai so it’s just taking a bit longer for us to get dialled into the car. But the car is good and every time you gain more confidence.

Devine, whose previous experience in the ERC came in the R2 class in 2016, had been as high as fourth following SS2 (Újhuta-Nyíri) but lost valuable ground on the final stage before service following a brief engine cut-out at a junction, costing him “about 10s”.

He said: “We’re getting faster and faster and we thought we’d be a wee bit faster in that last one, but the car cut out so it did. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious but we’ll go out again on the same tyres and see if we can keep up with the rest of the guys.”

“I came down into a junction, came down the box and she wasn’t there, she was cut out. I had to roll her up onto the grass and restart, so I lost about 10s.”

The post Devine “building confidence” with each stage on ERC return appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Drama in ERC3 as Csomós crashes out on SS4; Cais leads Griebel

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 12:54

Miklós Csomos has crashed out of the ERC3 lead of Rally Hungary on the final stage before service, handing Erik Cais the lead after a dramatic morning.

Overnight leaders Marijan Griebel and Alexander Rath (Toksport WRT) were made to rue their decision to run slick tyres on a damp road on the morning pass of Újhuta and dropped 30 seconds to Cais as well as two positions on the leaderboard.

Csomós was then able to consolidate his lead of just over 17s, from Cais this time in SS3, before sliding off road on SS4 which caused terminal damage to his Peugeot 208 R2.

The Hungarian appeared to crash near the end of the stage, straight into a ditch. Helped by spectators, Csomós got back onto the road minus his front bumper, but suspension damage on the front-left hand side meant that he could not continue much further, eventually pulling off.

This allowed Cais to move into the lead ahead of service, 20.2s clear of Griebel despite suffering his own dramas before the morning’s opening stage.

Following SS1, his ACCR Czech Rally Team decided to change the gearbox of Cais’ Ford Fiesta R2T in the 15-minute service before SS2.

Cais was two minutes late in leaving service, which resulted in a 20s penalty. However, the Czech driver is now firmly back in the hunt following Csomós’ misfortune.

Under the restart rules, Csomós can still return for Sunday’s second leg of the rally, provided his team can repair his damaged car.

In the Ladies’ Trophy title battle, Ekaterina Stratieva holds the advantage after the opening loop. The Bulgarian remains just over 15s ahead of nearest challenger Nabila Tejpar’s Peugeot 208 R2, despite losing a chunk of time in the final stage before service.

The post Drama in ERC3 as Csomós crashes out on SS4; Cais leads Griebel appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC title contender Lukyanuk builds healthy Rally Hungary lead after morning loop

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 12:33

ERC title contender Alexey Lukyanuk has opened up a lead of 20 seconds over Ferenc Vincze following the first loop of stages on Rally Hungary.

Tied on times after the opening superspecial stage at Rabócsiring on Friday evening, the pair continued their battle on the first real test, the 19.95km Újhuta-Nyíri stage this morning.

Vincze edged that by a mere eight-tenths of a second, but Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team) produced a sensational time on SS3 (Füzér-Abaújvári elágazás) to move into the lead by 18.2s.

A further quickest time on SS4 (Mád-Disznókö) means the Russian in his Citroën C3 R5 arrives at service with a lead of 20.7s over Vincze.

Vincze was lucky to not be further adrift at the end of SS4 after suffering a puncture on the right-rear of his Korda Racing Team Skoda Fabia R5. The Hungarian only lost 2.5s to Lukyanuk and remains firmly in the hunt for overall victory.

Points leader Chris Ingram maintained his third place over the opening loop after “not taking any risks” in his Toksport Fabia R5. The British driver is just 1.2s ahead of recently-crowned ERC1 Junior champion Filip Mareš.

Having set the fourth fastest time on SS1, American Sean Johnston endured an up-and-down morning in his Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën. He suffered a front-left puncture on the opening test, dropping over a minute and is now in 11thposition heading into the second loop.

Local favourite Norbert Herczig was another to fall foul of the tricky road conditions as he too suffered a front-left puncture. The four-time Hungarian national champion estimated that his tyre went down “about 4km from the finish”, in addition to an intercom issue during the opening stage of the morning.

That mean that Callum Devine maintains his fifth place, ahead of Frigyes Turán, the latter surviving a half-spin on SS3 in the damp conditions.

András Hadik is eighth ahead of the recovering Łukasz Habaj, who suffered a crash in Friday morning’s practice session. Habaj, who is one of three contenders for the ERC title this weekend, is over two minutes off the pace of Lukyanuk.

There was drama in the Abarth Rally Cup even before the opening stage of the day as Andrea Nucita (Loran) failed to take the start following suspected electrical issues in his Fiat 124 Abarth RGT. This allowed Dariusz Polónski to assume the lead of the class, but not before his own issues. The Pole stopped on stage in SS2, but is still going in his Rallytechnology-prepared car.

The second loop of the opening leg of Rally Hungary is scheduled to start at 14:42 CET

More to follow…

 

 

The post ERC title contender Lukyanuk builds healthy Rally Hungary lead after morning loop appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

“Awesome” opening stages for Johnston on first ERC R5 outing

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 11:21

Saintéloc Junior Team driver Sean Johnston says he has enjoyed his first FIA European Rally Championship outing in an R5 car so far, despite suffering a puncture on the opening stage of Rally Hungary.

The American, who is partnered in his Citroën C3 R5 by British co-driver Alex Kihurani, has made the step from ERC2 to the top class this weekend and is currently 12th in the standings after three stages

A front-left left puncture on SS2 limited his progress early on, but Johnston admits that this setback had lifted any pre-event pressure he may have been under.

“At this point we get to cruise, not trying to prove anything to anybody,” Johnston told ERC Radio’s Julian Porter.

“We’re just out here to have some fun. The roads were covered in leaves and there is some concrete rock hidden in there so the puncture was unfortunate. We’re carrying two spares so it’s alright.”

Johnston is focused on getting the most out of what he calls “a learning curve” this weekend, exemplified by a beaming smile at the end of SS3 as he wrestled his R5 amid tricky road conditions.

“I’m just loving being in this equipment, it’s so much fun.

“The result was never the intention this weekend, I think our pace in the shakedown and the first stage was promising but we are here to learn and that is our objective.”

The post “Awesome” opening stages for Johnston on first ERC R5 outing appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Drama in ERC Abarth Rally Cup

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 10:22

Abarth Rally Cup title rivals Andrea Nucita and Dariusz Poloński have both hit trouble on the deciding round of the one-make series.

Nucita was forced to park his Abarth 124 rally shortly after leaving service this morning, while Poloński was delayed by a puncture on stage two.

However, providing Nucita’s car can be fixed, restart rules will allow him to return to the action for Sunday’s closing leg.

The post Drama in ERC Abarth Rally Cup appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Tough start for home ERC hero Herczig

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 10:00

Norbert Herczig’s bid to win his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship took a turn for the worse on Rally Hungary’s second stage this morning.

Driving a MOL Racing Team Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Herczig was seventh overnight but has slipped to P11 in the overall classification heading to SS3 following a double blow on SS2.

As well as a front-left puncture, Herczig was unable to hear co-driver Ramón Ferencz’s pacenotes.

“We got it four or five kilometres before the finish,” said Herczig. “But the main problem is the intercom, I didn't hear the co-driver from the middle of the stage."

The post Tough start for home ERC hero Herczig appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Follow Rally Hungary live on ERC Radio and Facebook

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 08:00

Rally Hungary resumes this morning with coverage of the FIA European Rally Championship season finale live on ERC Radio and Facebook.

Chris Rawes will be broadcasting live from the finish of Saturday’s opening stage with Julian Porter taking over live transmission duties for SS3. There will be a Facebook Live hosted by Rawes during stage four and by Porter on both stages five and seven.

ERC Radio will be on-air from 08h45 with stage action from 08h58.

The post Follow Rally Hungary live on ERC Radio and Facebook appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

I couldn’t see, says ERC title leader Ingram following SS1 drama

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 06:00

Chris Ingram relied solely on co-driver Ross Whittock’s pacenotes to complete the opening stage of Rally Hungary last night after the lights on his Toksport WRT ŠKODA Fabia R5 failed prior to starting the Rabócsiring superspecial.

While sections of the stage were well lit, Ingram admitted there were parts of the course where he simply could not see where he was going.

“The lights didn’t come on but it was okay, we didn’t lose too much time,” said the FIA European Rally Championship leader, who was sixth quickest, 1.5s adrift of top spot. “At the far end I couldn’t see anything, I was just listening to Ross hoping we were going the right way.”

Some 8000 fans flocked to the rallycross venue to follow the action unfold. “There were so many people in there, it was a great start to the rally,” Ingram added.

The post I couldn’t see, says ERC title leader Ingram following SS1 drama appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Habaj praises SRT for keeping his ERC title dream alive

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 23:17

Łukasz Habaj has credited his Sports Racing Technologies for keeping him in the fight to win the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship.

Habaj feared his ERC title hopes were over when he crashed in free practice this morning, which left his ŠKODA Fabia R5 badly damaged.

But frantic repair work by his mechanics ensured he made the start of the rallying’s opening test, albeit with only minutes to spare.

“Massive thanks to the team, they did an absolutely great job,” said Habaj, who was ninth fastest during this evening’s superspecial. “We left the service park at the very last minute. Ten minutes before our team was not even sure if we would be able to start or not. But they did it so it’s great.”

Of his SS1 performance, Habaj added: “This one was quite difficult getting the feeling back but the car is working and that’s the most important thing. Hopefully it will be fine from this moment.”

The post Habaj praises SRT for keeping his ERC title dream alive appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Champions attack: Lukyanuk, Vincze level after thrilling 8000 fans on ERC opener

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 20:49

Alexey Lukyanuk has begun the deciding round of the FIA European Rally Championship by setting the joint-fastest time with Ferenc Vincze following the opening superspecial stage of Rally Hungary in front of 8000 fans.

Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team), the defending ERC champion, and Korda Racing Team’s Vincze, who claimed his first Hungarian title last month, set exactly the same time of 1m53.1s on the 2.40km Rabócsiring test and enter Saturday’s loop of stages tied for the rally lead, just two-tenths of a second ahead of the ACCR Czech Rally Team ŠKODA Fabia of ERC1 Junior champion Filip Mareš.

Overall ERC points leader Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) lies in sixth, tied with four-time Hungarian champion Norbert Herczig, while Łukasz Habaj is P10 after his Sports Racing Technologies team heroically completed the repair of his Fabia R5 with just moments to spare.

Qualifying Stage pace-setter Ingram survived a slight drama on his run, after the headlamps failed to switch on, leaving the British driver literally in the dark.

Despite ending the opening stage on top of the times, it was far from an easy start for Lukyanuk who struggled to switch his wipers back on following the water splash which resulted in him “sliding sideways for 50 metres.”

Behind Mareš came American Sean Johnston, who was fourth quickest on his first competitive outing in an R5 car, just seven-tenths off the pace of Lukyanuk. Fellow R5 debutant Callum Devine (Hyudai Motorsport N) failed to receive a time however after he and Brazilian Paolo Nobre (Palmerinha Rally) had their runs red flagged.

Hungarian locals Kristóf Klausz and Ádám Velenczei posted solid top 10 times, ahead of Habaj, with the latter ending up tied with József Róbert Trencsényi.

Marijan Griebel marked his return to the championship in fine style by topping the ERC3 class on the opening stage. The German, who has been a regular in the ERC1 category, beat Erik Cais, whose ACCR Czech Rally Team Fiesta developed a gearbox issue during the run.

The battle for the ERC Ladies’ Trophy title got off to a somewhat anti-climatic start as Nabila Tejpar and Ekaterina Stratieva’s head-to-head was red flagged, leaving both on the same time heading into Saturday’s stages.

Abarth Rally Cup title contenders Andrea Nucita and Dariusz Polónski began their weekend with contrasting fortunes as Nucita headed his Polish rival by nearly 10 seconds despite falling ill earlier.

More to follow…

The post Champions attack: Lukyanuk, Vincze level after thrilling 8000 fans on ERC opener appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Rally Hungary live on ERC Radio

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 18:00

ERC Radio’s live coverage of Rally Hungary will continue this evening with all the action from the opening stage at the Rabócsiring rallycross track.

Julian Porter and Chris Rawes will be live at the finish of the 2.4-kilometre spectator special, which features FIA European Rally Championship drivers competing against each other in pairs.

The stage is due to get underway at 18h58 with ERC crews running in partially-reversed seeded order.

The post Rally Hungary live on ERC Radio appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Nucita focused on finishing, not winning ERC Abarth decider

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 16:00

Andrea Nucita has no plans to push for the category win on the deciding round of the Abarth Rally Cup, which has run within the FIA European Rally Championship for the first time in 2019.

Nucita is eight points ahead of Dariusz Poloński in the Abarth Rally Cup, which rewards 30,000 euros to the winner.

With 25 points awarded to the category winner and 18 points to the second-place finisher, Nucita knows the title will be his providing he reaches the finish in Nyíregyháza on Sunday evening, regardless of Poloński’s result.

“The conditions are difficult but the car set-up is okay,” said Italian Nucita. “I hope to arrive in second position to win the championship.”

Poloński said: "We have to take it carefully, there is a lot of mud on the road."

The post Nucita focused on finishing, not winning ERC Abarth decider appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Ingram chooses second, Lukyanuk first on the road for ERC Rally Hungary

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 15:36

Chris Ingram will follow his FIA European Rally Championship title rival Alexey Lukyanuk through the stages on leg one of Rally Hungary.

Ingram earned the right to pick his starting position first after setting the pace on the Qualifying Stage this morning.

He opted to run second with Lukyanuk making the bold decision to start at the front of the field after jokingly accusing Ingram of being a ‘chicken’ by not picking first.

“I think it’s going to be an incredibly difficult rally to open the road on a brand-new rally, I don’t need to take the risk,” said Ingram. “It will be okay to follow Alexey and check his times at the end of the stages.”

Filip Mareš selected position three, Norbert Herczig fourth and recently-crowned Hungarian champion Ferenc Vincze fifth with Sean Johnston choosing to start sixth on his debut in the ERC1 category.

Following the start selection ceremony, the top 15 drivers on the Qualifying Session took part in a photocall to promote the FIA Action for Road Safety campaign.

The opening stage of Rally Hungary is due to get underway at 18h58 local time.

The post Ingram chooses second, Lukyanuk first on the road for ERC Rally Hungary appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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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)