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Updated: 18 min 53 sec ago

Kreim bids for German hat-trick after ERC Junior success

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 16:00

Fabian Kreim will bid for a German championship hat-trick in 2019 as he continues his long-standing partnership with ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland.

Kreim challenged for last year’s FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship – the category for young stars in R5 cars – and won his class on Rally di Roma Capitale alongside former co-driver Frank Christian.

For 2019, the German talent will link up with new co-driver Tobias Braun in a Baumschlager Rallye & Racing-run ŠKODA Fabia R5 from this weekend’s ADAC Saarland-Pfalz Rallye.

“Frank has been working on his new professional challenge since January and has decided to clear the hot seat,” Kreim explained. “I have a lot to thank him [for] and will never forget the common successes.”

Kreim won the German title in 2015 and 2016. Marijan Griebel, German champion in 2018 after claiming back-to-back ERC Junior crowns, is the number one seed on the St Wendel-based event in a ŠKODA Fabia R5. He will switch to a Volkswagen Polo R5 for his ERC title challenge, which begins on the Azores Rallye later this month.

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Why Munnings deserves Peugeot Rally Academy chance in ERC

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 15:00

Catie Munnings’ inclusion in the Team Peugeot Rally Academy line-up in this season’s FIA European Rally Championship is the reward for her progression from rookie to established competitor.

That’s according to ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley, who has followed her career since she entered the European championship in 2016.

Munnings will join French promise Yohan Rossel in the two-strong Team Peugeot Rally Academy attack in the ERC3 category at the wheel of a Peugeot 208 R2, starting with the Azores Rally later this month.

He said: “For Catie to get this opportunity is fantastic news and a reflection on the excellent progress she has made since joining the ERC as a virtual novice in 2016. Her commitment to the ERC and hard work has really paid off. We have no doubt she will make the most of this opportunity.”

Munnings, the ERC Ladies’ Trophy winner in 2016 and a point-scorer on all six ERC Junior rounds in 2018, has been selected as a Red Bull athlete for this season, the first British female race or rally driver to get such recognition.

“I am so excited to begin this new chapter in my sporting career,” said the 21-year-old of her Red Bull support. “Being associated with the top athletes of so many different disciplines is a real honour and very inspirational for me.”

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Remembering when… Falcón beat Munnings to ERC Ladies’ Trophy glory

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 14:00

Emma Falcón secured the 2018 ERC Ladies’ Trophy title on the final stage of Rally Liepāja last October, although it was her main competitor, Catie Munnings, who secured the class victory on the rally itself.

Munnings knew only a top five finish in ERC3 would improve her final championship position and, thanks to issues befalling fellow ERC Junior Under 27 competitors Mattia Vita and Kristóf Klausz, she progressed from seventh to fifth across the course of leg two.

However, the Saintéloc driver’s gains were not enough to tip the balance in her favour for the title, with Falcón’s seventh place in ERC3 was enough to seal the trophy.

“It has been a rally difficult year with many problems but I’m very happy to stay here and win the championship, said Falcón. “Thank you to Catie as well.”

Falcón had taken a cautious approach throughout, with an unfamiliar GC Motorsport-run Peugeot 208 R2 replacing her usual Citroën DS3 R3T in Liepāja.

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Recent ERC Ladies’ Trophy winners

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 13:00

Following Molly Taylor’s capture of the ERC Ladies’ Trophy in 2013, the title has been claimed by the following drivers in the last five years.

2014: Ekaterina Stratieva (Bulgaria), pictured
2015: Ekaterina Stratieva (Bulgaria)
2016: Catie Munnings (Great Britain)
2017: Tamara Molinaro (Italy)
2018: Emma Falcón (Spain)

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ERC celebrates International Women’s Day

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:00

The FIA European Rally Championship is celebrating International Women’s Day ahead of the 2019 ERC season when the ERC Ladies’ Trophy will once again be up for grabs.

ERC promoter Eurosport Events remains committed to encouraging the participation of women in motorsport and revamped the ERC Ladies’ Trophy for 2018 accordingly.

Rather than recognise the achievements of women when competing against other women drivers, to promote gender equality, drivers score points based on where they appear in the final four- or two-wheel-drive order using a dedicated scoring system.

All rounds of the ERC are included in the ERC Ladies’ Trophy with all classes (ERC1, ERC2 and ERC3) eligible. Drivers count their best four scores.

The scoring system is as follows: 1 = 100; 2 = 90; 3 = 80; 4 = 75; 5 = 70; 6 = 65; 7 = 60; 8 = 55; 9 = 50; 10 = 45; 11 = 43; 12 = 41; 13 = 39; 14 = 37; 15 = 35; 16 = 33; 17 = 31; 18 = 29; 19 = 27; 20 = 25; 21 = 23; 22 = 21; 23 = 19; 24 = 17; 25 = 15; 26 = 13; 27 = 11; 28 = 9; 29 = 7; 30 = 5; all remaining positions = 1 point.

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Myachin takes next step with ERC3 bid

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 12:00

Dmitriy Myachin will take on a challenge of a different kind when he embarks on his first FIA European Rally Championship campaign in 2019.

The 34-year-old Russian has won titles in Latvia, Lithuania and in his homeland but has no ERC experience to call upon. However, that will change this year with what Myachin hopes could be a seven-event campaign alongside compatriot Alexander Gorlanov, his co-driver since 2015.

Myachin said: “The ERC is the next step for me and for the all team. I won some national championships in the Baltic States in my category a few years ago as well as the Russian Rally Championship in 2017. Since that time, the team and me worked hard to get to get to a new level. Now we have big experience and a few R2 cars available for rent.”

Of the challenge ahead, Myachin admits a tough campaign is in store in 2019: “With it's wide geographical spread and different types of roads, the ERC is a new challenge. And it definitely will be quite complicated, especially on Tarmac. All rallies are absolutely new for me, they are really different and the level of the drivers is so high.”

Myachin will start his campaign in a Peugeot 208 R2 but could switch to the Opel ADAM R2 – which is also run by his TBRacing operation – later in the year but on selected events.

“Of course I want to win but I understand how difficult it is, especially in the first year,” said Myachin, who began competing in 2010. “But I'm ready to work hard all season and go straight to the goal. We will see where we are in the end of the season.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “We are really pleased to welcome Dmitriy, Alexander and TBRacing to the FIA European Rally Championship for what we hope will be a long-term participation. Dmitriy recognises that he has a lot to learn given his lack of event knowledge, but he should be praised for taking on the challenge against what he knows will be strong opposition.”

Myachin is not the first driver from Russia to mount a major ERC campaign with Alexey Lukyanuk taking the overall title in 2018, the first Russian to do so. Lukyanuk will defend his title this season when Sergei Remennik is also expected to chase ERC2 honours.

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Pressure and dreams: Lundberg gears up for ERC action

Wed, 03/06/2019 - 06:00

Elias Lundberg has said his inclusion in the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team’s FIA ERC3 Junior Championship campaign in 2019 is a dream come true, adding that he and new team-mate Grégoire Munster are under pressure to deliver title success.

Opel-backed drivers have won the ERC’s two-wheel-drive Junior crown four years running and 20-year-old Lundberg is aware a that a fifth title is a target for the highly-respected outfit.

“To work with professional people in a successful factory team has been a dream for as long as I can remember,” said the Swede. “For sure both myself and Grégoire have a bit of pressure on us as well. Opel has a great history in the ERC clinching four driver titles in a row in the Juniors. I will do what I can to continue on Opel Motorsport’s successful path and I can’t wait for the season to start.”

However, with no experience of any of the ERC Junior events, Lundberg admits he’s he’ll face a tough test in the Pirelli-supported category. “I know there is much to learn since I’m new to the long and tough rallies in the ERC. My co-driver, David Arhusiander, and I have the goal to win the championship. But we also know the ERC3 Junior class is really tough and the speed in the class will be at the absolute top level.

“We are new to the ERC and we meet some really fast guys that have been here before. We set ourselves high goals to be motivated to do better all the time.”

Lundberg is stepping up to the ERC for 2019 as his reward for winning the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup in Germany last season, a title won by compatriot Tom Kristensson in 2017.

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Busy year for big ERC prospect Rossel

Tue, 03/05/2019 - 06:00

Yohan Rossel will combine a season of French championship action in a Citroën C3 R5 with his maiden FIA European Rally Championship campaign alongside co-driver Benoȋt Fulcrand.

Rossel, 24, will join Catie Munnings at Team Peugeot Rally Academy for an ERC3 assault, his reward for winning the 208 Rally Cup in his native France last season.

“To be able to contest FIA ERC3 with Team Peugeot Rally Academy is a tremendous opportunity,” said Rossel. “The ERC, the events and the team will all be new to us but it’s an exciting challenge. At the same time, we are already familiar with the 208 R2, of course, and we can’t wait for our new adventure with Peugeot Sport to get going. This is a big chance for us and we are thrilled at the prospect of starting our first ERC round.”

Rossel, a former French Junior champion, is highly thought of by Peugeot Sport bosses. Laurent Guyot, Manager, Customer Competition Programmes, said: “The decision to offer Yohan Rossel a seat with Team Peugeot Rally Academy was a perfectly logical step given the results he has achieved and his performance during last year’s 208 Rally Cup. He provided another illustration of his speed and consistency by winning the two-wheel-drive class on Rallye Monte-Carlo.Peugeot Sport has always sought to help talented youngsters make it to the top and Yohan fits perfectly with this policy.”

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Mission accomplished: Røkland secures ERC3 Junior campaign, plots title challenge

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 09:00

Norwegian promise Steve Røkland is aiming high in 2019 after confirming his return to the FIA European Rally Championship.

The talented 26-year-old will contest the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior category in an all-new Ford Fiesta R2. Compatriot Marius Fuglerud has been recruited as Røkland’s new co-driver.

Having outlined last month his plans to compete in ERC3 Junior, Røkland has his hopes set on the FIA class title – and the prize of two ERC rallies in a Motorsport Italia ŠKODA Fabia R5 in 2020.

“The ERC is a really good championship with some really great rallies and the competition is really strong as well,” said Røkland, who scored two ERC Junior podiums earlier in his career.

Røkland currently has the budget in place for three events but hopes to boost his funds to enable a five-rally campaign – ERC3 Junior drivers count their best four scores from a possible six.

“The hope is to do five rallies, I can challenge for the title,” said Røkland. “I have experience of most of the rallies, even if it’s just the recce or if it’s like Rally Liepāja, which was on snow when I did it.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Steve’s return to the ERC is really good news. He proved his talent in the past with some top performances and the experience he’s gained since his last ERC appearance in 2016 can only make him an even better driver.”

As well as scoring three ERC Junior podiums in seven starts, Røkland lifted the FIA Celtic Rally Trophy ERT Junior crown in 2018 when he was also a class winner in the British championship. He took the Class 1 title in Norway in 2016, having enjoyed similar success two years previously.

Røkland joins Czech Erik Cais from the bulging ERC3 Junior entry in opting for M-Sport Poland’s new Fiesta R2T, which is powered by a 200hp, EcoBoost engine and comes with updated gearbox, suspension and chassis.

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ERC organisers attend successful FIA Rally Officials’ Seminar

Sun, 03/03/2019 - 18:00

More than 80 members of the community of international rally officials, including from the FIA European Rally Championship, assembled on Gran Canaria this weekend.

Representing some 30 national federations, the officials plus experts and guest speakers, attended the 10th FIA Rally Officials’ Seminar where the spotlight was on regulation implementation and safety, with a few to implementing further improvements during 2019.

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, was among those in attendance along with ERC event organisers, FIA Rally Director Yves Matton, FIA Safety Manager Michèle Mouton, FIA Rally Commission Vice President Uwe Schmidt and FIA Regional Rally Manager Jérôme Roussel.

Commenting on the seminar organised by the FIA, Matton said: “I am delighted to see the high level of professionalism and commitment of the participants this weekend. They represent the top officials from rally with important responsibilities in matters of event regulations and safety. The previous editions have demonstrated that there is much we can do to keep improving in these areas and this seminar has become an essential platform for sharing the latest updates and best practices.”

Click here for more on the event.

Photo: FIA.com

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ERC2 ace Remennik shines on Russian rally

Sat, 03/02/2019 - 06:00

FIA European Rally Championship regulars Sergei Remennik and Mark Rozin made an instant impact on their debut in a Ford Fiesta Proto, leading last weekend’s Rally Malachite before settling for the runner-up spot by a mere 2.2s.

The Urals-based crew switched from the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X they normally campaign in ERC2 to try out the uprated Fiesta from Prospeed Motorsport on the Russian Rally Cup counter.

And they impressed by topping the leaderboard at the end of leg one by 14.6s ahead of Denis Rostilov.

“We seemed to get used to the car, but you won’t try everything and take unnecessary risks during the race,” said Remennik, who received guidance from driver coach and ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk.

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From downhill to up and up, Czech promise Cais is ERC3 Junior-bound

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 12:00

Erik Cais spent 2018 adapting to four wheels from two. Now he’s gunning for FIA European Rally Championship glory in only his second season in the sport.

The 19-year-old, who enjoyed a standout career in downhill mountain bike racing, switched to rallying in 2018 after injury forced him to call time on a discipline he’d excelled at from the age of seven.

Despite his lack of experience, Cais produced a number of impressive performances, including on his home ERC counter, Barum Czech Rally Zlín, where he was leading the RC4 category until a puncture on the penultimate stage dropped him back to fifth in class. He also scored a class victory on the Lausitz Rallye, his first event on gravel, last November.

Competing under his national federation’s ACCR Czech Team banner, Cais will contest the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior category in 2019.

“The ERC is a big challenge for me and one of my big dreams comes true,” said Cais, whose father Miroslav was a frontrunner in the Czech championship. “I always wanted to compete internationally and get great results, I hope I will achieve them in the ERC.”

Cais will link up with new co-driver Jindřiška Žáková in his newly-acquired Ford Fiesta R2T, which will be prepared by leading entrant Orsák Rally Sport, former European championship regular Jaroslav Orsák’s self-run team. “It is completely different car from my previous PEUGEOT and it will not be easy to get used to this car, but I will do my best,” said Cais, who will chase ERC Nations’ Cup points for the ACCR Czech Team in addition to ERC3 and ERC3 Junior points.

In good company with Vouilloz
Erik Cais is not the only downhill mountain bike racer to compete in the FIA European Rally Championship. Nicolas Vouilloz, a 10-time world champion, won twice in five ERC starts and claimed the Intercontinental Rally Challenge title in 2008, a category devised by Eurosport Events, promoter of the ERC since 2013.

Cais was seven when he started racing mountain bikes downhill but, by 2015, was competing in the IXS European Downhill Cup. He began his World Cup career the following season but a crash during a training run in 2017 left him with a badly broken collarbone. But following lengthy recovery, he elected to take up his second love, rallying, and hasn’t looked back since.

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Peugeot Sport continues to back young talent in ERC

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 09:00

Peugeot Sport will continue to use the FIA European Rally Championship to showcase young talent with confirmation that Yohan Rossel and Catie Munnings will compete in the ERC3 category for Team Peugeot Rally Academy in 2019.

Rossel, 24, gets his first ERC campaign as the winner of the France-based 208 Rally Cup, while Munnings, 21, will receive support from Peugeot UK as she joins Team Peugeot Rally Academy for the first time, following an impressive 2018 ERC Junior U27 season when she scored points on all six rounds.

Laurent Guyot, Manager, Customer Competition Programmes, Peugeot Sport, said: “The decision to offer Yohan Rossel a seat with Team Peugeot Rally Academy was a perfectly logical step given the results he has achieved and his performance during last year’s 208 Rally Cup.

“Yohan provided another illustration of his speed and consistency in the Peugeot 208 R2 by winning the two-wheel-drive class on January’s Rallye Monte-Carlo which was a particularly demanding event. Peugeot Sport has always sought to help talented youngsters make it to the top and Yohan fits perfectly with this policy.

“It’s also a pleasure to have Catie Munnings with us at Team Peugeot Rally Academy this season. Catie is backed by Peugeot UK and has good experience of the ERC, improving with every participation.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Peugeot Sport’s decision to continue its ERC participation is another endorsement of the championship and the vital role it performs in equipping young drivers progressing from national level with the skills to step up to the world stage.

“In Yohan Rossel we welcome a young talent from France with a strong reputation and a background of success in the Peugeot 208 R2.

“Meanwhile, for Catie Munnings to get this opportunity is fantastic news and a reflection on the excellent progress she has made since joining the ERC as a virtual novice in 2016. Her commitment to the ERC and hard work has really paid off. We have no doubt she will make the most of this opportunity.”

Munnings: same car, new co-driver
Briton Catie Munnings has recruited Norwegian Veronica Engan to co-drive her Team Peugeot Rally Academy 208 R2 in 2019 as she focuses on ERC3 points. “I’m going to participate in my third ERC season,” said Munnings. “I like this championship, I feel comfortable and I know the rallies well. With the support of Peugeot UK, I am joining the Team Peugeot Rally Academy this. I started my career driving a Peugeot 208 R2 and I’m really proud to join the team and wear the colours of Peugeot Sport, an additional motivation. We look forward to launching our season with Veronica.”

Busy year for big prospect Rossel
Yohan Rossel will combine a season of French championship action in a Citroën C3 R5 with his maiden ERC campaign alongside co-driver Benoȋt Fulcrand. “To be able to contest FIA ERC3 with Team Peugeot Rally Academy is a tremendous opportunity,” said Rossel. “The ERC, the events and the team will all be new to us but it’s an exciting challenge. At the same time, we are already familiar with the 208 R2, of course, and we can’t wait for our new adventure with Peugeot Sport to get going. This is a big chance for us and we are thrilled at the prospect of starting our first ERC round.”

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Lukyanuk bids to join illustrious list with ERC title defence

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 12:00

Alexey Lukyanuk will bid to become only the fourth driver in history to successfully defend their FIA European Rally Championship title after signing to drive a Citroën C3 R5 for Saintéloc Racing.

Lukyanuk won the ERC crown in 2018 at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5 from the H-Racing stable. If the Russian claims back-to-back titles in 2019, then he will join Bernard Darniche (1976-1977), Luca Rossetti (2010-2011) and Kajetan Kajetanowicz (2014-2017) on an illustrious list.

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “While we really hope that Alexey will get the opportunity to showcase his huge talent on a global scale having won the European championship – the established training ground for World Rally Championship drivers – his focus for 2019 is on defending the title he and Alexey Arnautov won so impressively last season. We are honoured to have them back in the ERC where they will once again provide the ultimate benchmark to the ERC Junior drivers aiming for the top.”

St Petersburg resident Lukyanuk, considered to be one of the most spectacular drivers of a generation, said: “It’s a huge challenge for us with a new team and new car. It will be tough but everybody is focused to work very hard and try to achieve the maximum. It’s a bit of a step into the unknown, like another championship, but we have good experience of the rallies and we have a good team.”

He continued: “What we can do massively depends on the feeling in the and within the team. Of course I am hungry for wins but I also need to be focused on scoring points and being more consistent. We did a very good job last year but still there were some unexpected things so we have to combine our speed with our reliability. It’s not easy but we will work hard.”

Vincent Ducher, Rally Manager at Saintéloc Racing, which guided Craig Breen to a trio of top-three finishes in the overall ERC standings between 2013-2015, said: “Saintéloc is glad to welcome Lucas and Alexey Arnautov to the team. We want to be back on the road to victory, so naturally we met a few months ago and discussed the possibilities with Lucas, one of the best drivers. With our two new rockets, the C3 R5 and Lucas, we have a lot of work to do, but it will be a great and exciting challenge with Citroën and Michelin backing.”

Lukyanuk will join Mattias Adielsson at Saintéloc, the Swede having been announced by the team last month to drive a C3 R5 in the ERC1 Junior category.

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Volcano racing ERC style live on TV and online

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 09:00

Action from one of international rallying’s most spectacular special stages […]

Action from one of international rallying’s most spectacular special stages will be broadcast live when the Azores Rallye opens the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship season next month.

Sete Cidades, which takes crews along the rim of a spectacular volcanic crater lake, is one of four individual stages set for live coverage on RTP Açores, plus live streaming on the official ERC website, FIAERC.com, and social media channels.

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

However, before viewers will be treated to the stunning Sete Cidades, they can enjoy the battle on the streets of Ponta Delgada, where the City Show – a series of non-competitive demo runs from all crews – takes place on the evening of Wednesday 20 March.

On Thursday 21 March, fans can then watch live the event-opening Coroa da Mata stage before being treated to action from the Marques superspecial, which runs through the amphitheatre of a quarry.

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

Live coverage from Tronqueira, which hosts the second stage on Saturday 23 March and the rally’s deciding test that afternoon, will be the focus of leg three’s live output, which concludes with the podium finish in Ponta Delgada in early evening.

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

Wednesday 20 March
20h25-23h00: City Show

Thursday 21 March
15h00-19h00: Coroa da Mata (SS1, from 15h28) and SSS Marques 1 (SS3, 16h31)

Friday 22 March
10h30-12h58: Sete Cidades 1 (SS5, from 10h39)
14h30-19h00: Sete Cidades 2 (SS8, from 14h38) and SSS Marques 2 (SS10, 16h26)

Saturday 23 March
10h20-12h30: Tronqueira 1 (SS12, from 10h26)
15h40-19h00: Tronqueira 2 (SS15, from 15h52), final-stage stop line and podium (from 18h10)

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ERC event winner Magalhães in the points on return home

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 06:00

Bruno Magalhães made a strong start to life as a Hyundai Team Portugal driver, just missing out on a top-five finish on Rali Serras de Fafe in his debut in an i20 R5.

Partnered by long-term co-driver Hugo Magalhães, three-time Portuguese champion Bruno Magalhães set top-six times on seven of the event’s 14 stages last weekend.

He finished 2.7s behind double Portuguese champion José Pedro Fontes, with Ricardo Moura fourth for ARC Sport.

Magalhães will be back on FIA European Rally Championship duty on next month’s Azores Rallye, when Azorean ace Moura and a number of other leading Portuguese drivers will also be in action on the spectacular gravel event.

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Record-breaking champion Kajetanowicz maintains ERC links with BRR world deal

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 06:00

Triple title winner Kajetan Kajetanowicz will maintain his links with the FIA European Rally Championship in 2019.

European champion from 2015-2017, Kajetanowicz has joined forces with Baumschlager Rallye & Racing to drive an all-new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 for his second season in the world championship following his graduation from the ERC.

Although he will continue to compete under the LOTOS Rally Team banner alongside co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak, his move to Raimund Baumschlager’s stable for a seven-event world campaign brings to an end a hugely successful and long standing partnership with M-Sport Poland.

BRR is a title-winning ERC entrant with Marijan Griebel and will guide Griebel and MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig in this year’s European championship from next month’s Azores Rallye. Both will drive the new Polo.

“Many thanks for support brought by our strategic partner – Grupa LOTOS, and also Delphi Technologies, Driving Experience and Pirelli,” said Kajetanowicz. “Without you it would only be dreams and not reality. I am grateful to M-Sport Poland for the past five years and great success we shared. Together with the whole LOTOS Rally Team we will do our best, we do not want to disappoint you – our supporters and all Polish fans. How can we do it? We will constantly dream, believe and work hard.”

Up first for Kajetanowicz is the Tour de Corse from 28-31 March, an event he first contested when it counted for ERC points in 2014.

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Štajf prepares to write latest chapter of diverse career with ERC return

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 16:00

Czech journalist and rally winner Vojtĕch Štajf will return to the FIA European Rally Championship in 2019 as part of a busy season behind the wheel for the Racing 21 driver and team boss.

Last year’s Middle East championship runner-up will split duties for Racing 21 between driving a ŠKODA Fabia R5 in the ERC from the season-opening Azores Rallye and campaigning a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in his homeland. Compatriot Veronika Havelková has been recruited to co-drive.

“Becoming runner-up in this very tough and challenging Middle East championship for a European driver with no previous experience on these specific events was really special,” said the 45-year-old Štajf. “And now I think I am prepared for the challenge of using this experience in the superb FIA ERC with many fast drivers. After finishing second in ERC2 in 2015, I always wanted to be back in the ERC, so let’s do it.”

While Racing 21 will run Štajf’s Fabia R5 in the ERC, he and Havelková will compete under the ACCR Czech Team banner with support from their national federation, the Autoclub of the Czech Republic.

“We will be granted some support from the Czech ASN for this programme, as ACCR wants to combine the support not only for young talented drivers but also for an experienced ‘old dog’ like me. I am very happy for that because they have supported me since 2006 and I have had some good results for them. I appreciate the trust in my steady performance from our ASN.”

Of his targets for the ERC in 2019, Štajf said: “My great advantage is the experience with various events, regarding the system of my pacenotes, the set-up of the car, experience with the tyres and good knowledge of the Fabia in various conditions. In my team Racing 21 we have more R5 cars so I can have one Fabia just for my ERC programme. Therefore, my aim is to have the best prepared car and be the endurance type of driver in terms of collecting points from every event. Let’s see how many I can gather during the whole season.”

He continued: “Winning stages is great but I am more interested in the overall result in the whole season. I never know which season will turn out to be my last complete one. So, my attitude is primarily to enjoy the sport and have a good feeling about my driving.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Vojtĕch’s enthusiasm for the sport is unprecedented, while his vast experience will be a real advantage during a very competitive season. His approach is to be applauded, he’s proactive when it comes to attracting sponsors and partners, media coverage and fans – one of his YouTube videos has attracted 1.2 million views. As a former ERC2 frontrunner, we look forward to welcoming him back to the ERC for 2019.”

Five Vojtĕch Štajf facts
*A big rallying fan, Štajf began co-driving in 1995 before making his debut behind the wheel in 1998.
*Prior to the 2019 season, Štajf has 192 starts to his name as a driver – including the Shiraz International Rally in Iran and Rallye Monte-Carlo – plus 19 as a co-driver for a current total of 211.
*He has the honour of being the first non-factory driver to pilot a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in competition following his outing on last December’s TipCars Pražský Rallysprint, which he could have won but for a mistake on the final stage when he was leading by 13.2s.
*When he’s not driving, Štajf – who studied journalism at university, has worked in TV and for ŠKODA Motorsport as press officer – runs a magazine publishing company.
*As well as co-driving on the first Dakar in South America, Štajf has twice contested the legendary La Carrera Panamericana road race in Mexico.

Photo: Michal Vitovec/Racing 21

The post Štajf prepares to write latest chapter of diverse career with ERC return appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Juniors Munster and Tsouloftas on form in Belgium and Cyprus

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 06:00

ERC Juniors Grégoire Munster and Alexandros Tsouloftas have already celebrated 2019 rally wins in their native Belgium and Cyprus respectively.

Munster took Belgian Junior championship honours on last weekend’s Rally van Haspengouw in a BMA Autosport Opel ADAM R2 in a strong P14 overall, commenting afterwards that it had been “purely a perfect rally”.

Also on Rally van Haspengouw, former ERC Junior Sébastien Bedoret finished third overall in a ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Meanwhile, in Cyprus earlier this month, Tsouloftas drove his family-run Citroën DS3 R5 to victory on the East Safari Rally in Cyprus ahead of Petros Panteli. Simos Galatariotis, who won the ERC-counting Cyprus Rally last June, was 3.7s behind Tsoulotfas with one stage remaining prior to his withdrawal.

Munster and Tsouloftas will compete in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 Junior and ERC1 Junior categories respectively this season. The Azores Rallye hosts the opening round from 21-23 March.

Photo: BMA Autosport

The post ERC Juniors Munster and Tsouloftas on form in Belgium and Cyprus appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC success on Rally Sweden in numbers

Sun, 02/24/2019 - 06:00

Last week, drivers with FIA European Rally Championship experience excelled on Rally Sweden. Here’s a reminder of just some of the fine achievements.

11: The top 11 finishers all have ERC experience
2: They included 2014 ERC champion Esapekka Lappi, who finished second
16: Drivers with ERC experience won 16 of the 19 special stages
1: ERC Junior U27 runner-up Tom Kristensson (pictured) won the Junior world championship category at his first attempt
13: Mārtiņš Sesks, the Pirelli-supported ERC Junior U27 champion set top-three times on 13 occasions in the Junior division. He could have challenged for the victory but for bad luck
5: ERC Junior U28 champion Nikolay Gryazin was top five in his class on his world championship debut
4: The four second-tier pro category finishers all have ERC experience

The battle for ERC success in 2019 begins on the Azores Rallye from 22-24 March.

The post ERC success on Rally Sweden in numbers appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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PZM 75. Rajd Polski / PZM 75th Rally Poland

PZM 75. Rajd Polski

Kalendarz 2019

21-23.03.2019:

Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugalia)

02-04.05.2019

Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)

24-26 05.2019

Rally Liepāja (Łotwa)

28-30.06.2019

Rajd Polski

19-21.07.2019

Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)

16-18.08.2019

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)

27-29.09.2019:

Cyprus Rally (Cypr)

08-10.11.2019:

Rally Hungary (Węgry)