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European Rally Championship
Updated: 6 min 10 sec ago

ERC Junior Larsen positive despite off

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 13:00

Frank Tore Larsen was still able to take plenty of positives from his Azores Airlines Rallye return, even though an accident on the final morning prevented him from finishing the FIA European Rally Championship counter.

Larsen, who is co-driven by Torstein Eriksen, was fifth in the ERC Junior Under 28 category when a crash on stage 11 put him out on the spot and caused a delay to the remainder of the rally after his Ford Fiesta R5 inadvertently blocked the road.

“We were too fast, missed the line into a left-hander and hit a tree with our front-right corner of the car,” Larsen explained. “We were okay but the rally was over. Before that we done a quite good, steady rally. We were punished a bit on Friday with the road position and you can see the difference in speed from the first to the second loop. I would have liked to have been faster but what can we do?”

Larsen continued: “I said to Torstein after the second Sete Cidades stage that this was worth the trip from Norway down here to do that stage in that fashion. We had to enjoy it because we have worked so hard just to be here.”

“Even though we would like to have been fighting in the top five, we had to take a breath and enjoy what we’re experiencing because this is something you get to do only a few times in your lifetime. I wanted to get to the finish and get some experience because I hadn’t been driving in four or five months and I felt I am a bit rusty. We will be back even stronger.”

Koči plans ERC Junior fightback following Azores exit

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 13:00

Martin Koči will “come back stronger” after his late woe on the Azores Airlines Rallye, the opening event of the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship, last week.

Koči was in a close battle for the ERC Junior Under 28 category win on his class debut when hefty contact left his ŠKODA Slovakia Motorsport Fabia R5 damaged and beyond instant repair.

“It was my mistake,” said Koči, who is co-driven by Filip Schovánek. “I touched too much in one corner and it ripped the wheel off. I’m sorry for my team, my sponsors, the fans and my family and I’m sad for me.”

He continued: “It might have been a good performance but that doesn’t change much right now. Until that point it was very good rally for us, we had good pace for my first gravel rally with this car.

“It was a very tricky rally and I was not pushing my maximum I would say because I find it a bit risky. You only score good points in the finish of the rally. I need to be more clever next time. We will come better and stronger.”

Remembering when… Botka beat Lukyanuk in Azores ERC battle

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 07:00

Alexey Lukyanuk might have produced a dominant display to win the Azores Airlines Rallye last week but the Russian didn’t always have things entirely his own way.

In fact, following the opening Lagoa test, Dávid Botka was 0.1s in front after claiming his maiden stage victory in the FIA European Rally Championship.

Although car issues would ultimately hamper Botka’s challenge, it was still a significant moment for the former ERC2 champion.

How Botka bossed Lukyanuk in strong start to ERC campaign

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 06:00

Alexey Lukyanuk might have produced a dominant display to win the Azores Airlines Rallye last week but the Russian didn’t always have things entirely his own way.

In fact, following the opening Lagoa test, Dávid Botka was 0.1s in front after claiming his maiden stage victory in the FIA European Rally Championship.

Although car issues would ultimately hamper Botka’s challenge, it was still a significant moment for the former ERC2 champion.

BRYNILDSEN BRINGS WINNING AMBITION TO ERC

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 17:08

Eyvind Brynildsen will embark on a major FIA European Rally Championship campaign, starting with Rally Islas Canarias from 4-6 May.​

Brynildsen brings winning ambition to ERC

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 13:00

Eyvind Brynildsen will embark on a major FIA European Rally Championship campaign, starting with Rally Islas Canarias from 3-5 May.

Brynildsen, a regular in the world championship, will drive a Ford Fiesta R5 for Autotek Motorsport. His programme will include the Acropolis Rally in Greece followed by the Cyprus Rally with a Rally di Roma Capitale run under consideration. The rapid Norwegian will then announce his schedule for the remainder of the campaign.

“The ERC is the best for me at the moment,” said Brynildsen, a class title winner in Norway last season. “It’s a championship with some of the best rallies of the year and the best fans and a championship I was very keen to try out after nearly 50 starts in the WRC.”

Brynildsen, who has recruited Anders Fredriksson to co-drive, revealed he would have begun his ERC campaign on the season-opening Azores Airlines Rallye had it not been for a new addition to the family. “My wife gave birth to our third child so we start off with Canarias and then move over to the most historic event of them all, the Acropolis Rally. Then we move to Cyprus and if all the pieces in the puzzle fall into the right places we will continue the championship and go on with Rally di Roma Capitale.”

The 30-year-old’s switch to the ERC will put him on a learning curve in terms of untried events, not that he’s fazed by the prospect. “I’m maybe not young and promising anymore, only promising! I have done quite a few rallies in my career and for many years I drove a truck and trailer in our family business, so my memory for roads is not too bad. I like the challenge with new rallies and it just motivates me to prepare myself better than anyone else.”

Of his decision to link up with Autotek, a team with an ERC event-winning pedigree, Brynildsen said: “Ken Skidmore and me have known each other for many years and Ken’s team is great. Each and every one puts an effort like 110 per cent at all time. I’m now hoping Alexey Lukyanuk [ERC title leader] gets a challenge from me when it comes to the show because I like to give the fans what they deserve.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “It’s great to welcome Eyvind Brynildsen to the ERC, a fast driver with a lot of experience at world level. The 2018 championship got off to a fantastic start with a record-breaking entry on the Azores Airlines Rallye, including 35 R5 cars. Eyvind will face strong competition but we have no doubt he’ll put on a strong show.”

Sesks battles to Azores ERC Junior podium

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 12:00

Mārtiņš Sesks has revealed the late drama that ruled out a potential shot at FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship victory in the Azores.

Making his debut for the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team, Sesks was in second place starting the final stage of the Azores Airlines Rallye when things went wrong for the Latvian.

“The start was quite tricky and confusing [with the stage stoppages and the notional times],” Sesks, an ERC Junior Experience graduate, explained. “We had a puncture on stage eight. It was a sharp left-hander, a big rut and a big hit. But the first loop was good, not too much risk to stay on the road.

“On Saturday it was quite tricky at the beginning of the first stage, I was a bit too sleepy and then I woke up. Then it was good. I had a good battle with Diogo [Gago] and it’s normal that he pushes hard as a local driver. In the last stage about five kilometres from the finish, I had no first and second gear. It was a difficult rally but, for me, when it’s more difficult it’s more enjoyable.”

Confidence returns after tree hit for ERC Junior Antunes

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 07:00

Pedro Antunes made his FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship debut on the Azores Airlines Rallye last month – but revealed how hitting a tree prevented him from going the distance.

The Portuguese prospect and rally rookie hit trouble on the second stage of the spectacular gravel event. Although he returned for the final leg, he retired the Peugeot 208 R2 he was sharing with co-driver Paulo Lopes two stages from home.

“On the first day I hit a tree and some lights went on so I decided to stop even though the car was okay,” Antunes explained. “It was a right corner, 11 kilometres from the start of the second stage. It was a difficult situation with the braking. I come back on Saturday but it’s frustrating because we are still gaining some experience and we miss one day of rallying and that’s bad. I was not very confident but I was getting the confidence back. The stages were difficult but everything was okay.”

Wagner denied in ERC Junior

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 19:00

Simon Wagner was denied a possible podium finish when the 2018 FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship got underway on the Azores Airlines Rallye earlier this month.

Austrian Wagner was still in contention for third place when late mechanical issues curtailed his challenge.

“In stage 14 the gear lever was coming loose and the powersteering failed,” the Austrian explained. “Then, before stage 15, the gearbox and engine mounting had failed so we could not start the stage.

“It’s very disappointing because I was driving the whole rally without taking risks just to finish, we were following the plan and then this happened so close to the finish.”

Yates impresses on ERC Junior debut

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 13:00

Rhys Yates made an instant impact on his FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship debut with third place in the category for young stars in R5 cars on last week’s Azores Airlines Rallye.

Yates was making his first appearance on the island event, his first start alongside co-driver Elliott Edmondson and getting his first run in a ŠKODA Fabia R5, was on form from the start with the fourth fastest time in qualifying.

“It’s been a really good weekend,” said the Briton. “We had a few spins getting used to the new car but I’ve really enjoyed it. There is a lot of stuff to catch you out and we had a few near-misses on the final stage. But I enjoyed every minute of it, it’s been awesome.

“We had a small spin on Thursday and then we had a small spin on Friday. It’s a little frustrating because if you take 30s off we’re a bit closer but I’m happy with where we were. Maybe you throw caution to the wind on a different rally and get away with it. Here there’s no chance.

“The fog was hard work and it made you more hesitant. But the car was absolutely spot on and Elliott has been bang on and it was good to use his experience from last year.”

Vita hits back with ERC Junior points

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 07:00

Mattia Vita hit back from early disappointment to score points on his FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship debut last weekend.

Italian Vita finished sixth in class on the Azores Airlines Rallye after restarting on the final day following a freak retirement on the first run through the iconic Sete Cidades stage.

“We were unlucky on the second day when we had the problem with the wheel and I could not finish Sete Cidades,” Vita explained. “Unluckily, 100 metres before the end the front left wheel bolts broke but luckily it was a slow corner. It was very frustrating.”

Despite missing several Friday stages, Vita was pleased with the experience he gained on hi gravel debut.

“I’ve taken a great, great package of experience from this race,” said Vita. “It’s amazing to finish this rally it’s a very, very difficult race but with amazing fans and amazing landscapes. It was my first steps on gravel and step by strep I’m learning the gravel but it’s difficult. I did not do mistakes, only some parts broke which can happen in a race like this.”

Magalhães back on form with Azores ERC podium

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 19:00

Bruno Magalhães marked his return to action following injury with third place on his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship, the Azores Airlines Rallye.

Magalhães suffered back injuries in a crash on last October’s Rally Liepāja in Latvia, which put an end to his ERC title bid.

Fully recovered, Magalhães completed the Azores podium in his ARC Sport ŠKODA Fabia R5 alongside co-driver Hugo Magalhães.

“I think we have made a very good job,” said the Portuguese. “We had some [mechanical] issues and, unfortunately, we lost some time on the first stage but I’m happy with my pace and I’m happy that I’m completely recovered with confidence again and I hope to go to the next rally.”

The 2018 ERC continues on Rally Islas Canarias from 3-5 May.

MOL’s man on a roll in the ERC

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 13:00

Norbert Herczig stepped up to the FIA European Rally Championship in style with sixth place on the Azores Airlines Rallye.

Having dominated all things Hungarian rallying, Herczig is contesting a full ERC campaign in 2018 in his MOL Racing Team ŠKODA Fabia R5.

And he demonstrated an obvious ability on an event he was contesting for the first time with a top-six finish.

“It was a very difficult rally but we learn very much and my confidence was much better by the finish,” said Herczig.

Monteiro impresses on ERC R5 debut

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 07:00

Aloísio Monteiro made a strong start to his FIA European Rally Championship campaign with a finish on his first outing in an R5 car.

The Portuguese placed P22 overall on the Azores Airlines Rallye, his home round of the series, as he made his debut at the wheel of an ARC Sport-run ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Had it not been for a front differential issue, the Porto-based driver could have finished higher up the order alongside new co-driver André Couceiro.

"We reached the last day with a good pace, improving as a pair and this was clearly evident in the times of the stages,” said Monteiro. “Unfortunately, a problem with the front differential caused us to lose time [on the final] morning. In order to achieve the goals we set ourselves we have lowered the pace and we finished the race.”

Monteiro and Couceiro will be back on ERC duty when Rally Islas Canarias hosts the second round of the series from 3-5 May.

My ERC rally. By Catie Munnings

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:00

Catie Munnings began her FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship bid with a fine fifth in class on the Azores Airlines Rallye. This is what the Saintéloc Junior Team had to say.

“It was an incredible rally and I’m really happy to be at the finish. I know I can do a lot better and push a lot harder but I kept a level head to get here and big thanks to the team who worked really hard to get me here.

“Friday was a complicated day but I was always expecting that. It’s a completely different style of rallying in the Azores, it’s blown my mind. My goal was always to finish this rally because I went out so early last year. If you don’t count last year, this was only my second rally on gravel. It’s a tough one to learn but it’s important to take all the kilometres that I can. We had to keep a sensible head.

“It was very foggy on Saturday morning and very slippery so we just took that easy because I have no experience of those stages and the day was probably the trickiest day for me personally. I was still trying to get a good feeling with the car. I was not very confident on the fast sections, it felt like it was moving a lot. I’m trying to lean on the experience of my engineers or the other guys in my team to figure out if it’s me and just getting used to the surface or if there is something I can do to change the car.

“In the first stage on Saturday we spun and got stuck in a really narrow section so we were doing a 25-point turn to try to get out of it which wasn’t ideal. We were just making sure of every corner and even like that it was very easy to have hairy moments, very sideways and very slippery, not a constant grip at all.

“We were down to 2.4s a kilometre which is cool for us especially on gravel because we have no experience. I think sometimes I forget I really haven’t got much experience on gravel and it’s tough when you come up against other guys who are on gravel all the time but it’s the best place to learn.”

Good ERC Junior U28 experience pleases Kreim

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 13:00

German champion Fabian Kreim has described his FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship debut as a “very good experience”.

The ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland driver finished fifth in class on last week’s Azores Airlines Rallye after a puncture on day two slowed his progress alongside co-driver Frank Christian.

“In the end it was very good experience for us for sure,” said the ŠKODA Fabia R5-driving German. “The speed was coming step by step. Friday was a very tough day for us, especially in the beginning because we had a puncture on Sete Cidades and lost a lot of time, we lost the rally there. In the afternoon we tried to push and hit a wall which was also not so good. I did not find the perfect rhythm in the afternoon and Saturday was very tough, very slippery with a lot of fog.”

Érdi Jr looks ahead to next event following early Azores ERC2 exit

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 07:00

Tibor Érdi Jr decided against restarting on the Azores Airlines Rallye in order to focus on the next event, Rally Islas Canarias.

Hungarian Érdi Jr, the defending ERC2 champion, retired on Thursday’s opening section with broken suspension but elected not to return under restart rules on Saturday in order to “save” his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X for the upcoming Tarmac counter from 3-5 May.

And with a new scoring system for 2018 permitting drivers to count their best four scores only, Érdi Jr felt bagging fewer points from the first event wouldn’t aid his title chances.

“There was no point to waste the tyres, we save the car,” said Érdi Jr.

Pellier learns from the best in the ERC

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 19:00

Laurent Pellier made the most of his early Azores Airlines Rallye exit by watching his rivals in action on the FIA European Rally Championship qualifier.

Pellier’s charge came to an abrupt end on the opening afternoon when an electrical issue struck the Frenchman’s PEUGEOT 208 T16 and forced him into restart mode for leg two.

Unable to tackle Friday’s stages in his PEUGEOT Rally Academy entry, Pellier spent part of the day attempting to glean driving tips from his fellow ERC competitors by heading out into the São Miguel countryside to watch the drama unfold.

“We retired on Thursday because we had an electrical problem,” explained the R5 category newcomer. “I would have preferred to stay in the car but that’s the way it works. Instead we went up to the stages on Friday so I could see my opponents because we want to have more performance."

Strong ERC Junior U27 start for ACCR’s Brož

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 13:00

Dominik Brož began his FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship campaign with a fine fourth in class on last week’s Azores Airlines Rallye.

Part of the ACCR Czech Team, which is backed by Autoklub of the Czech Republic, Brož recovered from two punctures to register a strong haul of points alongside co-driver Petr Těšínský.

“We had two punctures, one on Thursday and one on Friday but in three years we’ve had something like no punctures,” said Brož, who is part of the ERC Junior Experience training programme. “The stages were good on Saturday, we enjoyed but we could only wait for mistakes from other ERC Junior guys to move forward because we lost a lot of time with the punctures.

“It’s a good rally but I hope the next rally will be better for me. I am very happy to be here without crash so big thanks to Czech federation, my sponsors, my team and the guys in the service for their support.”

Loubet fast but out of luck in ERC Junior U28

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 07:00

Pierre-Louis Loubet was fast but out of luck on last week’s Azores Airlines Rallye, where the Team OSCARO-backed Frenchman was making his FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship debut.

Driving a Hyundai i20 R5 for the BRC Racing Team, Loubet had been expected to challenge for ERC Junior U28 honours only for a mechanical glitch to force his retirement on Thursday afternoon.

But he hit back when he restarted on Saturday to post several impressive stage times alongside co-driver and fellow Frenchman Vincent Landais.

“It was a good final afternoon with the times and I’m happy to learn in this rally,” said Loubet, whose father Yves won the ERC title in 1989. “Our performance was not so bad for the first time here and when we come back next year I will be much better for sure.”

Of his Thursday exit, Loubet said: “I don’t know why, but I had no power and I had to stop. It was the first time with the car and important to take the maximum experience so to start like this was not a good feeling. I spent Friday at the hotel, in the swimming pool, because I don’t like to watch the drivers on the stages when I am not driving, it makes me more frustrated.”

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ORLEN 74 Rally Poland / Rajd Polski

ORLEN 74 Rajd Polski

Kalendarz 2018

22-24 marca:

Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugalia)

03-05 maja:

Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)

01-03 czerwca:

Acropolis Rally (Grecja)

15-17 czerwca:

Cyprus Rally (Cypr)

20-22 lipca:

Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)

24-26 sierpnia:

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)

21-23 września:

Rajd Polski

12-14 października:

Rally Liepaja (Łotwa)