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European Rally Championship
Updated: 33 min 55 sec ago

ERC registrations and entries for all eight rounds are open

Sat, 02/23/2019 - 12:00

The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile has opened the online registration process for the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship – as well as its eight qualifying rounds.

New for 2019, competitors enter rounds of the ERC through a centralised system rather than directly to the event or events they plan to contest, which was the case previously.

As well as entering one or more of the eight ERC rounds, participants can use the new online resource to enter one of three ERC categories as follows:

FIA ERC1 Championship (R5 cars)
FIA ERC2 Championship (Group N4, R4-K and RGT cars)
FIA ERC3 Championship (2WD – R1, R2, R3 cars)

To register, competitors should follow this link:

https://registrations.fia.com/rally

Competitors who have not previously registered an account must create one to be able to register for ERC1, ERC2 or ERC3 or one of the eight ERC events. Existing account holders should login using their username and password. It is only possible to enter one of the eight ERC events by creating an account.

A guide detailing the online procedure is available by clicking ERC-registrations.

FIA ERC1 Junior Championship: Those planning to enter the 2019 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship must first register for the FIA ERC1 Championship then apply to the promoter, Eurosport Events, at this link: https://www.fiaerc.com/competitors/

FIA ERC3 Junior Championship: Those planning to enter the 2019 FIA ERC3 Junior Championship must first register for the FIA ERC3 Championship then apply to the promoter, Eurosport Events, at this link: https://www.fiaerc.com/competitors/

Questions regarding ERC Junior entries/registrations should go to: Petr Linhart, competitors@fiaerc.com

Abarth Rally Cup: Those planning to enter the 2019 ERC-based Abarth Rally Cup, which is subject to FIA World Motor Sport Council approval, should contact Francesco Italo Senesi (francescoitalo.senese@abarth.com) or Giovanni Bernacchini (giovanni.bernacchini@abarth.com). Abarth Rally Cup competitors must also register for the FIA ERC2 Championship.

The post ERC registrations and entries for all eight rounds are open appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Itinerary revealed for Azores ERC opener

Sat, 02/23/2019 - 06:00

The itinerary for the Azores Rallye, the opening round of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship season, has been published. While it maintains a similar structure to previous years, a number of changes have been made for next month's event.

Following the official test on Monday 18 March, reconnaissance and scrutineering take place on Tuesday and Wednesday with the popular City Show, held on Ponta Delgada’s main avenue featuring a revised, albeit attractive, layout when it takes place on Wednesday night.

Remédios is once again the setting of the Qualifying Stage on Thursday morning, ahead the Coroa da Mata stage signalling the start of the rally proper that afternoon. Returning to the itinerary for 2019, it’s a slightly longer version than previously at 11.10 kilometres.

The new stage two starts in Mediana and finishes in Remédios and covers various parts of the old Soluções M stage, while stage three is famous Grupo Marques superspecial, which incorporates a few small changes this year.

A longer, 10.90-kilometre Pico da Pedra is first up on Friday 22 March, but with much less Tarmac running than before. The mythical Sete Cidades stage is next and promises to be more spectacular than in previous years. The tweaked route will also be less testing for two-wheel-drive machinery.

The new Vista do Rei Feteiras is next. Also more two-wheel-drive friendly, the stage starts near Vista do Rei and includes a section of the old Feteiras stage albeit in the opposite direction.

After all three Friday morning stages have been repeated in the afternoon, the day ends with a return to the Grupo Marques superspecial.

The rally visits the oldest geological part of São Miguel in the municipality of the Nordeste mountains on Sunday. After a run through a longer version of Graminhais, the iconic Tronqueira stage remains unchanged.

A single visit to Vila Franca São Bras, which has been revised to include less Tarmac, completes the morning loop, while a shorter-than-previously afternoon loop includes re-runs of Graminhais and Tronqueira.

More details of the rally will be revealed during the official presentation on 26 February. Click here to view the itinerary.

The post Itinerary revealed for Azores ERC opener appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Prototype, malachite and Demidov: welcome to ERC2 star Remennik’s winter wonderland!

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 06:00

Sergei Remennik, a winner in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category, will take on a challenge of a different kind in his native Urals this weekend.

Remennik will contest the Russian Rally Cup-counting Rally Malachite from 22-24 February alongside long-standing co-driver Mark Rozin and regular team Prospeed.

But while Rozin and Prospeed will be familiar to Remennik, the choice of car is somewhat different with the Russian lining up in a Mitsubishi-powered Ford Fiesta Proto-class car developed by the Latvian outfit.

“We are interested to try what the prototype is,” said Remennik, who is set to begin his ERC2 bid on the Azores Rallye next month. “Rally Malachite is very close and we’ll try the prototype in real rally conditions. And Mark and I can work more together before the Azores Rallye. After all, none of the tests give such a dense work with making and reading the notes. There are no problems with the speed, as practice shows, but there are questions with the note-writing and perception.”

Remennik continued: “We need to adapt the car to me, work with the settings, the seat adjustment. It’s not right after a long break to get into the car and go racing. We will get to know the car closer for a day or two and then we’ll participate in the race.”

Remennik’s wheels Sergei Remennik’s Prospeed Ford Fiesta Proto is similar in performance to an ERC-headlining R5 car. Powered by a 2.0-litre Mitsubishi 4B11 turbocharged engine, the Fiesta Proto features transmission from a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, a six-speed Drenth sequential gearbox and Reiger suspension. Proto class cars are active on events in Baltic countries and in Russia.

Remennik’s rally Rally Malachite, the fifth round of the Russian Rally Cup from 22-24 February, ran for the first time in 2008 and covers 192 timed kilometres. Based in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region and 155 kilometres from Yekaterinburg, the capital of the Urals, the rally’s ceremonial start is in front of the gates to the historic manor ‘White House’ of Nikita Demidov and dates back to 1757.

What is malachite? Malachite is a beautiful mineral (one of the copper carbonate compounds), having a distinctive ornate pattern with a varied range of green shades and overflows. It was discovered in the Urals in the 18th century. The stone-cutting art began to flourish after 1814, when Nikolay Demidov in St Petersburg received samples of radiant malachite. Large works of art and palace interiors were made out of it with approximately 3276 kilograms of mineral rock used in the Malachite Hall in St Petersburg’s Winter Palace, as well as items such as flowerpots, vases, caskets, snuff boxes and inkstands.

Who were the Demidovs? The Demidovs were a family of wealthy Russian entrepreneurs (manufacturers and landowners) from the times of Peter I. They founded many cities in the Urals and made a valuable contribution to the growth of the area. Family members included talented metallurgists, industrial production supervisors as well as scientists, literary and art figures and philanthropists who left their mark in many European cities, including Florence. There they made a great financial and cultural contribution and their coat of arms is still visible in the facade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore to this day.

Additional information from Rally Malachite. Subaru action photo is of Sergei Remennik competing on Rally Malachite in 2011 with thanks to Olga Eremeeva

The post Prototype, malachite and Demidov: welcome to ERC2 star Remennik’s winter wonderland! appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Czech federation continues support of ERC Junior star Mareš

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 16:00

Filip Mareš’ status as the Czech Republic’s big hope for future stardom has again been endorsed by his country’s motorsport federation.

In the capital Prague earlier today, the Autoclub of the Czech Republic reaffirmed its continued support of the 27-year-old talent from Mladá Boleslav, who will contest Czech and FIA European Rally Championship events under the ACA ŠKODA AUTOKLUB TEAM and ACCR Czech Team banner respectively.

ACA ŠKODA AUTOKLUB TEAM is an alliance between the Autoclub of the Czech Republic, ŠKODA Auto and Autocentrala, a Czech ŠKODA dealer network. Roman Kresta’s Kresta Racing will run Mareš and co-driver Jan Hloušek in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 with a four-event ERC1 Junior campaign to be contested alongside a major Czech championship assault. Michelin is a new project partner for 2019.

By providing Mareš and Hloušek with the opportunity to prove their talent at both national and international level, the Autoclub of the Czech Republic can be praised for its efforts in helping young drivers progress in the sport when limited finances would have otherwise prevented them from doing so.

With support of the Autoclub of the Czech Republic, Mareš challenged for the Pirelli-supported ERC Junior Under 27 title in 2017. Despite it being his first season of international competition, he excelled by finishing third in the championship. His reward for 2018 was a step up to a ŠKODA Fabia R5 for a Czech championship campaign, plus selected ERC events, in season one of a three-year programme.

“Last season was mainly about learning and getting familiar with a new car,” said Mareš. “This year we would like to show our quality and regularly fight for top places. During the winter I worked on my driving style, a direction for improvement that I could use on the last two races on gravel in ERC last year. Of course we are also working on fitness and pacenotes, but now we are going to the last phase of preparation to be prepared to the maximum for the first round of the Czech championship, the Valašská Rally.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, welcomed the Autoclub of the Czech Republic’s continued support of young talent and the return of Filip Mareš in ERC1 Junior. “The Autoclub of the Czech Republic are to be applauded for what they are doing to help young talent and we are delighted they recognise that the ERC is an ideal platform for Filip and Jan’s ongoing development.”

Mareš is one of several ERC Junior graduates to have gained experience in R5 machinery. Others include Fabio Andolfi, Emil Bergkvist, Jan Černý, Marijan Griebel, Nikolay Gryazin, Jari Huttunen, Chris Ingram, Stéphane Lefebvre, Tamara Molinaro, Łukasz Pieniazek, Ralfs Sirmacis and Aleks Zawada.

The Kowax Valašská Rally ValMez opens the Czech championship season from 29-31 March.

The post Czech federation continues support of ERC Junior star Mareš appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Loubet confirms ERC campaign 30 years after father Yves won European title

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 10:00

Pierre-Louis Loubet will embark on an FIA European Rally Championship campaign in 2019, 30 years after his father Yves landed title honours in a Lancia Delta Integrale.

Loubet Jr, 22, is confirmed for the season-opening Azores Rallye and Rally Islas Canarias and could tackle more rounds of the all-action championship depending on results.

Driving a ŠKODA Fabia R5 for French team 2C Compétition, Loubet can count on continued support from OSCARO, the world's leading online retailer of original automotive spare parts and an Official Series Partner of the ERC.

“It’s two great events and for my experience it’s something great also,” said Corsican Loubet, who will be eligible for ERC1 Junior, the category for young stars in R5 cars. “In Azores last year we had some problems with the engine after six kilometres. That was a big disappointment after the long journey to get to the island and that is one of the reasons why we come back this year. When we [restarted] on the last day our times were good with no experience. We work hard to return this year and I am more than confident to do a good result.”

Loubet has completed a short shakedown test in his 2C Compétition Fabia and will get his first meaningful running in the Czech machine on the mid-Atlantic Ocean island of São Miguel, venue of the gravel-based Azores Rallye, on Monday 18 March.

Following the Azores Rallye from 21-23 March, French federation (FFSA)-supported Loubet will contest the all-asphalt Rally Islas Canarias from 2-4 May. He will also undertake a programme of world championship events.

Of the possibility of adding more events to his ERC schedule, Loubet said: “It depends on the results of Azores and Canarias, but for sure it is possible.”

Yves Loubet made 77 starts at ERC level and was a four-time winner during his capture of the FIA European Rally Championship title in 1989. It’s an achievement not lost on his son Pierre-Louis.  “If I can win the ERC title 30 years after my father for sure it can be very nice,” he said. “I will speak with him about doing more races because it would be a good anniversary.”

While the Azores Rallye and Rally Islas Canarias were not part of his 1989 schedule, Loubet Sr has tackled both events in the past and was an Azores winner in 1992.

The post Loubet confirms ERC campaign 30 years after father Yves won European title appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Q&A: Luca Napolitano

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:00

Ahead of the Abarth Rally Cup supporting the FIA European Rally Championship for the first time in 2019*, Luca Napolitano, Head of EMEA Fiat & Abarth Brands, discusses rising sales, the importance the company places on motorsport and exciting changes to the Abarth 124 rally for the season ahead.

What were Abarth's 2018 results?
“It was a record year for Abarth, in terms of both sales and racing successes. With almost 24,000 units registered and a growth of 36.5 per cent over the previous year, Abarth set a new all-time sales record, with excellent results in many markets. Such as in the United Kingdom, for example, where it sold more than 5,600 units, representing growth of 27 per cent and breaking its previous sales record. It was also an outstanding year in motorsports: the Abarth 124 rally, in its second racing season, established itself as the dominator of the R-GT class, scoring more than 40 class victories in 12 national championships and winning FIA R-GT Cup. Great results like these mean we will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of Abarth in the coming year with pride.”

Why is racing important for Abarth?
“The history of the brand is rooted in competitions. For all his life, Carlo Abarth had always been attracted by racing and dedicated to the continuous search for brilliant, simple and innovative solutions to increase the performance of the vehicles and cars he could get his hands on. Racing also allows us to put new techniques and technology to the test in the most severe development conditions, for their subsequent transfer to normal production models, with the ultimate goal of making our products more and more efficient and reliable.”

How has the Abarth 124 rally changed this year?
“Our aims in our development work on the Abarth 124 rally were very clear: to improve its performances, simplify its set-up procedures and make it even more reliable. Last year the 124 rally proved it had achieved a very impressive level of reliability: only six retirements for technical reasons out of 52 races. An excellent result. In the development programme, our team of engineers completed over 5,000 kilometres of tests, equivalent to two whole racing seasons, on the most gruelling special stage roads in all weather conditions, collecting data and working alongside highly experienced drivers and testers such as Alex Fiorio. This information was then combined with the data already gathered in the first two racing seasons, enabling us to present a greatly updated 124 rally, thanks to major modifications to the engine, transmission, gearbox and set-up.”

What are the main changes?
“The engine still has the same maximum power level, but we decided to make better use of this power by means of a new torque curve, beefier at low RPM and linear at high. In fact, easier driving means more effective, faster performance. The work on the transmission involved the differential and the Traction Control mapping, to improve driveability and handling, especially in very difficult conditions such as snow or ice combined with low-grip surfaces, situations with which the 124 rally has always dealt very well. The gearbox has also received attention, especially to provide faster gear engagement during up-shifting and smoother engagement during down-shifting. More work was done on the 124's set-up: when braking, the car gives the driver a more immediate feel, enabling a more gradual action and improving the approach to bends. All specific aspects of the set-up were further developed to achieve an optimal overall result, which every driver can also customise to suit his own driving style and the type of course.”

What will Abarth be offering drivers and teams competing in the 124 rally for the 2019 season?
“We will be supporting our private teams in the European Rally Championship, within which the six-race Abarth Rally Cup 2019 single-make championship will be held. At each of these races, in the service area we will provide our technical staff, the parts service and our hospitality zone, which will become the meeting place for Scorpion drivers and fans. Our aim is to work more and more closely with our drivers and teams, to support them and continue a relationship which has already yielded excellent racing results.”

*Subject to FIA World Motor Sport Council validation

The post ERC Q&A: Luca Napolitano appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Excitement builds as Azores organisers reveal new logo for ERC opener

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 09:00

Organisers of the Azores Rallye, the opening round of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship, have revealed the event’s new logo.

The striking design features a new typeface and incorporates the logos of the rally’s various partners.

The 54th running of the Azores Rallye takes place from 21-23 March. The spectacular gravel event also counts as the second round of the Portuguese Rally Championship.

Click here and scroll down for more event information.

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Lundberg, Munster join ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team for ERC, Opel confirms Corsa R2 project

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 14:00

The ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team will continue to provide the ultimate benchmark in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 Junior division as it chases a fifth consecutive ERC Junior crown in 2019.

Run by Holzer Motorsport, the squad has claimed the Pirelli-supported ERC title for young talents in R2 machinery for the last four seasons, securing its breakthrough success with Emil Bergkvist in 2015 before going on to claim consecutive crowns with Marijan Griebel, Chris Ingram and, in 2018, Mārtiņš Sesks, who beat his then team-mate Tom Kristensson to honours. Jari Huttunen, Tamara Molinaro and Julius Tannert are also former team members. All eight have subsequently competed in the World Rally Championship.

For 2019, the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team will once again provide the winner of the previous year’s ADAC Opel Rallye Cup in Germany the chance to progress from national to international level, entering 2018 champion Elias Lundberg, 20 from Sweden, on the six ERC3 Junior rounds in an ADAM R2.

Luxembourg resident Grégoire Munster, son of former Belgian ERC stalwart Bernard Munster, will compete in a second ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team ADAM R2 having finished runner-up to Lundberg in Germany last season and having also won the Belgian Junior crown in 2018, his first full season of rallying. The 20-year-old scored points on a one-off ERC Junior appearance on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last August and impressed when he won on his R5 debut on an event in France late last year.

Opel remains on Corsa with new ERC-bound R2 challenger
Opel Motorsport has further underlined its commitment to junior-level rallying by confirming the development of a new R2 challenger for the FIA European Rally Championship and international customer programmes based on the sixth-generation Corsa road car. Developed in conjunction with Opel’s technology partner Holzer Motorsport, the Corsa R2 is due to be made available to customers by the end of 2020 with its competitive debut set for the 2021 season. Opel has also confirmed its support of the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup in 2019.

Bergkvist set the standard for others to follow
ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team drivers have won the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship title for the last four seasons, giving several young stars the chance to prove their talent at international level in the process.

Sweden’s Emil Bergkvist started the sequence in 2015, the year after he won the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup in Germany, and Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, has welcomed the squad’s ongoing support of the ERC and junior-level rallying with confirmation of the exciting Corsa R2 project from 2020.

“We are very pleased that the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team will continue to provide young drivers the chance to step up from national competition to the ERC and prove their talent in a very competitive championship held over six rounds on asphalt and gravel,” said Ley. “Run by Holzer Motorsport, the squad sets a very high standard and continues to produce some of the best young rallying prospects year on year with Tom Kristensson and Mārtiņš Sesks, its latest graduates, two very good examples of that. Confirmation of the Corsa R2 project from Opel Motorsport is also very exciting and very welcomed.”


Strong competition awaits ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team drivers in ERC
New ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team signings Elias Lundberg and Grégoire Munster will go up against a host of fellow young talents in ERC3 Junior in 2019. With the season-opening Azores Rallye (21-23 March) still more than a month away, the following drivers have announced their programmes for the year ahead, while several more will follow suit soon:

Sindre Furuseth (Norway) Co-driver: Jim Hjerpe (Sweden)
Saintéloc Junior Team / PEUGEOT 208 R2
Grigor Grigorov (Bulgaria) Co-driver: TBA
Grigorov Racing Team – Enekod / PEUGEOT 208 R2
Efrén Llarena (Spain) Co-driver: Sara Fernández (Spain)
Rally Team Spain / PEUGEOT 208 R2
Elias Lundberg (Sweden) Co-driver: TBA
ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team / Opel ADAM R2
Catie Munnings (Great Britain) Co-driver: TBA
Saintéloc Junior Team / PEUGEOT 208 R2
Grégoire Munster (Luxembourg) Co-driver: TBA
ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team / Opel ADAM R2
Roman Schwedt (Germany) Co-driver: Lina Meter (Germany)
ROMO Motorsport / PEUGEOT 208 R2

The post Lundberg, Munster join ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team for ERC, Opel confirms Corsa R2 project appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Double ERC Junior champion Griebel to chase outright title glory in all-new Volkswagen Polo

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 12:00

Marijan Griebel will bid for an historic FIA European Rally Championship treble in 2019 as he returns to the international arena after winning his national title last season.

German Griebel claimed the ERC Junior crown in 2016 driving an ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team ADAM R2 before winning the inaugural FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship for young stars in R5 cars the following season in a Baumschlager Rallye & Racing ŠKODA Fabia.

Success at home in the German Rally Championship (DRM) with PEUGEOT Deutschland followed in 2018, when he also scored his first points at world level with eighth overall on ADAC Rallye Deutschland, a drive partly funded by ERC promoter Eurosport Events for Griebel’s ERC Junior U28 title triumph the previous year.

For 2019, the 29-year-old has re-signed for Baumschlager Rallye & Racing and will pilot the all-new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 as he bids to become the first German winner of the FIA European Rally Championship since his mentor Armin Kremer in 2001.

Griebel, a serving police officer whose father worked as a mechanic for Kremer during his European championship-winning season, said: “After a very successful year in Germany, I am looking forward to returning to the international stage. Together with our partners, we have succeeded in creating a first-class package and I am very proud of that.

"The European Rally Championship is a great series with demanding events and strong competition. Two years ago I was able to become ERC Junior U28 champion and of course I want to fight for the big title in the European championship. I know this is not going to be easy, but we have the best conditions and we need to make the most of this opportunity.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “It’s great news that Marijan will bid to win the FIA European Rally Championship title in 2019 for what will be an historic hat-trick. He has proved his talent in the ERC before and he has what it takes to do it again, only this time by winning the championship outright. It’s also great for Marijan that he can count on the support of Baumschlager Rallye & Racing, his co-driver Stefan Kopczyk and the all-new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, one of two confirmed for the 2019 ERC so far.”

The 2019 ERC takes place over eight rounds from March to November, starting with the Azores Rallye from 21-23 March. Drivers count their best six scores.

The post Double ERC Junior champion Griebel to chase outright title glory in all-new Volkswagen Polo appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Germany’s Schwedt steps up to ERC Junior

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 10:00

Roman Schwedt is the latest young German talent to step up to the FIA European Rally Championship from national level, signing for ROMO Motorsport to drive a PEUGEOT 208 R2 in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior Championship.

Schwedt, a product of the German Rally Championship (DRM), is planning a minimum two-year campaign in the category that lists his compatriots Marijan Griebel and Julius Tannert among its graduates.

The Saarland-based driver, 19, has attracted support from the ADAC Stiftung Sport and cannot wait to make the climb in competition alongside new co-driver and fellow German Lina Meter, 20.

“I'm really looking forward to the new challenges and the strong competition that will await me in ERC Junior," said Schwedt, who placed third overall in last year’s DRM standings. “When I look at the names of the rallies, I am already very excited and I am convinced we are in the right place. I'm sure there is still some catching up to do on gravel with my experience, so hopefully before the season we'll have the opportunity to test. “But we want to use these rallies as a preparation,” Schwedt continued. “ERC Junior has a very different sporting value than the DRM. There will be young talent coming from almost every European country and I’m already looking ahead to the first battles.”

Of his alliance with Ronald Leschhorn’s ROMO Motorsport outfit, Schwedt said: “I can only thank Ronald Leschhorn and his team for the confidence they put in me as a young driver. Equally strong is the support of the ADAC Stiftung Sport, which has already supported me in this development step and whose programme I can continue to benefit from in the future. I also want to thank prowin, eurorepar and the DSK for their continued support.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator said: “We are really pleased to welcome Roman, Lina and ROMO Motorsport to the ERC3 Junior Championship. Germany has a long history of producing talented drivers that achieve success in the ERC and progress and we have no doubt that Roman has what it takes to continue this tradition.”

The Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior Championship takes place over six rounds from March to August with three events on asphalt and three on gravel. The Azores Rallye opens the calendar from 21-23 March. Drivers count their best four scores. Schwedt and Meter will also be eligible for ERC3 honours.

The post Germany’s Schwedt steps up to ERC Junior appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Stepping up in style: ERC Junior graduate Kristensson wins on Junior world debut

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 21:00

Tom Kristensson made an instant impact on his FIA Junior World Rally Championship debut, winning his class just three months and four days after completing his FIA ERC Junior Championship campaign with victory on Rally Liepāja.

Kristensson’s achievement on Rally Sweden in a Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta R2 completes an impressive rise from national level to the world stage via a crucial year of experience-building in the ERC, rallying’s established training ground.

“We have shown the pace and I am extremely happy about my confidence in myself; I had a plan and I stuck to it,” said Kristensson, who was co-driven – as ever – by fellow Swede Henrik Appelskog. “It feels really good and I think it will be a great season. The biggest point for me was not to make any mistakes. The most important thing was to find the right pace and remain calm. We have enjoyed the rally and of course there were some moments, there’s no question about that, but in the end it feels great.”

Kristensson beat former ERC Junior Experience pupil Roland Poom into second place with Mārtiņš Sesks, who headed Kristensson to the Pirelli-supported ERC Junior title last year in an identical ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team ADAM R2, finishing sixth after retiring with a technical issue on leg one, having gone fastest on Friday’s first stage.

“It’s been a crazy weekend out here,” said Latvian Sesks. “We started with a stage win on the first proper day of rallying, then we had a spin. When we got back in the rhythm we had a technical issue so we retired, there was not much that we could do.”

There was more ERC Junior success on Rally Sweden thanks to Nikolay Gryazin’s fine run to fifth in class on his world debut in a Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5. The Russian won the ERC Junior Under 28 title in 2018 and followed home Emil Bergkvist, another former ERC Junior champion.

Rhys Yates finished P10 with Tamara Molinaro, the ERC Ladies’ Trophy winner from 2017, coming home in P11.

This year's two-tiered FIA ERC Junior Championship gets underway on the Azores Rallye from 21-23 March. ERC1 Junior is for young stars in R5 cars with ERC3 Junior for rising talents in Pirelli-equipped R2 machinery.

The post Stepping up in style: ERC Junior graduate Kristensson wins on Junior world debut appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

New Fabia R5 set for March launch, ERC debut possible from summer onwards

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 06:00

The new – and faster – ŠKODA Fabia R5 could hit the stages of the FIA European Rally Championship from the summer onwards.

Scheduled for launch at the Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland from 7-17 March, the Czech machine – with its more powerful engine – is due to be homologated for competition use in the second quarter of 2019 with customer sales beginning immediately afterwards.

According to ŠKODA Motorsport, the new Fabia R5 will “feature design inspired by the new generation of ŠKODA Fabia, as well as some technical changes and improvements. While the overall specifications, like engine displacement, drivetrain configuration and so on, remain the same, as they are dictated by rules, the new car will offer more power and improved torque curve”.

Part two of the 2019 ERC season begins on Rally di Roma Capitale from 19-21 July with Barum Czech Rally Zlín following from 16-18 August.

Photo: skoda-motorsport.com

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Abarth Rally Cup “brings another dimension to ERC events”

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 12:00

The Abarth Rally Cup will bring “another dimension to ERC events, its viewers and fans”, according to FIA European Rally Championship Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley.

Subject to FIA World Motor Sport Council validation, the Abarth Rally Cup will be contested over six rounds of the eight-event ERC in 2019, with competitors chasing a lucrative prize fund in the lightweight, rear-wheel-drive Italian sportscars.

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

The Abarth 124 rally, which conforms to the FIA’s R-GT category technical regulations, is available for €110,000 including the ERC registration fee. Abarth Rally Cup drivers will also be eligible for ERC2 points under new rules for 2019.

Rally Islas Canarias opens the Abarth Rally Cup season from 2-4 May.

The post Abarth Rally Cup “brings another dimension to ERC events” appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Iconic Sete Cidades stage to star as Azores gets set to host ERC season opener

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 09:00

The iconic Sete Cidades stage will once again be the focal point of the Azores Rallye, which opens the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship from 21-23 March.

Run twice on Friday 22 March, Sete Cidades features a spectacular section along the rim of a volcanic crater lake, which former Azores Rallye winner Craig Breen has described as one of the greatest spectacles in sport.

“There’s probably no other spectacle in sport like Sete Cidades,” said Breen, the Azores winner in 2015. “To drive a rally car along the ridge of a volcano is an incredible experience and then you have the stages on the final day, which are like being in a jungle. It’s a really nice rally embraced by all the local fans and the road mileage is short, which is good too. It’s definitely a challenge but it’s a good experience and it’s a nice rally to win because there are a lot of famous winners. I’d love to do it again.”

Based on the mid-Atlantic archipelago’s largest island of São Miguel, the Azores Rallye celebrated its half-century in 2015 and remains one of the most spectacular events on the international calendar. Stages criss-cross breath-taking scenery and lush countryside, and are characterised by their sandy surface and narrow and undulating nature.

Alexey Lukyanuk won the event in 2018 on route to claiming the ERC title. World Rally Championship stars past and present, such as Craig Breen, Kris Meeke, Andreas Mikkelsen, Juha Kankkunen, Markko Märtin and Bruno Thiry, are among a long list of former Azores Rallye winners.

Meanwhile, other changes for 2019 include an all-new 7.90-kilometre stage on leg one, while the fan-friendly City Show in Ponta Delgada follows a tweaked route.

Azores Rallye organisers are once again supporting crew participation with free return shipping of rally cars, service vehicles and spare parts from Portugal. Entry fees for ERC1 and ERC2 drivers are reduced by 50 and 60 per cent respectively compared to 2018, while competitors in two-wheel-drive machinery, which includes ERC3, get free entries.

Crews planning to contest the Azores Rallye should follow this link for more information on the ERC season opener: http://www.azoresrallye.com/documentation-for-competitors/.

The post Iconic Sete Cidades stage to star as Azores gets set to host ERC season opener appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Rally Liepāja is go in 100 days and planning of ERC event “moving forward successfully”

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 18:00

Organisers of Rally Liepāja, round three of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship, have confirmed planning of the substantially new route is “moving forward successfully” with 100 days to go until the gravel event gets underway.

Raimond Strokšs, the driving force behind the Latvian rally from 24-26 May, also confirmed that the route revisions will result in a number of classic stages being included in the itinerary.

“With Rally Liepāja moving from mid-October to the last weekend of May, an idea came along to implement a major update to our event taking place in Latvia,” said Strokšs. “Much to our delight, the planning process is moving forward successfully and we are very, very close to securing special stages classified as the ‘golden fund’ area between two Latvian cities of Talsi and Liepāja. “Back in the day, when I was still competing at the wheel of the rally car, I completed all the special stages myself – if our vision comes through, we will prove the good can sometimes get even better.”

Strokšs added: “From a practical standpoint, the ticket sales are going live pretty soon. Rally Guide 1 is soon to be published – so spectators, and competitors will have their first bits of official information to start planning their visit to Rally Liepāja.”

To mark the 100-day countdown to Rally Liepāja, organisers have released a short video clip, which can be viewed by clicking here.

The post Rally Liepāja is go in 100 days and planning of ERC event “moving forward successfully” appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Røkland plots ERC Junior bid

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 18:00

Steve Røkland is trying to finalise the budget to make his return to the FIA European Rally Championship in 2019.

The Norwegian has seven ERC Junior starts to his name and has claimed three class podiums, including two in the Azores, which opens the upcoming ERC season from 21-23 March.

“I’m working on the budget to do the full ERC3 Junior Championship,” said Røkland. “Time is running out for the Azores but hopefully we can get a few more sponsors this week. It’s one of the most fantastic rallies in Europe and I’ve done it two times before so I’ve got the experience.”

Røkland would go up against compatriot Sindre Furuseth, who is also contesting the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior category for young drivers in one of the French machines.

“The competition is really good in ERC Junior,” said Røkland. “If the Azores was not possible I would look to start on Rally Liepāja. But I’m doing my best to get the budget for all six rallies.”

Røkland may drive a different car to his regular PEUGEOT 208 R2 in the Azores and would also welcome to hear from teams who could assist with car transportation to Portugal, where Azores Rallye organisers are providing free return sea transfer to the mid-Atlantic island of São Miguel, where the event is based.

“This would help us a lot to be on the startline in the Azores,” Røkland explained.

Click here for more information on Steve Røkland.

The post Røkland plots ERC Junior bid appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Excited and curious Herczig gets set for ERC season

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 12:00

Norbert Herczig says he’s “very excited and very curious” to be giving the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 its FIA European Rally Championship debut.

Herczig will drive one of the all-new German machines in the eagerly-awaited 2019 ERC season having switched from ŠKODA power during the winter.

Still competing under the MOL Racing Team banner and run by Baumschlager Rallye & Racing, Herczig is embarking on his second ERC campaign with co-driver and fellow Hungarian Ramón Ferencz.

“We are very excited for this season to start because we are very curious about how we can use the routine from last year in the new season,” said Herczig, the four-time Hungarian champion. “Fortunately we were already able to drive with the new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 on gravel and before the season starts we will be able to organise a longer test in Hungary.”

Herczig placed sixth in last year’s ERC standings with standout podiums in Greece and Cyprus.

The post Excited and curious Herczig gets set for ERC season appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Johnston picks ERC to learn new tricks

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 09:00

A driver whose knack of racing video games had steered him on a path to a career in sportscars will continue his rallying transition in the FIA European Rally Championship this season.

Sean Johnston, who was enrolled into the Nissan GT Academy in North America as one of the USA’s fastest five Gran Turismo 5 video game racers, claimed the 2012 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge title. He then moved to Europe to race in the Porsche Supercup and Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and, more recently, long-distance sportscar events, before he made rallying his focus.

During a stage-winning debut season in the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup in 2018, Johnston tried the ERC for size on PZM Rally Poland last September and finished fourth in class. He will contest a full ERC3 campaign this year in a Saintéloc Racing PEUGEOT 208 R2 alongside a Junior world championship bid. His fellow American, Alex Kihurani, will co-drive.

However, despite his achievements in circuit racing and initial success in rallying, the 28-year-old from California is keeping his expectations firmly in check as he prepares for the upcoming season.

“To have the opportunity to do this kind of programme is an incredible learning experience and learning is the primary objective for me this season,” said Germany-based Johnston. “I don’t have any expectations of coming in and winning either championship because I will be competing against people with way more experience in rallying than I have. I need to learn, grow and develop and getting in as many kilometres as physically possible is really interesting for me and I’m very grateful to have the support to do this.”

While Johnston points to being “relatively comfortable” on asphalt, his gravel experience amounts to three events only. “I got to the point at the end of last season where I was comfortable with the recce process and was confidentially able to drive to my pacenotes,” he said. “I still have more to learn on Tarmac, but gravel was a completely new experience when I tried it last year. However, I absolutely fell in love with it although it’s clear I have a lot of work to do to be quicker and take the next step. The training I’ve been doing on snow and ice in the winter will be directly applicable to driving on gravel but I will also be doing a pure gravel test with Saintéloc before the beginning of the season.”

To cope with the demands of a dual European and world championship campaign, Johnston and Kihurani have completed two training camps in the off-season, while Johnston is also learning French in order to build a stronger bond with his France-based Saintéloc Racing team given a two-year stint in R2 cars is a probability. “The goal is to learn as much in R2 as possible and I’m thinking that’s more likely two seasons,” he said. “My aspiration is to make it to the full world championship but it’s a very big dream. I think about it once a day when I wake up but then I go back to the next step that’s right here in front of me.”

The post Johnston picks ERC to learn new tricks appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior champion Gryazin revs up for world debut with Latvia podium

Sun, 02/10/2019 - 21:00

Nikolay Gryazin will make his world championship debut on Rally Sweden on the back of a strong run of practice events, which concluded in Latvia yesterday when the 2018 FIA ERC Junior Under 28 champion finished third on Rallijs Sarma.

Gryazin was actually on course for his third winter win in as many starts having gone fastest on the opening four stages to build a lead of 41s over eventual winner Oliver Solberg. However, a costly moment on stage five ended hopes of a victory hat-trick as Solberg moved into a lead he wouldn’t lose for this second consecutive Latvian championship triumph.

“We lost almost three minutes on SS5 because of too fast approach into one of the turns, hit the snowbank and spin,” Gryazin wrote on Facebook. “We continued but the radiator filled with the snow and the engine began to overheat. We had to stop on the stage to clean the snow out – it was wet and cemented immediately, so we lost a lot of time. We changed the air filter and moved forward.”

Gryazin and co-driver Yaroslav Fedorov are stepping up to the world championship this season in a Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5. Rally Sweden, their first world event, takes place from 14-17 February.

Meanwhile, Tibor Érdi Jr and Mārtiņš Sesks – ERC2 and ER3/ERC Junior Under 27 champions respectively – were also in action on Rallijs Sarma. Érdi Jr placed P11 overall as Sesks took the LRC3 honours in a fine seventh place. Like Gryazin, Sesks will also be beginning his world championship adventure in Sweden.

The post ERC Junior champion Gryazin revs up for world debut with Latvia podium appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Ladies’ Trophy winner Falcón goes for green, white and black

Sat, 02/09/2019 - 06:00

Emma Falcón’s Citroën C3 R5 will feature a striking green, white and black colour scheme when she steps up to the new French machine in 2019.

Falcón won the ERC Ladies’ Trophy in 2018 driving Citroën DS3 R3T for the bulk of the season.

She will graduate to R5 power in this seaon’s Spanish championship, which joins forces with the FIA European Rally Championship on Rally Islas Canarias from 2-4 May.

Photo: Facebook.com/emma.falcon.5

The post ERC Ladies’ Trophy winner Falcón goes for green, white and black 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)