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López heads ERC1 Junior 1-2 in Canarias as Lukyanuk retires

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 13:49

Pepe López is only four stages away from a first FIA European Rally Championship victory, leading a 1-2 of ERC1 Junior stars in R5 cars after chief rival Alexey Lukyanuk retired with suspension damage.

Citroën Rally Team’s young Spanish star López had put Lukyanuk under pressure throughout the rally’s first leg on Friday, beginning the day only 3.8s off the lead.

That quickly became a handsome lead as Saintéloc Racing’s lead driver Lukyanuk damaged the front-left corner of his Citroën C3 R5 when cutting a corner. A cracked rim was the most visible sign of damage but the impact also broke his suspension, leaving him unable to continue and forcing the reigning ERC champion to retire.

López backed off slightly after winning SS11, given he had over half a minute in hand over current ERC1 Junior points leader Chris Ingram. The Toksport WRT driver had surged up the order from ninth to third yesterday and moved into second place on SS10 after Lukyanuk’s demise.

Ingram faces stiff competition from an ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior champion of the past, Marijan Griebel. The pair traded tenths of a second throughout the morning in an extremely close tussle, with the net result a small increase in Ingram’s advantage from 3.7s to 4.3s.

There was also a tit-for-tat battle between Hyundai Motor España’s Iván Ares and MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig. They swapped places more than once, with Herczig turning in a strong run on Moya to take fourth place, only to lose it one stage later on Galdar. Ares pulled another 0.9s ahead on Vallesco, so heads to midday service with only 1.4s in hand over the Hungarian driver in fifth.

Both will need to look over their shoulders though as Team OSCARO’s Pierre-Louis Loubet was on a charge, winning two out of four stages on the morning loop. Loubet had been held back by a delaminated tyre on Tejeda yesterday morning but has been clawing back time since, and is only 6.3s behind Ares in sixth place.

Loubet had picked off current ERC championship leader Łukasz Habaj on his recovery drive, demoting the Sports Racing Technologies driver down to seventh on Galdar.

Rally Team Spain’s José Suárez moved up to eighth, his comeback drive aided by a spin for Niki Mayr-Melnhof at the very first corner of Arucas that demoted the Austrian from ninth to P12. The top 10 places were completed by two Spaniards; Surhayen Pernía (Hyundai Motor España) and Luis Monzón (Auto-Laca Competición), the latter overhauling Xevi Pons (ACSM Rallye Team) for the final points place on Galdar.

ERC1 Junior competitors Alexandros Tsouloftas (Toksport WRT) and Emma Falcón (Escudería Fuertwagen Motorsport) both picked up punctures on the bumpy Moya stage, losing around two and six minutes respectively. They are still fourth and fifth place respectively in ERC1 Junior despite their delays.

The post López heads ERC1 Junior 1-2 in Canarias as Lukyanuk retires appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk out of ERC Rally Islas Canarias

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 11:11

Alexey Lukynauk is out of Rally Islas Canarias, the winner of the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship damaging the front-left suspension of his Citroën C3 R5 on Saturday’s opening stage.

Chasing a fourth consecutive victory on the challenging island event, Lukyanuk started leg two with a narrow 3.8s advantage over Pepe López. But he reached the finish of the opening 7.18-kilometre Arucas - Disa stage 16.5s behind the young Spaniard and with his Saintéloc Junior Team-run car nursing damaged suspension and a cracked wheel rim.

“Game over,” the Russian confirmed on the ERC's live Facebook coverage. “In a fast left corner, I think I was too much inside and clipped something. Of course we were in the right mood to fight but it’s hard to explain this thing. I tried today the best I can.”

Lukyanuk's exit promotes Chris Ingram into second and Marijan Griebel onto the podium with ERC1 Junior leader López now in front overall by 39.2s. However, just 12.7s separate Ingram and Norbert Herczig in sixth with seven Saturday stages remaining.

Photo: Facebook.com/FiaEuropeanRallyChampionship

The post Lukyanuk out of ERC Rally Islas Canarias appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Rally Islas Canarias live on Facebook and ERC Radio

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 06:00

There will be live coverage of Rally Islas Canarias on the FIA European Rally Championship’s official Facebook page today.

Stages nine and 16 will be available as they happen from 09h40 and 16h24 local time and more information is available by clicking here.

Meanwhile, ERC Radio will be broadcasting live throughout the deciding leg of Rally Islas Canarias with Julian Porter and Chris Rawes broadcasting live. ERC Radio is available at FIAERC.com or via the official ERC app.

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

Rally Team Spain’s Suárez heads Canarias leg two road order

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 22:17

FIA ERC1 Junior Championship graduate José Suárez will lead the ERC field into leg two of Rally Islas Canarias, starting as first car on the road.

Suárez, who was previously a full-time competitor in the ERC1 Junior series with Peugeot Rally Academy, will start first aboard his Rally Team Spain Hyundai i20 R5.

Niki Mayr-Melnhof, last year’s Austrian champion, will follow Suárez into the stages, with Team OSCARO’s Pierre-Louis Loubet third in the queue.

ERC championship leader Łukasz Habaj will follow Loubet in his Sports Racing Technologies-run ŠKODA Fabia R5, with MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig and Marijan Griebel in tow driving Baumschlager Rallye & Racing-prepared cars.

ERC1 Junior Championship frontrunners Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) and Pepe López (Citroën Rally Team) will run eighth and ninth in the order, with rally leader Alexey Lukyanuk starting his Saintéloc-prepared C3 R5 from P10.

Several drivers who retired on Friday are set to return under Rally2 on Saturday. Paulo Nobre (Palmeirinha Rally), Abarth Rally Cup runners Dariusz Poloński (Rallytechnology) and Andrea Nucita, and ERC3 Junior pair Roland Stengg (Stengg Motorsport) and Miika Hokkanen are all set to appear on leg two of the event.

Leg two beings with the 7.18 kilometre Arucas stage at 9h40 (10h40 CEST), with crews covering eight stages for a total distance of 103.96 kilometres. SS9 (Arucas) and SS16 (Valleseco) will both be broadcast on Facebook Live at 10h40 (11h40 CEST) and 17h25 (18h25 CEST) respectively on the FIA ERC’s Facebook page.

The post Rally Team Spain’s Suárez heads Canarias leg two road order appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Monarri set for double success in Abarth Rally Cup and ERC2

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 21:45

Alberto Monarri has a 35.1s advantage over fellow Spaniard Carlos David García in the Abarth Rally Cup on Rally Islas Canarias, and also leads the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category.

The pan-European competition, which features identical Fiat Abarth 124 Rally machines equipped with Pirelli tyres, featured a tight early lead battle. Abarth Spain – SMC Junior Motorsport pilot Monarri pulled a slim advantage after the first two stages, with Dariusz Poloński right behind him.

But when Poloński hit a rock and broke a wheel on SS3, the Rallytechnology driver was forced to retire, narrowing the three-way lead battle down to two.

García’s strong run on Tejeda had put him ahead of Monarri but the positions switched back on the afternoon re-run of Valsequillo, with Monarri reclaiming a slim 1.7s advantage.

However, Monarri was given room to breathe when García lost nearly half a minute on San Mateo. A fuel pump failure after SS7 also caused a late scare for García and his Overcame Competición team, though he was able to complete leg one 35.1s behind Monarri.

Andrea Nucita was tipped to be a victory contender pre-event but his rally did not go to plan, a driveshaft failure costing him several minutes on the morning loop and eventually leading to his retirement.

Monarri and García are also 1-2 in the ERC2 production category thanks to their performances, the rear-wheel drive Abarths very much suited to Gran Canaria’s narrow and twisty asphalt lanes.

Juan Carlos Alonso completes the podium aboard his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, ahead of a similar car driven by Zelindo Melegari and prepared by Neiksans Rallysport.

Melegari had to nurse a broken turbo all day but, thanks to his patient driving, Melegari completed leg one without the need to retire and return under Rally2. His team had elected not to replace the turbo, given the amount of time needed to execute the swap would have led to significant time penalties.

Sergei Remennik had been scheduled to compete this weekend but his Russian Performance Motorsport-run car sustained heavy damage in a pre-event testing accident, forcing him to miss the rally.

The post Monarri set for double success in Abarth Rally Cup and ERC2 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC3 Junior: Franceschi retakes Canarias lead

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 21:18

Jean-Baptiste Franceschi won six out of eight stages in the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship category on Rally Islas Canarias to open up a 16.9s advantage over Saintéloc Racing’s Sindre Furuseth.

Franceschi’s only setback was a mix-up between SS2 and SS3, when a member of his team got lost trying to reach the refuel zone.

It would have forced Franceschi to retire had it not been for the sportsmanship of Furuseth’s Saintéloc team, who refuelled Franceschi’s Ford Fiesta R2T for him. He arrived two minutes late to SS3, which led to a 20s penalty and dropped him down to third.

But a string of fastest times in the afternoon put him back to first place shortly afterwards.

Though unable to keep pace with the turbo-powered Fiesta on the uphill sections, Furuseth was untroubled in second place, though still has Azores Rallye winner Efrén Llarena not far behind.

Rally Team Spain’s prodigious talent broke Franceschi’s stage-winning dominance by going fastest on both runs of the Las Palmas superspeical, though gained only 0.7s on Furuseth to end leg one 10.8s behind the Norwegian.

FPAK Portugal Team ERC’s young talent Pedro Antunes was unable to keep up with the top three in his Peugeot 208 R2 and has a pair of duelling drivers within striking distance behind him.

Simon Wagner had run as high as fourth place early on but his Stengg Motorsport-run Opel ADAM R2 suffered a mysterious issue on both passes of San Mateo, affecting his car’s steering.

He dropped to seventh on SS2 but began a recovery drive thereafter, spending the afternoon jockeying for position with ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team’s Grégoire Munster who had ended his morning with a puncture.

Wagner had begun to pull away on the afternoon loop but lost around nine seconds on the first pass of the Las Palmas superspecial, dropping him back behind Munster and into sixth. Munster ended the day fifth but has only 2.3s in hand over Wagner.

Grigor Grigorov’s ERC3 Junior debut went well, a tidy opening leg earning him seventh place and keeping him within reach of Munster and Wagner ahead, 9.9s behind the former driver.

ACCR Czech Rally Team’s best placed junior talent Jan Talaš wasn’t quite able to match his Qualifying Stage pace, where he had gone second fastest, though is still looking competitive in eighth place, only 10.9s behind Grigorov.

Roman Schwedt was on a march up the leaderboard on Friday afternoon, piloting his Team ROMO Peugeot 208 past Roland Stengg and Elias Lundberg into ninth.

Lundberg completed the top 10 in the second ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team machine, ahead of Kristóf Klausz in P11.

Petr Semerád had a dramatic introduction to the ERC by rolling his car at a hairpin on SS2, though continued with only around half a minute lost. He finished leg one in P12, 11.9s behind Klausz. Another ERC3 Junior debutant, Nabila Tejpar, is P13.

Miika Hokkanen had been fighting for a top five finish early on but suffered terrible luck, picking up a puncture on SS2 and then sustaining a second puncture on the road section between SS2 and SS3. With only one spare, he was forced to retire.

Stengg’s rally came to an end on the afternoon pass of Tejeda, losing a wheel and retiring from P11.

Two drivers are ahead of ERC3 Junior leader Franceschi in the overall ERC3 classification, with Florian Bernardi’s Renault Clio leading Peugeot Rally Academy driver Yohan Rossel by 22.9s.

Sean Johnston is P11 in ERC3 for Saintéloc, slotting in between Talaš and Schwedt. Catie Munnings had also been due to compete in ERC3 with the second Peugeot Rally Academy car but was forced to withdraw due to a dental abscess.

The post ERC3 Junior: Franceschi retakes Canarias lead appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC1 Junior: López leads as Loubet battle ends early

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 20:53

Pepe López showed the level of competition in the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship by battling for overall victory on Rally Islas Canarias, though has a comfortable gap in class after a setback for Pierre-Louis Loubet.

López won every stage in ERC1 Junior but tied for fastest time on SS4 with Team OSCARO athlete Loubet, who looked set to put up a strong challenge to the Citroën España-backed driver.

They were separated by only 6.3s heading to SS3 but by the finish Loubet was 40.1s behind and down to third, held up by a delaminated front-right tyre. It was a problem that had struck several ERC drivers, with tyres under massive stress from the abrasive surface on the longest stage of the rally.

Loubet’s setback promoted Chris Ingram to second place, though the Toksport WRT driver couldn’t keep up with López’s incredible pace out front. 36.4s seconds separate the pair heading to leg two on Saturday.

A podium is still likely for Loubet, who finished the day 57.7s off López.

Ingram’s team-mate Alexandros Tsouloftas faced a steep learning curve this weekend, with Rally Islas Canarias his first full asphalt event. Though he finished leg one 2m49.1s behind López, it was a clean run from the Cypriot.

Reigning ERC Ladies’ champion Emma Falcón marked her comeback to the championship with fifth place in ERC1 Junior, driving a Citroën C3 R5 prepared by Escudería Fuertwagen Motorsport for the first time on an ERC event.

Hailing from the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura, Falcón’s local knowledge has helped her stay within touching distance of Tsouloftas ahead, 38.2s behind. She also leads the ERC Ladies classification ahead of ERC3 Junior runner Nabila Tejpar.

The post ERC1 Junior: López leads as Loubet battle ends early appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk under pressure from ERC1 Junior López for Canarias lead

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 20:06

Alexey Lukyanuk has finished the FIA European Rally Championship’s opening leg of Rally Islas Canarias with a slim 3.8s advantage over Pepe López, with the pair trading stage wins.

Both three-time rally winner Lukyanuk and FIA ERC1 Junior Championship class leader López topped four stages apiece, though the Saintéloc Racing driver edged ahead thanks to two of those being on both passes of Tejeda, the longest stage of the rally.

Depsite all of Lukyanuk’s marginal gains on the winding Gran Canaria countryside roads, López managed to strike back in Las Palmas, taking 2.5s out of the Russian in only 2.9km of superspecials to end the day.

It’s still pretty close with López, he’s doing a crazy job,” said Lukyanuk. “All others are far behind us but for us it’s okay now.

“After the first stage I said we should push. Last year it was calmer for me in terms of pressure, it was easier, the seconds were easier for me. I don’t know why, maybe some drivers are faster and we are still on the way to learning the car and the tyres.”

Like Lukyanuk, López drives a Citroën C3 R5 though for the factory Citroën Rally Team. Facing a head-to-head battle for victory, the ERC1 Junior leader was conscious of his rival’s wealth of experience.

“For sure Lukyanuk has much more experience than me, so we have to keep focused in our target from Citroën España, so we will see. We will fight for the ERC also.

“I think Citroën has to be proud for his car because he's really competitive.”

ERC1 Junior championship leader Chris Ingram leads a tight battle for the final podium position in third place, while also holding second in ERC1 Junior. He rapidly made up for a slow start, climbing from ninth after SS1 to take third place on San Mateo from 2017 ERC1 Junior champion Marijan Griebel.

Baumschlager Rallye & Racing driver Griebel was another driver somewhat slow off the mark but quickly making progress, finishing the day 3.7s behind Ingram. Some confusion at the start line of the Las Palmas superspecial cost him nearly five seconds, denting any hopes of retaking third from Ingram before the end of leg one.

Iván Ares had swung up and down the leaderboard dramatically throughout the day, at times running as high as third and as low as ninth. He spent most of the afternoon battling MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig for fifth, taking the place back on the second pass of the day-ending Las Palmas superspecial. The pair are separated by only 0.7s heading into leg two.

Current championship leader Łukasz Habaj turned in two fast times on the Las Palmas superspecial to reach within 0.9s of Herczig ahead of him, ending the day seventh in his Sports Racing Technologies-prepared ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Team OSCARO-backed pilot Pierre-Louis Loubet had been an early contender for victory until being set back by a delaminated tyre on SS3. A tied stage win with López on SS4 demonstrated his raw pace but his earlier time loss meant he finished the day eighth overall, nine seconds behind Habaj though still on course for a podium finish in ERC1 Junior.

Reigning Austrian national champion Niki Mayr-Melnhof ended the day ninth overall, though ERC1 Junior graduate José Suárez is only 3.7s and on a comeback drive after a delaminated tyre on SS3 had dropped him from fifth to P15.

Alberto Monarri leads the Abarth Rally Cup order and ERC2 production class aboard his Abarth Spain – SMC Junior Motorsport run Fiat 124 Abarth RGT after a day-long battle with Overcame Competición’s Carlos David García.

Leg one recap: ERC1 Junior Lopez keeps Lukyanuk in check
Reigning FIA European Rally Champion Alexey Lukyanuk ended leg one of Rally Islas Canarias in the lead – but he was beaten more than once by a pair of ERC1 Junior stars in R5 cars that kept his lead in check.

Pepe López had already won the Qualifying Stage and continued his strong form by winning Valsequillo, 2.2s faster than fellow ERC1 Junior competitor Pierre-Louis Loubet. In a field chock full of experienced Spanish drivers including third-placed Iván Ares, Rally Team Spain’s ERC1 Junior graduate José Suárez and local legend Luis Monzón, it was an impressive start by the pair.

Xevi Pons (ACSM Rallye Team) wasn’t so fortunate, however, his engine running down on power and leaving him outside the top 10 from the very beginning.

Lukyanuk scored his first stage win on San Mateo, taking second from Loubet and closing in on López. There was plenty of shuffling around; Ares would temporarily dip down to ninth place after SS2, only to regain his podium spot one stage later. MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig meanwhile put himself into the thick of a massive podium position battle, moving up to fourth place aboard his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

The biggest challenge was yet to come, with the third stage of the rally, Tejeda, the longest of the weekend at 24.1 kilometres. That meant plenty of shake-up in the order, as the long twisty roads of Gran Canaria took their toll on brakes and tyre life.

Lukyanuk swooped into the lead, taking 4.7s out of López. Team OSCARO driver Loubet had also been in the mix as a potential victory contender but his hopes ended on Tejeda, a front-right tyre delaminating under the intense pressure of the abrasive road surface. He lost 38.5s and fell to eighth overall, though retained an all-important ERC1 Junior podium position.

Two ERC1 Junior graduates faced contrasting fortunes on Tejeda. 2017 champion Marijan Griebel’s confidence was building, allowing him to shoot up from seventh to fourth place in one stage. It partially came at the expense of former Peugeot Rally Academy driver Suárez, who faced the same fate as Loubet and fell from fifth to P15.

Two of the Ford Fiesta R5 drivers also dropped time on SS3: Niki Mayr-Melnhof’s engine cut out briefly and lost him around half a minute, while Monzón’s brakes faded drastically as the stage went on.

After the crews regrouped at midday service, the ERC1 Juniors were once again fastest out of the blocks. López and Loubet tied for fastest time on the afternoon re-run of Valsequillo, cutting Lukyanuk’s lead down to only 1.7s. Griebel was also thriving after switching to a harder tyre compound, going third fastest to take third place away from Hyundai Motor España’s lead driver, Ares.

It was also a mixed bag for the Spanish drivers competing in ERC on SS4, as while Monzón drew level with Tibor Érdi Jr. for ninth, Escudería Fuertwagen Motorsport’s Yeray Lemes picked up a front right puncture. There was no Paulo Nobre in the afternoon, who had retired his Palmeirinha Rally machine during midday service.

While Lukyanuk edged López by only 0.4s for the stage win on SS5, the real star of San Mateo’s afternoon pass was Chris Ingram. The ERC1 Junior points leader was only 1.3s off the pace, which catapulted him straight to the podium from fifth place, passing Griebel and Ares.

Lukyanuk pushed to increase his advantage on the re-run of Tejeda and gained 4.2s over López. Ares meanwhile was falling further backwards, as he lost fifth place to Herczig with a time 18.8s off pacesetter Lukyanuk’s effort. Despite being one of the most experienced drivers on Gran Canaria, local expert Monzón struggled again on Tejeda and dropped to P12, allowing Niki Mayr-Melnhof to take ninth and allowing a recovering Suárez back into the points.

Both had also benefitted from cruel luck for reigning ERC2 champion Érdi, who had been forced to stop and change a puncture close to the finish of SS6. Losing over three and a half minutes, Érdi fell from P11 to P23.

There was a final riposte from López on the streets of Las Palmas. Across two passes of a 1.44 kilometre superspeical, the Citroën Rally Team pilot took 2.5s out of rally leader Lukyanuk, ending the day 3.8s behind. The lead battle is very much still on heading into leg two.

Herczig and Ares were back at it over fifth place in Las Palmas too, with the Spaniard taking the place on the final stage of the day by taking 3.8s out of Herczig across the two superspecials. Plenty of tyres and rims were scuffed on kerbs as drivers chased tenths of a second, the most visually apparent of which was to Lars Stugemo’s Printsport-run Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

The post Lukyanuk under pressure from ERC1 Junior López for Canarias lead appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Francheschi praises new Fiesta – and rival ERC team

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 16:31

Jean-Baptiste Franceschi has praised the performance of his Ford Fiesta R2T – and the rival Saintéloc team for keeping him in the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship fight on Rally Islas Canarias.

The Frenchman was fastest in the Pirelli-backed category on all three of Friday morning’s stages but dropped down the order after he was handed a 20-second penalty for his late arrival at SS3, the result of time lost waiting for a team member to arrive at the refuelling zone.

“We were waiting for the refuelling but nobody came,” Franceschi explained. “We wait, we wait but nobody came. I heard he was lost on the road, it was crazy but this is rally and we are lucky because Saintéloc helped us to put some fuel in the car. If not, we are stopped in this place and I want to say thanks to them.”

Despite the time penalty, Francheschi said he could take plenty of positives from his Rally Islas Canarias debut so far, especially the speed of his M-Sport Poland-built Ford Fiesta R2T. “The speed is good and the car is so good for my first time. We had a one-day test and the shakedown so it’s promising.”

The post Francheschi praises new Fiesta – and rival ERC team appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Furuseth promoted to ERC3 Junior lead

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 16:29

Sindre Furuseth has assumed the lead of the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship classification on Rally Islas Canarias, after a 20-second time penalty for Jean-Baptiste Franceschi.

Franceschi had edged out a small advantage after winning all three stages on Friday morning but checked in two minutes late to SS3, earning a 20s penalty.

The unusual mix-up came from a member of Franceschi’s team becoming lost on the way to the remote refuel zone between SS2 and SS3.

In an amazing twist, it was Furuseth’s Saintéloc Racing team that helped Franceschi finish the morning loop, with the French team refuelling its rival’s car.

Furuseth now has a 12.2s lead over Rally Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena after SS3, with Franceschi only 1.2s behind Llarena in third.

The post Furuseth promoted to ERC3 Junior lead appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Semerád survives rollover on ERC3 Junior debut

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 15:30

Petr Semerád had a dramatic start to his FIA ERC3 Junior Championship career on Rally Islas Canarias, rolling his Peugeot 208 R2 onto its roof on SS2.

Despite his roll, the ACCR Czech Rally Team rookie was able to continue at full speed, and is P13 in ERC3 Junior after three stages.

“I used the handbrake and the left front wheel clipped the inner edge of the asphalt and we just rolled. It was so fast that I couldn't do anything,” explained Semerád.

“It was so quick! We just rolled, everybody ran to the car, put it back up, we start and go.

“I didn't see much from the car but it's fine. The geometry is fine, it's braking, it's turning, engine is working, so no problems driving.”

Semerád is the youngest driver in the ERC3 Junior field, to the point that co-driver Jiří Hlávka takes over from him on road sections due to the young Czech driver not having a driving license.

His first ERC rally is also made tougher by having to skip pre-event testing, Free Practice and the Qualifying Stage, as his car did not arrive in Las Palmas until Thursday morning.

The post Semerád survives rollover on ERC3 Junior debut appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC1 Junior points leader Ingram “getting quicker” in Canarias

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 15:03

FIA ERC1 Junior Championship leader Chris Ingram believes his pace is “getting quicker and quicker” on Rally Islas Canarias, rebounding from finishing only P16 on Thursday’s Qualifying Stage to lie fifth overall.

Ingram was down in ninth after the opening stage of Rally Islas Canarias but picked his way up the leaderboard thereafter, moving up to second place in ERC1 Junior and fifth overall.

“We’re just getting quicker and quicker. We needed more kilometres but it’s all positive now,” he said after SS3.

“I thought I’d lost a lot of time. We lost the brakes in the second stage and then in stage three, I just had no confidence with them. We lost a lot of time to Alexey but the overall position’s actually decent after that.”

Ingram is 20.3s behind ERC1 Junior leader Pepe López, who has returned to the category with Citroën Rally Team after last competing full-time in the championship with Peugeot Rally Academy back in 2017.

Pierre-Louis Loubet completes the ERC1 Junior podium after three stages, with Ingram’s Toksport WRT team-mate Alexandros Tsouloftas fourth on his asphalt debut and reigning ERC Ladies champion Emma Falcón fifth for Escudería Fuertwagen Motorsport.

The post ERC1 Junior points leader Ingram “getting quicker” in Canarias appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC3 Junior: Franceschi and Furuseth duel for Canarias spoils

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 14:16

Jean-Baptiste Franceschi and Sindre Furuseth are locked in a close battle for FIA ERC3 Junior Championship honours on Rally Islas Canarias, separated by only 6.6s after the first three stages.

Though Franceschi was the fastest ERC3 Junior on all three stages this morning, Saintéloc Junior Team’s Furuseth was close behind throughout, especially on San Mateo where the Norwegian driver dropped only 0.5s.

Current ERC3 Junior championship leader Efrén Llarena completes the podium positions for Rally Team Spain, 18.8s off Franceschi in his Pirelli-shod Peugeot 208 R2.

Another federation-backed young talent, FPAK Portugal Team ERC’s Pedro Antunes, is in fourth place, with ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team’s Grégoire Munster completing the top five despite suffering from a slow puncture on the longest stage of the rally, Tejeda.

Miika Hokkanen had held fifth place early on aboard his privateer Peugeot 208 R2 but suffered two punctures on SS2. With only one spare wheel in the boot of his car, he was forced to retire at stage end.

That helped Simon Wagner’s comeback efforts, who’d also been set back by an issue on SS2 that was affecting the tracking of his car. Despite struggling along as his car “turned different to the right than to the left” he still moved up to sixth past debutant Grigor Grigorov, though had been fourth on SS1 before his troubles.

Grigorov is only 4.9s behind Wagner and a further 4.4s in arrears lies Elias Lundberg in the second ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team car. ACCR Czech Rally Team’s Jan Talaš is also in the thick of that fight, only 1.9s behind Lundberg, with Roland Stengg completing the ERC3 Junior top 10.

French pair Florian Bernardi and Yohan Rossel are fighting over ERC3 honours, both ahead of Franceschi who is third in the overall class for R2 cars. Franceschi had been fastest out of the blocks on SS1 but two stage wins for Bernardi put the Renault Clio R3 driver into the lead, while Peugeot Rally Academy member Rossel remained P2 throughout.

Rossel’s team-mate Catie Munnings was forced to withdraw before the rally even began due to a worsening dental problem. She had completed Free Practice and the Qualifying Stage on Thursday and had sought emergency treatment thereafter, though was still in too much pain to compete.

The post ERC3 Junior: Franceschi and Furuseth duel for Canarias spoils appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

García and Monarri locked in tight Abarth Rally Cup battle

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 13:52

Spanish duo Carlos David García and Alberto Monarri are locked in a close FIA European Rally Championship battle over first place in the Abarth Rally Cup on Rally Islas Canarias.

Monarri had been the early pacesetter by winning SS1 and SS2 to establish a narrow 3.5s advantage over experienced ERC pilot Dariusz Poloński’s Rallytechnology-run Fiat Abarth 124 Rally.

However, García turned in a strong stage win on Tejeda, the longest stage of the rally, taking 11.4s out of Monarri to take the lead by only 3s.

Poloński’s hopes of victory disappeared on SS3 when he hit a rock and broke a wheel, forcing him to retire.

Andrea Nucita had been an early favourite for victory but endured a challenging first loop. Transmission problems and a double puncture on Tejeda cost him several minutes, though is still on course for an Abarth Rally Cup podium.

García and Monarri are also 1-2 in the ERC2 production category, for which Abarth Rally Cup entrants are eligible.

Juan Carlos Alonso holds the final podium place in ERC2, 48.8s behind García. The Argentine has 58.6s in hand over Zelindo Melegari, who is racing a Neiksans Rallysport-prepared Mistubishi Lancer Evo X for the first time.

The post García and Monarri locked in tight Abarth Rally Cup battle appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk battles ERC1 Juniors for early Canarias lead

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 13:35

Alexey Lukyanuk moved to the front of the FIA European Rally Championship order after the first three stages of Rally Islas Canarias, battling a pair of ERC1 Junior stars in R5 cars for first place.

Qualifying Stage winner Pepe López took an early lead aboard his Citroën Rally Team C3 R5 by winning SS1, with Team OSCARO-backed Pierre-Louis Loubet making it a 1-2 for ERC1 Junior drivers in the overall classification.

But Saintéloc Racing’s main man Lukyanuk found an extra turn of pace on SS2 and SS3, winning both to propel himself to a 3.7s lead over ERC1 Junior leader López after Tejeda, the longest stage of the rally.

Loubet meanwhile suffered a suspected transmission failure to the front-right corner of his ŠKODA Fabia, dropping him to eighth place overall.

Iván Ares was off the pace on SS2 and had dropped down to ninth, 8.9s off Lukyanuk’s pace. But the Hyundai Motor España driver quickly rebounded on Tejeda, going third fastest to finish the loop in third, 23s behind Lukyanuk.

Ares leads a large pack of cars challenging for the final podium spot, with Baumschlager Rallye & Racing’s Marijan Griebel, a champion in both ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior, closest behind.

Griebel climbed his way up from seventh to fourth place, ending the first loop of leg one only 0.6s behind Ares.

Chris Ingram was also picking his way up the order from ninth to fifth, taking second in ERC1 Junior once Loubet suffered his transmission woes and sitting only 0.4s behind Griebel.

Norbert Herczig remains in podium contention as well, the MOL Racing Team pilot 3.2s behind Ares. Also in the mix is current ERC championship leader Łukasz Habaj, 4.7s off Ares in third place.

Rally Team Spain’s José Suárez, a graduate of the ERC1 Junior Championship, had been in the thick of the podium battle until a delaminated front tyre on Tejada cost him around a minute. Having been fifth before the longest stage of the event, Suárez dropped down to P16.

Behind eighth-placed Loubet, reigning ERC2 champion Tibor Érdi Jr. shot up from P14 to ninth overall on the Tejeda stage, passing several of the Spanish championship regulars when doing so.

Local hero Luis Monzón, a three-time Canary Islands champion, completes the top 10 in his Ford Fiesta R5.

The post Lukyanuk battles ERC1 Juniors for early Canarias lead appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Fit-again von Thurn und Taxis happy to be back on ERC duty

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 09:00

Albert von Thurn und Taxis will make his long-awaited return to FIA European Rally Championship action when Rally Islas Canarias gets underway proper this morning.

Von Thurn und Taxis has been absent from competition since Barum Czech Rally Zlín due to a back injury, which also kept him out of the season-opening Azores Rallye.

“I had a back injury, quite a serious one and I was not sure when I would be able to get back in the car,” he said. “Thankfully I got it sorted out and I’m back and it’s really wonderful.

“I think we’re going to do the full ERC, we just had to leave out the Azores because I still had some treatment. It was not clear if everything was going to go well but it’s looking good.

“I did a little test just to see everything was going to be fine and I also did the test here on Monday. I’m happy to get back to work, really super-happy to be able to drive again and confident everything will work fine.”

While von Thurn und Taxis will continue his alliance with Raimund Baumschlager’s BRR operation, he has recruited Austrian Bernhard Ettel to co-drive his ŠKODA Fabia R5.

The post Fit-again von Thurn und Taxis happy to be back on ERC duty appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

The day ahead in the ERC

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 06:00

Rally Islas Canarias gets serious today with the first of 16 all-asphalt special stages getting underway at 10h08 local time.

Tibor Érdi Jr will run first on the road on his full-time step up to the FIA European Rally Championship’s top tier as the double ERC2 champion. Title leader Łukasz Habaj goes P14 with Alexey Lukyanuk, the outright ERC champion from 2018, one place behind.

Andrea Nucita is the first of the Abarth Rally Cup contenders in P23, ERC1 Junior leader Chris Ingram is P16 with Rally Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena defending his ERC3 Junior lead in P32. Juan Carlos Alonso, ERC2 leader following the season-opening Azores Rallye, is P28 on the road.

Friday’s route features eight special stages and the news, action and analysis can be found at FIAERC.com, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and live on ERC Radio.

The post The day ahead in the ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Monarri ready for Nucita fight in ERC Abarth Rally Cup

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 22:04

Alberto Monarri reckons he can take the fight to Andrea Nucita for Abarth Rally Cup honours after the Italian set a strong pace during the Qualifying Stage for the opening round of the one-make series.

Nucita was the fastest of the Abarth Rally Cup drivers as battle began in the new FIA European Rally Championship category on Rally Islas Canarias.

Afterwards, Spaniard Monarri said: “I told all my team-mates that today's stage is nothing like what the rally itself is, so tomorrow the real Rally Islas Canarias begins. We're a little bit unhappy with the gap today, especially to Andrea, but tomorrow is another day and we'll aim for the top. We'll see what happens.”

Behind Monarri, Carlos David García was third fastest with Dariusz Poloński next up in fourth after the Pole lost time when he stalled the engine in his Pirelli-equipped Abarth 124 rally.

The post Monarri ready for Nucita fight in ERC Abarth Rally Cup appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC2 champion Érdi leads Friday road order

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 19:34

Tibor Érdi Jr., the reigning two-time champion of the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category, will start as first car on the road for Rally Islas Canarias’ eight stages taking place on Friday.

Érdi, who has moved up to the main ERC category with a ŠKODA Fabia R5 this year, finished P15 on the Qualifying Stage, so was last to choose his road order slot. He was left with first place in the road order after everyone else’s picks had been made.

Interestingly, there was a strong split in strategies among the fastest qualifiers from Thursday morning. ERC1 Junior runner Pepe López had beaten all his senior rivals to earn first pick, going straight down the middle and opting to start seventh.

“Here in the Canary Islands, there is nowhere to cut and a lot of dirt because of the wind. There will be more rubber on the Tarmac [by not starting earlier], I think,” said the Citroën Rally Team pilot of his choice.

On the other hand, second-fastest Iván Ares elected to start his Hyundai Motor España i20 R5 third on the road, while the reigning ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk had gone in completely the opposite direction, selecting P15 in the order, the lowest possible.

“Each year, we always we try to pick last: If it’s raining overnight, it will be drier; there are no ruts, so [the road is] only getting better. We’ll see some lines and some braking points,” explained the Saintéloc Racing driver.

Most drivers followed López’s lead of going down the middle, with José Antonio Suárez (Rally Team Spain) and Team OSCARO’s Pierre-Louis Loubet picking sixth and eighth on the road. Nobert Herczig (MOL Racing Team) and Vojtěch Štajf (ACCR Czech Team) did likewise by picking P10 and fifth thereafter.

Current ERC championship leader Łukasz Habaj followed title rival Lukyanuk’s lead by selecting P14, with Marijan Griebel, a winner of both the ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior championships in years past, starting Friday’s stages P13 in the road order.

We’ll find out whether Ares or Lukyanuk’s respective road order gambles pay off from 10h08 (11h08 CEST) on Friday, when Érdi leads a field of over 100 cars onto the 10.96km Valsequillo-Festina stage. You can follow all the action on ERC Radio throughout the day, presented by Chris Rawes and Julian Porter.

The post ERC2 champion Érdi leads Friday road order appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Munnings fought through “agony” on ERC Canarias Qualifying Stage

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 15:13

FIA ERC3 Junior Championship competitor Catie Munnings experienced a rather unusual problem during her run on the Qualifying Stage for Rally Islas Canarias, suffering in “agony” from a dental abscess.

Munnings, who is part of the Peugeot Rally Academy team, took part in all the Free Practice runs and the Qualifying Stage on Valsequillo, despite being in pain throughout.

“I'm a bit ill. I've got an abscess on my tooth and I'm going straight to an emergency appointment at the dentist now. I'm in absolute agony!” said Munnings.

“Driving that tricky stage, my head wasn't really in it but hopefully it'll be better tomorrow!”

Unlike the ERC season opener, Azores Rallye, there’s no special stages on the opening day of Rally Islas Canarias, with SS1 taking place at 10h08 tomorrow morning (11h08 CEST).

The post Munnings fought through “agony” on ERC Canarias Qualifying Stage appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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PZM 76th Rally Poland - OFFICIAL TEASER TRAILER! 28-30/06/2019

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Kalendarz 2019

21-23.03.2019:

Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugalia)

02-04.05.2019

Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)

24-26 05.2019

Rally Liepāja (Łotwa)

28-30.06.2019

Rajd Polski

19-21.07.2019

Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)

16-18.08.2019

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)

27-29.09.2019:

Cyprus Rally (Cypr)

08-10.11.2019:

Rally Hungary (Węgry)