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European Rally Championship
Updated: 15 min 11 sec ago

Global recognition for ERC Cyprus Rally organisers

Sat, 03/03/2018 - 12:00

The team behind the Cyprus Rally, a mainstay of the FIA European Rally Championship, has received a prestigious award for organisational excellence.

They were voted as the motorsport world governing body’s Best Team of Officials in 2017 for their highly professional work and dedication.

Mumtaz Tahincioglu, FIA Council Member and President of the Volunteers and Officers Committee said: “Here at the FIA we strongly believe in celebrating and rewarding the commitment of those individuals who give up their spare time to assist in motorsport organisation. We rely on all members of such organising committees that encourage volunteers to carry on their work, greatly benefitting the sport.”

Antonis Michaelides, President of the Cyprus Automobile Association and President of the Cyprus Rally Organising Committee said: “The FIA greatly honours our committee with this award. This is a true, global, recognition towards the timeless devotion of our organisers towards motorsports. This, of course, gives no time to rest as this award does not indicate any form of perfection on our behalf. On the contrary, we will continue displaying the same zeal and devotion to our goals, aiming to raise our standards and our rally even higher, further honoring the sport itself but also our country.”

Clerk of the Course Nayia Kontopoulou, voted as the FIA’s Best Senior Official in 2016, added: “It is common knowledge that most international events are organised mostly by professionals with huge budgets. This award is a testament to the soul and spirit we invest in every Cyprus Rally, which overshadows any budget. We hoisted our country on the top of global motorsports. We are tremendously proud for this award. This is a recognition for us on a personal level, for our rally, for our association but also our country.”

This year's Cyprus Rally forms round four of the eight-event ERC season from 15-17 June.

New video to tease ERC Azores Airlines Rallye

Sat, 03/03/2018 - 06:00

Organisers of the Azores Airlines Rallye, the opening event of the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship season, have released a new teaser video ahead of this month’s gravel spectacular.

The video, which is available by clicking here, captures the drama and excitement of the 2017 edition, while also showcasing the spectacular scenery of São Miguel where the event is based from 22-24 March.

Koči is ERC Junior U28-bound with ŠKODA Slovakia

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 12:00

The FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship has attracted yet another rising talent with confirmation that Martin Koči will tackle the series for young stars in R5 cars.

Koči, 24, will pilot a ŠKODA Slovakia Motorsport Fabia R5 in a combined progamme of national championship and ERC events, where his rivals are set to include Fredrik Åhlin, Chris Ingram, Frank Tore Larsen, Pierre-Louis Loubet, Laurent Pellier and ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland’s Fabian Kreim.

His father Michal Koči’s Styllex Motorsport team will prepare the Fabia R5. Czech Filip Schovánek, who once partnered former European champion Jan Kopecký, will co-drive. Their first ERC outing of 2018 will be the Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March.

“I am very happy that ŠKODA AUTO Slovensko, a strong partner of Slovakian ice hockey and cycling, is opening a new chapter of its sponsoring activities,” said the company’s Marek Růžička. “With the history of our brand and current successes in international motorsport, our support of Slovakian motorsport is a logical step. I am convinced that combining the best car in its category, a talented driver in Martin Koči and the ŠKODA Slovakia Motorsport team will bring wins and other good results.”

Koči, who achieved significant success in the Junior world championship as well as on home soil, in Czech Republic and at FIA European Rally Trophy level, was full of praise of the ŠKODA he will use in the 2018 ERC. “It’s a very precise and high-quality rally car with great power response. It is very reliable with every detail focused on the best sporting performance.”

Michal Koči, who has experience of co-driving former European champions Enrico Bertone and Yves Loubet – father of Martin Koči’s ERC Junior U28 rival Pierre-Louis Loubet – in the ERC, added: “The partnership with ŠKODA AUTO Slovensko is the joining of forces of two strong companies, the basis of making good results, the strengthening of the ŠKODA brand and also our team in motorsport. I am sure that our cooperation will be successful.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “It’s really good news that Martin Koči will among the promising young drivers chasing success – and a prize drive in a World Rally Car – in the ERC Junior Under 28 Championship. He has a very strong record in rallying and demonstrated his pace against the European championship regulars on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last summer. The Azores Airlines Rallye will be a tough event to start his campaign but it’s perfect for building experience and establishing himself. We’re also very pleased to welcome ŠKODA AUTO Slovensko to the ERC. Along with SKODA AUTO Deutschland, the company has clearly identified the return on an investment an ERC campaign can bring.”

Åhlin chooses ERC for international challenge

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 11:30

Fredrik Åhlin has chosen the FIA European Rally Championship for his next challenge, stepping up from a successful season in the UK to bid for ERC Junior Under 28 category honours in 2018.

Co-driven by fellow Swede Joakim Sjöberg, Åhlin is set to contest a full roster of ERC events in a LeoVegas World Rally Team ŠKODA Fabia R5 run by British team CA1 Sport.

*Full season awaits young star in CA1 Sport ŠKODA
*Swede determined to put British title disappointment behind him
*Campaign begins on the Azores Airlines Rallye


He will start his ERC adventure on the Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March, having spent the last two seasons as a frontrunner in the MSA British Rally Championship.

“I had already decided before the last round of the British championship last year that I wanted a new challenge in 2018,” Åhlin explained. “Even though we lost the title by only one point, which was a hard ending, I am proud of what I achieved and I am so excited to start a new season in a new championship.”

With zero experience of the eight events that will make up the 2018 ERC calendar, Åhlin has tackled three rallies in his homeland in recent weeks – taking a win and a third – as he and Sjöberg bid to remain sharp.

“It started really well with an overall victory at the opening round of the Swedish championship,” said Åhlin. “Unfortunately we had to retire at Rally Sweden with technical issues. But every single kilometre me and Joakim could get together in a rally car was so important. Even though the outcome of Rally Sweden wasn’t what we hoped for, it was still a very productive few weeks.”

The 26-year-old continued: “I can’t thank enough everyone who has supported us to be able to do this year’s programme. It is not a secret that this wouldn’t be possible without the support from sponsors, friends and family. One thing is sure, we will enjoy every second of this year and I feel very motivated and focused on doing a good job and to collect valuable experience for new adventures in the future.”

Welcoming Åhlin to the European Rally Championship, ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley, said: “We are really pleased Fredrik will be joining the ERC in 2018. We’ve been watching his career for a while and his decision to build his experience in a strong national championship has clearly been a benefit and deserves praise. Although he’s competed at a higher level in the past, Fredrik can look forward to building on his existing experience in a really competitive environment. And with a World Rally Car prize drive on offer to the ERC Junior U28 champion, a return to the global stage remains a possibility.”

Åhlin, who has made 21 starts at world level, is the grandson of the late Freddy Kottulinsky, a successful single-seater racer and former Dakar winner. Åhlin’s parents, Jerry Åhlin and Susanne Kottulinksy, were also rally drivers, while Fredrik’s sister Mikaela has gained experience in the Audi Sport TT Cup.

Exciting ERC Junior Experience workshops annoucned

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 10:00

One of the most comprehensive young driver training programmes in motorsport will shift up another gear in 2018 with confirmation of the latest ERC Junior Experience curriculum.

As previously announced, drivers registering for the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship will now be automatically enrolled into the ERC Junior Experience training programme rather than applying separately and paying an additional fee, which was the case previously.

*ERC Junior U27 contenders automatically enrolled into training programme
*Additional packages available covering more advanced topics
*Drivers not registered for ERC Junior U27 can also apply for expert training


For 2018, there will be four ERC Junior Experience training events held in conjunction with rounds of the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship. However, there will now be two optional packages for drivers to select in addition to the core package included in the ERC Junior U27 registration fee.

The training packages available are as follows. Drivers not registered for ERC Junior U27 can also apply:

Yellow: Included in ERC Junior U27 registration fee and covering media relations, TV interviews and the production process, pacenote preparation, tyre management, first aid and championship organisation and administration.

Green (optional package): ERC Junior U27 drivers will receive training on social media dos and don’ts, car set-up and tyre changing. They will also take part in a test session on Tarmac with an expert coach providing driving tips.

Blue (optional package): ERC Junior U27 drivers will be enrolled into workshops covering sponsorship acquisition, physical training and vision training. They will also take part in a test session on gravel accompanied by an expert driving coach.

Useful information:
*Devised by championship promoter Eurosport Events, the ERC Junior Experience is managed by All In Motion’s Evelien Deschuytter, an expert in equipping people with the skills they need to succeed.

*ERC Junior Experience participants not participating in the ERC Junior Under 27 Championship are permitted to undertake reconnaissance of the four rallies hosting training events, namely the Azores Airlines Rallye, Rally Islas Canarias, Barum Czech Rally Zlín and Rally Liepāja.

*ERC Junior Under 27 drivers can subscribe to the green and blue optional packages for 950 euros each (excluding VAT). Non-registered drivers will pay 1050 euros each (excluding VAT) or can enrol in all three packages for 2950 euros (excluding VAT).

*All workshops are run by industry experts with extensive rallying knowledge and understanding.

*ERC Junior Experience graduates include: Sébastien Bedoret, Dominik Brož, Filip Mareš, Catie Munnings, Javier Pardo Siota, Laurent Pellier, Roland Poom and Mārtiņš Sesks.

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “We are very pleased and excited to announce the ERC Junior Experience curriculum for 2018 and the packages available to young drivers looking to build their experience and expertise. Working with Evelien Deschuytter at All In Motion, we have devised a really comprehensive training programme that will not only represents excellent value for money but will help drivers to get better and better in and out of the car.”

Catie Munnings joined the ERC Junior Experience as a virtual novice in 2016 and has found the training packages to be invaluable. She said: “The ERC Junior Experience was amazing in teaching me all of the tips and tricks that only come with years of experience. The teachers are industry experts and very influential people and will remain great contacts to have in the future.

"The ERC Junior Experience took me to many of the rallies, let us recce them and then develop our styles in all aspects of the sport beyond what we could do on our own, preparing us in the best way for the coming season, as well as having a great time and enjoying the rally atmosphere with some of the most talented young drivers in Europe.

"Evelien Deschuytter is a fabulous co-ordinator, working tirelessly to make everything happen and make sure everyone is getting the most out of the sessions. The lessons I have learned will stay with me for the rest of my career.”

Click here for a copy of the ERC Junior Experience information pack.

Championship-winning Flying Finn aims to land ERC Junior U27 success

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 08:00

Miika Hokkanen will become the latest Flying Finn to transfer his talent from national level to the international stage when he contests the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship this season.

The winner of the Finnish championship’s highly competitive SM3 class in 2017 has joined Slovenia-based Oktan Sport to pilot a Peugeot 208 R2 in the Pirelli-equipped young driver category alongside long-term navigator Jukka Pasenius.

But having never rallied outside Finland before, Hokkanen admits he has plenty to learn: “ERC Junior is the best next step for me, it’s perfect with a great variety of races. Of course it’s a big learning curve for us and every rally will be new, and so will the car and team. Hopefully we are quick learners because even though we were very good in the Finnish championship, we now have the next step to take.”

Born and raised in Lahti, Hokkanen, 21, now lives in Jyväskylä – home of Finland’s round of the world championship – where he is in the second year of the engineering degree he’ll combine with his six-event ERC Junior campaign.

“I’m very happy to come to this series,” said Hokkanen, who tried karting before switching to rallying. “I did some karting and it went very well but rallying is a big thing in Finland. I started rallying when I was 15 and I really love the sport. Before that I did football and ice hockey but after I found rallying it has been my passion ever since.”

Several Finnish drivers have achieved success in the ERC, including Juho Hänninen and Esapekka Lappi, champions in 2012 and 2014 respectively. Finn Jari Huttunen was an event winner in ERC Junior Under 27 last season, eventually finishing runner-up to Briton Chris Ingram.

As well as being a contender for the 100,000 euros career progression fund that goes to the eventual champion to use towards an ERC Junior Under 28 bid in 2019, Hokkanen will be enrolled onto the ERC Junior Experience training programme.

“We are very pleased Miika has picked ERC Junior Under 27 to step up from national to international level,” said Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator. “As well as the opportunity to build his knowledge in a highly competitive environment, Miika will be able to learn plenty as part of the ERC Junior Experience, which is an invaluable resource for young drivers.”

Hokkanen begins his ERC Junior U27 adventure on next month’s Azores Airlines Rallye (22-24 March).

Fans to the fore on ERC Azores City Show

Mon, 02/26/2018 - 12:00

The Azores Airlines Rallye’s hugely popular City Show will once again form a key part of the build-up to the FIA European Rally Championship opener next month. And one lucky fan can win a unique co-driving experience.

Taking place on 21 March, the City Show is effectively a non-competitive special stage through the streets of host city Ponta Delgada.

Click here to find out how this unique prize can be won and for all the usual terms and conditions.

Saintéloc to bring Citroën C3 R5 to ERC

Sun, 02/25/2018 - 12:00

Top team Saintéloc Racing will bring Citroën’s all-new C3 R5 to the FIA European Rally Championship in 2018.

A long-term Citroën and Peugeot collaborator, Saintéloc plans to make the car available for customer use on as many ERC events as possible from June onwards following homologation.

"We remain faithful to PSA with the new Citroën C3 R5,” said Saintéloc Racing’s Rally Manager Vincent Ducher. “It will be the reference in the category and we will make it available as much as possible for all the national and international championships.”

Saintéloc’s relationship with Citroën and Peugeot dates back to 2011 with early success in the British championship with the former make. It has run Citroën’s DS3 in both R3 and R5 configuration and has experience running the Peugeot 207 Super 2000, Peugeot 208 R2 and the R5-specification 208 T16. It operates the Peugeot Rally Academy in the ERC with Laurent Pellier the latest recipient of the Peugeot-supported prize drive.

ERC graduates and former Saintéloc drivers Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre have carried out significant C3 R5 testing since last year.

The 2018 ERC season gets underway with the Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March.

D-25: ERC Azores entry takes shape, Sete Cidades is on!

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 12:00

It’s 25 days until the Azores Airlines Rallye opens the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship on 22 March. Here’s an update of what’s in store on the all-gravel spectacular in the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

ERC Juniors on show: Fabian Kreim, Frank Tore Larsen, Pierre-Louis Loubet and Laurent Pellier are among the drivers set to go up against ERC Junior Under 27 champion Chris Ingram in the battle for ERC Junior U28 honours.

Champions battle in ERC Junior U27: Tom Kristensson and Efrén Llarena will take up their prize drives for winning the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup and Beca Júnior R2 title in Spain respectively. Catie Munnings and Simon Wagner will be among their competition.

Moura on top form: Home hero and multiple Azorean champion Ricardo Moura will be one of the drivers to beat following his victory on the recent Portuguese championship opener, Rali Serras de Fafe.

Hungary for success: Norbert Herczig (pictured) is tackling his maiden ERC campaign, starting with the Azores Airlines Rallye. The Hungarian title holder his highly regarded in his homeland.

Super Sete Cidades: One of the world’s most iconic – and challenging – stages will once again play a starring on the Azores Airlines Rallye. A blast along the rim of a volcanic crater lake the undoubted highlight, Sete Cidades covers a distance of 23.87 kilometres and will be used twice during the event.

Monteiro calls on Magalhães to get ready for ŠKODA ERC action

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 16:00

Aloísio Monteiro will drive a ŠKODA Fabia R5 in the upcoming FIA European Rally Championship – and ERC ace Bruno Magalhães has been showing him the ropes.

Monteiro announced his ERC plans earlier this month but stopped short of revealing the identity of the car he and co-driver André Couceiro will be using in 2018.

With details of the car now public, Monteiro got to grips with the Czech machine – his first experience of all-wheel-drive machinery – at a venue in Nelas, Portugal over two days. Fellow Portuguese Magalhães was on hand to pass on his knowledge of the ARC Sport-run car, which he garnered during the 2017 season when he finished runner-up to Kajetan Kajetanowicz.

“The first few kilometers behind the wheel of the ŠKODA Fabia R5 were extremely positive,” said Monteiro, a graduate of the Iberia section of the Clio R3T Trophy. “We have lots to learn and quite a few aspects to improve, but I’m very pleased with the behaviour of the car. We will compete for the first time in four-wheel drive, in a championship that is also new to us. It's all new.”

Of the set-up advice he received from Magalhães, last year’s Azores Airlines Rallye winner, Monteiro added: “This is a hard job where it is preferable to spend some time on the tests and get the car with the perfect set-up. The help of Bruno Magalhães in this moment of the season, who knows the competition and the car better than anyone else, is very important to me.”

Following next month’s ERC season-opening Azores Airlines Rallye and Rally Islas Canarias from 3-5 May, Monteiro plans to contest four more ERC events although he’s yet to announce his full schedule.

ERC Azores-bound Araújo fifth on return

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 12:00

Armindo Araújo, who will contest next month’s FIA European Rally Championship season-opening Azores Airlines Rallye, claimed a top-five finish on his return to competition following a lengthy absence.

The double production world champion and multiple national title-winner placed fifth on last weekend’s Rali Serras de Fafe in a Team Hyundai Portugal-entered i20 R5.

His team-mate Carlos Vieira, the reigning Portuguese champion, finished one place behind in another importer-backed Hyundai.

The Azores Airlines Rallye takes place from 22-24 March.

Munnings to build experience in ERC Junior

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 10:00

Catie Munnings is targeting yet more progress when she embarks on her second FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship campaign in 2018.

Re-signing for the Saintéloc Junior Team, Munnings will pilot a Peugeot 208 R2 in the young driver training category, which takes place on six rounds of the FIA European Rally Championship and uses Pirelli tyres as standard.

Following a year of development in 2017, when she focused on building her limited experience in rallying, the 20-year-old Briton is relishing the chance to gain more knowledge both in an out of the car.

“I’m so looking forward to this year being in such a great team with my team-mates setting a really high benchmark,” said Munnings, who will partner Austrian Simon Wagner in the Saintéloc line-up. “We are all proud of the progression we made in 2017. Even though we lacked budget for any testing or practice, we were getting closer to the fastest guys. It’s like a dream to step into the car each time and I can’t wait to get started. We are still looking for some of our budget, I’m working at it every day, and we will get there.”

Munnings, who has been spending the winter working as an instructor at an ice driving school in northern Sweden, will start her combined ERC Junior Under 27/ERC Ladies’ Trophy campaign on the Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March during what will be an extremely busy year. “There’s also a project running alongside the rallying,” Munnings said. “I can’t give details just yet, but it’s very exciting and not something I ever thought I’d be able to do so watch this space!”

Vincent Ducher, the Saintéloc Racing Team Manager, said: “I remember when Catie came to Rallye Monte-Blanc in 2015 for her first rally mileage with our Peugeot 208 R2 during a customer test session. She had just got her driving licence without any experience. Since then she has improved a lot with only limited rallies and we are happy to help her in growing her rally career. We have already planned some test sessions and training as part of our programme for young drivers. This will begin with our first test on 28 February followed by a mechanical workshop and physical training in the south of France.”

As well as being in contention for ERC Junior Under 27 honours and the 100,000 euros career progression fund on offer to the champion, Munnings will be enrolled into the ERC Junior Experience, a series of training workshops and seminars organised during the season, which is part of the ERC Junior U27 entry.

ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley said: “It’s really good news that Catie has again chosen ERC Junior Under 27 to build her experience. She’s made huge progress in a short space of time and we look forward to following her ongoing development in 2018.”

ERC Junior star Huttunen shines as he steps up in the snow with Hyundai

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 12:00

Jari Huttunen impressed on his first outing in this season’s FIA World Rally Championship, taking two class stage wins and finishing sixth in his division on Rally Sweden last weekend.

Huttunen, runner-up in last season’s FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship, is contesting a number of world championship events in 2018 as the recipient of the Hyundai Motorsport Driver development Program prize drive.

Co-driven by fellow Finn Antti Linnaketo in a Hyundai i20 R5, Huttunen could have finished higher up the order but for four and a half minutes spent stuck in a snowbank on day two.

“Our target for the weekend was to gather experience and build up time in the Hyundai i20 R5 on the stages,” said Huttunen, who scored an ERC Junior Under 27 win in Poland last season. “We were able to achieve our aims and also enjoy some positive moments.

“I was lacking rhythm and confidence early in the weekend, as I didn’t really trust my pacenotes fully. I drove quite well, and it was nice to get a stage win on Friday, and then again in the Power Stage.

“Saturday was the only really disappointing moment when we got stuck in a snow bank and lost four-and-a-half minutes. Overall, it was all part of the learning curve.

“The car itself has been fast and we have a better understanding of how we need to set it up for the future. We’ve shown some good speed and developed ourselves as a crew, so we can look to Mexico with optimism.”

Huttunen’s next event is Rally Mexico from 8-11 March. The 2018 ERC Junior Under 27 Championship begins on the Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March.

Will Moura be the target man on ERC Azores Airlines Rallye?

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:00

Ricardo Moura has laid down the gauntlet to the FIA European Rally Championship title contenders by winning round one of the Portuguese national series yesterday (Sunday).

Moura triumphed on Rali Serras de Fafe, the opening event of the FPAK Campeonato Portugal Ralis, in a Ford Fiesta R5 co-driven by compatriot António Costa.

And the three-time Portuguese champion is set to use the same car when he bids to win the ERC season-opening Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March, which doubles as the second event of the CPR schedule.

Moura has won his home event on one occasion, taking an emotional triumph in 2016, but will be hungry for more success next month after beating pursuers Miguel Barbosa, José Pedro Fontes, Pedro Meireles and Team Hyundai Portugal drivers Armindo Araújo and Carlos Vieira, who placed fifth and sixth in Fafe respectively.

A winner of the Azorean championship 10 times, Moura is not expected to tackle additional ERC events this season, making a strong showing on home soil all the more important.

Elsewhere, new FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship recruit, Rally Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena, impressed by finishing third in the RC4 category. Llarena is stepping up from national level to the ERC for 2018 alongside co-driver Sara Fernández after winning the Spanish Beca Júnior R2 title in 2017.

Photo: FPAK.pt

ERC graduates are ace on ice

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:00

The top seven finishers on Rally Sweden, including winner Thierry Neuville, runner-up Craig Breen (pictured right with co-driver Scott Martin) and third-placed Andreas Mikkelsen, are all graduates of the FIA European Rally Championship.

In fact, only two drivers that reached today’s finish in the top 10 had no previous ERC event experience, such is the championship’s hugely successful role in helping to develop drivers from national competition to the world stage.

Esapekka Lappi, winner of the ERC title in 2014, registered his first stage wins of the season with the fastest time on the closing two tests on his way to a fine fourth place.

Jari Huttunen finished sixth in class as part of the Hyundai Motorsport Driver development Program.

The latest batch of ERC drivers will be proving their talent when the 2018 season gets underway on the Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March.

Photo: Citroën Racing

It’s back! Awesome Sete Cidades on ERC Azores Airlines Rallye schedule

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 12:00

One of the world’s most iconic – and challenging – stages will once again play a starring role when the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship gets underway on the Azores Airlines Rallye next month.

A blast along the rim of a volcanic crater lake the undoubted highlight, Sete Cidades covers a distance of 23.87 kilometres and will be used twice on Friday 23 March.

The first visit will count as stage six at 11h42 local time with the return forming stage nine and the final test of leg one at 15h44. And here’s a reminder of the challenge in store.

ERC Azores Airlines Rallye itinerary out now

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 18:00

The itinerary for the opening event of the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship, the Azores Airlines Rallye, has been published.

Available by clicking here, the itinerary features three days of thrilling action on the island of São Miguel in the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

This year’s Azores Airlines Rallye is based once again in Ponta Delgada and runs from 22-24 March. The event also counts as the opening round of the ERC Junior Under 27 and ERC Junior Under 28 championships and the Portuguese national championship.

Exciting ERC Junior Under 28 takes shape

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 18:00

Some of the best young drivers in international rallying will battle for glory – and a significant prize drive – in the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship this season.

Fabian Kreim (pictured), Pierre-Louis Loubet, Laurent Pellier and Frank Tore Larsen have all signed up for 2018 with several other rising talents – including ERC Junior Under 27 champion Chris Ingram – waiting to announce their programmes and prove their talent.

And to underline the competitive nature of ERC Junior U28 in 2018, Kreim, Loubet, Pellier and Larsen will represent four different car makes with Kriem ŠKODA Fabia R5-mounted, Loubet piloting a Hyundai i20 R5, Pellier competing in a Peugeot 208 T16 and Larsen at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5.

ERC Junior Under 28 is for young drivers in R5 cars and takes place over six events – three on asphalt and three on gravel – with the best four scores counting. The winner will receive a prize drive in a World Rally Car on a European round of the world championship in 2019.

Ingram, meanwhile, is guaranteed two ERC Junior U28 starts as his prize for winning the R2-based 2017 ERC Junior Under 27 crown. It is hoped he will be able to finalise a full-season campaign.

The Azores Airlines Rallye opens the ERC Junior Under 28 season from 22-24 March.

ERC Azores Airlines Rallye entries open

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 18:00

Crews planning to enter the Azores Airlines Rallye, the opening event of the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship, can now do so following the opening of entries by the organisers.

Taking place on São Miguel – the largest island that makes up the Azores archipelago – from 22-24 March the rally is ranked as one of the most spectacular on the international calendar.

Competitors can enter by clicking here.

Loubet follows European title-winning father with ERC glory bid

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 09:00

Pierre-Louis Loubet will follow in the wheel tracks of father Yves when he chases FIA European Rally Championship success in 2018 – almost 30 years since Loubet Sr claimed the prestigious title.

Yves Loubet took ERC gold in 1989 driving a Lancia Delta Integrale. Loubet Jr, meanwhile, will have a BRC Racing Team Hyundai i20 R5 at his disposal for his European championship campaign, which begins on the gravel-based Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March.

*Pierre-Louis Loubet is ERC-bound nearly 30 years since father Yves won championship
*BRC Racing Team Hyundai i20 R5 awaits French federation-backed promise
*Team OSCARO behind Loubet’s push for European success


“I had a very good opportunity to do some races in the ERC so I took it,” said 20-year-old Loubet, who will be eligible for ERC Junior Under 28 honours. “The objective is to be as close to the top as possible and if it’s possible to win a rally we will try to do it. I do not know the rallies but I hope to adapt quickly. Gravel is my favourite surface because my first feeling in a rally car was on gravel. I just hope I can do my best.”

Competing under the Team OSCARO banner with support from the world's leading online retailer of original automotive spare parts, Loubet is part of the L’Equipe de France FFSA Rallye training initiative, which is playing a key role in honing his skills. Previous beneficiaries of the scheme’s support include Sébastiens Loeb and Ogier, Stéphane Lefebvre, Stéphane Sarrazin and Nicolas Vouilloz. “It’s really important for a French driver to be supported by his federation because we know how many good driver has had their support,” said Loubet. “They help me work on my pacenotes, my driving. It’s a plus for me.”

Nicolas Bernardi, the national coach, was also supported by the L’Equipe de France FFSA Rallye during his career, which included stints as a factory driver in the world championship. He has high hopes for Loubet. “He’s a really talented driver, really young, 20 years old, and he is still one of our best talents at the moment in France,” said Bernardi. “His target this year is to win a rally – he needs this for his confidence. At the moment the level in the world championship is so high for his experience. In the ERC it’s very competitive but the conditions are better for him to win. It’s definitely the best option.”

Bernardi continued: “I started to work with Pierre-Louis when he was 15. It was amazing because he never drove a car, he was go-kart driver. After one hour he was able to slide like a professional driver and it was amazing. I’ve seen some incredible performances from him.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC co-ordinator, said: “Having a driver of Pierre-Louis Loubet’s ability and potential in the ERC is great news. I have no doubt he will benefit enormously from an ERC campaign.”

The Azores Airlines Rallye hosts the 2018 ERC opener from 22-24 March. The ERC Junior U28 champion gets the option of a one-off prize drive in a World Rally Car on a European round of the WRC in 2019.

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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)