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Uncovered: Feofanov’s ERC2 challenger

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 06:00

This is how Dmitry Feofanov’s Mitsubishi Lancer will look in this season’s FIA European Rally Championship.

Russian Feofanov has registered for ERC2 points in his Prospeed-run machine.

Normunds Kokins has signed up for co-driver duties.

The post Uncovered: Feofanov’s ERC2 challenger appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Introducing… New ERC1 Junior recruit Callum Devine

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 06:00

When the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship gets underway, Callum Devine will be one of the contenders for ERC1 Junior glory in a Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing-supported i20 R5. Here’s what you need to know.

National pride: One of Devine’s main backers is the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, an initiative established by his national ASN. He is his country’s International Driver of the Year for 2019 after all…

Trophy winner: Devine won the FIA Celtic Trophy in 2019 when he was also a frontrunner in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, scoring one event win and two podium finishes.

International experience: The 26-year-old has previous experience at world championship level and made three ERC starts in two-wheel-drive machinery prior to his Rally Hungary outing (see below).

Podium pedigree: Devine already has an outright ERC podium to his name following his fine run to third place on last season’s Rally Hungary.

Keeping busy: When he’s not competing, Devine works in the construction industry.

The post Introducing… New ERC1 Junior recruit Callum Devine appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

The changing faces of Jan Kopecky’s ERC Fabias

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 06:00

Former ERC champion Jan Kopecký is not one for keeping things the same when it comes to the livery of his ŠKODA Fabia rally cars. This is how they’ve looked in the FIA European Rally Championship for the last five years.

The post The changing faces of Jan Kopecky’s ERC Fabias appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lightning-fast Latvians of the ERC

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 12:00

Latvia has produced a number of lightning-fast FIA European Rally Championship drivers. Here are five who have what it takes.

Emils Blūms (photo 4)
Blūms came through the same LMT Autosporta Akadēmija scheme that helped to nurture the early careers of compatriots Ralfs Sirmacis and Mārtiņš Sesks (see below). Although his ERC opportunities were limited, Blūms has claimed several four-wheel-drive titles, including last season’s LRC2 crown in Latvia.

Reinis Nitišs (photo 2)
The former FIA World Rallycross Championship star had little trouble adapting to rallying, a fact he emphasised when he won ERC2 on Rally Liepāja in 2017 and placed third in the Abarth Rally Cup on the event 12 months ago.

Mārtiņš Sesks (photo 1)
Liepāja’s very own rallying sensation captured the ERC3 and ERC3 Junior titles during a magnificent 2018 when he also demonstrated that he was as quick on asphalt as he was on gravel. Sesks was a podium finisher on his step up to Rally2 level on his home round of the 2019 ERC, part of his prize for winning the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior award.

Ralfs Sirmacis (photo 3)
Three ERC wins during a standout 2016 season should have signalled career lift-off for this rapid rally star. Sadly, budgetary issues have held him back ever since although he did claim a dominant ERC2 victory on his return to European level on Rally Liepāja last season.

Jānis Vorobjovs (photo 5)
Vorobjovs was the driver to beat in the ERC Production Cup on Rally Liepāja in 2014. His co-driver for the occasion was the highly capable Andris Mālnieks, who has also achieved success with Nitišs and Sesks.

The post Lightning-fast Latvians of the ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC moments that made… #1: Juan Carlos Alonso

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 06:00

Juan Carlos Alonso will forever be remembered for his capture of the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 title in Cyprus last season alongside co-driver Juan Pablo Monasterolo. Here are five moments that made the ace Argentine.

Strong return: Alonso had been absent from the ERC for two seasons but returned in style with a class win on the 2018 season-opening Azores Rallye.

Bouncing back: After consecutive retirements on Rally Islas Canarias and the EKO Acropolis Rally in 2018, Alonso hit back with a category podium in Cyprus that season.

Hoping for a lucky break: Having endured a largely frustrating 2018, Alonso started 2019 determined to look forward and not back. A second consecutive victory in the Azores provided the perfect boost.

Strong run: Despite retiring from round two, Rally Islas Canarias, Alonso scored a second win in Poland and a class podium on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, where he showed off another quality.

Human side: Rather than reflecting on a job well done at the end of the opening leg in Zlín, Alonso’s main concern was for rivals Zelindo Melegari and Corrado Bonato, who had been hospitalised following their rally-ending crash earlier in the day.

The post ERC moments that made… #1: Juan Carlos Alonso appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Former ERC regular Pita takes road safety campaign online

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 06:00

Former FIA European Rally Championship regular Renato Pita is taking his Etapa Segura road safety awareness campaign online in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

From July, Etapa Segura Online will become available with users getting to know more about the project and able to complete multiple exercises and knowledge tests.

According to Pita “we'll be using the platform to share stories from everyday life on the roads, answering questions and giving advice to children and their families about road safety.”

Pita has also vowed to get his Etapa Segura roadshow back in operation once it is safe and practical to do so.

The post Former ERC regular Pita takes road safety campaign online appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

New logo for ERC Rally Liepaja

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 06:00

Rally Liepāja, the high-speed Latvian gravel contest from RA Events, has an updated logo.

Scheduled as the opening round of the FIA European Rally Championship from 10-12 July, subject to all necessary permissions and approvals, Rally Liepāja joined the ERC roster in 2013 and is based around the cities of Liepāja and Talsi.

The updated logo features a new solid blue background although the event's familiar red and green-coloured symbol remains.

The post New logo for ERC Rally Liepaja appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

#RaceAgainstCovid: FIA, governing body of ERC, promotes new Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Committed message

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 12:00

In light of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown measures imposed in many countries, the FIA has decided, together with its partner JCDecaux, to adapt its #3500LIVES Global Road Safety Campaign message and promote only one simple rule: stay home in order to stay safe.

A new social media push featuring the 18 #3500LIVES Global Road Safety Campaign Ambassadors has been launched encouraging everyone to stay home during the pandemic using the hashtags #StayHome as well as #RaceAgainstCovid, which is common for all FIA initiatives related to COVID-19.

The campaign promotes a unified message: ‘Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Committed’ and through the continuous support of the #3500LIVES Campaign Ambassadors, the FIA’s #StayHome message has been seen by more than three million people so far.

FIA President Jean Todt said: “When we launched the #3500LIVES Campaign with JCDecaux, our objective was to address the road safety issue that kills daily more than 3,500 people in the world. Today, we have a role to play to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, together with our Campaign Ambassadors. We need to remind all citizens to stay home in order to stay safe during these difficult times. Once again, I would like to thank our Ambassadors for their renewed commitment to overcome this crisis.”

“COVID-19 is a true challenge for humanity which requires a collective response. Together with the #3500LIVES Campaign Ambassadors who act as role models in their respective fields, we have the power to reach millions of people. That’s our responsibility to make good use of this audience and to encourage everyone to stay home in order to stay safe, to fight effectively the virus during the pandemic and to return as soon as possible to the life that is so dear to us,” added Jean-Charles Decaux, Co-CEO of JCDecaux.

The FIA’s #3500LIVES Campaign Ambassadors include Patrick Dempsey, Michael Fassbender, Pharrell Williams and Michelle Yeoh from the world of entertainment, motorsport stars such as Fernando Alonso, Charles Leclerc and Marc Márquez, sporting aces Yohan Blake, Didier Drogba, Haile Gebrselassie, Antoine Griezmann, Vanessa Low, Rafael Nadal and Wayde van Niekerk, plus H.S.H. Princess Charlène of Monaco, Anne Hidalgo.

The post #RaceAgainstCovid: FIA, governing body of ERC, promotes new Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Committed message appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Remembering when… ERC did Star Wars

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 12:00

Back in 2018, to mark Star Wars Day (May 4), which coincided with leg one of Rally Islas Canarias, several FIA European Rally Championship drivers appeared in a video produced by the Eurosport Events’ production team.

Click here to find out what happened or follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=N2qQtNWjK_I

The post Remembering when… ERC did Star Wars appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

… and with them (ERC pays tribute to all essential workers)

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 06:00

While the start of the delayed FIA European Rally Championship season is keenly anticipated, the ERC community is paying tribute to all the essential workers and for everybody making such a difference during the coronavirus pandemic.

The post … and with them (ERC pays tribute to all essential workers) appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

May the (force) be with them: ERC Juniors to battle

Mon, 05/04/2020 - 06:00

A number of rising talents have registered for the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior categories with the prospect of more to follow. Here’s a reminder.

RÅDSTRÖM REVS UP FOR ERC JUNIOR TITLE PUSH
7 January 2020: Dennis Rådström will prove his talent in the FIA European Rally Championship in 2020 after joining forces with Orsák Rallysport for an ERC3 Junior title assault. Co-driven by fellow Swede Johan Johansson, Rådström brings experience and a strong reputation from the FIA Junior World Rally Championship for his first ERC campaign when he will follow in the wheel tracks of compatriots Emil Bergkvist and Tom Kristensson.

DEVINE GETS FULL-SEASON ERC BID WITH IRISH ASN SUPPORT
9 January 2020: Callum Devine is set for a major FIA European Rally Championship campaign with support from his national ASN, Motorsport Ireland. The Irish International Driver of the Year for 2019 will build on his stage and podium-winning performance on last November’s ERC-counting Rally Hungary by contesting all eight rounds of the 2020 season with a focus on the ERC1 Junior title, which will be decided over six events. Powered by a Hyundai i20 R5, Devine 25, and co-driver Brian Hoy, 26, will receive additional support from FYTH, Curran Gate, The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy and Hyundai Customer Racing.

YOUNG AUSTRIAN CHOOSES ERC TO LANDA EXPERIENCE
3 February 2020: Nikolai Landa has chosen the FIA European Rally Championship to continue to grow his experience, teaming up with his co-driving father Günter in ERC3 Junior. The 21-year-old from Austria is targeting three rounds of the Pirelli-supported category in 2020 with a full assault on the young driver category the ultimate aim next season.

FROM LEARNING TO COMPETING: PARDO PLOTS ERC3 JUNIOR ASSAULT
14 February 2020: Javier Pardo, one of Spain’s most promising young rally drivers, is FIA European Rally Championship-bound in 2020 after he announced an ERC3 Junior campaign in a Ford Fiesta R2T. Pardo, a graduate of the ERC Junior Experience training programme, has notched up numerous titles in his homeland, including the Spanish Junior Gravel title in 2019.

OPERATION ERC FOR GERMANY’S DINKEL
21 February 2020: Dominik Dinkel has chosen the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship for 2020 in order to “improve his skills” against “very high” competition at Rally2 level. German talent Dinkel, 27, will drive a ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo for ROMO Motorsport alongside compatriot and long-term co-driver Christina Fürst. He will enjoy backing from sponsor Brose and mentor Michael Stoschek, who have supported his rallying since 2012.

NO JOKE BUT A DREAM: BIKER CAIS STEPS UP TO ERC1 JUNIOR
25 February 2020: Erik Cais will step up to Rally2 level in the FIA European Rally Championship – three years after injury forced him to call time on his hugely successful downhill mountain bike racing career. Cais, 20, is swapping the Ford Fiesta R2T he drove to second place in ERC3 and fourth in ERC3 Junior in 2019 for a Ford Fiesta R5 MkII under the Yacco ACCR Team banner.

POLISH CHAMPION MIKO MARCZYK READY TO FLY IN ERC
3 March 2020: National champion Miko Marczyk is preparing to fly in more ways than one when he contests the 2020 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship with backing from Polish oil company PKN Orlen, ŠKODA Polska and Volkswagen Financial Services. Szymon Gospdarczyk, who has co-driven Marczyk since midway through 2017, will continue to serve as a guiding light, while Marczyk’s partnership with Kresta Racing remains in place with the Czech outfit on hand to prepare the Rally2-specification, Michelin-equipped, ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo.

FLYING FINN LINDHOLM RECRUITED AS TEAM MRF TYRES EXPANDS ERC BID
5 March 2020: Promising Finn Emil Lindholm will become the latest young driver to prove their talent in the FIA European Rally Championship after Team MRF Tyres announced an expansion to its ERC-based development programme. The Indian tyre company has chosen the ERC for its return to international competition in 2020, with the combination of asphalt and gravel events ideal for MRF Tyres’ ongoing data gathering and product testing. Lindholm, 23, has been recruited to join Irishman Craig Breen under the Team MRF Tyres umbrella. While Breen will compete in a Hyundai i20 R5, Lindholm will drive a ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo. His fellow Finn, Mikael Korhonen, will co-drive.

TURN UP THE BASSAS! RALLYE TEAM SPAIN SCHOLARSHIP WINNER GRADUATES TO ERC3 JUNIOR
6 March 2020: Pep Bassas will get the opportunity to follow in countryman Efrén Llarena’s wheel tracks by stepping up from national to international level with the full backing of his national federation, RFEDA (Real Federación Española de Automovilismo). Twenty-six-year-old Bassas is joining Rallye Team Spain for an FIA ERC3 Junior Championship bid alongside co-driver Axel Coronado. They will compete in a Mavisa Sport-run, Pirelli-equipped Peugeot 208 R2.

AMAURY AIMS HIGH IN ERC3 JUNIOR
11 March 2020: Amaury Molle will embark on an FIA ERC3 Junior adventure in 2020, joining Delta Rally to drive a Peugeot 208 R2. Molle, a class winner in his homeland, has tried the young driver class for size on two previous occasions but this season will be his first full campaign in the Pirelli-supported category for Rally4 and Rally5 cars. Frenchman Florian Barral will co-drive.

FROM WATCHING TO COMPETING: BOTELHO SECURES DREAM ERC1 JUNIOR ENTRY FOR HOME RALLY
11 March 2020: Rafael Botelho will go from big fan to big chance when the FIA European Rally Championship visits his home island for the Azores Rallye. A native of Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, where the spectacular gravel event is based, Botelho will drive a ŠKODA Fabia R5 for The Racing Factory as he continues his transition from Rally4 to Rally2 level. While his agreement covers the Azores Rallye and the other events that make up his local championship, the 25-year-old is working to secure the budget to contest additional rounds of ERC1 Junior.

IT’S VAMOS TIME AS CHAMPION LLARENA SECURES ERC1 JUNIOR STEP UP IN RALLYE TEAM SPAIN CITROËN C3 R5
12 March 2020: Efrén Llarena will get the chance to prove his talent in Rally2 machinery when he steps up to the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship for 2020. After claiming an ERC3/ERC3 Junior title double in 2019, the 24-year-old has secured a full-season campaign in a Citroën C3 R5 run by Sports&You. He will enjoy the full support of Citroën Racingand the Rallye Team Spain initiative from RFEDA (Real Federación Española de Automovilismo). Sara Fernández will co-drive.

VITA IS BACK: ITALIAN JUNIOR AIMS FOR ERC GLORY
18 March 2020: Mattia Vita says he has unfinished business in the FIA European Rally Championship after he announced his ERC return. Vita, 23, belied his lack of international experience to hit a rich vein of form during his first ERC3 Junior campaign in 2018, landing a trio of top-five finishes from Rally di Roma Capitale onwards. A focus on events closer to home in 2019 meant his ERC aspirations were put on hold. But he’s back for the planned six-event ERC3 Junior season in a Pirelli-equipped Peugeot run by H Motorsport from Romania. His fellow Italian Massimiliano Bosi will co-drive.

ERC1 JUNIOR ATTACK TEMPTS TEMPESTINI
24 March 2020: World title-winning rally driver Simone Tempestini will bring his considerable talent to the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship in 2020. Italy-born Romanian Tempestini, the Junior World Rally champion from 2016, is set to contest the eight-event European championship season with fellow Romanian Sergiu Itu co-driving. The 25-year-old’s choice of Rally2 car and team will be made at a later date.

More drivers to be announced.

The post May the (force) be with them: ERC Juniors to battle appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Introducing… New ERC3 Junior recruit Javier Pardo

Sun, 05/03/2020 - 06:00

Javier Pardo is preparing to fly the Spanish flag during the upcoming FIA European Rally Championship season. Here’s what you need to know.

Spanish promise: Pardo is one of Spain’s most promising young rally drivers and he’s due to head to the ERC in 2020 at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R2T.

Well trained: The 23-year-old graduated from the ERC Junior Experience training programme, which ran between 2016 and 2018.

Success at home: Pardo has notched up numerous titles in his homeland, including the Spanish Junior Gravel title in 2019.

Pérez alongside: Adrián Pérez will co-drive his compatriot Pardo in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior category.

Busy year: Pardo is set to keep busy when rallying resumes, combining his ERC3 Junior programme with a selection of events in Spain and Portugal at the wheel of the Suzuki Motor Ibérica-supported Swift R4lly S.

The post Introducing… New ERC3 Junior recruit Javier Pardo appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Rachele Somaschini releases new video promoting cystic fibrosis awareness ahead of 2020 ERC season

Sat, 05/02/2020 - 06:00

Rachele Somaschini, who is preparing to step up to the FIA European Rally Championship in 2020, has released a new video to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis – the genetic disorder she’s fighting via her #CorrerePerUnRespiro campaign.

The video is in Italian with English subtitles and is available here.

The post Rachele Somaschini releases new video promoting cystic fibrosis awareness ahead of 2020 ERC season appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Stay safe at home with ERC Evenings on Eurosport

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 09:00

Fans of the FIA European Rally Championship staying safe at home will be treated to ERC Evenings on Eurosport today (1 May) and tomorrow (2 May).

From 19h00 CET on both Friday and Saturday, Eurosport 2 is scheduled to broadcast the event review and ERC All Access programmes from selected rounds of the 2019 ERC season, which delivered dramatic action from start to finish and was decided on the very last stage of the year.

And here’s a reminder of some of the highlights to look out for on ERC Evenings on Eurosport:

Habaj takes breakthrough win in the Azores as Lukyanuk crashes with victory in sight

López beats Ingram on Rally Islas Canarias as ERC1 Junior drivers take centre stage

Solberg makes history as youngest ERC event winner with first place on Rally Liepāja

Mareš wins ERC1 Junior by 0.3s, Llarena takes ERC3 Junior crown on Barum Czech Rally Zlín

Al-Attyiah secures record-extending Cyprus Rally victory as Alonso lands ERC2 title

Ingram dethrones Lukyunak on dramatic final stage of Rally Hungary

Nucita comes out on top in Abarth Rally Cup

Saintéloc Junior Team wins FIA European Rally Championship for Teams in Hungary

Schedule refresher:
Friday 1 May (Eurosport 2): 19h00-22h00 CET
Saturday 2 May (Eurosport 2): 19h00-22h00 CET

The post Stay safe at home with ERC Evenings on Eurosport appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

#RaceAgainstCovid: ERC event-winning co-driver turns volunteer

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 06:00

Carlos del Barrio, who won six FIA European Rally Championship events during his early co-driving career, has turned volunteer to help his local community amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Spaniard del Barrio, 51, has been carrying out a number of important duties while the rallying season is on hold.

“We have been giving out face masks, doing shopping for the elderly and spraying a mix of water and sodium hypochlorite to try and stop the spread of the virus," said the factory Hyundai co-driver.

“Because I live alone, I’m completely available for the community. It’s incredible, in my village every person is helping each other. We have a lot of farmers here but also a lot of old people, and the most important thing is they don’t feel alone. It helps me a lot as well for my mind, to feel that I am useful.

“As professional sportspeople, normally we must be very selfish if we want to win, but now it’s the completely the other side of the story. We must be helpful for the people and think not just about ourselves but other people.”

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport

The post #RaceAgainstCovid: ERC event-winning co-driver turns volunteer appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

New date being sought for FIA ERC Rally Poland

Wed, 04/29/2020 - 15:00

Discussions are underway to reschedule 77th Rally Poland to a date later on in the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship season.

With the original date of 26-28 June falling within the period of government restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, event organisers, Polish Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (PZM), were left with no alternative other than to announce the event’s postponement.

PZM is now working in partnership with ERC promoter Eurosport Events and governing body the FIA to try to find a new date in the calendar with the intention of making an announcement before the end of May.

It is hoped that much of the extensive planning undertaken with the original June date in mind will be transferrable to a revised calendar slot with the rally once again set to be based in Mikołajki in the picturesque Masurian lake district, its home since 2005.

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “The need for a replacement date for Rally Poland is the direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, and all our thoughts are with those people whose loved ones have passed or have fallen ill as a result of COVID-19. We are also more than aware that many jobs have been lost and people find themselves in very challenging situations. Because of this, it is vitally important that all official advice is followed.

“We are in discussions with PZM and the FIA to finalise a replacement date for 77th Rally Poland. Once all the arrangements are in place and when it is appropriate to do so we will make a further announcement regarding the event’s rescheduling. Until then we offer our thanks to all drivers, teams, fans and stakeholders for their continued support and patience. And we urge everyone to stay safe at home.”

Krzysztof Maciejewski, the Clerk of the Course of 77th Rally Poland, said: “Our preparations for the rally are well advanced, in practice being completed. Before the restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic were introduced, we did almost all the field work, even ahead of the schedule. Unfortunately, the last days have not brought optimistic information, restrictions on entering the country were extended, hotels and air transport do not operate. We have to respect the restrictions, hoping that compliance with them will improve the epidemiological situation in the near future. We decided to postpone the date of our rally because, at this stage, it seems to be the only logical solution. Obviously, we hope that the conditions to run the 77th Rally Poland will occur this season. Thank you to all those who have devoted their time and effort to the preparation of the event and I hope that we will meet in Mikołajki this year.”

The post New date being sought for FIA ERC Rally Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

From the ERC archives: Habaj on his breakthrough Azores victory

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 18:00

Shortly after claiming his breakthrough victory in the FIA European Rally Championship on the Azores Rallye on 23 March 2019, Łukasz Habaj spoke about his standout achievement in a Pirelli-equipped, Sports Racing Technologies-prepared ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Congratulations, your first victory in the ERC. How good does that feel?
“I can’t believe it, but we had good pace all week. The key to the victory was yesterday. I was afraid of those stages the most but, in the end, it worked out well. I am sorry for Alexey because he was the fastest all weekend, but this is rally. This victory was not just luck, there was a lot of hard work behind it and I want to thank my family, my team for the car and Pirelli for the tyres.”

Just explain your emotions of that final afternoon with the conditions and the drama on the final two stages?
“It is impossible to explain in a few words. There was so much going on. But, to be honest, we didn't have too much time to think and analyse the situation because the conditions were so difficult, and we had to really be so focused on the stages to not make any mistakes. That was something I was really concentrated on. Before the last loop, we were calculating and looking at what was going on in the table, so as not to take too much risk. But I was very confident over the whole weekend and I think I was calm, confident and kept a good pace, which was key to success. Yesterday was very important for us. That was a day that I was very much afraid of because from previous years, on Sete Cidades I wasn't too competitive. So yesterday was the key for us. After that, I really believed we could be on the podium and because of Alexey's mistake or bad luck, we won it. I think we are the first Polish guys who won this rally, which is amazing.”

You said yesterday was your best day in the ERC, so how does today compare?
“In terms of driving, yesterday was better. Today we couldn't enjoy that much because the weather conditions were enormously difficult. I don't think you can even imagine how difficult it was to drive in these conditions. Sometimes I couldn't even see because the wipers were not able to wipe the rain off. You will see on the cameras, it was not only for us. So in terms of driving yesterday was better for us but of course victory tastes the best. I have to get used to the fact we won the rally because I still can't believe it!”

What are the chances of you coming back to defend your title next year?
“I don't know. Rally is a very expensive sport and also time consuming. I have a family back home and I have a little son, who is starting his school.”

Does he know that daddy won?
“Yeah, I called him right away! He is five years old and he was asking if I won, so this time I got to tell him that, yes, we did it. So, I have to spend some time with him. It's too early to say. Now I'm thinking about this season, there are still seven rallies to go and if we can be competitive here, I know we can be competitive for the rest of the season.”

The post From the ERC archives: Habaj on his breakthrough Azores victory appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Habaj switches focus after 2019 ERC title heroics

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 12:00

Łukasz Habaj is putting his bid for more FIA European Rally Championship success on hold as he takes on a challenge of a different kind due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Co-driven by Daniel Dymurski, Habaj was part of the three-way fight for ERC title glory on last season’s Rally Hungary decider, eventually placing third in the standings for Sports Racing Technologies behind Chris Ingram and Alexey Lukyanuk. However, he’s preparing for another sort of battle in 2020.

As well as being a highly accomplished rally driver, Habaj is a successful businessman and entrepreneur. And he’ll be switching his skills from behind the steering wheel back to the office desk, as he explained.

“I’ve been able to focus on my beloved sport of rallying for the last four years, trying to deliver the results that reflect my sporting ambitions and goals,” said Habaj, who won last season’s Azores Rallye. “After what we achieved in the ERC in 2019, I was determined to come back this year to do better than third.

“But the main asset in my business portfolio, eSky.com, a travel company, is in real trouble due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is an organisation with 1000 employees, they’ve fought to keep going for 14 hours a day for the past two months and I cannot leave them alone now.

“That’s why I have taken back the position of CEO at eSky.com and this practically makes it impossible for me to compete in the ERC.

“Even though rallying is deep in my heart, it’s just my hobby, while the situation we are in has had a big impact and it needs my attention. But I also know there are many people around the world being badly affected by COVID-19, so all our thoughts are with them.”

The fluid nature of the coronavirus pandemic means Habaj cannot commit to an ERC return date. While he’s unlikely to compete in 2020, he’s not ruling out more ERC appearances in the future.

Five Habaj ERC highs
1: Makes European championship debut on Rally Poland in 2005
2: Wins class on first international event, Rally Islas Canarias in 201
3: Scores maiden ERC podium on the 2017 season-closing Rally Liepāja
4: Battles through the wind and rain to clinch breakthrough ERC victory on the Azores Rally
5: Podiums in Canarias and Poland and fourth in Cyprus puts him in title contention on Rally Hungary

The post Habaj switches focus after 2019 ERC title heroics appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Updated Rally Guide 1 for ERC Rally Liepaja issued

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 06:00

Rally Liepāja organisers have issued an updated Rally Guide 1 after their FIA European Rally Championship counter changed dates due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Originally scheduled to run from 29-31 May, the high-speed gravel event is now set to take place from 10-12 July, subject to FIA approval.

Click here and scroll down to view the updated Rally Guide 1.

The post Updated Rally Guide 1 for ERC Rally Liepaja issued appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

How Breen is keeping busy during lockdown ahead of ERC season

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 06:00

A temporary gym and a simulator are keeping Craig Breen busy during lockdown, the Team MRF Tyres driver has revealed.

With the coronavirus pandemic delaying the start of the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship, Irishman Breen has been following official government advice and staying safe at home.

“Digital-motorsports.com in Ireland have given me some [simulator] kit to keep fresh while I’ve got nothing else to do and it’s pretty incredible what simulators can do now,” said Breen, a winner of five ERC events in the past. “Sure, it’s a bit of fun but I’m entering some online championships. After all, I can’t spend all day in my temporary gym at home.”

The post How Breen is keeping busy during lockdown ahead of ERC season appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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