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European Rally Championship
Updated: 49 min 31 sec ago

Career lift-off time in Zlin for ERC Juniors Mares and Llarena

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 23:00

Filip Mareš and Efrén Llarena have given their hopes of further career progression a huge lift by capturing the FIA ERC1 Junior and FIA ERC3 Junior titles respectively on Barum Czech Rally Zlín*.

While Jan Kopecký and ŠKODA Motorsport co-driver Pavel Dreslercelebrated a fifth consecutive victory on this tremendously challenging sealed-surface event, Kopecký’s eighth in total, Mareš and Llarena can now look forward to two fantastic prize-drive opportunities.

Mareš, who competes for the Autoclub of Czech Republic-backed ACCR Czech Rally Team, will receive 100,000 euros from ERC promoter Eurosport Events to contest the season-closing events in Cyprus and Hungary alongside co-driver Jan Hloušek.

Real Federación Española de Automovilismo (RFEDA)-backedLlarena, meanwhile, gets two rounds of the 2020 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship in an R5 car run by Motorsport Italia as his prize.

Significantly, both ERC Junior champions received direct support from their respective ASNs as part of ongoing efforts by Eurosport Events to provide a stepping stone from national to international level.

“Now we are the champions in ERC1 Junior we will start on the next two rounds of the ERC, which is fantastic because my season would probably stop after this race,” said Mareš. “It was a really close battle between me and Chris, so for sure I am now really happy with this result. The Czech federation has supported me for many years and it’s thanks to this support that I am here. Thanks also to Kresta Racing for this amazing car.”

Ken Torn had initially celebrated ERC3 Junior title success only for class winner Jean-Baptiste Franceschi’s original notional time for stage 15 to be adjusted after a technical problem struck, dropping the Frenchman to fourth in class and promoting Llarena to first place. The one extra day point for Llarena means he takes the title by a single point ahead of Torn.

“We were always on the limit with some big moments like all the drivers,” said Llarena. “We knew we needed to win and we deserved it. We were working too hard for two years not to win and we thank the Spanish federation a lot for all the support. We were very fast on all the rallies and my team did a very good job. Me and Sara [Fernández, co-driver] worked a lot, not just with the pacenotes but on the car. We tried to be more professional and work as hard as possible. We improved a lot during the year.”

But while the ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior titles have been decided for 2019 subject to the confirmation of the results by the FIA, the battle for the overall crown still rages with two events remaining. Although Ingram suffered the huge disappointment of missing out on the ERC1 Junior crown to Mareš by 0.3s, the Toksport WRT driver has moved to the top of the overall FIA European Rally Championship standings. He’s one point ahead of reigning champion Alexey Lukyanuk, whose bid for maximum leg two bonus points following his Sunday restart were wrecked by a puncture on the final stage.

As well as his ERC1 Junior title success, Mareš celebrated his best ERC finish to date by following Kopecký home in second place with Ingram taking third ahead of Czech Tomáš Kostka, double ERC Junior champion Marijan Griebel from Germany and Austrian ERC1 Junior newcomer Simon Wagner, who secured third place in the category for young stars in R5 cars.

Sicilian Andrea Nucita grabbed an ERC2/Abarth Rally Cup double with Pole Dariusz Poloński restarting to finish second in the Abarth Rally Cup and third in ERC2 behind Argentine Juan Carlos Alonso.

Łukasz Habaj had been due to start first on the road on day two in P10 overall but he was prevented from doing so when it was discovered his Fabia R5’s roll cage had been damaged during an off on Saturday. As a result, the former title leader was a non-scorer in Czech Republic and slips to third in the overall standings, albeit 10 points behind new pacesetter Ingram.

*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA

The post Career lift-off time in Zlin for ERC Juniors Mares and Llarena appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

BREAKING NEWS: ERC3 Junior results adjusted, Llarena promoted to class victory

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 20:37

Efrén Llarena (Rallye Team Spain) has been promoted to first place in ERC3 and ERC3 Junior on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, following a time adjustment for initial winner Jean-Baptiste Francheschi.

Franceschi and Llarena were separated by just four seconds heading to the final stage of the rally, with Llarena needing to beat Franceschi by 11.8s to score enough points to overhaul Ken Torn (Estonian Autosport Junior Team) for the title.

The last stage of the rally was red flagged for Martin Vlček’s stopped Hyundai and identical notional times were initially handed out, but Franceschi’s time was later adjusted again by the Clerk of the Course.

“Due to finding out new facts concerning the allocation of notional time to crew no. 42 in SS15…the Clerk of the Course after due deliberation decided to revise the original notional to the crew No. 42: new notional time of 15:23,9,” read a statement from the Clerk of the Course.

Llarena now provisionally finishes the ERC3 Junior season on 133 points, with Torn one behind on 132, though the decision is still subject to appeal.

The post BREAKING NEWS: ERC3 Junior results adjusted, Llarena promoted to class victory appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Nucita takes Zlin win but Alonso takes ERC2 lead

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 17:44

Andrea Nucita scored his first outright win in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, but second place for Juan Carlos Alonso took the championship lead with second place.

Abarth Rally Cup points leader Nucita (Loran SRL) was given a clear path to victory when arch rival Dariusz Poloński retired with transmission failure on Saturday, though the Pole came back to score an ERC2 podium and second in the Abarth Rally Cup.

Alonso had issues of his own on Saturday with a broken limited-slip differential costing him several minutes, but hung on to score his third podium finish of the year to take a five point championship lead over Nucita.

Zelindo Melegari had led ERC2 heading to the Czech Republic but fell to third, 12 points behind Alonso. He had retired on Saturday after rolling his Abarth multiple times, with both Melegari and co-driver Corrado Bonato continuing to recover in hospital.

The post Nucita takes Zlin win but Alonso takes ERC2 lead appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Franceschi win helps Torn seal ERC3 Junior title

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 17:18

Victory for Jean-Baptiste Franceschi in the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship class of Barum Czech Rally Zlín helped team-mate Ken Torn secure the championship title by only seven points over Efrén Llarena (Rallye Team Spain).

Drama had struck Torn’s hopes of winning the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship – and the two prize drivers in ERC1 Junior next season that come with it – when he lost nearly two minutes on the first pass of Kašava.

Torn had been battling Erik Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team) for fourth place but fell well behind into fifth, meaning a Llarena victory could potentially give the Spaniard the title.

But Franceschi intervened, having passed Llarena for the lead on the same stage as Torn’s time loss. Franceschi increased his advantage by 1.3s on Maják and though Llarena clawed that time back on Pindula, the final stage of the rally being red flagged locked in the Frenchman’s second ERC3 Junior win of the year.

Llarena secured second place but ultimately fell four seconds short of winning the coveted ERC3 Junior title.

Sindre Furuseth, who had an outside shot at the championship coming to the Czech Republic, fell to fourth on the penultimate stage of the rally, passed by a charging Cais for the final podium position.

Cais’s run on Sunday was an impressive one, going 6.6s faster than anyone else across leg two’s six stages, to score his third top five finish of the year.

Though Torn had struggled for pace in most stages, he thrived on Pindula and passed both Florian Bernardi in sixth and Yohan Rossel (Peugeot Rally Academy) in seventh, beating Bernardi to fifth in ERC3 by only 0.6s.

Miklós Csomós (East Motorsport Kft.), René Dohnal (ACCR Czech Rally Team) and Orhan Avcioğlu (Toksport WRT) – who competed in the main ERC category for R5 cars last season – rounded out the top 10.

Avcioğlu broke into the top 10 at the last moment, overtaking Sean Johnston on the afternoon pass of Pindula and pipping the Saintéloc Junior Team driver by just 0.6s

Outside the ERC3 top 10, Petr Semerád (GO+CARS GO+Eauto) demonstrated what might have been after his first class stage win on leg one. He caught and passed the only remaining ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team machine of Elias Lundberg for sixth in ERC3 Junior on Pindula, the position Lundberg’s team-mate Grégoire Munster had occupied before retiring with a technical problem.

Nabila Tejbar scored a last-gasp ERC Ladies’ victory over 2015 champion Ekaterina Stratieva, gaining nearly half a minute on Pindula to secure victory by just 7.2s.

The post Franceschi win helps Torn seal ERC3 Junior title appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Mares beats Ingram by 0.3s in thrilling Barum Czech Rally Zlín finale

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 16:47

Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) scored a historic victory in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC1 Junior category, fighting Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) tooth and nail to take the title by just 0.3s on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport) was unchallenged for victory out front after Alexey Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team) and Nikolay Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies) – who was using the second of his prize drives as last year’s ERC1 Junior champion – both hit trouble on Saturday.

But behind the now eight-time Barum Czech Rally Zlín winner, Mareš and Ingram were swapping positions on almost every stage, trading only a handful of seconds on each stage.

Unhappy with the twisty nature of the Maják stage, Ingram lost three seconds to Mareš and fell to second in ERC1 Junior, though had put himself back into the lead by 0.6s by beating his Czech rival on the iconic Pindula test.

That created a tense showdown on Kašava, the final stage of the rally, and running wide on the second-last corner of the rally led to Ingram finishing 0.9s down, allowing Mareš to secure the 100,000 euro prize pot to compete on the last two rounds of the ERC season, Cyprus Rally and Rally Hungary.

Ingram may have missed out on the ERC1 Junior title but his third place overall has put him one point ahead of Lukyanuk in the overall ERC classification, with Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) a further nine behind after retiring with rollcage damage in Sunday morning service.

Tomáš Kostka (Kresta Racing) finished just one place away from a fourth ERC podium in fourth place, mirroring Mareš and Ingram’s times closely but falling back slightly as the day wore on.

Past ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior champion Marijan Griebel took a much needed top five finish after a difficult season, taking a cautious approach on the notoriously tricky asphalt stages and gradually moving up the leaderboard during the weekend.

Simon Wagner’s ERC1 Junior debut was a highly successful one, using the skills and knowledge accrued during his ERC3 Junior career to score a class podium and sixth place overall on his ERC debut in an R5 car.

Driving the new ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo, Wagner overcame a stomach bug on Saturday to push on up the leaderboard, retaking the final ERC1 Junior podium spot after Nikolay Gryazin struck a bridge and broke the rear-left corner of his older-spec Fabia.

Jaromír Tarabus (Agrorodeo) finished seventh and looked set to be followed into eighth place by Vojtěch Štajf, but the ACCR Czech Rally Team captain crashed out on the final stage of the rally, promoting Tomáš Pospíšilík (BTH Import Stal Rally Team) to eighth instead.

Pospíšilík, one of the original competitors in the first ever ERC Junior event back in 2014, secured fourth place in ERC1 Junior on his category debut, his one minute loss with a puncture on Maják not posing any obstacle to scoring his first overall top 10 finish in ERC.

Martin Březík (Samohýl ŠKODA Team) picked up ninth place after Martin Vlček (Hyundai Kowax Racing) retired close to the finish of the final stage, while ERC3 winner Jean-Baptiste Franceschi completed the top 10 in his Ford Fiesta R2T.

The post Mares beats Ingram by 0.3s in thrilling Barum Czech Rally Zlín finale appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

BREAKING NEWS: Filip Mares is 2019 ERC1 Junior champion by 0.3s!*

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 15:18

Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) has been provisionally crowned FIA ERC1 Junior champion for 2019 after passing Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) for class victory on the final stage of Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Starting the last stage with 0.6s to make up, Mareš took just under a second out of Ingram on the longest stage of the rally, sealing the title by an incredible 0.3s, after both completed thousands of kilometres across six countries.

“Totally amazing feeling. I have no words for it. For sure it’s the biggest day of my lfie so far. I’m really happy,” said Mareš. “I would like to thank my team and everyone who has helped me so far in my rally career. I’m really happy.

“For sure Chris has done an amazing performance during the weekend. I really admired them, really nice performance, it was the race of my life.”

Despite missing out on a 100,000 euro prize to compete on the last two events of the FIA European Rally Championship, provided by series promoter Eurosport Events, Ingram was magnanimous in defeat.

“I did my best. Massive thank you to the team.”

Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport) also sealed his fifth consecutive Barum Czech Rally Zlín victory, with Mareš and Ingram completing the overall podium. Despite losing out on the ERC1 Junior title, Ingram is provisionally one point in the lead of the overall standings.

*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA

The post BREAKING NEWS: Filip Mares is 2019 ERC1 Junior champion by 0.3s!* appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Watch the ERC1 Junior title decider on Facebook Live

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 14:39

Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) and Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) are separated by only 0.6s with just one stage of Barum Czech Rally Zlín left to decide the new ERC1 Junior champion.

After losing the lead to Mareš on Maják, Ingram stormed back to pole position for the ERC1 Junior title on Pindula by going 2.3s faster, setting up a thrilling finale to the pair’s intense title fight.

All the FIA European Rally Championship action from the final stage, Kašava, will be broadcast live and for free on Facebook Live, with both the ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior titles set to be decided on the very last stage of the year for both classes.

Kašava, the longest stage of the rally at 24.88 kilometres, with the broadcast starting at 14h45 CET. Watch it live here:  https://www.facebook.com/fiaeuropeanrallychampionship

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Polonski back on track for ERC Abarth podium

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 12:42

Dariusz Poloński is back in the race for a podium finish in both the Abarth Raly Cup and FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category, while title rival Andrea Nucita continues to lead out front.

Nucita’s six-stage winning streak was broken by Poloński – who returned to the rally on Sunday after a transmission issue had halted his progress on the first leg – on the legendary Pindula test, on which the Pole went 12 seconds quicker.

Though Poloński holds second in the Abarth Rally Cup, he will likely have to settle for third in the overall ERC2 classification.

Juan Carlos Alonso is ahead of Poloński in second place, driving the only four-wheel drive car on an event that favours the rear-wheel drive Abarth 124 Rally machines.

The post Polonski back on track for ERC Abarth podium appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Rally Zlín throws up shock twists in ERC3 Junior title race

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 12:29

Franceschi, effectively acting as Torn’s wingman thanks to being stablemates in Orsák Rally Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R2Ts, caught and passed Llarena (Rallye Team Spain) for the lead on Pindula.

The Spaniard lost 8.4s and and slipped to second place, making his task of overhauling Torn in the championship order a much harder task.

But brake fade issues for Franceschi on Kašava brough Llarena straight back into lead  contention, the pair now separated by four seconds with only three stages left to decide the new ERC3 Junior champion.

“We lost a lot of seconds in the second stage. Now we try to attack,” said a defiant Llarena at the end of Kašava.

Sindre Furuseth (Saintéloc Junior Team), the last of the three ERC3 Junior title fighters, remains third, 8.5s behind Llarena.

“The other guys have been flat out,” said Furuseth. “I have not so much margin left, so I have to take more risks.”

Torn (Estonian Autosport Junior Team) had been battling Erik Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team) for fourth place but picked up a puncture seven kilometres from the finish of Kašava, losing nearly two minutes.

Such was his gap over ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team pairing Grégoire Munster and Elias Lundberg that he remains fifth in ERC3 Junior, despite falling behind Florian Bernardi to sixth in the combined ERC3 standings.

But leg points are now a worry for Torn, who is only eighth in the combined ERC3 Junior times for Sunday’s stages. Seven points are available for the fastest driver over leg two, down to one point for the seventh-fastest driver: Torn has now dropped to eighth, with Lundberg 12s ahead in the first points-paying spot.

If the current positions remain until the finish, Torn would win the title by six points from Llarena, but with only four seconds between Franceschi and Llarena, the title’s destination could change at any moment.

Behind the Junior title dramatics, Bernardi resumed his battle over sixth place with Yohan Rossel (Peugeot Rally Academy) and is 11.3s ahead of his fellow Frenchman, though now has Torn in between himself and Rossel, who remains seventh in ERC3.

Sean Johnston (Saintéloc Junior Team), Miklós Csomós (East Motorsport Kft.) and René Dohnal (ACCR Czech Rally Team) complete the top 10 in ERC3.

Nabila Tejpar lost the lead in ERC Ladies’ on Maják, the first stage of Sunday morning, as 2015 ERC Ladies champion Ekaterina Stratieva successfully erased a 35.8s deficit to the Brit and established a 16.1s advantage of her own by the end of stage 12.

The post Rally Zlín throws up shock twists in ERC3 Junior title race appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC1 Junior title rivals only 1.3s apart with three stages left

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 11:39

FIA ERC1 Junior Championship title rivals Chris Ingram and Filip Mareš are only 1.3 seconds apart with just three stages remaining on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, with a 100,000 euro prize on the line for the winner.

Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport), who won the FIA European Rally Championship in 2013, is on course to score a fifth consecutive Barum Czech Rally Zlín win out front, but attention was focused on the enthralling battle between Ingram (Toksport WRT) and Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team).

Mareš was faster than Ingram on both the Maják and Kašava, in the latter case aided by Ingram having a small spin on a gravel section, bringing the gap between the pair down to only 1.3s with 51.67 kilometres of action remaining to decide the new champion.

Ingram and Mareš are second and third overall and now have Tomáš Kostka (Kresta Racing) is their closest challenger in fourth, 17.4s behind the podium places.

Kostka’s progress was aided by eight-time ERC event winner Václav Pech (EuroOil - Invelt Team) being forced to stop with mechanical trouble, and also has 26.6s in hand over fifth-placed Marijan Griebel.

Behind the 2017 ERC1 Junior champion was a class debutant, Simon Wagner (Rallytechnology), who was beginning to feel better after coming down with illness on Saturday.

Feeling more able to push, Wagner took third place in ERC1 Junior back when Nikolay Gryazin slid wide and hit a bridge, destroying the left-rear corner of the Sports Racing Technologies pilot’s machine.

Wagner also moved into sixth overall, though has multiple ERC podium-finisher Jaromír Tarabus (Agrorodeo) only 7.6s behind him.

Vojtěch Štajf (ACCR Czech Rally Team) moved up to eighth at the expense of Martin Březík (Samohýl ŠKODA Team), who lost over three minutes with a puncture on Kašava.

Tomáš Pospíšilík (BTH Import Stal Rally Team) cemented his fourth place in ERC1 Junior with ninth place overall, with Martin Vlček (Hyundai Kowax Racing) completing the top 10, with Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) retiring from the final points place before the day had begun with rollcage damage.

Miroslav Jakeš (Samohýl ŠKODA Team) had shown strong pace with the third fastest time on Maják but went no further, retiring from P15 with a broken wheel. Hiroki Arai (Team STARD) and Albert von Thurn und Taxis (Baumschlager Rallye & Racing) also retired on the Sunday morning loop with handling and battery issues respectively.

The post ERC1 Junior title rivals only 1.3s apart with three stages left appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Odlozilik bales out of ERC after chicane collision

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 10:42

Roman Odložilík’s 20th start in the FIA European Rally Championship has left the SK DER Rally Team driver clutching at straws, as a collision with a hay bale forced him to retire from Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Odložilík – whose best ERC result came courtesy of a podium finish on this event back in 2010 – was running P13, 22.1s behind ERC1 Junior star in an R5 car Tomáš Pospíšilík (BTH Import Stal Rally Team).

But a nose-first trip into a hay bale by the 2013 Czech Sprintrally champion broke his radiator and caused terminal overheating, ending his hopes of another ERC top 10 on his home event.

Photo: Lina Arnautova

The post Odlozilik bales out of ERC after chicane collision appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Gryazin crashes, Pech stops in Czech ERC counter

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 09:59

Nikolay Gryazin has crashed out of Barum Czech Rally Zlín as the legendary Pindula stage caught out the flying Russian on round six of the FIA European Rally Championship.

Gryazin and co-driver Yaroslav Fedorov, who went fastest on the opening Maják test this morning, were reported to be okay following the crash, which has blocked the road and caused the action to be momentarily halted while the Sports Racing Technologies-run ŠKODA Fabia R5 is removed by recovery crews.

Václav Pech also hit trouble on the 18.64-kilometre test, retiring his Ford Fiesta R5 with a technical issue. Pech had been in a podium fight with ERC1 Junior stars Chris Ingram and Filip Mareš prior to his exit.

Last night, the experienced Czech driver said:“I was happy with my position because I am going at my maximum level.”

Photo: ewrc-results.com

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Habaj out of ERC fight after retiring in service

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 09:03

Łukasz Habaj's hopes of closing the gap to FIA European Rally Championship title rival Alexey Lukyanuk are over on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, being forced to retire in Sunday morning service.

Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) was set to restart P10 but a damaged rollcage from a side-on crash into a tree yesterday left his team no option but to retire his ŠKODA Fabia R5 for safety reasons.


“We came to the morning service and discovered that the rollcage is bent, so we cannot continue. Yesterday in all this heat when they were fixing it, nobody spotted it, but now we can't continue," explained Habaj.


"We were hoping for some day points for today and also wanted to keep fighting for points, so it's a big disappointment. But what can I do? I made a mistake yesterday and that's the consequence."


With Lukyanuk restarting after retiring yesterday, the two title front-runners are set to pick up very few points, bringing ERC1 Junior star Chris Ingram back into contention to lead the overall championship after Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

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ERC champion Lukyanuk targets points with “important” Zlín restart

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 08:39

Alexey Lukyanuk has targeted taking points away from FIA European Rally Championship title rivals Łukasz Habaj and Chris Ingram on Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s second leg, as he returns from retirement on Saturday.

Saintéloc Junior Team’s lead driver was forced to stop after the second pass of Halenkovice after a slow puncture damaged the front-left corner of his Citroën C3 R5, a case reminiscent of his retirement from the lead of Rally Islas Canarias three months ago.

Nearest rival Habaj is now set to leave the Czech Republic with no points on the board, having finished P10 and out of the leg points-paying places on leg one, then retiring in Sunday morning service with rollcage damage.

“We have decided to experiment with the set-up of the car in a wide range, because it’s like test kilometres for us now. At the same time I think it would be not bad to try to take some points away from our rivals and competitors,” said Lukyanuk.

“There are some valuable and important tasks for today, so [we are] trying to focus on that.”

The post ERC champion Lukyanuk targets points with “important” Zlín restart appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior Wagner heads Zlín leg two road order

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 08:15

FIA European Rally Championship young star in an R5 car Simon Wagner (Rallytechnology) will be first on the road for Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s second leg as two title deciders reach their final act.

The ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior championhips will be decided in just six stages’ time, with the two young stars in R5 cars battling for the ERC1 Junior title – Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) and Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) – heading out seventh and eighth in the road order respectively.

Big names that fell by the wayside with incidents are also back for leg two, with reigning ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk lining up P10 on the road this morning as he targets maximum leg points.

Norbert Herczig (MOL Racing Team), Hiroki Arai (Team STARD) and Paulo Nobre (Palmeirinha Rally) are all down to restart tomorrow, as is ERC2 and Abarth Rally Cup championship hopeful Dariusz Poloński (Rallytechnology).

A trio of ERC3 pilots are also set to return: ACCR Czech Rally Team’s Junior hopeful Jan Talaš, Adam Březík and Kristóf Klausz (Klausz Motorsport).

Six drivers will not be heading back onto Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s challenging stages on Sunday.

Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) was originally set to be first car on the road but was forced to retire at Sunday morning service, having picked up rollcage damage when he hit a tree side-on during Saturday's second loop.

ERC1 Junior star Miko Marczyk’s ŠKODA Fabia R5 was heavily damaged in a crash on Kostelany, Jan Černý has been sidelined by a technical issue and Antonín Tlusťák will not return after his unfortunate double puncture on Halenkovice. ERC3 Junior Amaury Molle (Toksport WRT) is also out of the running.

Sunday’s running begins with the the 8.15 kilometre Maják test, with all of today’s action broadcast live on ERC Radio. Coverage begins at 08h30 CET – visit https://www.fiaerc.com/live-radio/ to tune in.

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Mares not frustrated by last-stage first leg ERC1 Junior lead swap

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 07:00

Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) dismissed any worries over losing the lead in ERC1 Junior on the last stage of Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s opening leg, despite missing out on an extra leg point to title rival Chris Ingram.

Chasing down a 30 point deficit but with no scores to drop, Mareš needs to chase every point to win the all-important ERC1 Junior crown, though was unconcerned with scoring only six leg points instead of seven after being passed by Ingram (Toksport WRT) on the Kostelany night stage.

“It's not so frustrating for me because I don't like this stage, to be honest. I hope [today] will suit us better and we can take the position back for us,” said Mareš.

“It's difficult to enjoy it in some moments because it's really big motivation to win this battle. It's about budget for two ERC rounds of the season so it's important for us to win and it will be really nice to win it.”

Ingram, however, was elated at his last minute swipe of the class lead. He beat the likes of seven-time event winner and 2013 ERC champion Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport) and reigning ERC1 Junior champion Nikolay Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies) to the overall fastest stage time, stealing the maximum seven leg points away from Mareš at the last moment.

“It was the best day for a long time,” said Ingram of his first leg performance.

“There was one stage, Semetín, both runs I lost so much time. But we were quicker than Filip on every other stage, and then going fastest on the last stage in the dark was really nice.

“We can do it. It's been a difficult year but I've proven to myself today that if I just relax, I've got the pace, and we've not taken any risks, so really promising.”

Ingram and Mareš are only 3.8s apart heading to leg two and also occupy second and third place overall, with only 103.34 kilometres of competitive action left to decide this year’s ERC1 Junior champion.

The post Mares not frustrated by last-stage first leg ERC1 Junior lead swap appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Nucita puts his Abarth on top in Zlin ERC2

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 22:52

Andrea Nucita’s title campaign is back on track in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category, the Sicilian eading both the production class outright and also the Abarth Rally Cup order.

Loran SRL driver Nucita has led from the start after topping Zlín’s late night superspecial on Friday, putting himself on course for a vital maximum points score in both championships.

“This [last] stage was really tricky but at the end of the day I am very happy, especially for the championship. The race is not finished, again one [more] day,” he said.

One of Nucita’s main rivals, Rallytechnology’s Dariusz Poloński, had held firm in second place, less than a minute off the pace, but was halted by a transmission problem and retired.

Juan Carlos Alonso moved into second place in ERC2 as a consequence, but had to cruise through the last three stages with a broken limited-slip differential.

Nucita’s team-mate and ERC2 championship leader Zelindo Melegari crashed at high speed on stage four. Both Melegari and co-driver Corrado Bonato were hospitalised with rib injuries and remain in intensive care to undergo continued medical treatment and assessment, though both are fully conscious and in good spirits.

The post Nucita puts his Abarth on top in Zlin ERC2 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Llarena keeps ERC3 Junior title hopes alive with Zlín lead

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 22:30

Efrén Llarena’s hopes of winning the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship title for Rallye Team Spain have been boosted by a strong opening day on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, with the points race against Ken Torn still touch-and-go.

Llarena built his lead with two stage wins on Saturday morning and by showing metronomic consistency, setting top five times on all but one stage during leg one.

Maximum points from leg one and the class lead give him a platform to challenge Torn (Estonian Autosport Junior Team) for the title but faces resistance from a Torn ally: the championship leader’s Orsák Rally Sport stablemate Jean-Baptiste Franceschi.

The Frenchman is participating in his first ever Barum Czech Rally Zlín and spent the morning loop getting his bearings, but on the second pass was on a charge, cutting the gap down to 5.5s at one point.

Franceschi caught and passed the third contender for ERC3 Junior title honours, Sindre Furuseth (Saintéloc Junior Team)  for second place while chasing down the leader, but Llarena responded on the final two tests, nudging the lead baccak up to 7.8s by the final stage of leg one.

Furuseth is still mathematically in contention for the grand prize of free participation in two rounds of the 2020 FIA ERC in a Motorsport Italia ŠKODA Fabia R5 but needs both Llarena and Torn to hit trouble, along with wrestling back the position he lost to Franceschi.

Torn began Saturday out of the points in P11 but rapidly made progress up the leaderboard, making it to fourth place by stage four before Franceschi came flying past on the next test and demoted him to fifth.

He spent the afternoon trading places repeatedly with Erik Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team), who had dropped out of the podium places with fading brakes on Kostelany. Third-fastest time on the night-time re-run of Kostelany by Torn promoted him back to fourth, helping him to earn another crucial bonus point in his title tussle with Llarena.

The pair are now separated by 2.9s heading to leg two, with a drop back to fifth potentially handing the title to Llarena should he win, and depending on leg points scored tomorrow.

Though not registered for ERC3 Junior, Florian Bernardi also has a keen eye on the exploits of Torn, Llarena and Furuseth, as he aims to beat all three to the combined ERC3 title which continues on to the season-ending Cyprus Rally and Rally Hungary events.

He initially struggled to break into the top 10 but had found his stage-winning form again by the evening pass of Halenkovice, climbing to P6 in ERC3, 1.7s ahead of Peugeot Rally Academy’s Yohan Rossel.

Overnight leader Adam Březík could not maintain his quick turn of pace from the Zlín city superspecial on Saturday and dropped into a battle over seventh with Rossel, but was forced to retire with a broken water pump on Halenkovice while running eighth.

That promoted Sean Johnston (Saintéloc Junior Team) to eighth, soldiering on while coping with an apparent case of food poisoning during the afternoon loop. Miklós Csomós (East Motorsport Kft.) and René Dohnal (ACCR Czech Rally Team) complete the ERC3 top 10.

ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team pairing Grégoire Munster and Elias Lundberg are the next best ERC3 Juniors after Cais in sixth and seventh, the pair currently engaged in an in-house battle separated by just 1.8s after leg one.

Petr Semerád (GO+CARS GO+Eauto) showed top five pace all day, including taking a first ever ERC3 stage win on Semetín. However, he is only eighth in ERC3 Junior, having lost two and a half minutes when his co-driver mistakenly told him to do an extra lap of the first section of Březová, Saturday’s first stage. Gregor Jeets is ninth in ERC3 Junior with the second Estonian Autosport Junior Team machine.

Nabila Tejpar leads the ERC Ladies’ class over 2014 champion Ekaterina Stratieva, running P17 in the combined ERC3 order.

The post Llarena keeps ERC3 Junior title hopes alive with Zlín lead appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Kopecky leads Rally Zlín ahead of thrilling ERC Junior title battle

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 21:37

Jan Kopecký is leading the FIA European Rally Championship classification after nearest rivals Alexey Lukyanuk and Nikolay Gryazin hit trouble, but all eyes are on a breathtakingly close battle for the ERC1 Junior title.

Behind 2013 ERC champion Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport), Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) and Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) took centre stage, the pair battling over a 100,000 euro prize to compete on the last two rounds of the ERC season for being the top young star in an R5 car.

Reigning ERC1 Junior champion Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies) had initially been ahead of both his fellow young stars and fighting for the overall lead until a puncture cost him two minutes, turning the lead battle into a Kopecký versus Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team) affair.

But when Lukyanuk was forced to retire after a front-left puncture on the latter pass of Halenkovice damaged his front-left suspension – a near identical incident to the one which sidelined him from first place on Rally Islas Canarias – Mareš and Ingram came to the fore.

The championship-battling pair traded places several times during the day, and Ingram had begun to edge ahead in the middle of the first leg.

Semetín, a stage which drivers had pinpointed as the hardest of the day, turned the battle on its head, with Ingram conceding 9.2s and admitting he had been “driving all over the shop for about a kilometre”.

That promoted Mareš to first place in ERC1 Junior, but there was one final twist before the day was out. Ingram pulled off a blinding final stage to beat Kopecký to the fastest outright time, gaining five seconds on Mareš and pipping the home favourite to a maximum seven leg points and the overnight lead in ERC1 Junior by 3.8s.

“It’s been a fantastic day,” said Ingram. “I always go well in the dark and road rally boy Ross [Whittock, co-driver] always does as well. Though I didn’t think we’d be that quick; it felt ragged!”

“We were just carrying as much speed as we could through the dodgy sections but it was comfortable, so bring on tomorrow!”

Mareš was determined to regroup and restore his class lead, remaining optimistic despite the late setback.

“It was a good day for us and we can be satisfied with our performance generally, but there are a lot of things we can improve for tomorrow. I hope the new day will suit us better than today.”

Václav Pech (EuroOil - Invelt Team) briefly passed the quarrelling pair of Juniors but was bumped back down to fourth place overall as Ingram and Mareš upped the ante in the final stages of leg one.

Fellow Czech driver Tomáš Kostka (Kresta Racing) had struggled with tyre wear late on the first loop after taking softs, but felt more comfortable on the second set of stages and cemented his fifth place, 12.5s behind Pech.

Past ERC1 and ERC3 Junior champion Marijan Griebel was able to pick up his pace as the day wore on, making his way up from P10 to sixth by the end of the day aboard his ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Despite losing two minutes with his earlier puncture Gryazin was able to climb all the way to seventh place, retaking third place in ERC1 Junior on the final stage of the loop.

That improvement came at the expense of ERC3 Junior graduate Simon Wagner, who is making his ERC1 Junior debut this weekend in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo, who was battling a stomach bug. He dropped behind both Gryazin and Jaromír Tarabus (Agrorodeo) to end the day in ninth place.

Łukasz Habaj admitted he hadn’t made the most of the “gift” given to him by Lukyanuk’s retirement, ending leg one in P10. He had struggled to make an impression on the front-running positions and lost time when he hit a tree on Semetín, his car very badly dented but otherwise undamaged.

Tomáš Pospíšilík (BTH Import Stal Rally Team), who participated in the first ever ERC Junior event in a ŠKODA Fabia R2 in 2014, made a good impression on his step up to ERC1 Junior, rounding out the top five in class after passing Matias Adielsson (Sweden National Team) and Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport) on pace alone.

Both Adielsson and Marczyk hit trouble; a puncture in the morning followed by power steering failure in the afternoon cost sixth-placed ERC1 Junior runner Adielsson sixth, while Marczyk crashed out on the first pass of Kostelany.

Andrea Nucita (Loran SRL) leads both the ERC2 production category and Abarth Rally Cup after leg one, while Efrén Llarena (Rallye Team Spain) is keeping his ERC3 Junior title hopes alive by leading the ERC3 category outright, 7.8s ahead of Jean-Baptiste Franceschi.

The post Kopecky leads Rally Zlín ahead of thrilling ERC Junior title battle appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Breaking news: Lukyanuk retires from second in Zlín

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 20:09

Alexey Lukyanuk’s campaign for victory on Barum Czech Rally Zlín has been ended by a puncture on stage eight, which also involved a broken front linkage that ended the FIA European Rally Championship points leader's rally.

Saintéloc Junior Team’s leading driver had been second and battling Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport) for victory until a front-left puncture delayed his progress on the Halenkovice test.

Lukyanuk had initially dropped to seventh place after the rest of the field came through, slotting in between past ERC1 and ERC3 Junior champion Marijan Griebel and current ERC1 Junior contender Simon Wagner (Rallytechnology).

But further car damage sustained from the puncture forced him to retire on the road section, despite the points leader working tirelessly to carry out emergency repairs.

“It was a slow puncture and I decided to go to the finish and we didn’t lose much time, but unfortunately it was broken in the same place as [Rally Islas] Canarias,” explained Lukyanuk, pointing out he had been forced to retire in a near-identical manner on the ERC's second round of the season in May.

Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) and Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT), who are currently duelling over the ERC1 Junior title, now pick up the battle over second place, separated by only 1.2s heading to leg one's final stage.

The post Breaking news: Lukyanuk retires from second in Zlín appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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PZM 76th Rally Poland - Newsfeed LEG 2

PZM 76th Rally Poland - Leg 2

2019 Calendar

21-23 March

Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugal)

02-04 May

Rally Islas Canarias (Spain)

24-26 May

Rally Liepāja (Latvia)

28-30 June

76th Rally Poland

19-21 July

Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy)

16-18 August

Barum Czech Rally Zlín

27-29 September

Cyprus Rally

08-10 November

Rally Hungary