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Recovering Nucita plans ERC Abarth Rally Cup bid

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 09:00

Andrea Nucita is planning an Abarth Rally Cup title challenge as he continues his recovery from a heavy crash on Tour de Corse last month.

Nucita will be among the favourites to win the one-make category, which is part of the FIA European Rally Championship for the first time in 2019.

However, the Corsica crash has left Sicilian Nucita short on confidence ahead of his Rally Islas Canarias debut – and in need of a replacement co-driver, with Michele Ferrara deputising for Giuseppe Princiotto, who is still in recovery mode.

“Rally Islas Canarias is very important for me,” said Nucita. “After my bad accident my only goal is to get back to driving and build up the feeling gradually.”

Of his decision to enter the ERC-based Abarth Rally Cup, Nucita said: “It’s an extremely valued series and tackling it with such a history-filled brand as Abarth can only be added value. The goal is to try to stand out in Abarth Rally Cup and in ERC2.”

The post Recovering Nucita plans ERC Abarth Rally Cup bid appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Number one Habaj hoping to remain the one in the ERC

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 06:00

Łukasz Habaj is determined to keep leading the FIA European Rally Championship standings beyond this week’s Rally Islas Canarias.

Habaj tops the title table following his standout Azores Rallye win last month. And with his Sports Racing Technologies team based in Latvia – the ERC’s next stop following the upcoming trip to Gran Canaria – the Pole is anxious to remain in control.

“This is the first time we’ll stick ‘Number 1’ on the door and of course I like it a lot,” said Habaj. “The whole team is very determined to keep it this way for Rally Liepāja too because it’s the home event for Sports Racing Technologies.”

On his prospects of Rally Islas Canarias success, Habaj said: “I have good and bad memories from Rally Islas Canarias. Winning ERC3 on my debut in 2016 was obviously a great achievement, but one year later was not so great when we finished on the second corner of Free Practice 1 after completely crashing our Fiesta. It’s difficult to predict what we can achieve because last year I thought I had a good pace but the results were not satisfactory. We had quite a lot of technical problems but still on some stages I expected to be a little faster.”

He continued: “In general I like the rally very much. The stages are absolutely great, lots of spectators, beautiful island and great atmosphere so I am really looking forward to it. It is not an easy rally though, the weather is changing a lot and very fast so sometimes it’s difficult to make a good tyre choice.”

The post Number one Habaj hoping to remain the one in the ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Stengg gets replacement car for ERC return

Sun, 04/28/2019 - 06:00

Roland Stengg will have a replacement Opel ADAM R2 at his disposal when he contests next week’s Rally Islas Canarias, the second event of the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC3 Junior Championship season.

Stengg was a non-starter on last month’s Azores Rallye following a car-wrecking testing crash, which left him and co-driver Alessandra Baumann nursing minor injuries.

But Austrian Stengg is set for a return to the scene of his ERC3 Junior debut where he finished seventh in class 12 months ago.

“We have rented a car from [from Germany] because our car from the Azores is completely done [following the accident],” said Stengg. “I still have some pain in my knee but Alessandra is fine now. We know we’ll face a strong field in Canarias, really strong drivers. It would just be good to get to the finish because it’s difficult to come back into the rhythm. We only did a few metres in the Azores and that’s not enough after eight months.”

Stengg and team-mate Simon Wagner are due to test in Gran Canaria tomorrow (Monday).

The post Stengg gets replacement car for ERC return appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Melegari joins Neiksans for ERC2 bid

Sat, 04/27/2019 - 18:00

This is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Zelindo Melegari will use to bid for honours in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category this year.

Melegari will begin his ERC comeback on next week’s Rally Islas Canarias, his first start in the all-action series since the Cyprus Rally last June.

The Italian, runner-up to Tibor Érdi Jr in the 2017 ERC2 standings, will switch to the Neiksans Rallysport team for his upcoming campaign with Corrado Bonato co-driving.

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ERC event preview: Rally Islas Canarias

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 12:00

It’s Tarmac next in the battle for 2019 FIA European Rally Championship glory as Rally Islas Canarias hosts the all-action ERC from 2-4 May.

Essentials
What: FIA European Rally Championship round 2 of 8*
When: 2-4 May 2019
Where: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Stages: 16
Distance: 200.98 kilometres
Surface: Asphalt
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 4 (2013, 2016-2018)

*Also counting for: FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, FIA ERC3 Junior Championship, ERC2, ERC3, FIA European Rally Championship for Teams, ERC Nations’ Cup, ERC Ladies’ Trophy, Abarth Rally Cup

Recent winners:
2018: Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov (Ford Fiesta R5)
2017: Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov (Ford Fiesta R5)
2016: Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov (Ford Fiesta R5)
2015: Miguel Fuster/Ignacio Aviñó (Porsche 997 GT3 RS)*
2014: Didier Auriol/Denis Giraudet (Citroën Xsara WRC)*
*Non-ERC event

Overview
It’s Tarmac next in the battle for 2019 FIA European Rally Championship glory as Rally Islas Canarias hosts the all-action ERC from 2-4 May. Łukasz Habaj tops the standings following his breakthrough victory on last month’s Azores Rallye where the Pole delivered the drive of his life to beat local hero Ricardo Moura and ERC1 Junior winner Chris Ingram. Alexey Lukyanuk, the defending ERC champion, had been leading but then punctured before crashing heavily on the final stage due to brake pipe damage caused by the flailing tyre. But with his wrecked Citroën C3 R5 fully repaired, the Russian is back in action and back to chase a fourth consecutive Rally Islas Canarias victory against strong opposition from established stars, national champions, category stalwarts – plus young prospects aiming to prove their talent in ERC1 Junior. Efrén Llarena will fly the flag for Rally Team Spain in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior category. Juan Carlos Alonso is the earlier ERC2 pacesetter, Renault-powered Florian Bernardi makes his first start of 2019, while the Abarth Rally Cup contingent will begin their title quest – and their pursuit of a lucrative prize fund that could be worth as much as 102,000 euros to the winner.

Rally Islas Canarias in 100 words
With the stages climbing and descending at a frequent rate, drivers pay close attention to corner speed and lines to ensure optimal momentum is maintained, while precise car set-up and pacenote accuracy are vital. One of the notable features of the sealed stages is the abrasive surface, constructed partly from volcanic lava. It means grip levels are high and remain constant if it rains, although tyre wear can increase. However, with the opportunity to take ‘cuts’ through corners limited, the roads remain relatively debris-free. Returning to the ERC schedule in 2016, it’s a rally big on challenge and spectator numbers.

What’s new for 2019?
The Valleseco stage on leg two and the Valesquillo Free Practice and Qualifying Stage are new, while San Mateo and Gáldar get revised opening sections. As well as counting as round two of the Spanish Tarmac championship, Rally Islas Canarias is also a qualifying round of the new-for-2019 Spanish Supercampeonato from governing body RFEDA.

Changes to the ERC include the renaming of the ERC Junior categories: ERC Junior Under 28 becomes ERC1 Junior, ERC Junior U27 becomes ERC3 Junior with continued support from Pirelli. Meanwhile, R4-K and RGT cars are eligible for ERC2 points, the Abarth Rally Cup will be contested over six ERC rounds, while Rally Hungary joins the calendar for the first time as the deciding round in November.

Talking points
*A record-breaking 120-car entry includes some of the best drivers from the European and Spanish championships, plus a number of competitors from the Canary Islands. They include Emma Falcón, the ERC Ladies’ Trophy winner from 2018 who steps up to R5 power, and event stalwart Luis Mónzon.
*Among the top Spaniards in action are current leaders of the national asphalt series and Supercampeonato, Pepe López and Xevi Pons, a former world championship regular.
*Double ERC Junior champion and 2018 German title winner Marijan Griebel switches from Volkswagen Polo to ŠKODA Fabia power, while his Baumschlager Rallye & Racing team welcomes Albert von Thurn und Taxis back to ERC duty.
*Swede Lars Stugemo makes his ERC return in a Polo R5 GTI run by the Finnish Printsport team.
*Double ERC2 champion Tibor Érdi Jr begins his first ERC1 campaign in the Fabia R5 he used for the first time on last season’s Rally Liepāja, while fellow Hungarian Norbert Herczig will be hoping for better fortune in his MOL-backed Volkswagen Polo after a steering issue triggered his early exit in the Azores.
*Team OSCARO’s Pierre-Louis Loubet is another driver aiming to hit back from his Azores retirement, the Corsican having been in the podium fight at the time.
*Paulo Nobre’s Rally Islas Canarias appearance comes during a busy period for the Brazilian, who will be contesting the world championship rounds in Argentina and Chile either side of the island event.
*Niki Meyr-Melnhof is set for his first ERC outing of 2019 following an impressive showing on October’s Rally Liepāja.
*ERC2 is set for a close battle between Juan Carlos Alonso, Sergei Remennik and the returning Zelindo Melegari. They will take on the Abarth Rally Cup runners for class success.
*Florian Benardi begins his ERC3 title bid with Peugeot Rally Academy duo, Yohan Rossel and Catie Munnings, plus Sean Johnston from the United States among his opposition.
*The ERC Junior contingent stands at a mammoth 20 entries including newcomers Jean-Baptiste Franceschi, Grigor Grigorov and Petr Semerad. A separate preview will be issued on 29 April.
*Four teams from national associations or federations will contest the ERC Nations’ Cup, while the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams has strong support once again with 27 squads chasing points

Expert views
Łukasz Habaj (Poland) Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5: “I have good and bad memories from Rally Islas Canarias. Winning ERC3 on my debut in 2016 was obviously a great achievement, but one year later was not so great when we finished on second corner of Free Practice 1 after completely crashing our Fiesta. In general I like the rally very much. The stages are absolutely great, lots of spectators, beautiful island and great atmosphere so I am really looking forward to it. It is not an easy rally though, the weather is changing a lot and very fast so sometimes it’s difficult to make a good tyre choice. We went to Rallye Sanremo to get the first experience with the ŠKODA on asphalt and surely it helped a lot. The roads are a little bit different there but I was able to test many things, also due to very difficult weather conditions we were forced to use different set-ups and different tyres. After one more test day, which is planned for Monday, we will be fully ready for a fight. It’s difficult to predict what we can achieve because last year I thought I had a good pace but the results were not satisfactory. We had quite a lot of technical problems but still on some stages I expected to be a little faster. I am very much focused on finding a good set-up and rhythm and I am certain that we can score some good points if we stay out of problems. This is first time we’ll stick Number 1 on the door and of course I like it a lot! The whole team is very determined to keep it this way for Rally Liepāja too because it’s the home event for Sports Racing Technologies!”

Chris Ingram (Great Britain) Toksport WRT ŠKODA Fabia R5: “I am very grateful to have the opportunity to continue our championship challenge despite the fact we are still searching for the investment and sponsorship required for our 2019 ERC title aims.  I haven't driven a rally car on Tarmac for nine months so It will be critical for me to get some seat time and find a good set-up on the Monday test. I won the ERC Juniors in 2017 on my first visit to the Island so I know how I need to approach the stages, plus myself Ross Whittock, my co-driver, and the Toksport team are working very well together. But the main thing for me will be getting behind the wheel and getting a good feeling with the ŠKODA Fabia R5 again. We hope to build on our championship position in both the ERC overall standings and ERC1 Junior, which we lead.”

Efrén Llarena (Spain) Rally Team Spain Peugeot 208 R2: “Technically Rally Islas Canarias is not my home rally because I did it only last year for the first time. But we have some experience and we will try to do our best. We did the Azores, one of the most difficult rallies in Europe, without any big mistakes. We had a strategy to be fast but not at a crazy speed, to be clean. The strategy worked so we were very happy with our victory. It was also the first rally with our new car that we built so it felt amazing.”

Pepe López (Spain) Citroën Rally Team Spain Citroën C3 R5: “Of course I will try to fight for the Spanish title but as we are competing in the ERC we keep in mind to keep a strong position because it could be really interesting. The car is really competitive and I am really happy with the car and all the parts. It’s working well and I thank Citroën Racing. Last year was really tough because I had to wait a lot to be in the car. But I am proud to be again with a good programme and I will do my best with this opportunity. For all rallies I start with the objective of trying to win and it will be no different here.”

Alexey Lukyanuk (Russia) Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 R5: “It was a big luck me and my co-driver were unhurt in the accident in Azores, not a scratch. But the car received a huge damage to the bodyshell, which needed replacing. Luckily there was no major damage to the powertrain or engine. Work like this takes time but the team know their job and the car looks like new now. I am really proud for my team. They did a good job and I hope they don’t hate me too much for what happened! The Azores was a huge disappointment of course but still it’s only the beginning of the season and there were a lot of positive things from the rally. I only drove 20 kilometres in the car on Tarmac but it was more like a short welcome from the team. I need to find the proper balance and set-up but we have seen the Citroën is performing quite well on Tarmac and I am confident we can achieve some good results. The key to this rally is to look after the tyres. If you do it right you have constant grip and can maintain proper pace through the long stages. If you push too hard you wear the tyres too fast.”

Head to head: Ingram v López
Two ERC Junior heavyweights will do battle on Rally Islas Canarias when Chris Ingram and Pepe López lock horns in R5 cars for the first time. Ingram (Toksport WRT ŠKODA) is the 2017 ERC3 Junior champion and last year’s ERC1 Junior runner-up, while López stepped up to ERC1 Junior for 2017 after winning the Peugeot 208 Rally Cup in France the previous year. The Spaniard is the leader of his national asphalt championship in a Citroën C3 R5 having competed for the Peugeot Rally Academy in the ERC.

Form guide: Łukasz Habaj
Łukasz Habaj defends his FIA European Rally Championship lead on Rally Islas Canarias armed with useful data gathered from a test run on Rallye Sanremo in Italy earlier this month, an outing he said left him feeling “smart”. This will be the Pole’s fourth start on Gran Canaria although he failed to get beyond Free Practice in 2017 due to a car-wrecking crash.

How to follow?
On TV and online: Live coverage of selected stages on FIAERC.com and Facebook. Daily highlights on Eurosport and YouTube. Regular videos and news updates at FIAERC.com
ERC Radio: Live from the end of all stages and selected service park visits. Available at FIAERC.com or download the official ERC App
Social media: Follow the ERC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Don’t miss! Abarth Rally Cup
The Abarth Rally Cup, which begins on Rally Islas Canarias, runs in conjunction with the FIA European Rally Championship in 2019, bringing together the hugely exciting one-make series and the leading regional competition promoted by Eurosport Events under a long-term agreement with motorsport’s world governing body. Contested over six rounds of the eight-event ERC, the Abarth Rally Cup is open to competitors using the enhanced-for-2019 Abarth 124 rally, the lightweight, rear-wheel-drive Italian sportscar, which conforms to the FIA’s R-GT category technical regulations. And following the FIA World Motor Sport Council’s decision on 5 December to allow R-GT cars to take part in the revitalised ERC2 category, Abarth Rally Cup drivers are eligible for points in the popular showroom class, while also chasing an attractive round-by-round and end-of-season prize fund. On each round the following prize fund is offered: First position: €12,000; Second position: €10,000; Third position: €8,000; Fourth position: €4,000 plus four Pirelli tyres. At the end of the season the Abarth Rally Cup winner receives a final prize of €30,000. Dariusz Poloński, Alberto Monarri, Andrea Nucita and Carlos David García Pérez are the first drivers to sign up for action.

Five facts:
1: Rally Islas Canarias boasts a number of prominent former winners including Didier Auriol, Piero Liatti and Carlos Sainz, who claimed five consecutive victories in the 1980s
2: The Canary Islands is known for its good weather with the ambient temperature ranging from 17-24 degrees centigrade
3: Rally Islas Canarias joined the ERC for the first time in 1982 and has counted for Europe’s premier rally championship 24 times
4: Islas Canarias comes from the Latin Insula Canaria, or Island of the Dogs, which were believed to be a type of monk seal
5: A dish of choice in the Canary Islands is ropa vieja, made from chicken, beef, potatoes and beans

The post ERC event preview: Rally Islas Canarias appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Ingram calls for more support to maintain ERC title challenge

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 09:00

Chris Ingram is chasing more funding to keep his dream of FIA European Rally Championship glory alive.

The Briton, ERC3 Junior champion in 2017, began his 2019 campaign in style with top honours in ERC1 Junior on the Azores Rallye in a career-high overall podium.

However, he had to work overtime to raise the backing needed to compete in the mid-Atlantic and has his Toksport WRT team and tyre partner Michelin to thank for the key role they have both played to enable him to start Rally Islas Canarias next week.

“I am very grateful to have the opportunity to continue our championship challenge despite the fact we are still searching for the investment and sponsorship required for our 2019 ERC title aims,” said Ingram, who is aiming to become the first British drive since Vic Elford in 1967 to win the coveted European title.

Of his chances of Rally Islas Canarias success, Ingram continued: “I haven't driven a rally car on Tarmac for nine months so It will be critical for me to get some seat time and find a good set-up on the Monday test.

“I won the ERC Juniors in 2017 on my first visit to the Island so I know how I need to approach the stages, plus myself and my co-driver Ross Whittock and the Toksport team are working very well together. But the main thing for me will be getting behind the wheel and getting a good feeling with the ŠKODA Fabia R5 again.”

The post Ingram calls for more support to maintain ERC title challenge appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior champion Sesks to make prize drive R5 debut at home

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 11:00

Mārtiņš Sesks will make his debut in an R5 car on his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship, Rally Liepāja, as the first of two prize drives for winning the ERC3 Junior crown in 2018.

Teen talent Sesks, 19, had been due to take up his first prize drive on Rally Islas Canarias, but submitted a request to ERC promoter Eurosport Events to switch the Spanish asphalt event to his home rally in Latvia, which uses all-gravel stages around the cities of Liepāja and Talsi. The request also required the approval of partner team Motorsport Italia. The second prize drive, planned for July’s Rally di Roma Capitale, is unaffected by the change of events.

“It was a big job to change the schedule from Canarias to Liepāja and big thanks to everyone for allowing this, it means a lot,” said Sesks, who has stepped up to the World Rally Championship’s junior category for 2019. “Our season has started not very good so it will be a big pleasure and very nice to do my home rally in a top-spec car. For sure it’s a different car, but it’s a good opportunity to show our speed again.”

Sesks will test his Pirelli-equipped, Motorsport Italia-run ŠKODA Fabia R5 ahead of Rally Liepāja – the city of his birth – which the Latvian says will be key to his preparations. “After the tests I hope to have good feelings with the car and with my self-confidence,” he said. “They are the main goals for the test because I am a bit apprehensive at the moment.”

With Sesks earning two prize drives for his 2018 ERC3 Junior title triumph, which he claimed in a Pirelli-shod Opel ADAM R2 run by the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team, the youngster is keen not to put too much pressure on himself. “The result is not main thing – we need to get our confidence to drive a top-spec car on these very fast roads. Then we have a second event in Italy when we can learn the car on asphalt.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Mārtiņš hasn’t enjoyed the start to the season his huge talent deserves. Rather than make his debut in an R5 car at what is a difficult time for him and on an event he has only competed on once before, Mārtiņš made a request to change Rally Islas Canarias to Rally Liepāja, where he is obviously familiar with the stages and terrain. We must thank the FIA and Motorsport Italia for supporting this request. Mārtiņš already had a great opportunity to prove his talent in an R5 car, but to do it for the first time on home soil is extra special. It’s also great news for the Rally Liepāja organisers, who can count on a young driver with massive potential competing in a front-running car.”

Rally Liepāja is the third event of the 2019 ERC season from 24-26 May. Sesks will be eligible for ERC1 Junior points, the category for young stars in R5 cars.

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Mission gravel: Adielsson targets more ERC success

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 09:00

Mattias Adielsson will continue his FIA European Rally Championship campaign on Rally Islas Canarias next week, albeit with his focus firmly on the upcoming gravel rounds in Latvia and Poland.

In conjunction with Saintéloc Racing, the outfit behind his Sweden National Team entry in the ERC, Adielsson has elected not to include Rally Islas Canarias as one of his scoring rounds. Instead, he will undertake the event reconnaissance before remaining on Gran Canaria for the duration of the rally as a keen observer.

Following the Spanish Tarmac counter, Adielsson will begin his preparations for Rally Liepāja (24-26 May) and Rally Poland (28-30 June) when he hopes to underline his pace and potential with two strong results on his natural surface.

“One of the many things that attracted me to the ERC is the possibility to drop scores by contesting the rallies that really work for me and my team,” said Adielsson. “Because the ERC is a long-term plan for me, I want to build my knowledge of the events and keep making progress. I have no experience of Rally Islas Canarias and no experience of my Citroën C3 R5 on asphalt. That’s why we will do the recce in Gran Canaria and then switch our focus to the two gravel events that follow.

“I spoke to Vincent Ducher from Saintéloc at length about this and we agreed we would put our emphasis behind the gravel events and then prepare for the summer rallies on Tarmac as the next stage of our development programme.

“Rally Islas Canarias looks like a great event and I can’t wait to experience the stages and develop my pacenotes for next season along with my co-driver Andreas Johansson. My team-mate Alexey Lukyanuk is a three-time winner of the rally and I’m really excited about discussing car set-up and the general strategy with him away from the pressure of competition.

“It’s a great opportunity I have with the Swedish ASN and my other partners and I don’t want to waste it.”

Adielsson finished fourth in the ERC1 Junior classification on last month’s Azores Rallye. Rally Islas Canarias takes place from 2-4 May.

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Poloński: ERC Abarth Rally Cup entry like a ‘homecoming’

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 12:00

Dariusz Poloński says contesting the first Abarth Rally Cup to run within the FIA European Rally Championship is like a ‘homecoming’.

The Pole started his career in circuit racing with Fiat power before he switched to rallying in 1999, this time relying on a Fiat Seicento Sporting.

For 2019, the multiple Polish Rally Championship class winner, has signed up for the Abarth Rally Cup and will pilot a 124 rally for the respected Rallytechnology outfit.

“From my beginning I really love cup racing, it’s always fun to have the same cars, and the atmosphere is always great,” said the 42-yea-old. “The atmosphere inside the cup is always great. In Poland and in motorsport we are really connected with Fiat and the Abarth name was something magical for us. Together with Rallytechnology we decided it’s a great idea to have a rear-wheel-drive car, to race in a cup and to have an Abarth.”

The Abarth Rally Cup begins on Rally Islas Canarias from 2-4 May. As well as chasing Abarth Rally Cup points and the lucrative prize fund on offer, Poloński and his Abarth Rally Cup rivals will be eligible for the ERC category.

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Lukyanuk’s ERC fightback is go

Sun, 04/21/2019 - 12:00

Alexey Lukyanuk will be making up lost ground when he starts next month’s Rally Islas Canarias, the second event of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship season.

The reigning ERC champion crashed out on the season-opening Azores Rally – the result of a reported brake issue caused by a puncture that had dropped him out of the lead on the penultimate stage – but is ready to bounce back and cut the 27-point deficit to leader Łukasz Habaj.

Despite his own initial fears that he wouldn’t be able to find the funding needed to rebuild his wrecked Citroën C3 R5, Lukyanuk and co-driver Alexey Arnautvov are entered on Rally Islas Canarias from 2-4 May. They’ve won the event three times in succession.

The post Lukyanuk’s ERC fightback is go appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Spanish leaders for ERC action

Sat, 04/20/2019 - 12:00

The leaders of both the Spanish Supercampeonato and the Spanish Asphalt championships will be in action on next month’s Rally Islas Canarias.

Xavi Pons (ŠKODA Fabia R5) starts the all-asphalt event – a combined round of the FIA European Rally Championship and Spanish series – leading the Supercampeonato classification, while former ERC1 Junior contender Pepe López (pictured) heads the Spanish Tarmac title chase in his Citroën C3 R5 following his victory on the recent Rallye Sierra Morena.

Former Spanish champion Iván Ares, ex-ERC1 Junior José Suárez-Alberto Iglesias (Hyundai i20 R5), and Spanish championship frontrunner Surhayén Pernía are also set to contest Rally Islas Canarias, which takes place from 2-4 May.

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Remembering when… Lukyanuk takes ERC Rally Islas Canarias hat-trick

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 12:00

Alexey Lukyanuk held off the threat from the leading FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship drivers to make it three Rally Islas Canarias wins in succession following a sublime performance alongside co-driver Alexey Arnautov on Gran Canaria’s demanding all-asphalt stages on 5 May 2018.

In doing so they became the first crew since Luca Rossetti and Matteo Chiarcossi in 2011 to win the first two events of an ERC season, a result that enables them to extend their title advantage in their Pirelli-equipped Russian Performance Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5 on the back of 10 stage wins from 14.

“I am very very happy,” Lukyanuk said afterwards. “We were winning a lot of stages and showing good confidence. We had some worries that the young drivers here would push really hard but we managed to do a good job, the weather was okay for us, the starting position was very clever and helped us to maintain a good speed. Thanks to Pirelli for tyres, everything worked well with no big problems so quite good for us.”

Nikolay Gryazin and Yaroslav Fedorov landed the ERC Junior Under 28 spoils in style in second overall with a deliberately “calm” approach. After winning the Qualifying Stage on Thursday, they claimed two more stage bests in their Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Behind Gryazin, a late turn of speed decided an epic battle for the final podium position between ERC Junior U28 drivers Fabian Kreim and José Suárez. Kreim had edged ahead early on today after taking third place on Friday night, and though Suárez, in a Hyundai Motor España i20 R5, retaliated just before midday service, ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland-backed Kreim confirmed his first ever ERC podium finish with a storming drive through the rally’s final stage.

ERC Junior Experience graduate Laurent Pellier capped a fantastic second ERC appearance with a top five overall finish, following on from his first ever stage win in Friday morning’s second test. PEUGEOT Rally Academy’s young star also recorded his first top five in ERC Junior U28, coming fourth and only 1.5s behind third placed Suárez.

Diogo Gago made it two ERC Junior Under 27 wins from two starts following a thrilling battle with Mārtiņš Sesks, which had been a three-way scrap in the Pirelli-supported category until Efrén Llarena crashed heavily in his Rally Team Spain entry on the final morning, fortunately without injury to neither he nor co-driver Sara Fernández.

Tibor Érdi Jr recovered from his Azores Airlines Rallye exit to dominate ERC2 by going fastest on all but one stage. And with round one winner Juan Carlos Alonso failing to finish due to a technical issue, Érdi Jr’s title defence is back on track, despite a throttle fault causing him to stop three times on the last run to make emergency repairs.

Championship newcomer Florian Bernardi claimed the ERC3 victory in his Renault Clio, while Canary Islander Emma Falcón took the ERC Ladies’ Trophy spoils ahead of Catie Munnings, who overcame a late scare when a sensor issue struck nearing the finish of the final stage.

The post Remembering when… Lukyanuk takes ERC Rally Islas Canarias hat-trick appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Record interest: ERC Rally Islas Canarias gets 120-car entry

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 06:00

A record 120 crews have entered next month’s Rally Islas Canarias, round two of the FIA European Rally Championship and the Abarth Rally Cup opener.

Featuring 30 top-of the-range R5 cars, the all-asphalt event from 2-4 May has attracted interest from 20 countries.

All current ERC category leaders are due to take part, while Pepe López, who tops the Spanish Asphalt standings following his opening round victory, is also set for action in Gran Canaria.

The full list of entries is due to be published by the event organisers at 14h00 local time on 22 April.

The post Record interest: ERC Rally Islas Canarias gets 120-car entry appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC champion Kajetanowicz spreads his wings

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 06:00

Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the only driver in history to win the FIA European Rally Championship three times in succession, will be embarking on an adventure of a different kind 12,000 kilometres from home next week.

The LOTOS Rally Team driver is entered for the world championship events in Argentina and Chile as he builds on his strong start to his second season in the sport’s top tier.

“Honestly I have to admit that I still can’t believe that it is really happening, another sporting dream comes true,” said Polish driver Kajetanowicz, whose Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 is run by Raimund Baumschlager’s BRR outfit.

“We are facing a very difficult challenge and a fight against competitors who already know these roads. Every rally means different routes and corners, weather conditions or road surface, but also intensive preparations and logistics.”

Kajetanowicz won the ERC title in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The post ERC champion Kajetanowicz spreads his wings appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior Cais stars in R5 try-out

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 06:00

Czech federation-backed Erik Cais further underlined his potential when he finished second overall on last weekend’s Vančík Rallysprint Kopná, his debut in an R5 car.

The former downhill mountain bike champion turned FIA ERC3 Junior Championship contender, swapped his Ford Fiesta R2 for the R5 version for the Slušovice-based event, which runs on sections of stages that feature on the route of Barum Czech Rally Zlín, Cais’ home round of the European Rally Championship.

Co-driven by Jindřiška Žáková, Cais was 10.8s behind winner Miroslav Jakeš but ahead of a number of drivers with vastly more experience.

Part of the ACCR Czech Rally Team in the ERC, Cais entered the Vančík Rallysprint Kopná as a replacement for next month’s Rally Islas Canarias, which he is unable to contest due to clashing school exams.

Photo: Dalibor Benych

The post ERC Junior Cais stars in R5 try-out appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

New ERC-bound 208 R2 tests

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 06:00

Peugeot’s replacement for its best-selling 208 R2 has turned a wheel for the first time – and customers should get their hands on the new machine ahead of the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship season.

Based on the new road-going Peugeot 208, the R2-specification contender is lighter and features a 1.2-litre turbocharged, three-cylinder PureTech engine.

The recent test in the Vosges region of France was the culmination of months of work by Peugeot Sport engineers, which began last summer.

According to Peugeot Sport, the engineers were tasked with creating a “rapid and reliable car that’s great fun to drive but also benefits from running costs that are as low as possible”.

Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport Director, said: “I’ve been very pleased to see the first tests. The improvement comes above all thanks to the new 1.2-litre turbo PureTech engine, which will lead to a substantial increase in performance. Now we’re getting the test phase underway, which is a key step. The goal within the next few months will be to build on that and gain the maximum amount of experience and data through a number of other tests on all sorts of surfaces and in a variety of conditions. This will allow us to define and then confirm the car’s final technical specification, in order to be ready to attack the 2020 season.”

More than 450 examples of the original 208 R2 were built with Efrén Llarena taking the ERC3 Junior honours on the Azores Rallye in one of the current models. The Pirelli-supported championship resumes on Rally Islas Canarias from 2-4 May.

The post New ERC-bound 208 R2 tests appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC leader Habaj gets the Italian job done to prepare for Rally Islas Canarias

Sun, 04/14/2019 - 12:00

Łukasz Habaj says his outing on Rallye Sanremo has made him “smart” ahead of next month’s Rally Islas Canarias, which he will start as the leader of the FIA European Rally Championship.

The Azores Rallye winner finished in eighth place on the Italian championship event, his first experience of driving his Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5 on asphalt.

“It was a huge testing field for us and we got a lot of information we have to analyse,” Habaj told Rallylink.it’s Gianluca Nataloni. “The result maybe was not great but the objective was to do some testing. Now I have some information about how this car is working. I had to get some feelings and now I am smart.”

One-time ERC title contender Craig Breen beat Simone Campedelli to victory by 4.3s with former European champions Giandomenico Basso and Luca Rossetti third and fourth respectively. For Breen’s co-driver Paul Nagle, it was the Irishman’s first Rallye Sanremo victory for 10 years after he partnered Kris Meeke to victory in 2009.

Rally Islas Canarias takes place from 2-4 May. The ERC will be making its annual visit to Italy and Rally di Roma Capitale from 19-21 July

The post ERC leader Habaj gets the Italian job done to prepare for Rally Islas Canarias appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Abarth Rally Cup in numbers

Sat, 04/13/2019 - 06:00

The FIA European Rally Championship-based Abarth Rally Cup begins on Rally Islas Canarias next month. Here are just some of the key numbers.

124: The Abarth Rally Cup is exclusively for the newly-enhanced Abarth 124 rally

6: A total of six ERC rallies make up the Abarth Rally Cup with all scores counting

2: In addition to the four all-asphalt rounds in Gran Canaria, Italy, Czech Republic and Hungary, two events take place on gravel in Latvia and Poland

25: The winner of each round scores 25 points and earns €12,000 in prize money

30,000: An-of-season prize of €30,000 will be awarded to the Abarth Rally Cup champion

102,000: If a driver wins all six rounds and the overall title they will earn €102,000 in prize money

4: As well being handed €4,000, the driver finishing in fourth place on each round of the Abarth Rally Cup will receive four Pirelli tyres

3000: It costs €3,000 excluding VAT to register for the Abarth Rally Cup. However, crews can sign up for single events and pay €650 at a time

5000: More than 5000 kilometres of testing have been covered with the aim of improving the Abarth 124 rally’s performance and handling, while the introduction of a gravel kit will help drivers to optimise car set-up

40: The Abarth 124 rally kit enables the ride height to be increased by 40 millimetres albeit without compromising suspension performance

The post ERC Abarth Rally Cup in numbers appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

FIA launches Rally Safety Guidelines

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 18:00

The FIA has launched a new set of Rally Safety Guidelines to improve safety at every level of the sport, while maintaining the action and spectacle loved by fans around the world.

Gathering together the best practices currently being applied in the FIA World Rally Championship, the guidelines come in a format that can be used by event organisers at regional and national level.

Close proximity to the cars on stage is all part of the thrilling fan experience and a key aspect of the guidelines is to help promoters further increase spectator protection.

There are also other suggestions for safety best practice throughout the 100-page manual.

For example, the FIA is encouraging all of its National Sporting Authorities (ASNs) to have their own safety delegates at each event they sanction. This will be supported by a training programme for safety delegates, with a pilot training seminar this year. From 2020 onwards regional training seminars will be conducted for these Safety Delegates from each country around the world.

Other key points in the guidelines cover the role and responsibilities of officials; the use of safety cars and the safety plan; special stage set-up; communication with marshals and fans; and incident handling. Many of these initiatives are designed to be implemented with little to no cost and the FIA will work with ASNs to ensure that is the case.

Yves Matton, FIA Rally Director, said: "Safety is the key for the sustainability of rallying in the future and one of the keys in safety is education – we see this around the world. These guidelines will help educate all to have the best procedures and the best habits in rallying.”

The FIA Rally Safety Guidelines are available to download here

The post FIA launches Rally Safety Guidelines appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Tarmac next for ERC Juniors

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 12:00

The FIA European Rally Championship’s Junior contingent will test their skills on Tarmac next as Rally Islas Canarias gets ready to host round two of the ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior championships from 2-4 May.

With three events on gravel and three on asphalt, ERC Junior provides an excellent opportunity for drivers to build their experience on the two main stage surfaces.

And following the gravel-based Azores Rallye season opener last month, the young talents take on the all-asphalt stages of Rally Islas Canarias before reverting to gravel for the upcoming Rally Liepāja (24-26 May) and Rally Polan (28-30 June).

The post Tarmac next for ERC Juniors 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