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Strong test allows Llarena to overcome ERC1 Junior worries

Sat, 07/18/2020 - 15:00

Efrén Llarena is ready to make his FIA ERC1 Junior Championship debut on Rally di Roma Capitale from 24-26 July following a successful test recently.

Llarena steps up to ERC1 Junior as the reigning ERC3 and ERC3 Junior champion – and does so with the support of Spanish federation RFEDA through its Rallye Team Spain initiative.

“The feeling with my new Citroën C3 R5 is quite good,” said Llarena, who is co-driven by Sara Fernández. “We have an optimum set-up after the first test on Tarmac we did with the car. I was a bit worried at the beginning, but, finally, Sara and me adapted ourselves really well to a 4WD car with more power than the R2 car we drove in the last years.

“The Citroën is really easy to drive. I felt more and more comfortable during the test, increasing my confidence and speed. We are going to give 100 per cent of us in Rally di Roma Capitale. We know it's going to be difficult, I don't have already too much kilometres at the wheel of the Citroën C3 R5, but my adaptation process is going really well. I can drive the car exactly how I want, so the plan is to be as brave and fast as I can.”

Rallye Team Spain is also supporting Pep Bassas in ERC3 Junior, his prize for winning the Beca R2 Júnior title last season via a partnership between RFEDA and ERC promoter Eurosport Events. Llarena graduated to ERC3 Junior in 2018 after winning the Beca R2 Júnior crown in 2017.

The post Strong test allows Llarena to overcome ERC1 Junior worries appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC1 Junior Devine keeping expectations in check for Rome

Sat, 07/18/2020 - 12:00

Callum Devine is keeping his expectations in check as he prepares for round one of the 2020 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship on Rally di Roma Capitale next week.

Devine, part of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, has never rallied in Italy before and also acknowledges the strong competition he’ll face from some of Europe’s top young Rally2 drivers.

“I don’t know much about the rally apart from what I’ve found on the internet,” said Irishman Devine. “I haven’t rallied in Italy at all so it will be a new experience. As far as I can see it’s quite smooth Tarmac, some broken Tarmac at times, which will probably suit us maybe a little bit more.”

Devine and co-driver Brian Hoy have viewed the stage videos issued by the rally organisers, Motorsport Italia, to help with their preparations.

“The stage videos the rally has put up are a great help,” said Devine, whose Hyundai i20 R5 is run by the PCRS team from Ireland. “Some of the stages haven’t changed from last year and some have bits and pieces that are the same so it will be a hard challenge up against the boys that have been there before.

“ERC1 Junior is our priority and we want to be in the mix. But there are a lot of quick drivers in ERC1 Juniors, and many of them have a chance for pushing for overall podium positions. We’ll just get as much experience as we can.”

The post ERC1 Junior Devine keeping expectations in check for Rome appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Landa over his rollover as focus turns to first ERC3 Junior start

Sat, 07/18/2020 - 09:00

Nikolai Landa has put his recent rally rollover to the back of his mind and switched his focus to his debut in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC3 Junior Championship.

Austrian prospect Landa used the recent Rally Velenje in Slovenia to prepare for next week’s Rally di Roma Capitale.

Although he rolled, his DritCompany Rally Team mechanics have restored his Ford Fiesta Rally4 to full working order, meaning the 21-year-old is on course to launch his ERC3 campaign in Italy from 24-26 July alongside co-driving father Günter Landa.

“We decided to drive Rally Velenje in Slovenia for preparation but this ended in our first roll ever,” Landa explained. “This was not the outcome I would have hoped for but we still learned so much and are very grateful to have such a world class team by our side [because] the car will be fully repaired.

“My aim for Rally di Roma Capitale is to learn as much as possible, have fun and find my confidence again after the crash in Slovenia. I’m aware of that the guys in ERC3 Junior will be extremely fast and have more experience than me in a race car. However, I am still aiming for a solid rally and in the end, we will see where we stand at the finish line. I can’t wait to drive my first ERC3 Junior event.”

The post Landa over his rollover as focus turns to first ERC3 Junior start appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Dinkel plans step-by-step start to ERC1 Junior campaign

Sat, 07/18/2020 - 06:00

Dominik Dinkel is planning a step-by-step approach to his FIA ERC1 Junior Championship campaign as he bids to overcome myriad challenges.

As well as making his Rally di Roma Capitale debut, Dinkel is contesting his first event alongside new co-driver Ursula Mayrhofer, while he’s still lacking experience of his Brose Motorsport Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo.

Rally di Roma will be very difficult because everything is new and the competition will be very high,” said German driver Dinkel. “We want to go step by step. My main aim is to finish the rally, get more experience of the car and the rally.

“I didn’t drive in Italy so I don’t know any stage there. I try to find a good rhythm in each stage. I drove the Fabia Evo in the last round of the German championship last year but we crashed so this will be the first really rally with this car.”

Rally di Roma Capitale takes place from 24-26 July.

The post Dinkel plans step-by-step start to ERC1 Junior campaign appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Q&A: Alexey Lukyanuk

Fri, 07/17/2020 - 18:00

He ruled the FIA European Rally Championship in 2018, the year of his Rally di Roma Capitale triumph. Ahead of the 2020 ERC season opener in Italy, this is what Russian Rocket and Saintéloc Junior Team driver Alexey Lukuyanuk has had to say.

When was the last time you drove a rally car?
“It was in Hungary almost eight months ago! It will be pretty tough to come back after such a long break. We know that some drivers already have some events and some rallies. Sit and push is my only option.”

Given it’s your first rally since last November will you still push from the start?
“I don’t think my approach can change. It all depends on the feeling. If I can be confident with the car, with the conditions, with the pacenotes, it will give me a good background to push. But if we are far away from the perfect set-up and something is missing, we will have to see how it works.”

How have the preparations gone with your new co-driver Dmitry Eremeev?
“We did some homework, some preparations. Of course, it does not replace the real experience in a rally car. But we are not starting from complete scratch. We already have some contact and we should be capable of handling things in the right way.”

Rally di Roma Capitale is described as very difficult. Is that a view you share?
“I never really think that some rally is quite easy, another is quite difficult, it’s just a special event with its unique roads, unique character. On every rally you can find some dangerous places, some challenges to face. But the stages are so different and fun to drive. It’s really exciting.”

Some stages will be run three times rather than the usual two. What difference will that make?
“Normally it changes dramatically after the first 20-30 cars on the first passs, so it will be more or less consistent, I hope. After all, Rome is not a rally where you can cut so much [the corners] like you can in Germany or Spain. I see no big stress, normally we drive as fast as possible on the first and second pass and the third one is like a bonus. For rally drivers it’s really interesting and exciting to drive new roads and more different stages but we understand the situation and these measures are necessary in this season.”

The post ERC Q&A: Alexey Lukyanuk appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Bassas reveals unexpected boost ahead of ERC debut

Fri, 07/17/2020 - 15:00

Rallye Team Spain’s Pep Bassas will start his FIA ERC3 Junior Championship adventure in a car he didn’t expect to be driving so early in his international career.

Had the European championship season started on the Azores Rallye in March as scheduled, Bassas would have made his international debut in Peugeot’s older-generation 208 R2.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic delaying the start of competition until next week’s Rally di Roma Capitale, Bassas will be begin his challenge in the all-new Peugeot 208 Rally4.

“The season starts for Rallye Team Spain later than we expected, obviously due to coronavirus,” said Bassas, who graduates to the ERC as the winner of the RFEDA-supported Beca Júnior R2 title. “The brand-new Peugeot 208 Rally4 is already available, so we can begin the competition using new technology.

“I'm trying to adapt my driving style as soon as possible to the new car. I'm able to do it, but the philosophy is completely different compared with the modus operandi necessary to be fast with the last generation of Peugeot 208 R2. To be honest, when you drive the car for the first time, it's a surprise the power and the torque of the turbo engine. You arrive really fast to the corners, and the car pushes on quite hard! I want to show my potential to be on the top and give the maximum.”

The post Bassas reveals unexpected boost ahead of ERC debut appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC event preview: Rally di Roma Capitale

Fri, 07/17/2020 - 12:00

The 2020 FIA European Rally Championship is go – at last – on Rally di Roma Capitale Italy next week with new drivers, new teams, new cars and new rules in store.

Essentials
What: 2020 FIA European Rally Championship round 1 of 6*
When: 24-26 July 2020
Where: Fiuggi, near Rome, Italy
Stages: 15
Distance: 197.80 kilometres
Surface: Tarmac
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 3 (2017-2019)
*Also counting for: FIA ERC2, FIA ERC3, FIA ERC1 Junior, FIA ERC3 Junior, FIA European Rally Championship for Teams, Abarth Rally Cup

Recent winners:
2019: Giandomenico Basso/Lorenzo Granai (Škoda Fabia R5)
2018: 
Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov (Ford Fiesta R5)
2017: Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Ford Fiesta R5)
2016: Umberto Scandola/Guide D’Amore (Škoda Fabia R5) (Non-ERC event)
2015: Umberto Scandola/Guide D’Amore (Škoda Fabia R5) (Non-ERC event)

Overview
The 2020 FIA European Rally Championship is go – at last – on Rally di Roma Capitale Italy next week with new drivers, new teams, new cars and new rules in store.

But while there have been changes aplenty since Chris Ingram beat Alexey Lukyanuk to the 2019 title a dramatic final-stage showdown on Rally Hungary last November, the objective behind the oldest international rally series in the world remains unaltered: to provide a competitive and accessible clear path of progression from national level to the world stage.

Taking place over six events (three on asphalt, three on gravel) between July and November, the 2020 ERC will be divided into various categories based on car performance and, in the case of the ERC1 Junior and Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior divisions, driver age and experience.

The ERC also incorporates the Abarth Rally Cup, a one-make series for the Abarth 124 rally, while the ERC’s Official Fuels Partner, P1 Racing Fuels, organises the P1 Racing Fuels Podium Challenge.

Double ERC champion and last year’s Roma winner Giandomenico Basso heads the entry followed by 2018 champion and Roma winner Alexey Lukyanuk. The ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior champions from last season, Filip Mareš and Efrén Llarena, will both be competing, as will leading female drivers Rachele Somaschini and Adrienn Vogel. Dariusz Poloński is a favourite for the ERC2/Abarth Rally Cup victory.

Rally di Roma Capitale, which marks the resumption of FIA international-level rallying as certain restrictions, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, ease in some countries. Based in Fiuggi to the south east of the Italian capital, this year’s event consists of 15 asphalt-only stages over a distance of 197.80 kilometres. Following Free Practice and the Qualifying Stage on the morning of 24 July, crews head to the Castel Sant’Angelo and central Rome for the ceremonial start and to begin the Roma parade, a motorised tour of the city’s historic buildings and landmarks with drivers in their rally cars behind police escorts.

Rally di Roma Capitale in 100 words
The progression of this asphalt event, organised and promoted by Max Rendina’s Motorsport Italia organisation, is impressive. Having first run in 2013, Rally di Roma Capitale made its ERC debut in 2017 as Italy returned to the European championship for the first time since 2013 when Rallye Sanremo was on the calendar. It proved a big hit and continues to flourish. While COVID-19 restrictions mean no visit to Ostia for the seaside superspecial, the popular stages around Pico to the far south east of event hub Fiuggi remain. By also counting as an Italian championship round, local participation is strong.

ERC Q&A: Alexey Lukyanuk (2018 winner, former ERC champion)

When was the last time you drove a rally car?
“It was in Hungary almost eight months ago! It will be pretty tough to come back after such a long break. We know that some drivers already have some events and some rallies. Sit and push is my only option.”

Given it’s your first rally since last November will you still push from the start?
“I don’t think my approach can change. It all depends on the feeling. If I can be confident with the car, with the conditions, with the pacenotes, it will give me a good background to push. But if we are far away from the perfect set-up and something is missing, we will have to see how it works.”

How have the preparations gone with your new co-driver Dmitry Eremeev?
“We did some homework, some preparations. Of course, it does not replace the real experience in a rally car. But we are not starting from complete scratch. We already have some contact and we should be capable of handling things in the right way.”

Rally di Roma Capitale is described as very difficult. Is that a view you share?
“I never really think that some rally is quite easy, another is quite difficult, it’s just a special event with its unique roads, unique character. On every rally you can find some dangerous places, some challenges to face. But the stages are so different and fun to drive. It’s really exciting.”

Some stages will be run three times rather than the usual two. What difference will that make?
“Normally it changes dramatically after the first 20-30 cars on the first passs, so it will be more or less consistent, I hope. After all, Rome is not a rally where you can cut so much [the corners] like you can in Germany or Spain. I see no big stress, normally we drive as fast as possible on the first and second pass and the third one is like a bonus. For rally drivers it’s really interesting and exciting to drive new roads and more different stages but we understand the situation and these measures are necessary in this season.”

The big entry numbers
The entry list for Rally di Roma Capitale demonstrates the appeal of the ERC and commitment from the competing teams and drivers during the unprecedented period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the key numbers:

87: A total of 87 crews have entered Rally di Roma Capitale.
56: Of the 87 drivers entered, 56 (64%) have registered for the FIA European Rally Championship.
42: Some 42 top-of-the-range Rally2 cars are set for action in Rome with 29 crewed by ERC drivers.
26: The ERC Junior championships have attracted a total of 26 entries, with 13 eligible for ERC1 Junior (for Rally2 cars) and 13 in contention for ERC3 Junior honours in Pirelli-equipped Rally4 and Rally5 cars.
24: With 24 nationalities represented by the competing drivers, the international appeal of the ERC is underlined once again.
4: Reigning national champions from Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania, plus the ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior title holders set to take part.
34: Drivers competing in Rome have won a combined 34 ERC events and claimed 3 overall FIA European Rally Championship titles.
3: The opening round of the Abarth Rally Cup will be a three-driver battle between Dariusz Poloński and newcomers Roberto Gobbin and Andrea Mabellini.

ERC 2020: what’s new?
Points-scoring system: The top 15 rather than the top 10 will score points as follows: 30-24-21-19-17-15-13-11-9-7-5-4-3-2-1. The leg bonus points allocation has also changed with the top five rather than the top seven scoring leg bonus points: 5-4-3-2-1. Rally5 for ERC3 Junior: Rally5 cars will also be eligible for ERC3 Junior (it was Rally4 cars previously) A summary of other changes will be issued separately.

Talking points
ERC Junior champions on the move: Czech Filip Mareš, who beat Chris Ingram to the 2019 ERC1 Junior title by 0.3s, will battle for outright honours, while Efrén Llarena steps up to ERC1 Junior with Rallye Team Spain as the ERC3 Junior champion.

New year, new co-driver: Alexey Lukyanuk is back to reclaim his ERC title with new co-driver Dmitry Eremeev. Rally di Roma Capitale will be their first event together in their Pirelli-equipped Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën, while next Tuesday’s official test marks Lukyanuk’s return behind the wheel for the first time since Rally Hungary. Double ERC Junior champion Marijan Griebel will partner Lukyanuk at Saintéloc.

National champions on show: The reigning champions from Germany (Fabian Kreim), Italy (Giandomenico Basso), Poland (Miko Marczyk) and Romania (Simone Tempestini) are all entered.

Hungary for more: MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig, who won the Hungarian title four times before graduating to the ERC, is back for his third season of European competition.

ERC’s youngest winner in action: Oliver Solberg, who made history when he won the ERC-counting Rally Liepāja last season aged 17 years, eight months and three days, is a Roma rookie, as is M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Adrien Fourmaux, a frontrunner in the World Rally Championship 2 class. Dominik Dinkel is also competing in Rome for the first time.

Developing for the future: MRF Tyres is embarking on a major development programme within the ERC with five-time ERC event winner Craig Breen and emerging Finn Emil Lindholm leading the project.

Hopes of a nation: Callum Devine is undertaking his first full-season ERC bid as part of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, an initiative from his country’s ASN.

Aiming for three: Having won two national-level rallies in as many weekends in Italy, former ERC3 Junior title contender Andrea Crugnola is gearing up to make it three on an event he should have won last season (he was fastest out of 15 stages) but for a time-consuming puncture. He takes over F.P.F Sport’s Citroën C3 R5 from three-time ERC champion Luca Rossetti for 2020.

Power hike: Czech Erik Cais and Luxembourg-born Grégoire Munster are graduating to Rally2 level in ERC1 Junior having competed – and impressed – in ERC3 Junior last season.

When in Rome: Rally di Roma Capitale is as close as it gets to a home rally for Germany’s Albert von Thurn und Taxis, who lives in the Italian city. His former GT racing team-mate Niki Mayr-Melnhof, the 2018 Austrian champion, is competing as part of a major ERC campaign.

Lucky by name… Alberto Battistolli, son of Luigi ‘Lucky’ Battistolli, a prolific winner in historic rallying, has registered for ERC1 Junior for the first time, as has his fellow Italian Damiano De Tommaso.

Pole position: Jarosław Koltun is set to make his first ERC start for more than a year. Run under the banner of his new business venture Plon RT, Koltun has upgraded to a Ford Fiesta R5 MkII, while his old Fiesta R5 will be driven in Rome by his fellow Pole Adam Stec.

Super-fast from Slovenia: Bošjtan Avbelj, who switched to rallying from circuit racing, comes with a strong reputation as a fast performer in his homeland.

Full Gass: Alessandro Re has registered for top-class ERC points for the first time. He will drive a Gass Racing Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, the car of choice – for the first time – for double ERC champion Basso.

Rusce returns: Having made his ERC debut back in 1997, Antonio Rusce returns for what will be his second outing in a Citroën C3 R5.

RGT to Rally2: Enrico Brazzoli makes his ERC debut as a two-time ERC Historic class title winner. The Italian, who won the FIA RGT title in 2019 and is a former World Rally Championship 3 champion, will join Oliver Solberg in a second P.A. Racing Polo.

All aboard in Abarths: Newcomers Roberto Gobbin and Andrea Mabellini will battle Dariusz Poloński for honours when the second Abarth Rally Cup season within the ERC gets underway in Rome.

Porsche power: Petr Nešetřil brings his Porsche 997 GT3 from Czech Republic to the ERC with Rally di Roma Capitale the first of several planned outings.

Regulars preparing to rally: ERC2 regulars Dmitry Feofanov and Zelindo Melegari, from Italy, will compete for production class honours, as will newcomer Igor Widłak from Poland.

Will it be Ken’s turn again? After winning ERC3 and ERC3 Junior on his Roma debut last season, Tarmac novice Ken Torn returns to fly the Estonian Autosport Junior Team flag in a Ford Fiesta Rally4.

Prospects from Portugal: Pedro Almeida and Pedro Antunes will drive Peugeot’s all-new 208 Rally4. Antunues compete in Rome last year while Almeida can count on the extensive knowledge of co-driver Hugo Magalhães. Magalhães partnered his name sake Bruno Magalhães to an overall podium in Rome in 2017 and fifth place the following year.

More in Rally4: Finn Miika Hokkanen will also be 208 Rally4-powered, as will Rallye Team Spain’s Pep Bassas, who makes his ERC debut as his prize for winning RFEDA’s Beca Júnior R2 title last season. Rachele Somaschini, who will raise awareness of cystic fibrosis through her #CorrerePerUnRespiro campaign, has recently confirmed her switch to ERC3 Junior and the new-for-2020 Peugeot.

Relying on R2: Amaury Molle, who spent the winter coaching at an ice-driving school in northern Sweden, relies on Peugeot’s previous-generation 208 R2 for his ERC3 Junior bid. Ex-karter Sergio Cuesta will also be drive a 208 R2 for what will be his first ERC3 Junior run and his first start since 2018.

Heroic comeback: Fully recovered after breaking his back and neck when he crashed on a rally in his native Sweden last year, Adam Westlund returns with new co-driver David Arhusiander.

Time for a Fiesta: Like Westlund, ERC3 Junior newcomers William Creighton, Nikolai Landa, Marco Pollara and Dennis Rådström will all drive M-Sport Poland’s Ford Fiesta Rally4.

Keeping it in the family: While Nikolai Landa counts on father Günter Landa for co-driving skills, Zoltán and Martin László from Hungary have formed a father-and-son team in ERC3 with both driving Fiesta Rally4s. Leading female driver Adrienn Vogel will also fly the Hungarian flag as she embarks on her first ERC3 adventure.

Rome returnee: After making his ERC debut in Rome in 2018, Csaba Juhász is back in his trusty Renault Clio. Alessandro Grillo will also drive a Clio.

Title-winning pedigree: Łukasz Lewandowski steps up to ERC as the Polish 2WD champion. A self-confessed late starter in the sport, the Pole concedes he came close to stopping after breaking his legs in a crash in 2016.

Head to head: Giandomenico Basso v Alexey Lukyanuk
Basso won Rally di Roma Capitale last year, Lukyanuk the year before. Basso is a double ERC champion, Lukyanuk took his first and only (to date) ERC title in 2018, the year of his Rally di Roma Capitale victory.

Form guide: Andrea Crugnola
After winning 13 out of 15 Rally di Roma Capitale stages last year and scoring victories on the two rallies he has contested so far in 2020, former ERC3 Junior Championship title contender Andrea Crugnola can’t put a foot wrong right now. And he has big shoes to fill, taking over the F.P.F Sport Citroën C3 R5 previously campaigned by three-time European champion Luca Rosetti.

How to follow?
On TV and online: There will be live coverage on Facebook of the start selection and ceremonial start in Rome from 19h00 on 24 July, plus SS2 (10h02), SS5 (16h15) on 25 July and SS11 (12h34), SS15 (17h15) on 26 July. In addition, there will be live coverage of the pre-event press conference (13h00) on 24 July, the Media Zone (19h00) on 25 July and the post-event press conference (18h30) on 26 July. Daily highlights on Eurosport, Eurosport Player. Videos on YouTube. ERC All Access on Eurosport on 28 July.
Videos, news update and live timing: Available 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.

Five facts:
1: Rome’s famous Colosseum, which features on the Roma parade route, is the largest amphitheatre ever built. Construction began in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80.
2: In stark contrast, Rally di Roma Capitale took place for the first time in 2013 and joined the ERC roster in 2017 when the closest finish in recent ERC history was recorded as Bryan Bouffier beat Kajetan Kajetanowicz by 0.3s.
3: The commune of event base Fiuggi, to the southeast of central Rome, was made famous by its natural spring water and the healing powers it possesses.
4: Rome was one of two European capitals to host the ERC in 2019. Nicosia is home to the Cyprus Rally.
5: Italy has celebrated 23 European championship triumphs over the years. Giandomenico Basso (2006 and 2009) and Luca Rossetti (2008, 2010-2011) are both multiple winners.

For more event information including event itinerary, entry list and maps go to:
https://www.fiaerc.com/event/rally-di-roma-capitale-2020/

The post ERC event preview: Rally di Roma Capitale appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC champion Ingram predicts “awesome” battle for Rally di Roma Capitale glory

Fri, 07/17/2020 - 09:00

Reigning champion Chris Ingram is getting ready for an “awesome” battle for victory on Rally di Roma Capitale, which is due to open the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship from 24-26 July.

Ingram had been hoping to launch his title defence on the demanding Italian event but will instead watch the action from afar while he waits for his 2020 campaign to get under way.

“It will be between Crugnola or Lukyanuk,” said Ingram. “We all know Alexey’s level having won this event before and Crugnola was unbelievable last year. He won pretty much every stage and he’s also just won two rallies in the last two weeks. It will be awesome and I would love to be there to take them on.”

A tough job that needs to be done properly or not at all
While stepping up to the World Rally Championship remains Ingram’s ultimate target, he revealed on ERC The Stage– the online talk show from ERC promoter Eurosport Events – earlier this year that a successful ERC title defence with long-standing team Toksport WRT would be a target for 2020.

“With Toksport we are still keen to go back to the ERC and do as many rounds as possible,” said Ingram. “We have decided to skip Rome, which is a big shame because it’s one of my favourite events and one of the best events. There’s always amazing competition and it would have been great to go there, but if you’re going to go there you need to do it properly or not at all. It’s a tough event and the level is very high. The favourites for the rally, drivers like Crugnola, are already testing and doing rallies. I have not driven since Rally Hungary [last November] and we can’t do things by halves. We decided the best thing would be to give ourselves more time to get restarted. We really hope we can resume the action as quickly as possible.”

The ERC comes highly recommended
Chris Ingram became the first Briton to win the ERC title since Vic Elford in 1967 when he beat Alexey Lukyanuk to the crown in a thrilling final-stage showdown on Rally Hungary last season. It was the culmination of an adventure that began in 2014 when he made his ERC3 Junior debut driving a Renault Twingo for his family team and included winning the young driver category in 2017.

“ERC Junior is the best way to progress,” said Ingram. “Last year we showed that ERC1 Junior is as competitive as the overall championship, the battle I had with Filip Mareš on the Barum Rally was one of the highlights of the season even though I didn’t win. But also ERC3 Junior, which we both did before moving up to ERC1 Junior. For me it’s the best way to get into international rallying. You’re not restricted to a certain car and when I started the ERC I pretty much turned up with my Dad and a mechanic and we were able to compete. To be able to go from turning up with a family-run team to be able to win the overall championship with a professional team, the ERC made that possible so it’s very special for me.”

He continued: “The media coverage is incredible, the rallies are so unique and so challenging. And each event offers such a different challenge. And then the support you get from each place we go to, from the fans, is unbelievable. Wherever we go it’s another world. Every rally is so special individually and it just makes for an amazing championship that I wish I could do every year.”

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Double delight: Rachele Somaschini to make ERC3 Junior debut in all-new Peugeot

Fri, 07/17/2020 - 06:00

Rachele Somaschini has made two late but exciting changes to her inaugural FIA European Rally Championship campaign.

Having initially planned to compete in a Citroën DS3 R3T in ERC3, Somaschini will now be eligibile for ERC3 Junior after switching cars to the all-new Peugeot 208 Rally4, which will carry the colours of RS Team SSD and be run by Sportec Engineering.

Giulia Zanchetta has been recruited to replace Somaschini’s long-term co-driver Chiara Lombardi, who has been forced to stand down due to work commitments. They won the R3T category on their first event together, Rally Internazionale del Casentino, earlier this month in the Citroën.

“Rally Roma Capitale is one of my favourite races while for Giulia it will be the first time,” said the 26-year-old from Cusano Milanino. “We are trying to train hard for it, by also watching the onboards of the past years, in order to keep us well focused. The goal will be doing our best with a totally new car and to refine the feeling with Giulia, as we have only raced once together so far. I feel this responsibility, but I am very happy to be the first Italian rally driver to race with the Peugeot 208 Rally4.”

She added: “I thank my sponsors who, after a difficult period, offer me this chance of getting involved on the European stage and allow me to make the #CorrerePerUnRespiro project known even across the Italian borders, with the aim to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis.”

Rally di Roma Capitale takes place from 24-26 July. Somaschini plans to release images of her new Peugeot 208 Rally4 on her social media channels soon.

Rachele Somaschini's race for breath (#CorrerePerUnRespiro)
Rachele Somaschini will use her first ERC adventure to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis, a condition affecting the lungs and digestive system that she suffers from, through her #CorrerePerUnRespiro (race for a breath) campaign.

The Italian Fondazione Ricerca Fibrosi Cistica ONLUS FFC (Foundation for Research on Cystic Fibrosis Onlus) promotes, selects and finances advanced research projects to improve the duration and quality of life of patients and to definitively defeat cystic fibrosis. Recognised by MIUR as a promoter of scientific research on the disease, it makes use of a network of 900 researchers and the work of over 140 delegations and support sroups.

#CorrerePerUnRespiro (race for a breath) is an awareness campaign created by Rachele Somaschini that combines her passion for motorsport with what is most dear to her: raising awareness of cystic fibrosis and supporting its research.

Those who wish to make a donation can do so by bank transfer to:
Fondazione Ricerca Fibrosi Cistica ONLUS
IBAN IT 27E0 2008 1171 8000 1021 34939
Reference: #CorrerePerUnRespiro

The post Double delight: Rachele Somaschini to make ERC3 Junior debut in all-new Peugeot appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Molle to play the long game in ERC3 Junior

Thu, 07/16/2020 - 18:03

Amaury Molle is preparing to play the long game in this season’s FIA ERC3 Junior Championship.

Belgian Molle will start next week’s Rally di Roma Capitale in Peugeot’s older-generation 208 R2, which he admits won’t be as competitive as the replacement 208 Rally4 model.

However, with Molle committed to the full Pirelli-supported championship with the Italian Delta Rally operation, he’s intent on scoring points across the season rather than pushing all out to win events against drivers who are not able to contest all rounds.

“We know there is a gap per kilometre between the R2 and the Rally4 but the R2 is a very reliable, while the Rally4 is totally new and this will be its first international rally,” said the Belgian talent. “With an older car, the top five will be a very reasonable target. We knew we would start with the old version of the car but the whole championship is our aim for the year and we have to be at the finish line of every rally.”

Molle and French co-driver Florian Barral prepared for Rally di Roma Capitale with an outing on Rally Internazionale del Casentino, the traditional curtain-raiser to the Fiuggi-based ERC counter, earlier this month.

“We chose this rally just to get back into the car after a few months without driving a rally car and even more an R2 car because the last time in an R2 car was on the Barum Rally last August, after that I was driving the Citroën R5,” said Molle. “I was happy to be back and Rally Casentino will help me a lot. Our roads in Belgium are very different, we have to be soft compared to Italy where you have to be very hard because the level of grip is very high. It was a quite good experience.”

The post Molle to play the long game in ERC3 Junior appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Tough Czech rally good for the mind, says ERC1 Junior Cais

Thu, 07/16/2020 - 15:00

Erik Cais reckons a tough outing on Rally Bohemia will work in his favour when he starts his FIA ERC1 Junior Championship bid on Rally di Roma Capitale (24-26 July).

Cais was struck down by a technical issue during the opening leg of the Czech championship season-opener last weekend and finished in eighth position as a result.

“I start in Rome after doing Rally Bohemia, which was actually a really good experience and a good test of the suspension and my mind,” said the Yacco ACCR Team driver. “We had some technical issue in leg one and I lost a lot of time because of this. After that I was so angry that I lost so much time that I pushed hard and did a lot of mistakes. Now I know that to push so hard is not where I can get the time.”

Cais, a former downhill mountain bike ace, made his Rally di Roma Capitale debut last season in a Ford Fiesta R2T, finishing second in ERC3 and ERC3 Junior. He gets M-Sport’s Fiesta R5 MkII for his return alongside regular co-driver Jindřiška Žáková.

“Rally di Roma Capitale is absolutely difficult,” said Cais, 20. “The speed will be really high in this car and it will be really difficult to do nice pacenotes that are good for this car. I remember how to do the pacenotes for the R2 but for the R5 it’s different, really difficult and you need to be so much precise.”

The post Tough Czech rally good for the mind, says ERC1 Junior Cais appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Portuguese Peugeot-powered pair line-up for ERC3 Junior action

Thu, 07/16/2020 - 12:00

Portuguese prospects Pedro Almeida and Pedro Antunes are set for action when the 2020 FIA ERC3 Junior Championship begins on Rally di Roma Capitale from 24-26 July.

Driving Peugeot’s all-new 208 Rally4, Almeida and Antunes will be ones to watch in the Pirelli-supported category, which includes their home event, the Azores Rallye, on the schedule from 17-19 September.

Antunes, who turns 27 tomorrow (Friday) can count on experience gained on the asphalt event last season, while Almeida, 22, has the extensive knowledge of co-driver Hugo Magalhães to call upon. Magalhães partnered his name sake Bruno Magalhães to an overall podium in Rome in 2017 and fifth place the following year.

Almeida takes a step back to go 4-ward
Pedro Almeida’s previous two ERC appearances have been in four-wheel-drive Rally2 machinery. For 2020, he’s switching to Rally4 level. He explained the move: “The difference between me and the guys in the first places was 1.2 seconds per kilometre, so I wasn’t evolving as I thought I would. I thought about it and decided to go back to an R2 to learn and have more pace and maybe one day go back to the R5.”

Magalhães partnership another boost
With three ERC wins and nine podiums from 32 starts, Hugo Magalhães provides Almeida with a successful and experienced co-driving solution. “We started working in the beginning of this year,” said Almeida. “We were expecting to do a lot of rallies but with COVID-19 we could not do as much as we thought. But even during quarantine we have managed to prepare together. Hugo is helping me a lot, especially in the pacenotes because that’s really a big part of the job as a driver.” The new pairing has carried out extensive preparations ahead of their trip to Italy next week and are competing together on Rali de Calheta, the opening round of the Madeiran championship, this weekend.

Antunes enjoying taming his latest lion
Having spent the bulk of his career driving a Peugeot 208 R2, Antunes took a debut class victory in the 208 Rally4, finishing in a fine ninth overall on the Portuguese championship Rali de Castelo Branco on 5 July. “It’s a lot different than the 208 R2,” Antunes said. “The most significant is the engine, which is much more powerful by 20hp. But it’s the power you have in the lower rotation that’s the big difference, you can use it in another way. In the old car it was only in the high rotation. In the tight corners the engine will make a big difference. The tyres are also bigger and this brings more security so, for me, it is easier to drive.”

Almeida, who drives for The Racing Factory team, is also a fan, adding: “I have done one rally two weeks ago in the new car. I have no experience in the old 208 so I have no means to compare. But it’s very different in every aspect to the other two-wheel-drive cars I’ve driven, mainly in the engine because it’s a turbo engine and it’s a big difference. Also, the chassis is phenomenal, it’s a very good car.”

More events targeted but no firm plans in place
Almeida and Antunes are both hoping to expand their ERC3 Junior programmes but need more backing to do so. “With the COVID-19 situation, a lot of sponsors, at the last minute, say they cannot give you money so we are having to re-think our programme,” said Almeida. “There’s a big chance for Rally Islas Canarias but it’s not certain.”

Antunes added: “We try but nothing is confirmed. I really like the ERC because it’s really good competition with a lot of very good drivers. It’s the best way to improve your driving and the stages are all different.”

Photo: Peugeot Sport

The post Portuguese Peugeot-powered pair line-up for ERC3 Junior action appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

For the fifth time of asking: Torn a contender for ERC3 Junior glory despite lack of Tarmac running

Thu, 07/16/2020 - 09:00

Ken Torn will bid to win the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship category on Rally di Roma Capitale for a second season running, despite insisting he’s by no means an expert on Tarmac.

The Italian event will mark what will be only Torn’s fifth start on a sealed-surface rally, his last coming on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last August.

“This rally is difficult for sure,” said the Estonian Autosport Junior Team-entered driver. “The first day is much different than second day. It’s tricky and the road condition changes a lot. I’ve not done a rally since Sweden in February and the last time I drove on Tarmac was on the Barum Rally, a very long time ago. Hopefully we can get one test because it’s only the fifth event of my career on Tarmac so it’s not easy.”

Torn’s fellow Estonian, Kauri Pannas, will co-drive their Pirelli-equipped, M-Sport Poland-built Ford Fiesta Rally4.

Rally di Roma Capitale is scheduled to take place from 24-26 July.

The post For the fifth time of asking: Torn a contender for ERC3 Junior glory despite lack of Tarmac running appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC3 contender Vogel on top form as she makes first start of 2020

Thu, 07/16/2020 - 06:00

Adrienn Vogel made a strong start to her 2020 campaign when the finished sixth in her class out of 16 starters on Rally Bohemia last weekend, which the Hungarian driver was using as part of her preparations for next week’s Rally di Roma Capitale.

Vogel and co-driver Ivett Nothiesz also finished as the top female crew on the challenging asphalt event in Czech Republic, which marked their first competitive outing in their all-new Ford Fiesta Rally4.

“It was our first race weekend with the new Ford Fiesta Rally4, which is a much more aggressive version of the previous Ford Fiesta R2,” Vogel explained. “It took me a while to get used to the new programme in the car but by the end it was very enjoyable. We won the women ranking with a big advantage, we were almost eight minutes faster in this category than the second female duo. In the R2 category we finished the race at P6 among 16 cars. So, it was an excellent chance to prepare for FIA ERC Rally di Roma.”

Rally Bohemia marked the first time that Vogel’s Hungary-based Roger Racing team had joined forces with the Orsák Rallysport outfit from Czech Republic. Afterwards, Vogel praised the professionalism of the Orsák squad.

“We got a perfect car from the team, they did an ecxellent job,” said Vogel. “Everything was excellent, it was an unforgettable experience to race with a Czech team in front of the Czech audience. They are really into rally sport and it was heart-warming to see families next to the stages and to make pictures with really, really young rally fans. We are so thankful and we can’t wait to go back to the Czech Republic.”

Vogel will begin her maiden FIA European Rally Championship campaign on Rally di Roma Capitale from 24-26 July.

The post ERC3 contender Vogel on top form as she makes first start of 2020 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Rally di Roma Capitale entry list: 56 ERC competitors out of 87 crews, 42 Rally2 cars and all the other big numbers

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 16:00

The entry list for the opening round of the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship has been published by organiser Motorsport Italia. All the big numbers appear below.

87: A total of 87 crews have entered Rally di Roma Capitale, which hosts the opening rounds of the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship and Campionato Italiano Rally (CIR), the Italian Rally Championship.

56: Of the 87 drivers entered, 56 (64%) have registered for the FIA European Rally Championship.

42: Some 42 top-of-the-range Rally2 cars are set for action in Rome with 29 crewed by ERC drivers.

25: The ERC Junior championships have attracted a total of 25 entries, with 12 eligible for ERC1 Junior (for Rally2 cars) and 13 in contention for ERC3 Junior honours in Pirelli-equipped Rally4 and Rally5 cars.

24: With 24 nationalities represented by the competing drivers, the international appeal of the ERC is underlined once again.

4: Reigning national champions from Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania, plus the ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior title holders set to take part.

34: Drivers competing in Rome have won a combined 34 ERC events and claimed 3 overall FIA European Rally Championship titles.

3: The opening round of the Abarth Rally Cup will be a three-driver battle between Dariusz Poloński and newcomers Roberto Gobbin and Andrea Mabellini.

The entry list was revealed during an online press conference organised by Rally di Roma Capitale organiser and promoter Motorsport Italia today (Wednesday). The list of registered crews demonstrates the appeal of the ERC and commitment from the competing teams and drivers during the unprecedented period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jean-Bapitste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “A huge amount of work has resulted in what is, quite simply, one of the best entry lists in recent ERC history when you consider the number of ERC Junior drivers (25), the number of Rally2 cars being driven by ERC drivers (29) and nationalities represented (24). The support from our loyal teams and drivers during these challenging times is incredible and we extend our gratitude to them for their unwavering support. We must also acknowledge the work of the FIA and Max Rendina, Bruno De Pianto and all the team at Motorsport Italia for their dedication and solution-driven approach to organising what we expect will be a fantastic start to the 2020 ERC season.”

Click here to view the entry list. A full event preview will be issued on Friday (17 July). Visit FIAERC.com and follow the ERC’s social media channels for all the latest news in the build-up to Rally di Roma Capitale.

The post Rally di Roma Capitale entry list: 56 ERC competitors out of 87 crews, 42 Rally2 cars and all the other big numbers appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Abarth-powered Gobbin continues a tradition with first ERC campaign

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 15:00

As well as making his debut in the FIA European Rally Championship this season, Robert Gobbin gets to continue a long-standing tradition.

The Italian has signed up to contest the Abarth Rally Cup for the spectacular Pirelli-equipped Abarth 124 rally. And with Abarth Rally Cup drivers also eligible for the ERC2 category, Gobbin will chase points in the production car-based division as well.

Based in Pinerolo, close to the city of Turin, the home of Abarth, Gobbin started his competition career in 1980 driving a Fiat A112 Abarth. When he’s not competing, Gobbin manages a car dealership business with Fiat and Abarth models among the cars for sale.

“I’m happy to choose the ERC and the Abarth Rally Cup for 2020,” said Gobbin. “This is the first time I compete in the ERC so I think it will be a good result to finish the races. I’m Italian so I’m happy to drive an Italian car with a glorious memory. I started my career with a Fiat in 1980 but I drive this Abarth 124 rally since only a year. I’m a car dealer so I’m very passionate about cars since my childhood. The Abarth 124 rally is a very performing car with lots of details, a bit like a little World Rally Car.”

Rally di Roma Capitale marks the opening round of the ERC and Abarth Rally Cup and is scheduled to take place from 24-26 July.

The post Abarth-powered Gobbin continues a tradition with first ERC campaign appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC newcomers Gobbin and Mabellini to battle Polonski for Abarth Rally Cup honours in Rome

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 12:00

Newcomers Roberto Gobbin and Andrea Mabellini will battle Dariusz Poloński for honours when the second Abarth Rally Cup season to take place within the FIA European Rally Championship framework gets underway on next week’s Rally di Roma Capitale (24-26 July).

They will chase a lucrative €30,000 fund on each of the five rounds of the one-make series for the Pirelli-equipped Abarth 124 rally, plus an end-of-season reward of the same amount as part of a prize package totalling €180,000.

Abarth Rally Cup 2020: Rally di Roma Capitale driver line-up

Roberto Gobbin (Italy)/Alessandro Curvi (Italy), Winners Rally Team
Based in Pinerolo, close to the city of Turin, the home of Abarth, Gobbin started his competition career in 1980 driving a Fiat A112 Abarth. When he’s not competing, Gobbin manages a car dealership business with Fiat and Abarth models among the cars for sale.

Andrea Mabellini (Italy)/Nicola Arena (Italy), Napoca Rally
The Italian youngster is switching from the circuit-based Abarth Trophy to the rally-only Abarth Rally Cup for this year. Still only 20, Mabellini has built his experience driving Rally2 machinery in recent seasons. He finished second in class in an Abarth 124 rally at the Monza Rally Show in 2017.

Dariusz Poloński (Poland)/Łukasz Sitek (Poland), Rallytechnology
The Polish crew battled Andrea Nucita for the inaugural ERC-based Abarth Rally Cup title in 2019, settling for second place on the season-deciding Rally Hungary. They scored their first Abarth Rally Cup victory on Rally di Roma Capitale.

What do they win and where do they compete?
On each round, the Abarth Rally Cup winner receives €12,000, for second place it’s €10,000 and for third it’s €8,000. The driver on top at the end of the season receives an additional €30,000. The top 10 classified Abarth Rally Cup finishers score points as follows: 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1. Abarth Rally Cup Drivers are also eligible for ERC2 points and all rounds count. The 2020 Abarth Rally Cup calendar is a follows:

Rally di Roma Capitale (asphalt), 24-26 July
Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), 14-16 August
Azores Rallye (gravel), 17-19 September
Rally Hungary (asphalt), 6-8 November
Rally Islas Canarias (asphalt), 26-28 November

Watch the video
Luca Napolitano, Head of EMEA Fiat & Abarth Brands, and Jean-Baptiste Ley, ERC Co-ordinator, get ready for the upcoming Abarth Rally Cup season here: https://youtu.be/jgacGOG8U0w

The Abarth Rally Cup regulations are available to download here:
Abarth Rally Cup sporting regulations 2020. 

The post ERC newcomers Gobbin and Mabellini to battle Polonski for Abarth Rally Cup honours in Rome appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Ready to fly again: Al-Rashed plots Rally Liepaja ERC return

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 09:00

Rakan Al-Rashed is preparing for his FIA European Rally Championship return on next month’s Rally Liepāja, only this time he’ll be at the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

Having scored top-20 finishes on his previous appearances on the high-speed gravel event, Al-Rashed has entered the eighth running of Rally Liepāja from 14-16 August.

Sponsored by Invest Saudi, Al-Rashed will drive the Rally2-specification Polo he used on the Arctic Lapland Rally in Finland back in January.

“COVID-19 drastically changed our plan because we’d planned previously to do a total of seven rounds, plus make our World Rally Championship debut in Finland,” Al-Rashed explained. “But with everything that has happened, clearly the plans have had to change and it looks like Liepāja will be our first rally.”

Although Al-Rashed is switching from a Škoda Fabia R5 to a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 for 2020, the same Finnish Printsport team will be responsible for running and preparing the car, which Portuguese Hugo Magalhães, an ERC event winner, will co-drive.

“Printsport is our team from the beginning,” said Al-Rashed. “We are happy with them and I am also continuing my partnership with Hugo. He has been great and I am learning a lot from him.”

While Al-Rashed has yet to announce his full programme for 2020, he has said that it is unlikely an asphalt event will feature on his roster of rallies. “Rally di Roma Capitale was on our plan before but given that some small Tarmac rallies we had planned were no longer taking place, we wanted the risk to be zero.”

The 29-year-old hasn’t competed since finishing the Arctic Lapland Rally back in January. He’s raring for the delayed season to get underway.

“The most important thing is to get back to the wheel,” Al-Rashed said. “There has been a very long stop and I’m not sure how my level will compare against the other drivers as it will be quite difficult to predict what their pace will be. But our aim is to continue our progression and get the experience on rallies where I don’t have it. I want to have good speed and be in the top 10.”

As well as increasing his competition experience, Al-Rashed is using his ERC programme to showcase the work of Invest Saudi. “My goal is to promote Saudi Arabia as an investment and tourism hub.”

The post Ready to fly again: Al-Rashed plots Rally Liepaja ERC return appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

The car looks smart: Motorsport Ireland’s ERC star gives verdict on Devine new look

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 06:00

Callum Devine has given his verdict on the new livery design that will flank his Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy Hyundai i20 R5 in this season’s FIA European Rally Championship.

The work of Barney Mitchell’s MTEC Graphics operation, Devine has likened the new look to a twist on the traditional Hyundai Motorsport blue colour scheme.

“The task from the start was not to get too far away from the Hyundai blue base colour,” said the former Billy Coleman Award winner. “We had to pick what colours worked well with that and Barney at MTEC Graphics did a good job in designing it. The car looks smart and everybody is happy.”

Devine will begin his ERC1 Junior campaign on next week’s Rally di Roma Capitale (24-26 July). Brian Hoy will co-drive his PCRS-run, Pirelli-equipped Hyundai.

The post The car looks smart: Motorsport Ireland’s ERC star gives verdict on Devine new look appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

From one Polish champion to another: Marczyk to fill Habaj’s big shoes at SRT in ERC

Tue, 07/14/2020 - 18:00

Polish champion Miko Marczyk’s ORLEN Team entry in the FIA European Rally Championship will be managed by the multiple event-winning Sports Racing Technologies (SRT) organisation from Latvia.

Marczyk, a contender for the ERC1 Junior crown, had planned to count on Roman Kresta’s eponymous team for a second season only for COVID-19 restrictions to force a late change of plan. He will now join forces with SRT, which oversaw former Polish champion Łukasz Habaj’s ERC title bid in 2019 and previously guided Nikolay Gryazin to the ERC1 Junior Championship in 2018.

Mārcis Ķenavs, Manager of SRT’s rally team, explained: “As it usually happens, it all started with a single phone call. Miko found us based on our team’s great experience in the ERC. I received a message from him that he was looking for a new team and would like to receive an offer from SRT. Already at the end of last week, he and his co-driver Szymon Gospodarczyk visited our workshop, where we demonstrated our abilities, the way we work and what we can offer. I am really pleased that our meeting was a success and that it resulted in signing an agreement on our cooperation in this year’s ERC. Of course, I feel positive when seeing that, despite the strong impact of the pandemic, there are young and talented drivers, who are constantly looking for sponsors and opportunities to drive. And one of those drivers is Miko!”

Marczyk, who has been testing in his native Poland with SRT today, said: “Season 2020 is really unusual. It has not yet even begun but has already proved the need to be able to react and adapt very quickly. Unfortunately, due to reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic the rally team we worked with before, Kresta Racing, is not able to start with us from the very beginning of the FIA ERC cycle. I truly and highly appreciate the cooperation with Roman Kresta and his team, therefore these changes are not easy for me, but I think we have found a really good team. Their experience in the ERC is truly impressive. I am glad that I still have the support of Roman Kresta, and I have great faith in our new SRT team. Of course, we will spend the season with the newest car from Škoda Motorsport, the Škoda Fabia R5 Evo.”

SRT Director Ģirts Krūzmanis added: “Miko left a very good impression about himself. It is a real pleasure to see such a motivated, young and talented driver. When we see and hear how much Miko has already accomplished and achieved himself to be able to drive at such high level, it provides additional motivation also for our team to invest as much efforts as possible and to achieve the highest results together.”

The 2020 ERC season is set to begin on Rally di Roma Capitiale from 24-26 July with Rally Liepāja, SRT’s home event, scheduled from 14-16 August. Habaj had planned to continue with SRT in 2020 only for business commitments to lead to him sitting out the upcoming season.

The post From one Polish champion to another: Marczyk to fill Habaj’s big shoes at SRT in ERC 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

2020 Calendar

24-26.07.

Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy)

14-16.08.

Rally Liepaja (Latvia)

28-30.08.

Barum Czech Rally Zlín

17-19.09.

Azores Rallye (Portugal)

16-18.10.

Cyprus Rally

06-08.11.

Rally Hungary

03-05.12.

Rally Islas Canarias (Spain)