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Updated: 47 min 25 sec ago

Kresta: Mareš winning ERC1 Junior title exceeded expectations

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 06:00

Czech rallying royalty Roman Kresta has admitted his protégé Filip Mareš exceeded expectations by winning the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship.

Driving a Kresta Racing-run ŠKODA Fabia, Mareš landed the title for young stars in R5 cars, beating Chris Ingram to the prize by 0.3s in a final-round, final-stage decider, despite missing the first two rounds of the campaign.

“This was a truly notable achievement for Filip and Jan [Hloušek, co-driver],” said Kresta. “We did not even expect such a result at the beginning of the season. This season was clearly focused on the results, but we aimed mainly to our local championship. Since Filip did not take part in the first two European events, the thoughts about a successful campaign came to our minds later on.

“Filip and Jan managed to make good use of last year's experience. They followed the plan and managed to use all our advice to their advantage. Both [Filip and Chris] drove great and extremely balanced, as evidenced by the final time gap at the finish. Congratulations guys and I sincerely thank the whole team and everybody involved for the hard work during the entire season.”

Prior to embarking on his hugely promising career, Autoclub of Czech Republic-backed Mareš was one of Kresta’s greatest fans, watching his now team boss him competing on national championship events and asking him for autographs.

The post Kresta: Mareš winning ERC1 Junior title exceeded expectations appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Monza success for ERC drivers

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 06:00

FIA European Rally Championship drivers past and present impressed at the Monza Rally Show last weekend with Andrea Crugnola winning in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 and Andrea Nucita completing the podium behind fellow Hyundai-powered driver Dani Sordo.

Using stages housed within the famous Italian Grand Prix venue, the Monza Rally Show is a popular end-of-season competition with the ERC-headlining Rally2 (formerly R5) category the main event for the first time this year.

Crugnola, a multiple stage winner on July’s ERC-counting Rally di Roma Capitale, took victory by 11.5s over world championship star Sordo, who scored a podium on a one-off appearance on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last season.

Nucita, the 2019 ERC Abarth Rally Cup winner, finished 3.4s behind Sordo in third and also earned €10,000 for winning the Hyundai i20 R5 Trophy.

Craig Breen, ERC runner-up in 2015, finished fifth.

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing

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From stage to snow for top ERC team Sainteloc

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 06:00

Fresh from winning the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams, top French squad Saintéloc will aim for more success when the Trophée Andros ice-racing series gets underway at the Val Thorens ski resort this weekend.

Saintéloc is fielding a three-strong team in the winter competition with WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO racer Aurélien Panis (pictured), plus Olivier Pernaut and World Rallycross driver Andreas Bakkerud forming its trio of Elite Pro drivers.

The Trophée Andros features six events with the final scheduled for Clermont-Ferrand on 1 February 2020.

Competing as the Saintéloc Junior Team, the Vincent Ducher-managed outfit secured the ERC’s entrants’ title through points scored by Sindre Furuseth, Sean Johnston, Alexey Lukyanuk and Ekaterina Stratieva.

The post From stage to snow for top ERC team Sainteloc appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Ingram and Whittock officially crowned FIA ERC champions, join Lewis Hamilton on stage in Paris

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 12:00

Chris Ingram and Ross Whittock have been officially crowned as the winners of the FIA European Rally Championship for 2019 after they were presented with their trophies at the FIA Prize Giving gala in Paris on Friday evening (6 December).

The ceremony, which was held this year at the Carrousel du Louvre in the French capital, traditionally marks the point when FIA titles are confirmed.

It means Ingram, who was co-driven by compatriot Whittock, is officially the first Briton since Vic Elford in 1967 to capture regional rallying’s top prize. Aged 25, Ingram is also the youngest ERC champion since Esapekka Lappi lifted the trophy as a 23-year-old in 2014.

Driving a ŠKODA Fabia R5 for Toksport WRT, Ingram – the 2017 FIA ERC3 Junior champion – battled financial issues all season but persevered and took the ERC title in a dramatic final stage showdown on Rally Hungary last month. Initially fearing the championship was lost after they picked up a puncture on the closing run and dropped from third to fourth, despair turned to joy for Ingram and Whittock when rivals Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov suffered a tyre deflation of their own and slipped from first to second in the rally order, which was enough to put Ingram and Whittock on top of the title table.

Ingram said: “It was always a dream to be European champion and the fact it had been more than 50 years since a Brit last won it makes it even more special for me. It’s one of the biggest things I can achieve in my life. To do it so soon, I’m 25 years old, I’m very proud. I’m already thinking what can I do now, what’s the next thing? But this is a lifetime ambition of mine and a dream come true.”

Whittock, 28, said: “It’s massive for me. I’ve only been co-driving for five years and to achieve this in five years is just incredible. I started from the bottom in the UK and just worked my way up and luckily got the opportunity with Chris two and a half years ago to start in the ERC with relatively low experience. I’ve learned all my experience of international rallying in the ERC and to finally win it and to call myself an international champion is just an incredible feeling.”

In the company of FIA President Jean Todt, a number of other FIA champions were honoured at the Prize Giving event. They included FIA Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, FIA World Rally Championship winners Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja, plus Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, who were awarded for their capture of the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship.

The post Ingram and Whittock officially crowned FIA ERC champions, join Lewis Hamilton on stage in Paris appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Pay close attention to Prague rallysprint entry ERC fans

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 06:00

The entry list for today’s TipCars Pražský Rallysprint provides a number of exciting talking points ahead of the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship season.

Taking place in the Czech capital Prague on 7 December, the event lists a number of notable entrants including:

Dominik Brož: ERC3 Junior regular will be hoping to end what has been, at times, a frustrating 2019 on a high.

Jan Černý: A winner in both ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior, Černý is a late replacement for Roman Odložilík, who took an ERC podium on Barum Czech Rally Zlín in 2010.

Grzegorz Grzyb: A podium finisher in the ERC in the past, the rapid Pole is working on securing a budget to return to European championship level in 2020.

Martin Koči: Having beaten Grzyb to the Slovokian title in 2019, Koči will be in action in his regular ŠKODA Slovakia Motorsport Fabia R5, albeit with new co-driver Igor Bacigál, who guided Ferenc Vincze to this year’s Hungarian championship and three stage wins on the ERC-counting Rally Hungary last month. Like Grzyb, Koči is not giving up on a future ERC return, providing funding can be found.

Filip Mareš: Following his ERC1 Junior title-winning season, Mareš – who is seeded number two to Koči – will be aiming to put on a show in his country’s capital city as he builds up to a full European championship assault in 2020.

Václav Pech: A stalwart of the ERC-counting Barum Czech Rally Zlín, the popular multi-national champion gets a first try in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 with co-driver Petr Uhel by his side after campaigning a Ford Fiesta R5 for several seasons.

Petr Semerád: Having impressed on a handful of ERC3 Junior rounds in 2019, rising star Semerád steps up to a top-class ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Vojtěch Štajf (pictured): The ACCR Czech Rally Team captain starts his first major event since he was injured in a crash on the Barum Czech Rally Zlín in August. It’s also his first start with Radim Kotlář following Veronika Havelková’s decision to call a temporary halt to her co-driving career as she prepares to become a mother next year.

Photo: Michal Vitovec

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ERC3 Junior drivers to count on Pirelli tyres for next three seasons

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 09:00

Eurosport Events, promoter of the FIA European Rally Championship, is delighted with the FIA’s decision to grant Pirelli a three-year extension to continue as the single supplier of tyres to the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship for the 2020-2022 seasons.

A long-term partner of ERC Junior and a staunch supporter of young driver development, Pirelli will also remain an Official Series Partner of the ERC under a long-standing association with Eurosport Events.

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted that the FIA has extended its agreement with Pirelli for a further three seasons. Pirelli has done an incredible job over the last four years, not only providing tyres but also teaching young ERC Junior drivers how to manage their tyres properly. In 2019, for the first time, the overall ERC was won by an ERC3 Junior champion, Chris Ingram, who took the ERC3 Junior title in 2017. That’s the best advert possible for a junior category and this would not have been possible without the support of Pirelli over the past few years.”

Pirelli’s single supplier agreement extension with the FIA was rubber-stamped at a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 4 December. The company will supply its P Zero RK tyre for the three asphalt-based rounds of ERC3 Junior and its Scorpion K tyre for the three gravel events. It will also provide an on-event support service including technical advice from experienced engineers.

Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli’s Rally Activity Manager, said: “Pirelli is delighted to continue as the single supplier of tyres to the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship as part of our company-wide philosophy of promoting young talent in rallying to ensure the future of the sport. With Pirelli also being an Official Series Partner of the ERC, as well as being present on a wide range of national rally series throughout Europe, a ladder of talent is in place to develop drivers from the grass roots of the sport all the way to the top, which is perfectly in keeping with the ethos behind the ERC as well. We look forward to another exciting season of great rallies and with the aim of discovering more champions of the future.”

Pirelli's history in motorsport stretches back for more than 100 years, and the Italian company has been involved in rallying since the sport was established at an international level. Currently supplying Formula One as well as GT racing and national championships on both two and four wheels, Pirelli is the acknowledged world leader when it comes to ultra-high-performance tyres.

FIA ERC3 Junior Championship 2020 calendar
Round 1: Azores Rallye (gravel), 26-28 March
Round 2: Rally Islas Canarias (asphalt), 7-9 May
Round 3: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), 29-31 May
Round 4: 77th Rally Poland (gravel), 26-28 June
Round 5: Rally di Roma Capitale (asphalt), 24-26 July
Round 6: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (asphalt), 28-30 August

The post ERC3 Junior drivers to count on Pirelli tyres for next three seasons appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC 2020 calendar formally ratified by FIA World Motor Sport Council

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 06:00

The calendar for the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship was formally ratified during the meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris yesterday.

As previously approved by an electronic vote of WMSC members, the calendar consists of eight events as follows:

Round 1: Azores Rallye (gravel), 26-28 March
Round 2: Rally Islas Canarias (asphalt), 7-9 May
Round 3: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), 29-31 May
Round 4: 77th Rally Poland (gravel), 26-28 June
Round 5: Rally di Roma Capitale (asphalt), 24-26 July
Round 6: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (asphalt), 28-30 August
Round 7: Cyprus Rally (gravel), 9-11 October
Round 8: Rally Hungary (asphalt), 6-8 November

The Council also approved Pirelli as the single tyre supplier of the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship from 2020-2022, an extension to a long-term agreement. In addition, drivers in Rally5 cars (previously R1 cars) will also be eligible for ERC3 Junior points from 2020.

The post ERC 2020 calendar formally ratified by FIA World Motor Sport Council appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Fun and fast: Polonski relished ERC Abarth season

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 12:00

Dariusz Poloński said he had a “lot of fun” on his way to second place in the first Abarth Rally Cup to form part of the FIA European Rally Championship structure.

Poloński was runner-up to Andrea Nucita at the completion of the six-event series, which he contested in a Pirelli-equipped Abarth 124 rally run by Rallytechnology and co-driven by Łukasz Sitek.

“The car was really fantastic, I really liked it,” said Poloński during the recent ERC Awards Ceremony in Budapest. “We had a lot of fun, it’s very fast, we had for sure some issues but we had a big smile on our faces.”

The post Fun and fast: Polonski relished ERC Abarth season appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Llarena acknowledges Spanish federation support in ERC

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 15:00

Efrén Llarena celebrated his FIA European Rally Championship title double* at the ERC Awards Ceremony in Hungary last month by thanking Spanish federation RFEDA (Real Federación Española de Automovilismo) for its long-standing support.

Llarena has competed in the ERC for the last two seasons through the Rallye Team Spain initiative, which has funded his progression from national title winner to international-level champion as part of an alliance with ERC promoter Eurosport Events.

After collecting his trophies for winning the ERC3* and ERC3 Junior titles at the ERC Awards Ceremony in Budapest, Llarena said: “It’s an amazing feeling because it was a very long season and we worked very hard during the last two years to be here. We get the support of the Spanish federation, they helped us a lot and we win. I want to say thank you to them.”

Llarena’s prize for his title triumph in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior Championship is two prize drives in a Motorsport Italia ŠKODA Fabia R5 on Pirelli tyres in the 2020 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, although it is hoped that the 24-year-old will be able to secure the budget to contest a full ERC campaign alongside co-driver long-term co-driver Sara Fernández.

*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA

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ERC champion* Ingram looks back rally by rally

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 15:00

With the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship* in the bag, Toksport WRT's Chris Ingram looks back on his title-winning season rally by rally alongside co-driver Ross Whittock.

Azores Rallye, third (21 points): “The Azores is probably one of the best rallies in the world with some of the most incredible stages and scenery, especially the Sete Cidades volcano stage. But we had a spin and some problems so we slipped down the order. To get the podium in the end was good for the championship even though the performance was average.”

Rally Islas Canarias, second (29 points): “I really enjoy the incredible scenery and fast Tarmac stages of Gran Canaria and we’ve had good results there in the past. I started very slowly, we were 16th on the Qualifying Stage and ninth on the first stage, but we improved all the rally and ended up setting some fastest stage times and finished second overall so that was a good performance.”

Rally Liepāja, fourth (20 points): “I wasn’t driving well at all, putting too much pressure on myself. The local guys and Alexey Lukyanuk are probably faster than me. It was difficult, we improved throughout the rally but we only came fourth.”

PZM 76th Rally Poland, DNF, withdrew (0 points): “We had a disaster of a rally. We had a puncture, lost powersteering, then sand filled up in the radiator. As I was trying to fix the car, I burnt my hand really badly and we had to retire. That was the lowest point of the season.”

Rally di Roma Capitale, sixth (12 points): “Rome was probably my worst drive, I just wasn’t able to drive like me, I was putting too much pressure on myself and I was a bit distracted by other things.”

Barum Czech Rally Zlín, third (26 points): “We went to Barum on the back foot and everyone said Filip Mareš is going to win the ERC1 Junior title, you’ve got no chance. He’s the local hero, they said, and all the locals want him to win and his team is from down the road. But I knew that we had a chance if I did my best performance. So, I relaxed as much as possible and my natural speed came back and we had an amazing fight with him. Unfortunately, we lost the title by 0.3s but I didn’t feel like it was such a big loss even though it obviously was because it was also 100,000 euros. But, personally, I gained a lot and I knew as we moved into the overall championship lead by one point, I’d turned a corner and got myself back on track. I knew that we could push for the overall title. It was an event with massive mixed emotions.”

Cyprus Rally, second (27 points): “The final rounds in Cyprus and Hungary were the crucial ones obviously. We played them so tactically and that worked so well. We were just very careful in Cyprus, we knew it was going to be one of the toughest and roughest events in our careers on a rally we’d never done before. We just had to survive and we ended up finishing second to Nasser Al-Attiyah, an absolute legend. That was an amazing result.”

Rally Hungary, fourth (18 points): “Hungary was another brand-new rally and unbelievably tricky conditions. It was a survival rally and we knew we had to be clever again and a podium would secure it. We drove consistently throughout the rally, Ross and myself were just so focused, we couldn’t have done any better. We had two unlucky punctures, I have no idea how we got them, but, in the end, Alexey also did. Dropping to fourth from third with a puncture on the final stage was just catastrophic for us, we were devastated to think we’d lost by just one position. But then shortly after Alexey arrived and he had a puncture. There was so much confusion if he’d won or if we’d won. It took 20 mins to find out, but in the end, it was confirmed. That 20 minutes felt like a lifetime but it was just a moment we’ll never forget and an amazing moment in rallying as well. I’m still reliving that moment now, it’s amazing.”

*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA

The post ERC champion* Ingram looks back rally by rally appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

How the ERC title was won*. By Chris Ingram

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 12:00

Chris Ingram and Ross Whittock became the latest in a long line of illustrious winners of the FIA European Rally Championship* following a dramatic final-stage showdown with Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov on Rally Hungary last month in their Toksport WRT ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Relying on vital budget generated through a crowdfunding campaign launched by his mother Jo to complete the season, 25-year-old Ingram revealed how he bounced back from ERC1 Junior title disappointment in August to become the first Briton since Vic Elford in 1967 to claim the coveted regional crown, despite not winning a round outright, a fact he’s quick to play down.

“We had some opportunities where we could have won but the ERC1 Junior title was our focus for the first six rounds and it was always in the back of my mind that I can’t crash the car because we had no money and that would have been the end of it if I had done,” Ingram says. “I just tried to be as consistent as possible, get solid results all year and it paid off. I don’t care if we didn’t win a rally outright, we’ve won the title and no one can take that away from us. I always believed I had the speed and consistency to win it.”

From Twingo to tango
“It’s crazy to think but five years ago I was driving a Renault Twingo R2 with my father helping me prepare the car on rallies,” remembers Ingram. “Five years later I was in a ŠKODA Fabia R5, a top-spec car with Toksport, a top team, fighting drivers like Alexey Lukyanuk that I’ve looked up to for a long time, one of the fastest drivers around. It’s been a dream and I’m so proud the hard work has paid off. But I never thought it would happen, it’s been a difficult journey with lots of highs and lows.”

Lifetime ambition achieved
“It was always a dream to be European champion and the fact it had been more than 50 years since a Brit last won it makes it even more special for me,” says Ingram. “It’s one of the biggest things I can achieve in my life. To do it so soon, I’m 25 years old, I’m very proud. I’m already thinking what can I do now, what’s the next thing? But this is a lifetime ambition of mine and a dream come true.”

The turning point
“I would say the Barum Rally was the turning point,” Ingram explains. “The first five rallies were incredibly difficult and I was putting so much pressure on myself and therefore driving slower. Then in Barum I just tried to relax as much as possible. My speed and my normal driving came back and it became easy again and we carried that through for the last three rallies. They were our strongest performances of the season.”

A special guiding light
“This is all thanks to the team, Toksport, but so many people have supported us and especially Ross who has guided me perfectly on every corner of every stage. He’s done an incredible job, so reliable, so focused. We have a fantastic team so I’m just very proud.”

Visit FIAERC.com soon to read Chris Ingram's rally-by-rally reflections

*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA

The post How the ERC title was won*. By Chris Ingram appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Furuseth thanks rival Llarena for “intense” ERC3 Junior fights

Sun, 12/01/2019 - 12:00

Sindre Furuseth has thanked ERC3 Junior champion* Efrén Llarena for their “intense fights” in 2019.

Norwegian Furuseth was in title contention throughout the season-closing Barum Czech Rally Zlín, eventually placing third in the final ranking alongside co-driver Jim Hjerpe from Sweden.

Speaking at the recent ERC Awards Ceremony in Budapest, Furuseth said: “First of all I enjoyed very much reaching the start line with Saintéloc Racing and thank you very much for their support all year. And thank you very much to Efren for the intense fights.

“We have been absolutely flat out all year fighting with the M-Sport Fiestas, in some rallies it’s been very difficult but before Rome, before the last two rounds, our championship looked very good but in the end we haven’t managed to put our speed and performance into rally wins and the championship win.

“But I’m happy with third and I’m happy to see my friend Efrén win the championship.”

Furuseth, a drove a Pirelli-equipped Peugeot 208 R2 for the Saintéloc Junior Team in 2019, has yet to announce his programme for 2020 but has spoken in the past of his desire to step up to R5 level.

*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA

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Vote ERC!

Sat, 11/30/2019 - 06:00

Voting for the FIA’s Action of the Year video clip is underway and closes tomorrow, Sunday.

The FIA European Rally Championship’s submission features Norbert Herczig saving a spin on stage 10 of Rally Hungary, the deciding round of this year’s all-action season.

Herczig, who recovered to finish fifth in his MOL Racing Team Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, was one of a number of drivers to get into trouble on the rain-hit event.

Click here to vote.

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The fastest driver in the ERC is…

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 06:00

Alexey Lukyanuk might have lost out on back-to-back FIA European Rally Championship titles to Chris Ingram in a final-stage decider in Hungary earlier this month*, but the Russian came out on top of the stage wins chart for 2019.

Co-driven in a Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 R5 by compatriot Alexey Arnautov, Lukyanuk set 39 stage bests across the eight-event ERC season, a hugely impressive 26 more than the next fastest driver, Andrea Crugnola, managed.

Nasser Al-Attiyah and Oliver Solberg were next up with 10 stage wins, followed by Jan Kopecký (six) and Łukasz Habaj and Pepe López, who were both quickest on five stages.

In total 21, drivers landed fastest stage times in 2019. They included ERC champion* Chris Ingram, Motorsport Ireland-backed Callum Devine and MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig, a winner of four Hungarian titles in the past.

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Double points mark strong end to ERC 2019 for von Thurn und Taxis

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 06:00

Albert von Thurn und Taxis completed his fightback from a tough mid-season by scoring points in the closing two rounds of the FIA European Rally Championship.

Although the German didn’t quite beat his previous personal-best tally of 29 points from 2017, his top-10 finish on Rally Hungary marked the first time he’d scored on a sealed-surface event in the ERC.

Driving for Baumschlager Rallye & Racing, the ex-GT racer was sixth on the Cyprus Rally, a result he emulated on Rally Hungary alongside his new-for-2019 co-driver Bernhard Ettel from Austria.

Prior to his Cyprus result, von Thurn und Taxis had endured a luckless run of three consecutive retirements, making his return to form on the Nicosia-based event in late September all the more satisfying.

The post Double points mark strong end to ERC 2019 for von Thurn und Taxis appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

From class win to R5 chance, Fernandez is reunited with Falcon

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 06:00

Emma Falcón will be reunited with Sara Fernández when she contests this weekend’s Rally Orvecame Isla de Lanzarote in a Citroën C3 R5.

Falcón and Fernández haven’t competed together since they linked up on the Lanzarote event in 2017.

Since then, Falcón has stepped up from R3 to R5 level after winning the ERC Ladies’ Trophy in 2018, while Fernández co-drove Efrén Llarena to the ERC3 and ERC3 Junior titles this season.

Fernández will head to Lanzarote on a high after guiding Llarena to Class 3 honours on Rally Comunidad de Madrid RACE in Peugeot Sport’s all-new 208 Rally 4.

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Former ERC1 Junior champion Gryazin leads legend Loeb, wins class in France

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 06:00

Nikolay Gryazin, the winner of the 2018 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, had the honour of leading last week's Rallye du Var – ahead of legendary multiple world champion Sébastien Loeb.

Driving a ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo, Gryazin completed the opening leg of the French asphalt event with a 2.6s advantage over Loeb, who was armed with a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.

Loeb then moved ahead on the opening stage of leg two, which was then cancelled due to torrential rain, and held his advantage until the finish with Gryazin topping the R5 runners in second overall alongside co-driver Yaroslav Fedorov.

“We survived,” said the Sports Racing Technologies-run driver following the rain-hit event. “We made it to the finish of one of the hardest rallies in our career, and we lost only to the nine-time world champion who was driving a World Rally Car. Yes, the competitive distance was cut short by more than half, but we still got to drive about 100 kilometres, which is still a great experience. And our victory in the R5 class with such strong competitors was really unexpected and awesome.”

ERC3 runner-up Erik Cais was also competing on Rallye du Var and impressed on his way to P11 overall, only his second outing in an R5 car and his first in M-Sport’s latest-generation Ford Fiesta R5.

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Stratieva targets 2020 ERC campaign after unlikely title triumph

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 06:00

Ekaterina Stratieva wants to use her unlikely third ERC Ladies’ Trophy triumph as a springboard to an expanded FIA European Rally Championship campaign in 2020.

Stratieva, from Bulgaria, hadn’t competed for almost a year when she landed a late entry to contest Barum Czech Rally Zlín in August. After finishing second in class to Nabila Tejpar, Stratieva secured the funds to contest September’s Cyprus Rally, where a category win set up an unexpected title challenge on Rally Hungary earlier this month.

When Tejpar crashed out of the event in treacherous conditions, Stratieva kept going to not only clinch the ERC Ladies’ Trophy but take third in ERC3 and help her Saintéloc Junior Team win the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams alongside Alexey Lukyanuk and Sean Johnston.

Now she wants her comeback to continue into next season, when the ERC will again be contested over eight events, four on asphalt and four on gravel.

“Thanks to my co-driver Georgi Avramov, to my family that believe in us, to all organisation and fans of rally and of course to our partners from Petrol, Bauhaus, Sonax, Verso Travel, Boro and all others that help me make this dream come true,” said Stratieva. “For 2020 I hope to have enough budget to continue our collaboration with Saintéloc and, with a lot of winter practice, come back much faster.

“Like I say at the prize giving in Budapest ‘thanks to Nabila’ for our battle on the Barum Rally. This gave me the power to believe that I still have a place on the stages, to come back after this big break and again be part of the ERC family. We start our collaboration with Saintéloc and Vincent Ducher and all the guys from the team help me to feel the car and step by step to grow.

“It was my dream to drive the Peugeot 208 R2 for many years and I felt again the adrenaline and the emotions. We met so many new fans and made many new friendships. The cherry on the cake was my third title in the ERC Ladies’ Trophy. This year was more than amazing, bringing the trophy back to Bulgaria. Now I want to continue my dream in 2020 but come back stronger with more participation and better results.”

The 2020 ERC season gets underway on the Azores Rallye from 26-28 March.

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ERC1 Junior event winner Kreim is triple national champion

Sun, 11/24/2019 - 12:00

Fabian Kreim, an event winner in the 2018 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, has been confirmed as the German rally champion for a third time following the completion of an appeal process.

Kreim was disqualified from third place from the ADAC 3-Städte-Rallye for allegedly not stopping at the scene of an accident. However, an appeal to the German motorsport federation (DMSB) was upheld, restoring Kreim and co-driver Tobias Braun’s original result, making Kreim a triple German champion following his title successes in 2016 and 2017.

Driving for ŠKODA Auto Deutschland, Kreim challenged for the ERC1 Junior title in 2018, finishing third following a final-round decider in Latvia. He won the category on Rally di Roma Capitale and was a podium finisher on Rally Islas Canarias, Barum Czech Rally Zlín and PZM 75th Rally Poland with then co-driver Frank Christian in support.

Photo: ADAC Motorsport

The post ERC1 Junior event winner Kreim is triple national champion appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Fifth means ERC progress for Herczig

Sat, 11/23/2019 - 12:00

Norbert Herczig’s capture of fifth place in the final FIA European Rally Championship standings represented progress for the MOL Racing Team driver.

Despite a largely luckless campaign in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, the four-time Hungarian champion bettered his previous finishing position by one spot.

“Fifth place is a testament to our success in spite of this year's bad luck,” said Herczig. “Although smaller than planned, it is very important that this year's work is not lost, it will bear fruit in the coming years. We know the stages more and more, and we have started rallies where we have never been [previously]. And our Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 racing car has evolved into a seasonal racing car that we've had a lot of work on, so we can start with a reliable, reliable car in the 2020 season.

“This year, I have to highlight and thank you in particular for the year-round MOL Hi5 racing fuel, which has proven to be very good in all circumstances. Whether near 40 degrees Celsius or in the cool, humid weather of the season.”

Although a spate of punctures wrecked hopes of a strong result on the recent rain-hit Rally Hungary, Herczig was nevertheless able to set a fastest stage time, his first of the season.

The post Fifth means ERC progress for Herczig 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