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European Rally Championship
Updated: 49 min 15 sec ago

Althefiri’s ERC2 hopes over

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 10:30

Mshari Althefiri’s hopes of repeating his debut podium result in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category were definitively ended on PZM 76th Rally Poland, crashing out on the first stage of Sunday morning.

Althefiri had been keeping ERC2 leader Juan Carlos Alonso under pressure for the lead until a gearbox failure had forced his retirement on the first leg.

But his time on leg two was short lived, crashing out on Mikołajki MAX.

Dmitry Feofanov (Sporta Klubs Autostils Rally Team) and Abarth Rally Cup runner Dariusz Poloński (Rallytechnology) both move up a place with Althefiri’s retirement.

The post Althefiri’s ERC2 hopes over appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk holds ERC lead despite delay

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 10:17

Alexey Lukyanuk’s lead on PZM 76th Rally Poland is still intact despite suffering a second puncture in as many days, losing 16.4s of his lead over FIA European Rally Championship rivals chasing him down.

The Saintéloc Racing driver hit a stone on the racing line and immediately picked up a front-right puncture, which also removed the wheelarch from his Citroën C3 R5.

But despite the drama, Lukyanuk still has a 23.4s lead over Hyundai Motorsport N’s Jari Huttunen.

“You know what I hate most? The smelt of burnt rubber in the car! Disaster,” said Lukyanuk.

“I hope it should be OK – we still have a spare, we had two – and we lost not too much time.”

The post Lukyanuk holds ERC lead despite delay appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

No Røkland ERC restart in Poland

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 10:00

Steve Røkland elected not to restart the deciding leg of PZM 76th Rally Poland following his crash on the FIA European Rally Championship counter on Saturday afternoon.

Røkland, from Norway, was fourth in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior category when he hit trouble on stage eight.

“We had a ‘maybe five-left plus’ in the pacenotes and it was a ‘maybe’,” a dejected Røkland explained. “I was a little bit wide, kind of spinning in the corner and I rolled one time in fifth gear. The car is not too damaged but we’re not restarting. We can only score day points and it’s not really worth it.”

Without his off, Røkland is convinced he could have fought for the win in Mikołajki, particularly after his class-leading friend Sindre Furuseth punctured on the Olecko 2 stage and slipped to third.

“It was good pace and I was hoping to fight for the win again,” said Røkland. “Sindre got some problems on the same stage so it could have been quite close to the top step.”

The post No Røkland ERC restart in Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Junior star Marczyk fulfils dream with ERC stage win

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 08:39

FIA ERC1 Junior Championship frontrunner Miko Marczyk says he fulfilled “one of my dreams” on leg one of PZM 76th Rally Poland by taking an overall stage win, beating Alexey Lukyanuk in a head-to-head race.

ŠKODA Polska Motorsport's young charger took an outright stage victory around the Mikołajki Arena on Saturday morning, ticking off one of Marczyk's career ambitions.

“I'm happy because we had a clear day without big mistakes and we also won one stage in the overall classification, which is really great,” said Marczyk.

“That was in a battle with two cars against Alexey Lukyanuk. It's great for me because it was one of my dreams.”

Marczyk is fourth overall after leg one, one place better than his 2018 result on the same event, which he feels is a better performance than nine months earlier due to the difference in preparation.

“Last year, we had Rally Lithuania first, followed by Rally Poland. From my perspective, we were better prepared last year. Now, we have a nine month break, then we are here, with just one day of testing.

“I'm happy but tomorrow [Sunday] is a different day, a big rally, and I hope we will be in the same strategy, maybe a little bit faster because of the feeling today and I hope we will be with the smiling faces on the finish line of the rally.”

The post Junior star Marczyk fulfils dream with ERC stage win appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Spare parts from ERC fans and teams keep Antunes in the show

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 08:00

Despite a practice crash heavily damaging his car, Pedro Antunes was able to compete leg one of PZM 76th Rally Poland, thanks to the generosity of both teams and fans of the FIA European Rally Championship.

FPAK Team Portugal ERC’s contender for FIA ERC3 Junior Championship honours was on the back foot before the rally began, after rolling his Pirelli-equipped Peugeot 208 R2 on the Talty shakedown test on Friday morning.

But a mixture of rival teams that also run the same car and even an ERC superfan came to the rescue, sourcing replacement parts for Antunes to keep him in the rally.

“Some parts are from other teams, some of them we have in our truck, and the bonnet is from a Polish guy that managed to get it from a normal car, a road car!” said Antunes after leg one.

With his car still sporting plenty of tape, it was a far from straightforward return to action for Antunes, who completed the final stage with his replacement windscreen smashed after the spare bonnet flew up on a road section. The car had also filled with dust earlier in the day due to a gap in the door panel.

“The car is still not as straight as I want but I tried to fight, tried to push has hard as I can but the times are not coming.

“Maybe because I’m not used to these narrow and fast roads but in Latvia I was able do some good times. Here I can’t, so I don’t know.”

Antunes is ninth in ERC3 Junior heading into leg two, though has ACCR Czech Rally Team’s Erik Cais only 2.9s behind him in P10.

Photo: Julian Porter/ERC Radio

The post Spare parts from ERC fans and teams keep Antunes in the show appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Herczig to lead out ERC field for Poland leg two

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 06:00

MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig will lead the FIA European Rally Championship field into leg two of PZM 76th Rally Poland as first car on the road.

Herczig ended leg one in P10, recovering from an early puncture that put him behind fellow Baumschlager Rallye & Racing-run driver Marijan Griebel.

"Again, we will be tomorrow for the third time the cleaner. This is part of the sport and this will be my task," said a resolute Herczig.

The BRR pairing will be followed by ERC1 Junior star in an R5 car Mattias Adielsson, who represents the Sweden National Team in ERC.

The rest of the top 10 continues to start in reverse order, with rally leader Alexey Lukyanuk heading out as the 10th car in the order.

All but one of the crews that retired on leg one will return.

Paulo Nobre (Palmeirinha Rally) and Szymon Ruta (Printsport) are both returning in the top ERC class for R5 machinery, while ERC2 pairing Mshari Althefiri and Dmitry Feofanov (Sporta Klubs Autostils Rally Team) are set to return from their gearbox failure and broken wheel respectively.

Steve Røkland is also on the restart list after rolling out of fourth place in ERC3.

The only absentee is Rallytechnology’s Marcin Słobodzian, whose Ford Fiesta R5 took heavy damage after a big roll on stage eight.

The post Herczig to lead out ERC field for Poland leg two appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

“Disaster was close” for ERC champion Lukyanuk after SS6 drama

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 21:00

Alexey Lukyanuk has admitted that “disaster was close” despite building a solid lead over his FIA European Rally Championship rivals on PZM 76th Rally Poland, as a trip off-road nearly ended his rally.

Despite winning the afternoon rerun of Paprotki, the 11.26 kilometre stage almost derailed his bid for victory.

“We had so many dramas behind the scenes. Disaster was close,” said Lukyanuk.

“At the end of stage six, we went into a field. The car was understeering and in the fast section we just lost the line a bit and went too straight.

“Near the finish line, we cut one corner on the right and there was a stone inside, so it dropped us on two wheels, damage the rim and the brake line.

“It was a really bad moment and I thought that it was finished, because the brakes were gone, the steering was bent, but we managed to repair it in the road section and fortunately we could continue.”

The post “Disaster was close” for ERC champion Lukyanuk after SS6 drama appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Furuseth’s ERC3 lead Torn away by Estonian hotshot

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 19:50

Ken Torn’s strong form after a debut FIA ERC3 Junior Championship victory last month continued on PZM 76th Rally Poland, with the Estonian Autosport Junior Team man taking the lead from Sinde Furuseth.

Saintéloc Junior Team’s leading ERC3 driver Furuseth had dominated the morning loop by winning all three full-distance stages, though his lead unravelled after midday service.

His co-driver Jim Hjerpe lost his glasses after midday service, a sign of things to come later. Olecko, which would turn out to be a game-changing stage in every ERC category, would also catch out Furuseth, who picked up a puncture and dropped from first to third.

Torn was there to pick up the pieces, having caught up with and passed ERC3 Junior championship leader Efrén Llarena (Rally Team Spain) for second earlier on.

It was a grand reversal in fortunes from Torn, whose pre-event test plan was disrupted when he wrote off his original Ford Fiesta R2T chassis, requiring a new one for the rally.

Torn’s move past Llarena on stage four was somewhat incredible, as an overshoot sent him through a corn field yet still produced a faster stage time than the Spanish federation-backed driver.

Furuseth however is still in the fight: Torn, Llarena and Furuseth are all covered by 8.9s with Sunday’s eight stages still to run.

“I noticed I hit the stone very early in the stage on the line, but on the inside so it was not a huge hit. Maybe it was a slow puncture,” explained Furuseth.

“It came off one kilometre from the end. Luckily we didn’t lose much in the fight and we’ll definitely go for it tomorrow.”

Miika Hokkanen pulled off the comeback of the day by climbing from P15 in ERC3 after the first pass of Paprotki to fourth by the end of leg one. The Finn had run wide at a hairpin and clobbered some hay bales, getting stuck as reverse gear had also stopped working on his car.

But a string of top three stage times on the afternoon loop allowed him to shoot up the leaderboard to fifth place, which became fourth when Steve Røkland rolled his Peugeot 208 R2 on Olecko.

18-year-old ERC3 debutant Adam Westlund also benefitted from a consistent approach, slowly rising up the order from P10 to fifth.

Westlund took three places in one swoop on Olecko, benefitting from Røkland’s retirement, a disastrous stage for Elias Lundberg (ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team) but also passing Tomasz Zbroja (GO+Cars GO+EAuto) on pace alone.

However, Zbroja took fifth place back from Westlund on the Mikołajki Arena superspecial that closed the first leg, though Westlund remains fifth in ERC3 Junior.

Between a broken intercom that affected his ability to her pace-notes and power steering problems, Lundberg lost over half a minute, finishing the day seventh and only 0.2s ahead of his ADAC Opel Rallye Junior team-mate Grégoire Munster. Lundberg are sixth and seventh respectively in ERC3 Junior.

Team ROMO’s Roman Schwedt and Saintéloc’s Sean Johnston complete the overall ERC3 top 10, the latter coming on leaps and bounds in the afternoon as he adapted to a brand new pace-note system introduced for this rally in conjunction with his co-driver Alex Kihurani.

Pedro Antunes’s FPAK Portugal Team ERC Peugeot was still taped up from a crash in free practice on Friday but soldiered on to complete leg one ninth in ERC3 Junior, with ACCR Czech Rally Team’s Erik Cais completing the ERC3 Junior top 10, only 2.9s behind Antunes.

The post Furuseth’s ERC3 lead Torn away by Estonian hotshot appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Alonso breaks clear of ERC2 rivals in Poland

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 19:29

Juan Carlos Alonso showed his experience in the FIA European Rally Championship by leading the ERC2 production category on PZM 76th Rally Poland, with Zelindo Melegari making a late comeback for second place on Saturday afternoon.

Mistubishi Lancer Evo X driver Alonso, who is now in his third season in the ERC2 category, took the lead on Friday’s opening superspecial and didn’t look back, winning six stages on Saturday.

Late drama on the afternoon pass of the Olecko stage turned the ERC2 classification upside down, however, with Melegari (Neiksans Rallysport) jumping straight from fifth to second in just 28.62 kilometres of action.

Mshari Althefiri, who had made a brilliant ERC2 debut last month with a second place finish on Rally Liepāja, was in the same position in Poland and keeping Alonso under pressure. But his gearbox packed in seven kilometres from the finish of Saturday’s penultimate test.

That same stage also ended Dmitry Feofanov’s day, a broken wheel on the Sporta Klubs Autostils Rally Team driver’s Lancer Evo X costing him fourth place.

Abarth Rally Cup leader Andrea Nucita (Loran SRL) is now third overall in ERC2, though would have been second had he not needed to nurse a puncture to the finish on Olecko as well.

That delay cost him over two minutes, though still has the upper hand in his battle for the Abarth Rally Cup title, after his chief rival Dariusz Poloński (Rallytechnology) was forced to retire one stage earlier with a broken driveshaft.

Poloński had started brightly and was in the thick of a close duel with Nucita early on, but the driveshaft issues that would end his day had begun as early as SS4, which slowed him down and gave Nucita a chance to close in before his eventual retirement.

The post Alonso breaks clear of ERC2 rivals in Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk weathers tough Poland stages to lead in ERC

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 19:10

Despite a puncture, a broken damper, a replacement brake pipe and a troublesome clutch, reigning champion Alexey Lukyanuk leads the FIA European Rally Championship field after day one of PZM 76th Rally Poland, 40s ahead of Jari Huttunen.

Lukyanuk set an unbeatable pace for most of the day but was he occasionally held back by minor issues during the day. A leaking damper luckily only cost him a few seconds on the morning loop-ending Mikołajki Arena superspecial, and he still won the second pass of Paprotki despite a front-right puncture.

That puncture also necessitated fitting a new brake pipe, a precaution against further damage, while also managing a clutch issue for the rest of the afternoon loop.

“It was a lot of drama today. The change of the balance of the car, the mistake in the fifth stage, in the end a broken brake line, clutch, damper, a lot of issues but somehow we survived and got through,” summarised Lukyanuk.

Behind him, ERC3 Junior Championship graduate Huttunen, racing a Hyunai Motorsport N i20 R5 for the second time in as many years on PZM 76th Rally Poland, held second place overall, focusing on securing a podium rather than risking it all to challenge Lukyanuk.

Huttunen has 12.8s in hand over ERC1 Junior leader Filip Mareš, who used the road position he earned by winning the Qualifying Stage to good effect by scoring seven top three stage times. ACCR Czech Rally Team’s young talent completes the overall podium in addition to his ERC1 Junior lead.

Polish duo Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport) and Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) are locked in a battle over fourth position, with Marczyk ahead of current ERC championship leader Habaj by a slim two seconds.

Their two-way battle was originally a three-way fight involving Team STARD’s Hiroki Arai, with Marczyk and Arai also duelling over second in ERC1 Junior. But a right-rear puncture on Paprotki 2 cost him over 10s, dropping him to sixth overall and 18s behind Marczyk.

Arai fell behind then repassed seventh-placed Aron Domżała (TGS Worldwide) after his puncture, though also benefited from trouble striking Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT).

A power steering fault developed on the ERC1 Junior points leader’s car during Stare Juchy 2. Ingram lost only 10s initially but the problem got worse on Olecko 2, having already started eight minutes late due to time taken for repairs between SS7 and SS8. He then lost nearly another two minutes after the power steering failed again, wrestling his car to the finish line with Lukyanuk right behind him.

That drama dropped Ingram to P15, nearly three minutes away from the top 10, though worse fates befell others on the same Olecko test. Marcin Słobodzian rolled his Rallytechnology Ford Fiesta R5 and retired, while Paulo Nobre took a trip into a ditch, damaging his Fabia R5 to the point local police wouldn’t allow it to take to the road section afterwards, forcing Nobre to retire.

Mattias Adielsson moved up to eighth overall and fourth in ERC1 Junior after Ingram’s initial troubles, despite a missed pacenote that sent him into one of the many corn fields surrounding the stages. Ingram’s strife also promoted two of the Baumschlager Rallye & Racing-run cars into the top 10: Marijan Griebel in a Fabia was recovering from a slow start in the morning and is now up to ninth, while the MOL Racing Team Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 of Norbert Herczig now completes the top 10.

Herczig though will need to keep one eye on the driver behind him, Tomasz Kasperczyk (Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team), who is only 10.7s behind. He fell behind both Griebel and Herczig on Stare Juchy 2 for an unusual reason: a mosquito entered the cockpit and distracted him, at one point landing on his glasses, costing him a precious few seconds to the BRR-run pair.

The post Lukyanuk weathers tough Poland stages to lead in ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Słobodzian rolls out on Olecko as several drives hit trouble

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 17:27

Trouble struck several FIA European Rally Championship drivers on Olecko, the eight stage of PZM 76th Rally Poland, with Marcin Słobodzian topping the retirements list with a dramatic roll.

Rallytechnolgy driver Słobodzian had already spun at a junction early in the stage but then rolled his Ford Fiesta R5 late in the same test, unable to continue further.

Chris Ingram, who was only one point off ERC championship leader, continued to suffer broken power steering that had begun on the previous stage.

Toksport WRT’s ERC1 Junior charger started eight minutes late and is set to take 1m20s of penalties as a result.

He also lost nearly two minutes on the stage itself, crossing the finish line with rally leader Alexey Lukyanuk (Russian Performance Motorsport) right on his tail.

Paulo Nobre (Palmeirinha Rally) also went off and caused significant damage to the front of his ŠKODA Fabia R5, finishing the stage with the bonnet over the windscreen.

Such was the extent of the damage, local police did not deem his car roadworthy for public highways, forcing him to retire in sight of the finish line.

Steve Røkland’s hopes of an ERC3 Junior podium finish also ended when he rolled his Peugeot 208 R2, having entered the stage only 2.5s behind Estonian Autosport Junior Team’s Ken Torn.

Olecko also claimed two ERC2 front-runners. Mshari Althefiri had been keeping class leader Juan Carlos Alonso on his toes all rally but had to retire when his gearbox packed in seven kilometres from the finish.

Dmitry Feofanov also lost his fourth place when he suffered a broken wheel on his Sporta Klubs Autostils Rally Team-run Mistubishi Lancer Evo X and retired.

With Abarth Rally Cup title contender Dariusz Poloński (Rallytechnology) retiring on the previous stage, Zelindo Melegari (Neiksans Rallysport) jumped from fifth to second in ERC2, as Andrea Nucita nursed a puncture to the finish of SS8.

The post Słobodzian rolls out on Olecko as several drives hit trouble appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Huttunen prioritises ERC podium finish over lead chase

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 16:46

Jari Huttunen, a graduate of the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 Junior category, has his sights set on securing a podium finish on PZM 76th Rally Poland, rather than chase Alexey Lukyanuk for victory.

Making his second ERC appearance for Hyundai Motorsport N, Huttunen briefly led on Friday after the opening superspecial, but couldn't quite keep pace with reigning ERC champion Lukyanuk on Saturday.

"It’s very difficult for me, maybe I had the wrong tyre choice or something. It’s going well but we are losing too much,” he said.

Huttunen adjusted the dampers on his Hyundai i20 R5 at service, with an eye on keeping ERC1 Junior leader Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) behind him.

But while he’s keen to keep his second place, he’s not willing to risk his potential second place finish for a shot at victory.

“To be honest I didn’t push harder than this, it’s enough for me. It’s more important to have a clean rally,” he said.

Huttunen is 9.4s ahead of Mareš after stage seven, with two stages remaining on Saturday and a further six stages on to come on Sunday.

The post Huttunen prioritises ERC podium finish over lead chase appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Griebel: “At least 10-12 very fast drivers” in ERC

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 14:54

Marijan Griebel is outside the FIA European Rally Championship top 10 after the first full loop of stages on PZM 76th Rally Poland, pointing to the series having “at least 10-12 very fast drivers” as a major factor.

Despite showing his talent as ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior champion in successive seasons in 2016 and 2017, Griebel has struggled to keep up with the leaders in Poland so far this weekend.

He credited the level of the championship increasing over the years for the added challenge.

“I think it’s completely different story from three years ago. R5 cars are much faster and the competition here is really, really high. I think there’s at least 10-12 very fast drivers,” said Griebel at midday service.

Griebel was down in P11 after the Saturday morning loop but is hoping to bounce back with some changes at midday service.

“For me it’s difficult with that [fifth place] road position, and the whole season is not going like I’d hoped for.”

“We may change the gearbox now. I don’t know if it’s better but at least we can try something new.”

The post Griebel: “At least 10-12 very fast drivers” in ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Furuseth in Pole position for ERC3 honours

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 14:26

Sindre Furuseth’s quest for a first FIA ERC3 Junior Championship victory began stongly on PZM 76th Rally Poland, winning three stages and building a 15.7s lead over Ken Torn.

Saintéloc Junior Team driver Furuseth pulled away from title rival Efrén Llarena (Rally Team Spain) from the start, having already edged ahead on Friday night’s Mikołajki Arena superspecial.

Llarena was passed by Torn for second place on Olecko, despite Torn taking a trip into a corn field on the same stage. Only 1.2s  separates the pair after SS5.

A further 2.1s behind Llarena is Steve Røkland, who was pushing so hard that he took the rear bumper off his Peugeot 208 R2 when he ran wide on a long right-hander on Olecko.

Elias Lundberg (ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team) completes the top five in ERC3, well ahead of a charging Miika Hokkanen.

Hokkanen ran wide into a set of hay bales on Paprotki and became stuck, with reverse gear on his car not working.

But he charged up the leaderboard thereafter, pipping Tomasz Zbroja (GO+Cars GO+EAuto) to sixth in ERC3 by only 0.1s after the morning loop.

Adam Westlund, Gregoire Munster (ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team), Roman Schwedt (Team ROMO) and Erik Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team) complete the top 10 in ERC3 Junior.

The post Furuseth in Pole position for ERC3 honours appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Polonski leads intense Abarth battle, Alonso ahead in ERC2

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 14:00

Dariusz Poloński and Andrea Nucita are separated by only 1.9s in their battle over Abarth Rally Cup honours on PZM 76th Rally Poland, while Juan Carlos Alonso built a lead in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category.

Alonso heads the production category in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, winning four of Saturday morning’s five stages.

The one time he was bested was by Abarth 124 driver Poloński (Rallytechnology), who took an ERC2 stage win on Paprotki.

That promoted Poloński to the lead of the Abarth Rally Cup class, and he began to pull away from title rival Nucita (Loran SRL).

However, he dropped time over the next two stages, with a small problem with the fuel injection leaving him down on power in left-handed corners.

Nucita closed up to only 1.9s behind over the next two stages, though admitted he struggled to keep pace with Poloński, who has home advantage this weekend.

“[It was] a big battle with Dariusz, he’s very fast on the stages,” said Nucita.

“I don’t have more speed, but I don’t know why. It’s me that needs checked, not the car!”

Mshari Althefiri is second in ERC2, mirroring his debut result from Rally Liepāja last month, and is 16.9s behind Alonso.

Poloński and Nucita are third and fourth in the combined ERC2 classification, with Dmitry Feofanov (Sporta Klubs Autostils Rally Team) only 8.9s behind Nucita in his Mitsubishi.

Zelindo Melegari (Neiksans Rallysport) completes the top five in ERC2.

The post Polonski leads intense Abarth battle, Alonso ahead in ERC2 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lightning-quick Lukyanuk leads ERC in Poland

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 13:37

Reigning FIA European Rally Championship title-holder Alexey Lukyanuk was straight on the pace during PZM 76th Rally Poland’s first morning loop of stages, breaking away into the lead early on.

A “calm and relaxed” Lukyanuk was in his element on Poland’s fast, sandy stages, winning all three full-length stages on Saturday morning in his Saintéloc Racing-prepared Citroën C3 R5.

Only a minor damper issue on the Mikołajki Arena superspecial halted his progress, which cost him five seconds and reduced his lead to 21.6s.

“[It’s] so enjoyable to drive, unbelievable. So emotional. I miss this feeling for a long time,” said Lukyanuk after the Paprotki stage.

Overnight leader Jari Huttunen (Hyundai Motorsport N), who had won the rally-opening superspecial around Mikołajki Arena on Friday night, dropped behind Lukyanuk to second place overall.

Autoclub of the Czech Republic-backed youngster Filip Mareš leads the ERC1 Junior class and pulled away from those behind him to hold a strong third place, only six seconds behind Huttunen.

Three drivers were locked in a battle over fourth place, with rising ERC1 Junior star Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport) taking the position on Olecko once he’d found a better rhythm.

He passed both current ERC championship leader Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) and fellow young star in an R5 car Hiroki Arai (Team STARD) at the same time, one stage after Arai had demoted him to sixth place.

Marczyk’s battle with Arai also handed him second place in ERC1 Junior, with Arai completing the class podium places.

Fourth-placed ERC1 Junior runner and class championship leader Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) had a tricky morning. He went off-road on Paprotki and also had to avoid a dog in the middle of the road on Stare Juchy, which Marczyk also encountered.

Ingram finished the Saturday morning loop seventh, only 1.1s behind Arai.

Aron Domżała (TGS Worldwide) was demoted to eighth by Ingram’s comeback charge, and has 3.9s in hand over fifth-placed ERC1 Junior runner Mattias Adielsson, who is ninth overall. Tomasz Kasperczyk (Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team) completes the top 10.

Szymon Ruta (Printsport) retired on Olecko when his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 hit a tree, while Daniel Chwist (Rallytechnology), grandson of three-time ERC champion Sobiesław Zasada, also picked up damage with contact on the same stage.

Juan Carlos Alonso leads the ERC2 production category after SS4, while Dariusz Poloński (Rallytechnology) took the lead in the Abarth Rally Cup on SS2. Sindre Furuseth (Saintéloc Junior Team) leads both the ERC3 and ERC3 Junior categories after SS4.

The post Lightning-quick Lukyanuk leads ERC in Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Ingram “lucky to still be here” after off on ERC Poland SS2

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 09:30

FIA ERC1 Junior Championship title hopeful Chris Ingram says he is “lucky to still be here” after an off on the first Saturday stage on PZM 76th Rally Poland.

Ingram went off in the final section of Paprotki, the second stage of the rally after Friday’s Mikołajki Areana superspecial.

“We went off at the end and we had to reverse to get back on. We’re lucky to still be here,” said Ingram afterwards.

Despite going off on the high-speed stage there was little sign of damage to his Toksport WRT-prepared ŠKODA Fabia R5, with some minor scuffing to the front bumper the only sign that he’d gone off.

“We’ve not lost too much time, we just need to calm down a bit. I just got caught out by a corner, I didn’t expect it to be so loose. We’re lucky not to have any damage.”

Ingram remains ninth overall, 19.1s behind new rally leader Alexey Lukyanuk, who won SS2.

He dropped from third to fourth in the ERC1 Junior class, however, falling behind Team STARD’s junior ace Hiroki Arai.

Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) also took the lead in ERC1 Junior on the same stage, passing Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport) and building a 2.7s lead.

The post Ingram “lucky to still be here” after off on ERC Poland SS2 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

How will von Thurn und Taxis fare on ERC Poland’s first leg?

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 06:00

Albert von Thurn und Taxis will lead the FIA European Rally Championship ranks into action on PZM 76th Rally Poland today as first car on the road, giving him one of the toughest jobs this weekend in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

The Baumschlager Rallye & Racing driver was P15 on Friday’s Qualifying Stage, which meant he was last to select his road order position and had only one choice: first on the road.

“We hadn't exactly figured out to what time we had to drive and we had exactly figured out what time I shouldn't drive to. I drove exactly to the time that I was not supposed to do!” explained von Thurn und Taxis of his qualifying run.

As first car on the road, von Thurn und Taxis faces a day of sweeping loose gravel away from the stages. However, the effect should be lessened on the afternoon loop of stages that are re-run from the same morning, along with the characteristics of Poland’s roads potentially helping.

“I guess it's not as bad as in Liepāja, where you have the really rolled balls of gravel on the top of the surface, because it is a bit sandier [here],” he said.

“But you just don't have the same grip, especially in braking and in the faster corners where you want to throw the car in a little bit and lean on the sidewalls [of the tyres].”

Von Thurn und Taxis leads the field into stage two, Paprotki, from 08h30 local time.

The post How will von Thurn und Taxis fare on ERC Poland’s first leg? appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior graduate Huttunen schools rivals for early Poland lead

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 19:59

Hyunai Motorsport N’s young talent Jari Huttunen, a graduate of the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 Junior category, has taken an early 0.2s lead on PZM 76th Rally Poland by winning the opening superspecial.

Huttunen, who is partnered with new co-driver Mikko Lukka for the first time this weekend, was marginally faster than reigning ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk, who is second overall.

In third place, only 0.7s behind Huttunen, Miko Marczyk took an early ERC1 Junior lead aboard his ŠKODA Polska Motorsport-run Fabia R5, 1.6s up on his nearest class rival Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team).

Current championship leader Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) made a good start by going fourth, though has a less than ideal starting position for Saturday, running early in the road order.

Aron Domżała (TGS Worldwide) was 1.7s off the pace in fifth and, despite not being able to see anything due to a windscreen washer failure, Norbert Herczig (MOL Racing Team) still went sixth quickest.

Qualifying Stage winner Mareš is seventh overall and second in ERC1 Junior, ahead of Tomasz Kasperczyk (Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team) in eighth and ERC1 Junior championship leader Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) in ninth.

Behind Jarosław Kołtun and Kacper Wróblewski, who are tied for P10, Hiroki Arai only just kept his Team STARD-run Citroën C3 R5 on the straight and narrow to take P12 overall.

Arai clipped the Armco barriers twice in as many laps of the Mikołajki Arena superspecial, but is still fourth in ERC1 Junior.

A mistake from past ERC1 and ERC3 Junior champion Marijan Griebel on the superspecial left him P13, 3.6s behind Huttunen, while Mattias Adielsson couldn’t repeat his strong Qualifying Stage performance and is P15 overall, along with completing the top five in ERC1 Junior.

The post ERC Junior graduate Huttunen schools rivals for early Poland lead appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Alonso and Melegari duel in Mikolajki Arena for ERC2 lead

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 19:18

Juan Carlos Alonso rebounded from an electrical problem on the PZM 76th Rally Poland Qualifying Stage to take an early lead in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category.

Alonso’s issues, which had caused a stall in qualifying, thankfully did not return as he beat Zelindo Melegari by 1.2s, who is also driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.

“It was a little plug, it became unplugged by contact. But it’s nothing to worry about. Everything is OK!” said Alonso when asked about the earlier problem.

ERC2 rookie Mshari Althefiri “pushed to the maximum” despite PZM 76th Rally Poland being only his second ever ERC rally, and was rewarded with third, only 1.5s off Alonso’s pace.

Dmitry Feofanov (Sporta Klubs Autostils Rally Team) was fourth fastest, 0.2s up on Andrea Nucita (Loran SRL) who is fifth in ERC2 along leading the Abarth Rally Cup classification.

Nucita beat title rival Dariusz Poloński (Rallytechnology) by 1.9s, who said afterwards he had “decided to take it easy” ahead of tomorrow’s set of eight stages.

The post Alonso and Melegari duel in Mikolajki Arena for ERC2 lead 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