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European Rally Championship
Updated: 45 min 38 sec ago

ERC’s Herczig to turn going first into a positive

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 09:00

Norbert Herczig will make the most of the experience he gained opening the road on the final day of Rally Liepāja when he heads to Rally Poland later this month.

Although running at the head of the field in Latvia ultimately cost the MOL Racing Team driver FIA European Rally Championship points after he dropped from P10 to P14 in the final classification, it wasn’t all bad news.

“There were some positive things,” said the Volkswagen Polo R5 driver. “We didn't finish the race with the maximum we wanted but we have learned many things about the car and the tyres – encouraging signs for Rally Poland.”

The post ERC’s Herczig to turn going first into a positive appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Schwedt vows to build on Latvia ERC3 Junior points in Poland

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 18:00

Roman Schwedt will build on his Rally Liepāja points finish when he resumes his FIA ERC3 Junior Championship bid in Poland later this month.

The German teenager’s eighth-place finish in the Pirelli-supported category marked the first time he’d scored in 2019 following a run of bad luck in the Team ROMO Peugeot 208 R2 he shares with co-driver and compatriot Lina Meter.

“This rally was very different for me and I must learn many things,” ex-karter Schwedt said following his Rally Liepāja debut. “Every kilometre I felt it was going better and better and I am happy to be doing my next event in Poland where I hope it will be another good experience. Finishing my first rally is good for me and now I am really happy.”

Rally Poland takes place from 28-30 June.

The post Schwedt vows to build on Latvia ERC3 Junior points in Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lunderg looks to Poland for vital ERC3 Junior title boost

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 06:00

Elias Lundberg already has a plan in place to hit back from his frustrating FIA ERC3 Junior Championship round in Latvia last month – Rally Poland!

Lundberg had been tipped as a Rally Liepāja podium contender following his top-three finish on the all-gravel Azores Rallye. However, a crash on the very first stage dictated otherwise as the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team member settled for P11 in the Pirelli-supported category after he restarted under Rally2 rules.

He will now use Rally Poland from 28-30 June to attempt to rejoin the title race.

“We had a crash on the first stage,” said Lundberg, who is co-driven by fellow Swede David Arhusiander. “I took a too wide line on a Tarmac corner and it was gravel on the outside so I hit a ditch and rolled the car. I only rolled once but it was quite a hard impact on the landing and we broke both the right rear and the left front. Then we had some electrical problem on Sunday morning.”

Lundberg continued: “Of course it’s really frustrating to not even do a good stage time. It wasn’t our best rally but now we look forward to Poland.”

The post Lunderg looks to Poland for vital ERC3 Junior title boost appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Success for Team OSCARO ERC Junior Loubet in Portugal

Sun, 06/02/2019 - 18:00

Pierre-Louis Loubet, who showed impressive pace for Team OSCARO on the opening rounds of this season’s FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, has taken a class victory on Rally de Portugal, which finished earlier today.

Loubet won the world championship’s second tier on the gravel event, one position ahead of 2015 ERC3 Junior champion Emil Bergkvist. Nikolay Gryazin, the 2018 ERC1 Junior title winner, placed fifth.

Meanwhile, the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship resumes on Rally Poland from 28-30 June.

The post Success for Team OSCARO ERC Junior Loubet in Portugal appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC3 Junior Klausz competitive on sixth Rally Liepāja

Sun, 06/02/2019 - 15:00

Kristóf Klausz set competitive stage times and scored more FIA ERC3 Junior Championship points on Rally Liepāja.

Reunited with former co-driver Balázs Kecskeméti ahead of the high-speed gravel event, Klausz had his eye on a podium finish starting his sixth Rally Liepāja.

Fifth fastest time in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior class on SS2 provided a welcome boost only for an off on the next stage to hit his hopes hard, restricting him to seventh place in the final order.

“The first stage was quite a good warm-up,” said the Peugeot-driving Hungarian. “In the second we did the fifth best time but in the third we braked too late and got stuck in a soft place. I didn’t always have the best set-up and did some mistakes. But we also had some good results and we will try again on the next round.”

The post ERC3 Junior Klausz competitive on sixth Rally Liepāja appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Jeets scores in ERC3 Junior despite lack of experience

Sun, 06/02/2019 - 12:00

Gregor Jeets shrugged of his limited experience to score a point on his FIA ERC3 Junior Championship debut.

Estonian Autosport Junior Team member Jeets placed P10 in the Pirelli-supported category on Rally Liepāja – his seventh rally since switching from karting.

But for turbo issue on leg one, which cost seven minutes, Jeets could have finished even higher.

“In stage three we had a problem with the turbo,” Jeets explained. “We don’t have any power all the stage and we lost seven minutes so it was quite bad. The pacenotes were too slow in some places and I still need to improve my driving. It was an interesting rally for me, we had some problems but it’s good to be at the finish.”

The post Jeets scores in ERC3 Junior despite lack of experience appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Rokland hits back with ERC3 Junior podium

Sat, 06/01/2019 - 18:00

Steve Røkland banished the memories of a frustrating season-opening Azores Rallye with an FIA ERC3 Junior podium on Rally Liepāja.

Norwegian Røkland led the Pirelli-supported category after winning stage two before going on to take third behind friend and compatriot Sindre Furuseth.

“I have to be happy because the Azores was not good for us, we didn’t start in Canarias, so to be on the podium in Latvia is really good,” said Røkland. “We could be happy with the speed and we were close to to the top.

“We lost some time when we damaged the unibolt hitting a big rock on SS2. The car was not going straight on the straight and also under braking it was difficult to know where to put the car. But I had the part with me so I could change it in the remote service."

The post Rokland hits back with ERC3 Junior podium appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Tsouloftas makes his point in ERC

Sat, 06/01/2019 - 12:00

Alexandros Tsouloftas delivered another strong performance during his FIA ERC Junior Championship initiation – this time scoring an overall leg bonus point on his way to seventh place in the category for young stars in R5 cars.

What was essentially unchartered territory for a driver used to the slower and more technical Cypriot stages, the Toksport WRT driver’s speed was encouraging throughout given his lack of experience.

“We had a good position and a cleaner road on the first day and it was just fantastic, we’ve never carried so much speed in a corner before,” Tsouloftas said. “Every single corner we were fixing our pacenotes for the second pass because our pacenotes were not so good for this type of rally and we didn’t expect to be able to go through corners so fast.

“Our road position on leg two was not helping us. There was too much sliding, too much wheelspin and everyone knows the stages while it’s my first time. Overall it was a nice rally, really fast and we were learning on every stage. I am happy with our result for the first time here.”

The post Tsouloftas makes his point in ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Munster takes positives from Latvian ERC adventure

Sat, 06/01/2019 - 06:00

Grégoire Munster has taken the positives from his Rally Liepāja debut, even though he was unable to finish Latvia’s FIA European Rally Championship counter.

Driving on a high-speed gravel event for the first time, Munster had plenty to learn and was doing just that – while also improving his pace – when contact with a wooden pole led to his exit on stage eight.

“It was not easy on these really fast roads,” said the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team driver. “We were getting a good pace but in SS3 we had a moment in a right corner that tightened. We went off into a ditch and lost a lot of time but we were having fun all the way and getting more experience with every kilometre. Unfortunately, the rally ended earlier than expected.”

The Belgian continued: “In SS8 I slightly touched a wooden pole and 100 metres later our front-right driveshaft gave up on us. It was a shame because our pace was improving stage after stage as we finished SS7 only 0.4 seconds per kilometre from the fastest ERC3 Junior.

“Our intention was to reach the finish and grab as much experience as possible. We did not reach our goal but the positive thing is we had a lot of fun driving on these fast roads and that our pace improved trough the weekend.”

The post Munster takes positives from Latvian ERC adventure appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Why two stage wins don’t make it right for ERC3 Junior’s Flying Finn Hokkanen

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 18:00

Miika Hokkanen once again showed his speed in FIA ERC3 Junior on Rally Liepāja – but his two stage wins didn’t provide the reward he craved following his leg one retirement.

Hokkanen, who finished on the Rally Liepāja podium in 2018, was in fifth position in his Mavisa Sport Peugeot 208 R2 when wheel stud failure put him out. He restarted on Sunday and gave a strong indication of what might have been with two fastest stage times alongside co-driver Rami Suorsa.

“I was 15 kilometres from the start of the fourth stage when our wheel nuts gave up in the left front suddenly,” Hokkanen explained. “We were sad and for sure it’s a little bit frustrating to continue with the Rally2 because you don’t have the same confidence and feeling. It was a big shame to retire but we were lucky the bolts gave up in a slow section, not a fast section.

“We got some kilometres and of course it’s fun to drive these stages. We had some stage wins but we are not in the top standings.”

The post Why two stage wins don’t make it right for ERC3 Junior’s Flying Finn Hokkanen appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC1 Junior leader Ingram reveals tough balancing act

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 12:00

Chris Ingram has revealed the tough balancing act he’s performing in his bid to become the first British winner of the FIA European Rally Championship since Vic Elford in 1967.

Ingram, who leads the ERC1 Junior standings, narrowed Łukasz Habaj’s overall advantage to a single point after he beat his Polish rival to fourth place on Rally Liepāja last weekend.

Despite his strong form in his Toksport WRT ŠKODA Fabia R5, Ingram is facing a funding battle to maintain his championship challenge alongside co-driver Ross Whittock, which is also hampering his on-stage performances.

Explaining why he wasn’t able to mount a consistent fight for a podium finish in Latvia, Ingram said: “I know exactly where we are losing the speed so we just need to keep the pace consistently. We’re close but it just takes a bit more kilometres because the car was working really well, the pacenotes were mega, the tyres perfect. It just takes me a little while to get into the zone and because I can’t afford to go off, I need to get there gradually rather than just go flat out from the first corner and take big risks. I just can’t afford to do that.

“We know we’re not pushing enough but it’s a tricky one. It’s easy to make a mistake and throw away a good position for the championship whereas the guys ahead had nothing to lose.”

The post ERC1 Junior leader Ingram reveals tough balancing act appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Tough luck for Czech mates in ERC Junior

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 06:00

Young Czech talents Dominik Brož and Erik Cais were both out of luck on the latest round of the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship, crashing out of Rally Liepāja in separate incidents.

Brož went off the road on stage seven and rolled into retirement with Cais doing likewise two stages later.

“I enjoyed the fast stages, we were driving clean and the pacenotes were good,” said Brož. “On stage seven, a right-three corner five kilometres before the finish, I brake for the corner, I go into the field but I don’t see the ditch. I hit the ditch and rolled two times. This is rally.”

Cais, who like Brož is a member of the ACCR Czech Rally Team, was always playing catch-up in Latvia following a car-wrecking testing crash.

“I was scared after the crash in testing that I don’t feel the confidence,” said the former downhill mountain bike racer. “It was a fast corner, a left-hander and I had too much speed to turn right. I tried to go straight on but we hit something and rolled four times. It was bad luck for us but bad luck all weekend.”

Photo: Dominik Brož

The post Tough luck for Czech mates in ERC Junior appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Why 160kph ‘moment’ was fun for ERC Junior Adielsson

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 18:00

Mattias Adielsson insisted grappling to keep control of his sideways Citroën at 160kph on Rally Liepāja was “fun”.

The Sweden National Team driver scored more important ERC1 Junior points with sixth place on Rally Liepāja, while landing his first outright top 10 finish in the FIA European Rally Championship.

He said: “I had one big moment on the last corner of SS5 but it was fun. It was 160kph sideways, but changing down the gear to make the corner.”

Adielsson had high hopes of a stronger result on the closest thing to a ‘home’ rally, only for road position issues to hurt his chances alongside co-driver Andreas Johansson.

“I was aiming for a higher position on this rally but we were struggling with the road positon from the start and this put us in another rally all weekend,” said Adielsson. “There was a lot of learning but we need more kilometres in the car although I was very happy with my driving on the final day. Andreas and me have done everything we could and we pushed really hard.”

The post Why 160kph ‘moment’ was fun for ERC Junior Adielsson appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Q&A: Catie Munnings

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 12:00

Catie Munnings registered her first finish in this season’s FIA European Rally Championship on Rally Liepāja last weekend, the Peugeot Rally Academy driver, 21, claiming P11 in the highly-competitive ERC3 division. This she had to say.

How did it feel to finish your first rally of 2019?
“So relieved! A finish was the priority because we’ve not had the best start this year. It was a kind of bitter sweet feeling though as I’d like to have attacked more but at the same time we have to be sensible and driving over that finish ramp felt like a big achievement.”

You’ve done this rally before but this year was a new format with some even faster stages. Did you notice a big difference?
“The new Talsi stages are awesome, when I first came to Latvia I was shocked by the speed of the roads, but those ones are on another level. That loop was frustrating for us we as opted to run the car too soft, so it felt like we were flat out but the times were not good. Some of that was me building confidence after being out of practice but my team-mate had the same feeling and was fighting the car too, so it wasn't until we changed the set-up for day two that I felt any stability. I learned a lot about set-up this week and I’d love to drive the car up there again on those stages with it like that. Sure we lost some time but just the experience of driving at that speed on such amazing flowing gravel roads is surreal and so addictive”

You reported a brake problem on Sunday, did you have to fix it yourself on a stage?
“No luckily it happened just as we were starting the stage before lunchtime service. A stone damaged a pipe connection, the pedal was right on the floor for that one. Then in the afternoon, the sandy stages got very rough with the rain and towards the end we bent something on the rear left which made the car wild in right bends and we lost the powersteering, so we were cruising and glad to finish.”

Overall were you happy with your performance?
“The level of competition is always high in the ERC but here it was especially so, all of our competitors are top drivers in their own country. We improved on the gap between us and them and were faster and more consistent here than last year but I’d have liked more. With the focus on reaching the finish it’s a fine line to push on roads at such high speed, there were some big crashes, it’s all too easy to do that, so overall I guess we are in a better place now to push a little harder next time.”

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

Fiesta time as Antunes claims ERC3 Junior stage win on first Rally Liepaja

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 06:00

Pedro Antunes delivered a stage-winning performance as he experienced Rally Liepāja’s high-speed gravel stages and his Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta R2T for the first time.

Eventually finishing sixth in the FIA ERC3 Junior category, Antunes felt he could have been higher up the order in his FPAK Portugal Team ERC entry, despite the unfamiliarity of his surroundings following a pre-event car change.

“I was happy to be at the finish,” said Antunes, who is co-driven by fellow Portuguese Paulo Lopes. “It was too much new things but I enjoyed it a lot. There are some crazy stages, so fast but beautiful.

“In stage three we went straight ahead in a junction and we lost some time. We started leg two well with a win in the first stage but then we were more careful. Without those mistakes we could have been higher up in the classification.”

The post Fiesta time as Antunes claims ERC3 Junior stage win on first Rally Liepaja appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Arai impresses on ERC1 Junior debut

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 18:00

Hiroki Arai made a promising start to his FIA ERC1 Junior Championship campaign with fifth in class and eighth overall on Rally Liepāja.

And to underline the significance of the result it was Arai’s debut on the high-speed Latvian event, his first outing in a Citroën C3 R5, his first rally with co-driver Ilka Minor and his first event with Yokohama’s new tyres.

“Considering everything was new this result is not so bad,” said the STARD development driver. “We can improve a lot more in the future but we were making progress and getting as much information as possible.

“I had one overshoot in a junction and stalled the engine then on Sunday morning the car was always in stage mode and you couldn’t turn it off because of a connection problem. But I am happy.”

The post Arai impresses on ERC1 Junior debut appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Sesks shines on ERC prize drive

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 12:00

Mārtiņš Sesks made full use of the first of two prize drives in the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship as he stepped up to R5 level with a debut podium on his home event, Rally Liepāja.

Sesks was competing in a Pirelli-equipped ŠKODA Fabia R5 run by Motorsport Italia, part of his reward from championship promoter Eurosport Events for winning the ERC3 Junior title in 2018. Despite his limited experience, Sesks finished third overall and second in ERC1 Junior – the category for young stars in R5 cars – alongside co-driver Krišjānis Caune. Fellow teenager and ERC1 Junior Oliver Solberg won the high-speed gravel rally.

“I had an incredible debut in the Motorsport Italia ŠKODA Fabia R5, especially on my home rally,” said the 19-year Latvian talent. “It feels like a long time ago that I won the ERC3 Junior title but I still feel and remember that special moment because the opportunity to drive the R5 car was my prize for my achievements. I am really thankful to Eurosport Events for being so helpful with everything.

“For sure my experience was not that big before the start but I was able to build my confidence and my experience and this was my main objective. Before the rally I didn’t know how fast I would be so I didn’t have a position in mind. But I must be happy to finish in the top three. It was also nice to battle with the top guys, to be a couple of seconds from them.”

Sesks had previously excelled at R2 level, winning the ERC3, ERC3 Junior and Latvian 2WD titles in 2018. He’s contesting the Junior world championship in 2019 alongside his prize drives in the ERC. “It has been a really nice experience to drive an R5,” Sesks continued. “On slow corners and in hairpins in the R2 car you are chasing every millimetre in the corner. But with the four-wheel drive you just go into the corner, you are sliding a bit but you have the torque and everything goes fast. You need to be much faster with the steering for example, but I was able to learn and improve quite a lot.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, followed Sesks’s progress with interest. “We knew Mārtiņš had big potential but he really proved his talent with a great performance and a very mature drive. On stages he knows well, the temptation was there to push too hard and make a mistake, but he drove with his head, sticking to his pre-rally objective of getting to the finish and building his experience. But to finish on the podium was beyond our expectations and clearly points to an even brighter future. And with 17-year-old Oliver Solberg winning, this is a really strong endorsement of ERC1 Junior as a platform for young drivers to showcase their talent.”

Sesks will receive his second prize drive on the all-asphalt Rally di Roma Capitale in July. Before then the Latvian will be in action in the Junior world championship in a Ford Fiesta R2T on Pirelli tyres.

The post Sesks shines on ERC prize drive appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Franceschi reveals what went wrong during Latvian ERC3 Junior glory bid

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 06:00

If rallying was about pace alone, Jean-Baptiste Franceschi would have been at least a worthy runner-up to winner Ken Torn in the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship section of Rally Liepāja last weekend.

Instead a costly mistake before stage nine on the final morning ended the Ford Fiesta R2T driver’s hopes of a second consecutive victory in the Pirelli-supported category, as he explained.

“Before the start of stage nine it was raining a lot at the start of the stage and I wanted to change something in the car. But I forgot to close the bonnet. From the start the bonnet was open to the end and we did 18 kilometres like this.”

Despite the setback, Franceschi was still able to reflect on an impressive performance on his Rally Liepāja debut and his first event on gravel in the new-for-2019 Ford Fiesta R2T.

“We made a mistake and it’s like that,” said the Frenchman. “But I am very happy about my pace for the first time here. Stage by stage we tried to improve but we were always being careful and working hard with the pacenotes. To be in the fight with Ken Torn was incredible for me so I have to be happy with this.”

The post Franceschi reveals what went wrong during Latvian ERC3 Junior glory bid appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Llarena plots renewed ERC3 Junior title push

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 18:00

Efrén Llarena has vowed to come back stronger when the chase for FIA ERC3 Junior glory continues in Poland next month.

The championship-leading Spaniard had to settle for fifth place in the Pirelli-supported category on last week’s Rally Liepāja after he was unable to consistently match the pace of the leading quartet headed by Ken Torn in a Ford Fiesta R2T.

“I tried to attack and catch the podium but it was impossible for us because we did not have the speed,” said the Rally Team Spain Peugeot 208 R2 driver, who turned 24 on Sunday. “It was just not my rally but we have one month to Poland and hopefully we will be back stronger.”

The post Llarena plots renewed ERC3 Junior title push appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Michelin introduces new LTX Force T tyre on ERC Rally Liepāja

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 12:00

Michelin unleashed a new tyre for round three of the FIA European Rally Championship.

Designed for high-speed gravel events, Michelin’s LTX Force T was used for the first time on Rally Liepāja.

With a new construction, the LTX Force T provides more lateral support on fast corners through an enforced, albeit softer sidewall. This new product is lighter than its predecessor, it enables later braking, while its unique two-lined tread pattern on each edge of the tyre allows for improved dispersion of loose-surface gravel.

“We have experienced no punctures, no issues and no damage which is good for the first time and on a high-speed gravel rally like this it is the right choice,” said Jérôme Hancart, Michelin’s technical advisor on ERC events. “Drivers have said they felt much more confident under braking, they can brake later, traction is improved and they also feel more lateral support.”

The LTX Force T was available in both soft and medium compounds on Rally Liepāja, while a hard-compound version has been designed for events held in warmer conditions. The 17/65/15 version of the tyre comes in soft, medium and hard compounds, as does the 16/64/15 version.

The post Michelin introduces new LTX Force T tyre on ERC Rally Liepāja 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