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European Rally Championship
Updated: 13 min 37 sec ago

Habaj out of ERC fight after retiring in service

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 09:03

Łukasz Habaj's hopes of closing the gap to FIA European Rally Championship title rival Alexey Lukyanuk are over on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, being forced to retire in Sunday morning service.

Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) was set to restart P10 but a damaged rollcage from a side-on crash into a tree yesterday left his team no option but to retire his ŠKODA Fabia R5 for safety reasons.


“We came to the morning service and discovered that the rollcage is bent, so we cannot continue. Yesterday in all this heat when they were fixing it, nobody spotted it, but now we can't continue," explained Habaj.


"We were hoping for some day points for today and also wanted to keep fighting for points, so it's a big disappointment. But what can I do? I made a mistake yesterday and that's the consequence."


With Lukyanuk restarting after retiring yesterday, the two title front-runners are set to pick up very few points, bringing ERC1 Junior star Chris Ingram back into contention to lead the overall championship after Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

The post Habaj out of ERC fight after retiring in service appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC champion Lukyanuk targets points with “important” Zlín restart

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 08:39

Alexey Lukyanuk has targeted taking points away from FIA European Rally Championship title rivals Łukasz Habaj and Chris Ingram on Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s second leg, as he returns from retirement on Saturday.

Saintéloc Junior Team’s lead driver was forced to stop after the second pass of Halenkovice after a slow puncture damaged the front-left corner of his Citroën C3 R5, a case reminiscent of his retirement from the lead of Rally Islas Canarias three months ago.

Nearest rival Habaj is now set to leave the Czech Republic with no points on the board, having finished P10 and out of the leg points-paying places on leg one, then retiring in Sunday morning service with rollcage damage.

“We have decided to experiment with the set-up of the car in a wide range, because it’s like test kilometres for us now. At the same time I think it would be not bad to try to take some points away from our rivals and competitors,” said Lukyanuk.

“There are some valuable and important tasks for today, so [we are] trying to focus on that.”

The post ERC champion Lukyanuk targets points with “important” Zlín restart appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior Wagner heads Zlín leg two road order

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 08:15

FIA European Rally Championship young star in an R5 car Simon Wagner (Rallytechnology) will be first on the road for Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s second leg as two title deciders reach their final act.

The ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior championhips will be decided in just six stages’ time, with the two young stars in R5 cars battling for the ERC1 Junior title – Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) and Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) – heading out seventh and eighth in the road order respectively.

Big names that fell by the wayside with incidents are also back for leg two, with reigning ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk lining up P10 on the road this morning as he targets maximum leg points.

Norbert Herczig (MOL Racing Team), Hiroki Arai (Team STARD) and Paulo Nobre (Palmeirinha Rally) are all down to restart tomorrow, as is ERC2 and Abarth Rally Cup championship hopeful Dariusz Poloński (Rallytechnology).

A trio of ERC3 pilots are also set to return: ACCR Czech Rally Team’s Junior hopeful Jan Talaš, Adam Březík and Kristóf Klausz (Klausz Motorsport).

Six drivers will not be heading back onto Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s challenging stages on Sunday.

Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) was originally set to be first car on the road but was forced to retire at Sunday morning service, having picked up rollcage damage when he hit a tree side-on during Saturday's second loop.

ERC1 Junior star Miko Marczyk’s ŠKODA Fabia R5 was heavily damaged in a crash on Kostelany, Jan Černý has been sidelined by a technical issue and Antonín Tlusťák will not return after his unfortunate double puncture on Halenkovice. ERC3 Junior Amaury Molle (Toksport WRT) is also out of the running.

Sunday’s running begins with the the 8.15 kilometre Maják test, with all of today’s action broadcast live on ERC Radio. Coverage begins at 08h30 CET – visit https://www.fiaerc.com/live-radio/ to tune in.

The post ERC Junior Wagner heads Zlín leg two road order appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Mares not frustrated by last-stage first leg ERC1 Junior lead swap

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 07:00

Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) dismissed any worries over losing the lead in ERC1 Junior on the last stage of Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s opening leg, despite missing out on an extra leg point to title rival Chris Ingram.

Chasing down a 30 point deficit but with no scores to drop, Mareš needs to chase every point to win the all-important ERC1 Junior crown, though was unconcerned with scoring only six leg points instead of seven after being passed by Ingram (Toksport WRT) on the Kostelany night stage.

“It's not so frustrating for me because I don't like this stage, to be honest. I hope [today] will suit us better and we can take the position back for us,” said Mareš.

“It's difficult to enjoy it in some moments because it's really big motivation to win this battle. It's about budget for two ERC rounds of the season so it's important for us to win and it will be really nice to win it.”

Ingram, however, was elated at his last minute swipe of the class lead. He beat the likes of seven-time event winner and 2013 ERC champion Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport) and reigning ERC1 Junior champion Nikolay Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies) to the overall fastest stage time, stealing the maximum seven leg points away from Mareš at the last moment.

“It was the best day for a long time,” said Ingram of his first leg performance.

“There was one stage, Semetín, both runs I lost so much time. But we were quicker than Filip on every other stage, and then going fastest on the last stage in the dark was really nice.

“We can do it. It's been a difficult year but I've proven to myself today that if I just relax, I've got the pace, and we've not taken any risks, so really promising.”

Ingram and Mareš are only 3.8s apart heading to leg two and also occupy second and third place overall, with only 103.34 kilometres of competitive action left to decide this year’s ERC1 Junior champion.

The post Mares not frustrated by last-stage first leg ERC1 Junior lead swap appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Nucita puts his Abarth on top in Zlin ERC2

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 22:52

Andrea Nucita’s title campaign is back on track in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category, the Sicilian eading both the production class outright and also the Abarth Rally Cup order.

Loran SRL driver Nucita has led from the start after topping Zlín’s late night superspecial on Friday, putting himself on course for a vital maximum points score in both championships.

“This [last] stage was really tricky but at the end of the day I am very happy, especially for the championship. The race is not finished, again one [more] day,” he said.

One of Nucita’s main rivals, Rallytechnology’s Dariusz Poloński, had held firm in second place, less than a minute off the pace, but was halted by a transmission problem and retired.

Juan Carlos Alonso moved into second place in ERC2 as a consequence, but had to cruise through the last three stages with a broken limited-slip differential.

Nucita’s team-mate and ERC2 championship leader Zelindo Melegari crashed at high speed on stage four. Both Melegari and co-driver Corrado Bonato were hospitalised with rib injuries and remain in intensive care to undergo continued medical treatment and assessment, though both are fully conscious and in good spirits.

The post Nucita puts his Abarth on top in Zlin ERC2 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Llarena keeps ERC3 Junior title hopes alive with Zlín lead

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 22:30

Efrén Llarena’s hopes of winning the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship title for Rallye Team Spain have been boosted by a strong opening day on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, with the points race against Ken Torn still touch-and-go.

Llarena built his lead with two stage wins on Saturday morning and by showing metronomic consistency, setting top five times on all but one stage during leg one.

Maximum points from leg one and the class lead give him a platform to challenge Torn (Estonian Autosport Junior Team) for the title but faces resistance from a Torn ally: the championship leader’s Orsák Rally Sport stablemate Jean-Baptiste Franceschi.

The Frenchman is participating in his first ever Barum Czech Rally Zlín and spent the morning loop getting his bearings, but on the second pass was on a charge, cutting the gap down to 5.5s at one point.

Franceschi caught and passed the third contender for ERC3 Junior title honours, Sindre Furuseth (Saintéloc Junior Team)  for second place while chasing down the leader, but Llarena responded on the final two tests, nudging the lead baccak up to 7.8s by the final stage of leg one.

Furuseth is still mathematically in contention for the grand prize of free participation in two rounds of the 2020 FIA ERC in a Motorsport Italia ŠKODA Fabia R5 but needs both Llarena and Torn to hit trouble, along with wrestling back the position he lost to Franceschi.

Torn began Saturday out of the points in P11 but rapidly made progress up the leaderboard, making it to fourth place by stage four before Franceschi came flying past on the next test and demoted him to fifth.

He spent the afternoon trading places repeatedly with Erik Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team), who had dropped out of the podium places with fading brakes on Kostelany. Third-fastest time on the night-time re-run of Kostelany by Torn promoted him back to fourth, helping him to earn another crucial bonus point in his title tussle with Llarena.

The pair are now separated by 2.9s heading to leg two, with a drop back to fifth potentially handing the title to Llarena should he win, and depending on leg points scored tomorrow.

Though not registered for ERC3 Junior, Florian Bernardi also has a keen eye on the exploits of Torn, Llarena and Furuseth, as he aims to beat all three to the combined ERC3 title which continues on to the season-ending Cyprus Rally and Rally Hungary events.

He initially struggled to break into the top 10 but had found his stage-winning form again by the evening pass of Halenkovice, climbing to P6 in ERC3, 1.7s ahead of Peugeot Rally Academy’s Yohan Rossel.

Overnight leader Adam Březík could not maintain his quick turn of pace from the Zlín city superspecial on Saturday and dropped into a battle over seventh with Rossel, but was forced to retire with a broken water pump on Halenkovice while running eighth.

That promoted Sean Johnston (Saintéloc Junior Team) to eighth, soldiering on while coping with an apparent case of food poisoning during the afternoon loop. Miklós Csomós (East Motorsport Kft.) and René Dohnal (ACCR Czech Rally Team) complete the ERC3 top 10.

ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team pairing Grégoire Munster and Elias Lundberg are the next best ERC3 Juniors after Cais in sixth and seventh, the pair currently engaged in an in-house battle separated by just 1.8s after leg one.

Petr Semerád (GO+CARS GO+Eauto) showed top five pace all day, including taking a first ever ERC3 stage win on Semetín. However, he is only eighth in ERC3 Junior, having lost two and a half minutes when his co-driver mistakenly told him to do an extra lap of the first section of Březová, Saturday’s first stage. Gregor Jeets is ninth in ERC3 Junior with the second Estonian Autosport Junior Team machine.

Nabila Tejpar leads the ERC Ladies’ class over 2014 champion Ekaterina Stratieva, running P17 in the combined ERC3 order.

The post Llarena keeps ERC3 Junior title hopes alive with Zlín lead appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Kopecky leads Rally Zlín ahead of thrilling ERC Junior title battle

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 21:37

Jan Kopecký is leading the FIA European Rally Championship classification after nearest rivals Alexey Lukyanuk and Nikolay Gryazin hit trouble, but all eyes are on a breathtakingly close battle for the ERC1 Junior title.

Behind 2013 ERC champion Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport), Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) and Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) took centre stage, the pair battling over a 100,000 euro prize to compete on the last two rounds of the ERC season for being the top young star in an R5 car.

Reigning ERC1 Junior champion Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies) had initially been ahead of both his fellow young stars and fighting for the overall lead until a puncture cost him two minutes, turning the lead battle into a Kopecký versus Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team) affair.

But when Lukyanuk was forced to retire after a front-left puncture on the latter pass of Halenkovice damaged his front-left suspension – a near identical incident to the one which sidelined him from first place on Rally Islas Canarias – Mareš and Ingram came to the fore.

The championship-battling pair traded places several times during the day, and Ingram had begun to edge ahead in the middle of the first leg.

Semetín, a stage which drivers had pinpointed as the hardest of the day, turned the battle on its head, with Ingram conceding 9.2s and admitting he had been “driving all over the shop for about a kilometre”.

That promoted Mareš to first place in ERC1 Junior, but there was one final twist before the day was out. Ingram pulled off a blinding final stage to beat Kopecký to the fastest outright time, gaining five seconds on Mareš and pipping the home favourite to a maximum seven leg points and the overnight lead in ERC1 Junior by 3.8s.

“It’s been a fantastic day,” said Ingram. “I always go well in the dark and road rally boy Ross [Whittock, co-driver] always does as well. Though I didn’t think we’d be that quick; it felt ragged!”

“We were just carrying as much speed as we could through the dodgy sections but it was comfortable, so bring on tomorrow!”

Mareš was determined to regroup and restore his class lead, remaining optimistic despite the late setback.

“It was a good day for us and we can be satisfied with our performance generally, but there are a lot of things we can improve for tomorrow. I hope the new day will suit us better than today.”

Václav Pech (EuroOil - Invelt Team) briefly passed the quarrelling pair of Juniors but was bumped back down to fourth place overall as Ingram and Mareš upped the ante in the final stages of leg one.

Fellow Czech driver Tomáš Kostka (Kresta Racing) had struggled with tyre wear late on the first loop after taking softs, but felt more comfortable on the second set of stages and cemented his fifth place, 12.5s behind Pech.

Past ERC1 and ERC3 Junior champion Marijan Griebel was able to pick up his pace as the day wore on, making his way up from P10 to sixth by the end of the day aboard his ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Despite losing two minutes with his earlier puncture Gryazin was able to climb all the way to seventh place, retaking third place in ERC1 Junior on the final stage of the loop.

That improvement came at the expense of ERC3 Junior graduate Simon Wagner, who is making his ERC1 Junior debut this weekend in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo, who was battling a stomach bug. He dropped behind both Gryazin and Jaromír Tarabus (Agrorodeo) to end the day in ninth place.

Łukasz Habaj admitted he hadn’t made the most of the “gift” given to him by Lukyanuk’s retirement, ending leg one in P10. He had struggled to make an impression on the front-running positions and lost time when he hit a tree on Semetín, his car very badly dented but otherwise undamaged.

Tomáš Pospíšilík (BTH Import Stal Rally Team), who participated in the first ever ERC Junior event in a ŠKODA Fabia R2 in 2014, made a good impression on his step up to ERC1 Junior, rounding out the top five in class after passing Matias Adielsson (Sweden National Team) and Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport) on pace alone.

Both Adielsson and Marczyk hit trouble; a puncture in the morning followed by power steering failure in the afternoon cost sixth-placed ERC1 Junior runner Adielsson sixth, while Marczyk crashed out on the first pass of Kostelany.

Andrea Nucita (Loran SRL) leads both the ERC2 production category and Abarth Rally Cup after leg one, while Efrén Llarena (Rallye Team Spain) is keeping his ERC3 Junior title hopes alive by leading the ERC3 category outright, 7.8s ahead of Jean-Baptiste Franceschi.

The post Kopecky leads Rally Zlín ahead of thrilling ERC Junior title battle appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Breaking news: Lukyanuk retires from second in Zlín

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 20:09

Alexey Lukyanuk’s campaign for victory on Barum Czech Rally Zlín has been ended by a puncture on stage eight, which also involved a broken front linkage that ended the FIA European Rally Championship points leader's rally.

Saintéloc Junior Team’s leading driver had been second and battling Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport) for victory until a front-left puncture delayed his progress on the Halenkovice test.

Lukyanuk had initially dropped to seventh place after the rest of the field came through, slotting in between past ERC1 and ERC3 Junior champion Marijan Griebel and current ERC1 Junior contender Simon Wagner (Rallytechnology).

But further car damage sustained from the puncture forced him to retire on the road section, despite the points leader working tirelessly to carry out emergency repairs.

“It was a slow puncture and I decided to go to the finish and we didn’t lose much time, but unfortunately it was broken in the same place as [Rally Islas] Canarias,” explained Lukyanuk, pointing out he had been forced to retire in a near-identical manner on the ERC's second round of the season in May.

Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) and Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT), who are currently duelling over the ERC1 Junior title, now pick up the battle over second place, separated by only 1.2s heading to leg one's final stage.

The post Breaking news: Lukyanuk retires from second in Zlín appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Update on Zelindo Melegari and Corrado Bonato

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 19:30

Zelindo Melegari and co-driver Corrado Bonato are recovering in hospital following a crash on stage four of Barum Czech Rally Zlín earlier today.

Starting the event leading the FIA ERC2 category and making their second appearance in the Abarth Rally Cup, the Italian pair were hospitalised after sustaining rib injuries when they went off the road at high speed.

Melegari and fellow Italian Bonato will remain in intensive care while they undergo continued medical treatment and assessment, but they are fully conscious and in good spirits.

They would like to express their thanks and gratitude to rescue crews and medical staff to all those who have sent messages of support.

The post Update on Zelindo Melegari and Corrado Bonato appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Teenage ERC3 Junior Semerad stars with first stage win

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 19:21

Eighteen-year-old Czech Petr Semerád reinforced his credentials as a star of the future with his first ERC3 stage win on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Semerád, who is making only his second career ERC start this weekend, starred on the 11.55-kilometre Semetín test, described by most of the field as a “crazy” stage.

But the youngster, whose older brother Martin competed in the FIA World Rally Championship in the past, fully embraced the challenge, beating Jean-Baptiste Franceschi to fastest time by 0.2s aboard his Pirelli-shod Opel ADAM R2.

“It’s amazing, I love this one. It’s so difficult and so different to every other stage I’ve ever driven in my life, but I love it. So many crests, so many flat out places, I love it,” said Semerád.

Semerád’s pace was reinforced by his result on the first pass of the same stage, in which he went second quickest, only 2.5s slower than category leader Efrén Llarena (Rallye Team Spain).

The post Teenage ERC3 Junior Semerad stars with first stage win appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Habaj shows tree who is boss in Czech clash

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 18:33

FIA European Rally Championship contender Łukasz Habaj has shown that not even a tree can stop his progress on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, surviving a side-on impact with only cosmetic damage.

Despite the extensive visual damage to his Sports Racing Technologies-run ŠKODA Fabia R5, Habaj was able to continue at full speed after his off.

“We had a big moment and hit the tree. The car is OK, we finish the stage normally,” Habaj told ERC Radio reporter Julian Porter at stage end.

Habaj, who is only six points behind championship leader Alexey Lukyanuk, dropped from eighth to ninth after his off, slotting in 2.3s behind Martin Březík (Samohýl ŠKODA Team).

The post Habaj shows tree who is boss in Czech clash appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Furuseth has “nothing to lose” in epic ERC3 Junior title fight

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 17:54

FIA ERC3 Junior Championship title contender Sindre Furuseth says he has “nothing to lose” in the Junior season finale on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Furuseth is the lowest placed of the three ERC3 Junior drivers battling for the grand prize of competing on two rounds of the 2020 FIA ERC in a Motorsport Italia ŠKODA Fabia R5, with 91 points to Ken Torn’s 116 points.

“It is a bit of tension. Of course Ken Torn has an advantage but I feel like I have nothing to lose,” said Furuseth, who is currently second behind fellow title hopeful Efrén Llarena (Rallye Team Spain). “I’m just going to go for it!”

“We just need to continue where we are, try to find those places where the gravel and mud is and go flat out elsewhere.”

The post Furuseth has “nothing to lose” in epic ERC3 Junior title fight appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Jakes back to four-wheel drive in ERC

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 16:54

Miroslav Jakeš is back in four-wheel-drive mode on Barum Czech Rally Zlín but out of contention to repeat the career-best fourth place he scored on the FIA European Rally Championship counter in 2018.

Jakeš lost vital time when his Samohýl ŠKODA Team entry lost front-wheel drive. He completed stage five in 20thoverall.

We had this for two stages but it was not broken, it was only out of the gearbox,” Jakeš  said of the transmission problem that’s hampered him this morning. “We fix it and now we go on four-wheel drive. But it’s difficult now to be faster.”

The post Jakes back to four-wheel drive in ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Nucita focusing on ERC Abarth Rally Cup glory

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 16:46

Andrea Nucita is focused solely on scoring maximum points – and prize money – in the Abarth Rally Cup.

Nucita leads the one-make series for the Abarth 124 rally after five stages, despite a slow puncture on stage four.

“The first loop was very difficult but for me it’s okay because I am focused on the championship,” said the Sicilian. “I had a slow puncture for the last two or three kilometres of stage four, but I have a lead of 42s and I repeat the focus is on the championship because this is a very difficult race.”

Nucita is 42.1s ahead of Dariusz Poloński, the category winner on last month’s Rally di Roma Capitale. He will take home €12,000 if he stays in front of his Polish rival.

The post Nucita focusing on ERC Abarth Rally Cup glory appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Llarena heads thrilling fight for ERC3 Junior gold

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 16:30

Efrén Llarena is doing all he can to win the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC3 Junior Championship title on Barum Czech Rally Zlín by topping his class after five stages.

The Rallye Team Spain driver is 3.1s ahead of title rival Sindre Furuseth (Saintéloc Junior Team) with championship pacesetter Ken Torn (Estonian Autosport Junior Team) in fifth place, 12.9s behind Llarena in his M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta R2T.

After finishing second to Furuseth on Friday night’s Zlín superspecial, Llarena took the lead from the Norwegian with the quickest time through Saturday’s opening Březová test. A second stage win on SS3 followed to give Llarena a 6.1s advantage heading to stage four, which was cancelled for a number of crews – including the entire ERC3 contingent – following Zelindo Melegari’s accident.

Despite a mistake at a junction on SS5, Furuseth was able to cut Llarena’s advantage to 3.1s following the stage, which Jean-Baptiste Franceschi won to move into third in class ahead of Erik Cais and Torn. Local driver Cais, who is 0.1s ahead of Torn, has reported brake issues.

ACCR Czech Rally Team’s Jan Talaš is sixth ahead of ERC3 newcomer Adam Březíkas Yohan Rossel (Peugeot Rally Academy), Renault-powered Florian Bernardi and René Dohnal complete the ERC3 top 10.

ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team pair Elias Lundberg and Grégoire Munster are seventh and eighth in ERC3 Junior followed by Estonian Autosport Junior Team’s Gregor Jeets and Czech teenager Petr Semerád.

The post Llarena heads thrilling fight for ERC3 Junior gold appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk and Kopecky 0.4s apart in ERC as Gryazin loses lead

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 15:06

A puncture for ERC1 Junior champion Nikolay Gryazin has ended his hopes of Barum Czech Rally Zlín victory, leaving Alexey Lukyanuk and Jan Kopecký to engage in a thrilling fight up front.

With five sealed-surface stages run, Lukyanuk leads Kopecký by 0.4s as the FIA European champions present and past thrill the thousands of fans watching the action in the stunning South Moravian countryside.

Gryazin (Sport Racing Technologies) had demoted Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport) for the lead with a rapid stage best on SS3, Semetín, 8.1s faster than home hero Kopecký, who won Friday night’s Zlín superspecial.

One stage later, Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team) moved in front on Halenkovice with a second stage win of the rally following his fastest time on SS2, with Gryazin just 0.5s behind in second.

But Gryazin, who is competing on his second of two prize drives provided by ERC promoter Eurosport Events for his ERC1 Junior title success last year, was delayed for two minutes on Kostelany as he was forced to stop and change a puncture.

“After the start it was off the rim. We didn’t hit anything. I don’t know,” explained Gryazin. “I felt like it’s no pressure. I don’t know. [There was] no hit at all. I was driving the first part really nice and clear. We have lost everything. Now we will drive for ourselves.”

Kopecký’s first stage win since Friday’s Zlín superspecial on the loop-ending Kostelany test closed the gap to rally leader Lukyanuk down to just 0.4 seconds, as the 2013 ERC champion continues to chase his fifth consecutive Barum Czech Rally Zlín win and his eighth in total.

Toksport WRT's Chris Ingram, a strong third overall ahead of Václav Pech, holds the upper hand in the race to win the ERC1 Junior crown with a 5.5s advantage over Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) following back-to-back class stage wins.

Mareš is fifth overall with Norbert Herczig sixth for MOL Racing Team. Tomáš Kostka is seventh, Marijan Griebel eighth, Jan Černý ninth and Łukasz Habaj 10th.

Simon Wagner is a fine third in ERC1 Junior on his class debut despite reporting a lack of energy due to illness. Tomáš Pospíšilík, another newcomer, is next up with Gryazin dropping from first in the category to fifth.

Miko Marczyk crashed out on SS5, the Pole's stricken ŠKODA Polska Motorsport entry blocking the road and halting the stage for a time. Sweden National Team's Mattias Adielsson reached the finished of SS5 with a front-left damaged tyre and is currently sixth in class. Hiroki Arai put his Team STARD Citroën off the road on SS2.

The top five in ERC3 Junior are covered by 12.9s after five stages. Efrén Llarena leads but Sindre Furuseth is just 3.1s behind despite a mistake at a junction on SS5. Jean-Baptiste Franceschi, fastest on SS5, is third with fellow Ford Fiesta R2T drivers Erik Cais and title leader Ken Torn fourth and fifth respectively. Local driver Cais has reported brake issues.

Andrea Nucita leads ERC2 and the Abarth Rally Cup ahead of Dariusz Poloński and Juan Pablo Alonso.

Stage four was stopped before being cancelled altogether after Zelindo Melgari and Corrado Bonato crashed heavily in their Abarth 124 rally. The Italians have been taken to hospital for checks according to a team spokesperson.

Following service at the Continental Barum factory in Otrokovice, SS6, the repeat of Březová, is due to get underway at 16h41 local time.

The post Lukyanuk and Kopecky 0.4s apart in ERC as Gryazin loses lead appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC1 Juniors turn up the heat in sunny Zlin

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 12:17

The FIA European Rally Championship’s young stars in R5 cars are turning up the heat on a sunny Barum Czech Rally Zlín, with Nikolay Gryazin taking the lead and the ERC1 Junior title potentially changing hands.

Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies) is competing in the Czech Republic thanks to using the second of his two prize drives awarded by ERC promoter Eurosport Events for winning the ERC1 Junior title last year.

A sublime run on the Semetín test by Gryazin gave him fastest time, 3.9s up on reigning ERC champion Alexey Lukynauk (Saintéloc Junior Team) and 8.1s over seven-time Barum Czech Rally Zlín winner Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport), promoting him to the lead.

Lukyanuk had taken second from Gryazin on Březová and kept the place despite falling behind his compatriot, as Kopecký fell to third.
Behind Václav Pech (EuroOil - Invelt Team) in fourth place, a thrilling battle for the ERC1 Junior title experienced a potentially crucial early position change.

Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) is on a quest to close down a 30 point gap to ERC1 Junior points leader Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT), and by taking fifth place from Ingram on Semetín, also moved into second in class.

Depending on leg points scored this weekend, finishing in second place and ahead of Ingram is potentially enough for Mareš to win the title, though their positions being reversed would immediately put Ingram in pole position for the title.

Tomáš Kostka (Kresta Racing), Norbert Herczig (MOL Racing Team), Jan Černý (Mogul Auto Šidlo ŠKODA Team) and Marijan Griebel (BRR Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Team) complete the top 10 overall.

Paulo Nobre (Palmeirinha Rally) was caught out by the tricky Semetín test, going off into a ditch with a broken right-rear wheel and retiring.

ERC2 championship leader Zelindo Melegari (Loran SRL) is also in trouble, nursing a driveshaft issue aboard his Abarth 124 Rally machine after dropping behind Juan Carlos Alonso to fourth place on Březová.

Efrén Llarena (Rallye Team Spain) continues to lead in ERC3. Erik Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team) moved up into the final podium place at the expense of Adam Březík, who was off the pace on Semetín and fell to seventh in ERC3.

The post ERC1 Juniors turn up the heat in sunny Zlin appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Arai’s ERC1 Junior podium hopes end with early Zlin crash

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 11:24

Hiroki Arai’s chances of taking a podium place in the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship standings have suffered a heavy blow after crashing out of the second stage on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Team STARD’s young star in an R5 car is one of three drivers hoping to catch current third-placed ERC1 Junior Alexandros Tsouloftas in the championship classification, along with Matias Adielsson (Sweden National Team) and Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport).

Arai failed to complete the Březová test, oversteering out of a fast left-hander and dropping his Citroën C3 R5 down a ditch into thick foliage that left him unable to continue further.

The stage was won by Alexey Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team), who has moved up into second place at the expense of ERC1 Junior leader Nikolay Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies).

There was also trouble for Miroslav Jakeš (Samohýl ŠKODA Team), who lost a minute with a spin caused by losing drive to the front wheels of his car.

Simon Wagner also had a difficult time on Březová. The ERC1 Junior debutant and graduate of the ERC3 Junior category dropped from fourth to P11, suffering from illness that also led to a lack of sleep last night.

The post Arai’s ERC1 Junior podium hopes end with early Zlin crash appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Three go for ERC3 Junior title gold but world star Sordo backs Llarena

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 11:00

FIA World Rally Championship event winner Dani Sordo is backing fellow Spaniard Efrén Llarena to win the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship.

Llarena is in a three-way battle with leader Ken Torn and third-placed Sindre Furuseth starting the season-deciding Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

And while the title odds are stacked in Torn’s favour, Rallye Team Spain star Llarena (pictured right) is still in the thick of the fight in the Pirelli-supported category.

In a video tweeted by Rallye Team Spain, Sordo said: “I send you a great message for really good luck. It’s a really difficult race but you are in a strong team with great motivation. Go maximum for maximum attack but we support you like hell. Very good luck to you.”

Sordo made his Barum Czech Rally Zlín debut last season and finished third in a Hyundai i20 R5.

The post Three go for ERC3 Junior title gold but world star Sordo backs Llarena appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Habaj on Barum Czech Rally Zlín: “No easy rallies in ERC”

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 10:45

FIA European Rally Championship title contender Łukasz Habaj is well aware of Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s challenging reputation, but pointed out that there are “no easy rallies in ERC”.

Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) had led the points classification for the first half of the season, though fell behind reigning champion Alexey Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team) after Rally di Roma Capitale following a crash.

Now six points behind, Habaj is focusing on scoring the best possible result in the Czech Republic, and though familiar with the rally’s tough reputation, was quick to point out that the rest of the ERC calendar isn’t any easier.

“In the European Rally Championship there are no easy rallies but for sure this is one of the toughest,” said Habaj.

“Maybe here it’s tougher competition in terms of the stages and the length of the rally and the weather conditions and road characteristics.”

The post Habaj on Barum Czech Rally Zlín: “No easy rallies in ERC” appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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PZM 76th Rally Poland - Newsfeed LEG 2

PZM 76th Rally Poland - Leg 2

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