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Updated: 47 min 26 sec ago

Arai’s ERC Tarmac target set

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 21:00

Hiroki Arai has set his target for Rally di Roma Capitale, his first event on Tarmac in in ERC1 Junior.

Arai is leading Yokohama’s tyre development programme in the FIA European Rally Championship with a dual campaign on asphalt and gravel.

“I like Tarmac and gravel evenly, but the main target is to get the feedback for Yokohama because this will be the first Tarmac event this year,” said the Japanese promise. “It’s also my first time on Tarmac with the Citroën C3 R5 and my first time with [Jürgen Heigl] because Ilka [Minor] is not available for this event.”

The post Arai’s ERC Tarmac target set appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Poland progress and Luxembourg win boost ERC Junior Munster

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 18:00

Grégoire Munster makes his Rally di Roma Capitale debut this week encouraged by his progress in Poland and boosted by a class victory on Rally Luxembourg recently.

Part of the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team, Munster was sixth in FIA ERC3 Junior on PZM 76th Rally Poland last month only for a mechanical failure to ground his Pirelli-equipped Opel ADAM R2 in the closing stages.

But he returns to his preferred Tarmac for the penultimate event of the season in a positive frame of mind.

“While our retirement in Poland was very disappointing, the rally was also an encouraging experience,” said Belgian Munster. “Rally di Roma Capitale obviously will be completely different, a tricky challenge on Tarmac which I know much better. After we finished fourth on the second round in Gran Canaria our goal in Italy will be to equal or even improve this result. I feel the whole ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team and the ADAM R2 are capable of achieving this goal, even if the competition in ERC3 Junior is so incredibly tough.”

The post Poland progress and Luxembourg win boost ERC Junior Munster appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Bernardi excited to be back on the black stuff in ERC

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 15:00

Florian Bernardi is back on his favoured asphalt this week with a second ERC3 victory of the season the number one target on Rally di Roma Capitale.

After winning his class on Rally Islas Canarias, Bernardi faced the daunting prospect of making what was effectively his gravel debut on the high-speed PZM 76th Rally Poland last month.

But after defying the odds by landing a top-10 finish in his Renault Clio R3T, Bernardi and co-driver Victor Bellotto are preparing to fly again on Tarmac when they return to Rally di Roma Capitale from 19-21 July.

“Last year we participated in this rally and we were fighting for the victory,” said Bernardi, the sole French driver in action on the Italian event. “Thanks to this experience, we know that we have the cards in hand to play the victory again this year.”

Bernardi is testing in Italy today (Tuesday) with the support of his team, FA Compétition, and R.Tec France.

The post Bernardi excited to be back on the black stuff in ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

When in Rome… Melegari makes Abarth switch ahead of home ERC counter

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 12:00

Zelindo Melegari will switch to an Abarth 124 rally for his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship.

The FIA ERC2 frontrunner has campaigned a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X so far in 2019 but is changing to the front-wheel-drive Abarth for this week’s Rally di Roma Capitale, a move that will make him eligible for the Abarth Rally Cup and the lucrative prize fund on offer.

“I wanted to try the Abarth on Tarmac,” said Melegari. “It’s a good car, good fun to drive and for an Italian rally, being an Italian driver in an Italian car and with an Italian team is a good thing.”

Melegari will join Abarth Rally Cup leader Andrea Nucita at the Loran SRL team for Rally di Roma Capitale.

The post When in Rome… Melegari makes Abarth switch ahead of home ERC counter appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Why second won’t do for ERC3 Junior leader Furuseth

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 09:00

Sindre Furuseth no longer wants to finish second in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC3 Junior Championship having placed runner-up three times in 2019.

Instead, the table-topping Norwegian is eager for a win on this week’s Rally di Roma Capitale as he looks to strengthen his title advantage with two events remaining.

Part of the Saintéloc Junior Team line-up, Furuseth explained why a first-place finish would do nicely in Italy.

“The championship looks good with three second places, but with the four best scores counting we really need a victory because the points difference between first and second place is big,” Norwegian Furuseth explained. “It’s vital to get a victory and Rome is a good opportunity.

Co-driven by Swede Jim Hjerpe, Furuseth was in the fight for the ERC3 Junior win in Roma 12 months ago only for a technical issue to put him out.

“We know the stages from last year, only one stage is new, I’m happy with my driving on Tarmac and we had a good set-up for Tarmac in Canarias,” said Furuseth. “Obviously, there are different challenges in Rome with the cuts and bumpy stages, but we have a detailed plan for our test [today]. We need to put together the package we have in the best way to be in the fight, but we also need to find the right balance.”

Before leg bonus points are taken into account, a win in ERC3 Junior is worth 25 points with 18 points going to the second-place driver.

The post Why second won’t do for ERC3 Junior leader Furuseth appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Mares hoping for Roma ERC start following Czech crash

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 06:00

ERC1 Junior title chaser Filip Mareš is hoping for good news in his bid to contest Rally di Roma Capitale this week.

Mareš crashed out of the Czech championship-counting Rally Bohemia last weekend, which left his Kresta Racing-run ŠKODA Fabia R5 in need of substantial repair.

“We are doing everything we can to be at the start in Rome,” said the ACCR Czech Rally Team driver. “There is a lot of work to do but I hope it will be possible. We went out of the road and hit a ditch with the front. The damage is expensive, but we won’t know until we can start the engine if it will be possible to do the rally. At the moment it is 90 per cent possible but we don’t know for sure.”

If Mareš does make Friday’s start, then he will look to count on experience gained from his first Rally di Roma Capitale appearance in September 2017 when he took the ERC3 Junior win alongside co-driver Jan Hloušek.

“I have some great memories from Rome from 2017,” said Mareš.“It was my first and only win in ERC3 Junior and it was a nice experience. The victory in Poland was unexpected so we have to be confident for Rome.”

The post Mares hoping for Roma ERC start following Czech crash appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

New car, new hope: Llarena ready to chase ERC3 Junior title again

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 21:00

Efrén Llarena will have a replacement Peugeot 208 R2 for Rally di Roma Capitale following his car-wrecking crash in Poland last month.

The FIA ERC3 Junior title contender had feared he might not be able to compete in Italy following his multiple roll on PZM 76th Rally Poland.

But vital support from Spanish federation RFEDA through the Rallye Team Spain initiative, combined with the hard work of his Mavisa Sport mechanics, means Llarena and co-driver Sara Fernández can continue their title fight this week.

“After the accident in Poland we have a rental car from Mavisa Sport,” Llarena explained. “Of course, it is great we are at the start because we thought it might not be possible. But the Spanish federation has given us good support, they help us a lot to be here in Rome.”

Llarena’s Poland prang drops him to second in the title, three points behind fellow Pirelli-equipped driver Furuseth.

“It’s going to be a challenging rally, it’s difficult with a lot of corners, very bumpy. We have a test on Tuesday where I will work with my engineer and with my team to find a good set-up for the rally.”

The post New car, new hope: Llarena ready to chase ERC3 Junior title again appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Oprea all set for dream step up to ERC in Rome

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 12:00

Cristiana Oprea will “learn from the best” when she makes her FIA European Rally Championship debut on Rally di Roma Capitale (19-21 July).

An architect turned rally driver, Oprea is a strong supporter of the FIA’s Women in Motorsport initiative, establishing the Romanian platform Femeiinmotorsport.ro.

She launched her bid to step up to the ERC in January following two seasons competing in her national championship and will go up against ERC Ladies’ Trophy winners past and present, Catie Munnings and Emma Falcón, when she contests Italy’s all-asphalt counter later this week.

“After two full seasons in the Romanian championship, it was a natural curiosity to discover a higher level of rallying,” said Oprea. “I always wanted to learn from the best, to work hard and be a part of top-level motorsport and I consider ERC the perfect place to evolve as a rally driver. I am also a big admirer of former ERC Ladies’ Trophy winners Ekaterina Stratieva and Catie Munnings and being able to follow their steps is part of my dream.

“My story yet has a twist: me and my co-driver, Diana Hațegan, competed last year in the FIA European Rally Trophy event in Sliven, Bulgaria, when we discovered we were the first Romanian ladies-only rally crew in the last 50 years to compete in a foreign rally. This made me want to do more in representing Romanian women athletes, and I wanted to break the barrier and become, together with Diana, the first Romanian ladies crew to compete in the ERC. I am a strong supporter of the FIA Women in Motorsport movement and I am also the founder of the Romanian WIM platform, Femeiinmotorsport.ro,so I have embraced the mission of dismantling the female stereotype in motorsport and in society.”

Oprea, who combines her rallying career with her work as an automotive journalist, web designer and motorsport public relations professional, will switch from her regular Dacia to a Peugeot 208 R2 for Rally di Roma Capitale, an event recommended to her by Romanian rally champion Simone Tempestini.

“Since January we were exploring ERC opportunities and Roma seemed to have it all – beautiful stages, a very good mass-media coverage and manageable accommodation and transport costs. Then again, Italy has a big Romanian community and Simone Tempestini competed previously in this event and he gave us some useful information as a starting point. It being my first rally with an R2-spec car I also feel more confident on Tarmac.”

Of her targets for Rally di Roma Capitale, Oprea has a clear plan. “My goal is to learn the car as much as I can and to constantly grow the pace with each stage. We are here for the whole experience, so we want to reach the finish and enjoy this moment, which for sure opens a new chapter for women in Romanian motorsport. My dream, in the future, is to bring home the ERC Ladies’ Trophy and I hope we can build a whole ERC calendar for next year with the support of our partners. The budget is the main challenge, because my last two seasons were 100 per cent funded by myself and my mum, so now we fully rely on attracting sponsors.”

The post Oprea all set for dream step up to ERC in Rome appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Double Roma winner Scandola in Hyundai i20 R5 for home ERC round

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 09:00

Umberto Scandola will become the latest top-level driver to compete in the FIA European Rally Championship in a Hyundai i20 R5 when he contests his home round of the ERC from 19-21 July.

Scandola, the 2013 Italian champion, has been added to a Rally di Roma Capitale entry list that’s big on quantity as well as quality.

Partnered by long-term co-driver Guido D’Amore, Scandola follows Jari Huttunen’s recent lead by being entered under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner as a customer driver for what will be his first start on asphalt in one of the Korean machines.

“It’s my first Tarmac rally this year and my first time in the Hyundai on Tarmac so it’s quite complicated and not easy to restart in another car,” Scandola explained. “But we have the assistance of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing so we will be ready. Our target is to go fast, but to go fast we need confidence. But we don’t have to think about a championship, we are free to push if we have the feeling.”

Scandola is focusing on the Italian Gravel championship this season but has form when it comes to Rally di Roma Capitale, winning the asphalt event in 2015 and 2016 prior to its elevation to ERC status.

“I know this rally well, we won it two times,” said Scandola, 34. “Because 80 per cent of the route is the same it’s better for us for the confidence while we get the feeling with the car.”

By driving a Hyundai i20 R5, Scandola is rekindling his previous alliance with Andrea Adamo. The now Hyundai Motorsport Team Director was part of the factory Abarth rally team that gave Scandola his big break outside his native Italy in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge from 2006. “We know Andrea very well,” said Scandola. “He is very supportive, always present with calls and messages. But it’s not only me he’s like this with, it’s all the customer drivers.”

Huttunen, the 2017 FIA ERC3 Junior Championship runner-up, finished second overall on last month’s PZM 76th Rally Poland in a Hyundai i20 R5.

Rally di Roma Capitale starts at the famousCastel Sant’Angelo in central Rome at 19h00 CET on Friday 19 July and features 16 stages over a competitive distance of 203.40 kilometres.

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Treble time for double ERC Junior champion Griebel

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 06:00

Marijan Griebel, the double FIA ERC Junior champion, made it a hat-trick of victories on Rally Luxembourg last weekend, piloting a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 to first place after winning all 10 stages.

“Our Polo was superb all day,” said Griebel. “To win every special stage is really great. I’d like to say a big thank you to the team for its fantastic support. Although I have now completed the hat-trick, I would have nothing against winning again in 2020.”

There was also Rally Luxembourg success for Grégoire Munster, who beat ERC3 Junior rival Roman Schwedt to the RC4 category honours.

In Lithuania, Vaidotas Žala got revenge for his non-start on PZM 76th Rally Poland by winning Rally Elektrėnai, a combined Lithuanian and Polish championship round. Miko Marczyk and Tomas Kasperczyk finished second and third respectively.

However, there was disappointment in Czech Republic for Filip Mareš, who crashed out of the podium battle on the final day of Rally Bohemia. Work is underway to repair his damaged ACCR Czech Rally Team ŠKODA Fabia R5 for this week’s ERC-counting Rally di Roma Capitale. Meanwhile, ERC Junior regular Simon Wagner was a fine fourth overall.

Back-to-back ERC3 Junior winner Ken Torn dominated the RC4 category on Shell Helix Rally Estonia with fellow Estonian Autosport Junior Team driver Gregor Jeets finishing sixth.

Photo: Volkswagen Motorsport

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Remembering when… Lukyanuk got ERC title hopes back on track with Roma win

Sun, 07/14/2019 - 12:00

Alexey Lukyanuk resisted a late challenge from double FIA European Rally Championship winner Giandomenico Basso for victory on Rally di Roma Capitale (22 July 2018), securing his third win this season alongside co-driver Alexey Arnautov.

Basso had more than halved Lukyanuk’s lead in a single stage on Sunday afternoon, but ran out of competitive kilometres to catch the Russian Performance Motorsport driver, falling short by 7.5s.

Grzegorz Grzyb held two rivals at bay to secure a “dream” podium finish which far exceeded his own expectations for this rally. Ten-time Italian champion Paolo Andreucci had closed to within two seconds of Grzyb in fourth but crashed out.

His other challenger for a podium was ERC Junior Under 28 category winner Fabian Kreim. Keen to secure his first ever class win and vital points for his championship challenge, Kreim focused on reaching the finish while improving his confidence, happy to let Grzyb escape and finish fourth overall.

Bruno Magalhães was happier with his SEAJETS-backed ŠKODA Fabia R5’s performance and pace on Sunday than in Leg One. But the Portuguese could not make the progress he desired though, with one of two passes through Leg Two’s longest stage cancelled, he lacked opportunities to climb his way further up the classification and settled for fifth.

ERC Junior U28 runner-up Chris Ingram was a star performer on Sunday, scoring his first outright stage victory on SS13, shared with Basso on equal times. Ingram had started Sunday 50.9s behind ŠKODA junior driver Juuso Nordgren but made up all that time plus more, jumping to sixth overall with one stage remaining and demoting Nordgren to seventh.

Fredrik Åhlin was in good spirits, capturing a second consecutive ERC Junior U28 podium finish on his way to eighth overall. Like Ingram he had lost time with a puncture on Saturday but also with a driveshaft failure on Friday, overcoming both for a strong class finish.

Orhan Avcioğlu came agonisingly close to finishing in ninth, coming into the rally’s final stage with only 1.3s in hand over local entrant Marco Pollara. A botched handbake turn at a roundabout on Ostia’s rally-closing superspecial sent him into the barriers, costing him nearly seven seconds as he reversed out. Pollara seized on Avcioğlu’s error, taking advantage of his mistake to score ninth place on his ERC debut and demote Avcioğlu to P10.

The FIA RGT class was won by Raphaël Astier, who beat his Abarth 124 rivals Andrea Modanesi in second and Andrea Nucita in third. Astier secured victory despite being forced to nurse his car home with a broken differential through Sunday’s afternoon loop. Modanesi and Nucita had both retired on Saturday.

The post Remembering when… Lukyanuk got ERC title hopes back on track with Roma win appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC giants go head to head in Rome

Sun, 07/14/2019 - 06:00

Two giants of the FIA European Rally Championship past will go head to head on Rally di Roma Capitale from 19-21 July.

Giandomenico Basso, who has two ERC titles and 18 wins to his name, will take on Luca Rossetti, the three-time ERC champion and winner of 12 rounds of the championship.

In addition to chasing ERC success, Basso and Rossetti are also focused on their Italian championship title fight with Basso (ŠKODA FabiaR5) starting Rally di Roma Capitale – a combined CIR/ERC event – three points ahead of Rossetti (Citroën C3 R5).

Basso finished runner-up to reigning European champion Alexey Lukyanuk in Rome last season. Lukyanuk starts the all-asphalt counter with a tally of nine ERC wins.

The post ERC giants go head to head in Rome appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Rally di Roma Capitale facts and stats

Sat, 07/13/2019 - 18:00

The 2019 FIA European Rally Championship is stopping off in the Italian capital this week so are here are some essential facts and stats on Rally di Roma Capitale.

Essentials
What: FIA European Rally Championship round 5 of 8*
When: 19-21 July 2019
Where: Fiuggi, Ostia and Rome
Stages: 16
Distance: 203.40 kilometres
Surface: Asphalt
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 2 (2017 and 2018)

*Also counting for: FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, FIA ERC3 Junior Championship, ERC2, ERC3, FIA European Rally Championship for Teams, ERC Nations’ Cup, ERC Ladies’ Trophy, Abarth Rally Cup

Recent winners:
2018: Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov (Ford Fiesta R5)
2017: Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Ford Fiesta R5)
2016: Umberto Scandola/Guide D’Amore (ŠKODA Fabia R5)*
2015: Umberto Scandola/Guide D’Amore (ŠKODA Fabia R5)*
2014: Tonino Di Cosimo/Mario Papa (Ford Focus RS WRC 08)*
*Non-ERC event

Five facts:
1: Rome’s famous Colosseum, which features on the Roma parade route, is the largest amphitheatre ever built. Construction began in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80.
2: In stark contrast, Rally di Roma Capitale took place for the first time in 2013, joining the European championship roster in 2017.
3: The commune of event base Fiuggi, to the southeast of central Rome, was made famous by its natural spring water and the healing powers it possesses.
4: Rome was one of two European capitals to host ERC action in 2018 with Nicosia home to a stage of the Cyprus Rally.
5: Italy has celebrated 23 European championship triumphs over the years. Giandomenico Basso and Luca Rossetti are both three-time winners.

Activities and opportunities:
Free Practice (for priority drivers): 07h30-09h00, 19 July, Fumone – Frosinone (4.02 kilometres)
Qualifying Stage (for priority drivers): 09h30, 19 July, Fumone – Frosinone (4.02 kilometres)
Shakedown (for all drivers): 10h30-12h30, 19 July, Fumone – Frosinone (4.02 kilometres)
Start order selection: 17h30, 19 July, Castel Sant’Angelo, Roma
Autograph session: 18h30, 19 July, Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome
Ceremonial start followed by Rome parade: 19h00, 19 July, Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome
Finishing podium: 20h30, 21 July, Lido di Ostia

More information/resources, including event itinerary, entry list and maps:
https://www.fiaerc.com/event/rally-di-roma-capitale-2019/

The post ERC Rally di Roma Capitale facts and stats appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

New co-driver on board as Sesks prepares for second ERC Junior prize drive

Sat, 07/13/2019 - 06:00

Mārtiņš Sesks is gearing up for his second prize drive in the FIA European Rally Championship.

Latvian teenager Sesks won two ERC starts in a Motorsport Italia-run ŠKODA Fabia R5 for claiming the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior title in 2018.

After finishing a fine third overall and second in ERC1 Junior on his R5 debut on the gravel-based Rally Liepāja in late May, Sesks is preparing to tackle his first asphalt event in a top-of-the-range R5.

Ahead of next week’s Rally di Roma Capitale, Sesks, who will compete under the LMT Autosporta Akadēmija banner, said: “There is everything on this rally from nice curvy roads to small roads that in a road car it’s not possible to drive it through normally and we are flying through at more than 140kph. It’s really extreme but that means you need to keep focused all the time on your pacenotes and your driving needs to be perfect.

“I haven’t done much Tarmac this year but I hope to be back in shape after my test on Tuesday. I am comfortable on Tarmac and I hope I will be in the R5 for the first time.”

Rally di Roma Capitale is the first event where Sesks will count on new co-driver Uldis Briedis, who has replaced Krišjānis Caune.

“My coach will be my co-driver and we will see how it goes for us,” said Sesks, the ERC3 Junior winner in Rome last season. “He taught me the pacenotes I am driving to now so from the pacenotes understanding side there should be no problem because we are thinking equally. I hope it will be good.”

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Campedelli chosen to give new Fiesta R5 ERC debut

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 15:00

Simone Campedelli will have the honour of giving M-Sport’s all-new Ford Fiesta R5 its FIA European Rally Championship debut when he lines up for Rally di Roma Capitale from 19-21 July.

Winner of the event in 2017, the Italian competes under the Orange 1 M-Sport Rally Team banner in the Italian championship (CIR). Having won the famous Targa Florio in Sicily back in May in M-Sport’s previous-generation Fiesta R5, Campedelli will use its replacement to chase ERC and CIR points on the asphalt-only Rally di Roma Capitale and will be among the contenders for victory.

“I’m so excited,” said Campedelli, 32. “It’s a big chance and Iam so appreciative that M-Sport gives me this opportunity. We’ve created a good partnership with them, and they really believe in us and they really believe in the Italian market. They are close to me and they trust in me. For example, we could have continued with the older version of the car, but they said ‘no, we are building a new car for you’. I want to say thank you to Malcolm Wilson and Maciej Woda for putting the effort in.”

Campedelli is due to get his first turn behind the wheel of his new Fiesta R5 during a private test on Monday before he takes part in the official test on Tuesday.

“I hope to find immediately the right confidence with the car,” said Campedelli. “From Malcolm’s side he told me straight, ‘Simone, the car is quicker, of that we have no doubt, you must use it, we are confident you can make a strong performance and we would really like to push you in the new car.’”

Of his target for Italy’s ERC counter, Campedelli said: “It’s a rally I like, and we can be quick, but we also have a new car and we must remember this. For sure it will be a hard challenge against the ERC drivers who can make an impressive pace with a really low knowledge of the stages and know how to fight in all kinds of conditions. But we also have to take care about the Italian championship.”

Based on the Ford Fiesta ST-Line and powered by an EcoBoost engine, M‑Sport has worked closely with the Ford Motor Company to “ensure the new Fiesta R5 provides a big step forward in terms of pace and performance”, according to the car builder.

Meanwhile, Rally di Roma Capitale, which signals the start of the second half of the 2019 ERC season, begins at the famousCastel Sant’Angelo in central Rome at 19h00 CET on Friday 19 July with the finish scheduled for Rome’s seaside retreat of Ostia on the evening of Sunday 21 July. In between are 16 stages over a competitive distance of 203.40 kilometres.

The post Campedelli chosen to give new Fiesta R5 ERC debut appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC event preview: Rally di Roma Capitale

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 12:00

Having been put to the ultimate high-speed gravel test in Latvia and Poland, the FIA European Rally Championship drivers kick-off the second half of the 2019 season on the all-asphalt Rally di Roma Capitale in Italy from 19-21 July.

A new addition to the ERC roster in 2017, Rally di Roma Capitale includes a ceremonial start and driving parade which passes a number of the historic city’s famous landmarks, before crews engage in two days of high-tempo competition on 16 stages to the east and west of Rome.

With four rounds run, Łukasz Habaj tops the standings but defending champion Alexey Lukyanuk is fighting back after a troubled start to the season. The Russian’s victory in Poland slashed the gap to Habaj to 11 points ahead of an event he won in 2018 following a tense duel with Giandomenico Basso.

Basso, a double European champion and national championship leader, is one of five Italian talents with ERC priority status competing in an R5 car in Rome. Three-time ERC champion Luca Rossetti and Rally di Roma Capitale winners Simone Campedelli – who will give M-Sport’s all-new Ford Fiesta R5 its ERC debut – and Umberto Scandola – who is entered under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner – are also set for action, as is ERC Junior graduate Andrea Crugnola.

Nikolay Gryazin and Mārtiņš Sesks are taking up their prize drives for winning the 2018 ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior titles respectively, as Chris Ingram and Sindre Furuseth look to follow in their wheel tracks. We two rounds left they are the respective leaders of the ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior championships.

Zelindo Melegari joins the Abarth Rally Cup for the first time as team-mate to category pacesetter Andrea Nucita. Emma Falcón returns to defend the ERC Ladies’ Trophy title she won in 2018.

Rally di Roma Capitale in 100 words
The progression of this exciting asphalt event, organised and promoted by Max Rendina, has been remarkable. Having run for the first time in 2013, Rally di Roma Capitale made its ERC debut in 2017 as Italy returned to the European championship for the first time since 2013 when Rallye Sanremo was on the calendar.  It proved a big hit with a driving parade through the centre of Rome, a spectacular spectator stage around the Palazzio della Civiltà del Lavoro in the EUR district, followed by two days of action-packed rallying on stages to the east and south-east of the capital.

What’s new for 2019?
With the competitive focus shifting to the Saturday and Sunday, the traditional Friday evening EUR spectator stage isn’t included on a route that's otherwise largely unchanged from 2018, with the exception of the new Affile-Bellegra test on day two. Santopadre-Arpino and the event-closing Ostia Super Special have been adjusted for this year, with Ostia hosting a number of fan-friendly activities.

Changes to the ERC for 2019 include the renaming of the ERC Junior categories: ERC Junior Under 28 becomes ERC1 Junior, ERC Junior U27 becomes ERC3 Junior with continued support from Pirelli. R4-K and RGT cars are eligible for ERC2 points, the Abarth Rally Cup will be contested over six ERC rounds, while Rally Hungary joins the calendar for the first time as the deciding round in November.

Talking points
*The third Rally di Roma Capitale to count for European championship points welcomes the reigning ERC1 and ERC3 Junior champions with Nikolay Gryazin and Mārtiņš Sesks taking up their first and second prize drives respectively. Sesks, who won ERC3 Junior in Rome 12 months ago, is making his first appearance on asphalt in an R5 car and his first with new co-driver Uldis Briedis, his long-term coach.
*Zelindo Melegari is a new addition to the Abarth Rally Cup ranks in Rome, the Italian swapping his Mitsubishi Lancer for an Abarth 124 rally to go up against category leader Andrea Nucita, from Italy, and Pole Dariusz Poloński. The trio are eligible for ERC2, as is Kuwait’s asphalt novice Mshari Althefiri.
*Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Techologies) heads to Italy with an 11-point title advantage over Saintéloc Jiunor Team’s Alexey Lukyanuk, the defending champion and last year’s Rally di Roma Capitale winner.
*This won’t be Habaj’s first visit to Italy this season, however. The Pole tackled the Italian championship-counting Rallye Sanremo in April and finished eighth overall.
*After a troubled PZM 76th Rally Poland last month, Toksport WRT’s Chris Ingram heads to Italy eager to preserve his ERC1 Junior title lead over ACCR Czech Rally Team’s advancing Filip Mareš, who topped the category for young stars in R5 cars in Poland.
*Germany’s Albert von Thurn und Taxis, a Rome resident for more than 10 years, is switching back to his more familiar ŠKODA Fabia R5 having used a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 on the last two events.
*Rather than changing cars Simone Campedelli, who won the Italian championship section of Rally di Roma Capitale in 2017, is upgrading cars, trading his older-model Ford Fiesta R5 for the latest version of the M-Sport machine.
*Like von Thurn und Taxis, Rally di Roma Capitale is also a ‘home’ event for Brazilian Paulo Nobre, due to the fact his Fabia is run by Rome-based Motorsport Italia.
*Norbert Herczigcontinues his ERC campaign in a MOL Racing Team Polo, the multiple Hungarian champion still searching for a first podium of 2019.
*Niki Mayr-Melnhof, Vojtĕch Štajf and Lars Stugemo continue their ERC campaigns having skipped the last two events in Latvia and Poland. Double ERC2 champion Tibor Érdi Jr also returns to European duty.
*Former ERC champions Giandomenico Bassoand Luca Rossettiare the men to beat in this year’s Italian championship. After five rounds, Basso, runner-up in Rome last season, is on top by three points.
*Double Rally di Roma Capitale winner Umberto Scandola will try his Hyundai Motorsport N-entered i20 R5 on asphalt for the first time having focused on gravel events so far in 2019.
*Andrea Crugnola, who battled Stéphane Lefebvre for the inaugural ERC Junior title in 2014, steps up to the European championship’s top tier for the first time armed with a Fabia R5.
*FPAK Portugal Team ERC can once again count on its full quota of drivers with Pedro Antunes and Aloísio Monteiro both in action for the squad.
*Having contested the last two gravel-based rounds, Japan’s Hiroki Arai gets to show his skills on asphalt in his Team STARD Citroën. However, with regular co-driver Ilka Minor unavailable, Arai links up with another Austrian, Jürgen Heigl, who has worked as STARD’s team co-ordinator of late.
*Emma Falcón, Catie Munnings and Romanian newcomer Cristiana Oprea will battle for ERC Ladies’ Trophy points in what is Falcón’s second start in ERC1 Junior following her debut on Rally Islas Canarias in early May. Munnings, meanwhile, is back in her Peugeot Rally Academy entry after missing Poland.
*Having completed his first proper gravel rally in Poland, Florian Bernardi returns to his favoured asphalt in a Renault Clio R3T. The Frenchman is aiming to build on his ERC3 class win on Rally Islas Canarias and banish the memories of a troubled Rally di Roma Capitale debut last season.
*Sindre Furseth, who heads the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior category standings after four rounds,was also frustrated in Rome in 2018 and is overdue his first category win this year after several podiums.
*Close rival Efrén Llarena has been in a race against time to ready a replacement Peugeot 208 R2 after his original Rallye Team Spain entry was badly damaged in a dramatic crash in Poland, from which Llarena and co-driving mechanic Sara Fernández were lucky to escape unharmed.
*Ken Torn is bidding for a third consecutive ERC3 Junior win but admits his lack of asphalt experience could hold him back in his Ford Fiesta R2T. Gregor Jeets lines up in a second Estonian Autosport Junior Team entry, while Briton James Williams makes his ERC3 Junior debut reliant on Fiesta power.
*ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team twins Elias Lundberg and Grégoire Munster start Rally di Roma Capitale for the first time hoping for a change of fortune after they retired on the same stage in Poland. Erik Cais and fellow ACCR Czech Rally Team driver Jan Talaš are back on their preferred Tarmac in Italy, as is Roman Schwedt, who is reunited with former co-driver Henry Wichura on the back of his career-best fourth in class in Poland. A full ERC Junior preview will be issued on 15 July.
*Unable to secure the funding to continue in ERC1, Orhan Avcioglu steps down to ERC3 in Rome for the first of a planned four-event campaign in a Toksport Peugeot 208 R2.

Head to head: Basso v Rossetti
Two of the big guns of Italian rallying are also two of the ERC’s most decorated drivers with five European titles and 30 event wins between them. The Italian championship is their focus right now (Basso heads Rossetti by three points) but both would relish winning outright in their capital city.

Form guide: Filip Mareš
The Czech federation-backed promise was already a known quantity on asphalt in an R5 car but his breakthrough ERC1 Junior success on gravel in Poland underlined his star quality, while firing him into outside title contention with two rounds remaining.

Event essentials
Starts: 19h00, 19 July, Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome
Finishes: 20h30, 21 July, Lido di Ostia
Headquarters: Best Western Hotel Fiuggi Terme Resort & Spa, Via Capo i Prati 9, 03014 Fiuggi
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 2 (2017, 2018)
Stages: 16
Stage distance: 203.34 kilometres
Liaison distance: 740.67 kilometres
Total distance: 944.01 kilometres
Surface: Asphalt

How to follow?
On TV and online: Live coverage of selected stages on Facebook. Daily highlights on Eurosport, Eurosport Player. Videos on YouTube. ERC All Access on Eurosport on 23 July. Event highlights broadcast around the world.
Videos, news update and live timing: Available at FIAERC.com
ERC Radio: Live from the end of all stages and selected service park visits. Available at FIAERC.com or download the official ERC App
Social media: Follow the ERC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Daily news feed: Available on request by emailing media@fiaerc.com

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

Gryazin returns to take up ERC prize drives

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 09:00

Nikolay Gryazin has confirmed the two rallies he will contest as his prize drives from promoter Eurosport Events for winning the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship in 2018.

The Russian, 21, was given the choice of contesting any two rounds of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship and has opted for the asphalt-only Rally di Roma Capitale (19-21 July) and Barum Czech Rally Zlín (16-18 August).

He will receive €50,000 from Eurosport Events for each rally he contests for a total of €100,000 and has enlisted the services of existing team Sports Racing Technologies to run him and co-driver Yaroslav Fedorov in a ŠKODA Fabia R5.

“There were other ERC rallies that are also nice like Rally Liepāja but we are choosing two Tarmac rallies because in the World Rally Championship there is not so much Tarmac and this experience will be important,” Gryazin explained. “They are both difficult races with a lot of competitors, and it will be useful for us to compare with all the fast guys.”

He continued: “We expect to drive clean and have fun. We are not driving for points because we are not in the championship. We are using the races for the set-up and for the experience and this is really good for us. But it will not be easy because, on Tarmac, it is difficult to be on the limit, to be very fast. You need to understand the road. These two rallies will be more like race training than going for a result.”

Since winning the ERC1 Junior crown on Rally Liepāja in October 2018, Gryazin has contested the world championship rallies in Sweden, Corsica, Portugal and Sardinia. He will enter this weekend’s Shell Helix Rally Estonia before switching his focus back to asphalt for next week’s Rally di Roma Capitale in Italy.

“Last year was a nice season in the ERC, now we are enjoying the world championship,” Gryazin said. “It’s not easy and it’s difficult to understand how to drive at first because there is a lot of weight on the brain as you are thinking a lot.

“The ERC really helped me but in the world championship the stages are longer and if you lift the pedal somewhere it’s easy to lose six positions to the front. You really have to work harder because there are a lot of guys with experience of the stages from the previous years. They know the conditions and they know the moments when to push.

“In the ERC you don’t have so much damaged roads [because you pass earlier in an R5 car], you just take the line and feel the grip. In the world championship you also need to have tactics. I’m just trying to do my best, to understand when I can drive faster. I try to improve my skills.”

ERC1 Junior is for drivers born on or after 1 January 1991 competing in R5 cars. Marijan Griebel won the inaugural title in 2017 after stepping up as the ERC3 Junior champion from 2016. Gryazin followed last season with Chris Ingram currently on top of the standings with two rounds remaining.

The post Gryazin returns to take up ERC prize drives appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Nucita to fly the Abarth flag highest in the ERC

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 06:00

Italy’s Andrea Nucita starts his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship-based Abarth Rally Cup leading the standings after three action-packed races.

Nucita heads Dariusz Poloński by 11 points after winning the last two rounds of the category for the Abarth 124 rally.

With Rally di Roma Capitale on his preferred asphalt, Nucita has hopes of further success as he chases the class title and the impressive prize money package on offer.

“I had an important result on the gravel in Poland and now I drive in Italy on the Tarmac and I am very happy about this,” said the Sicily-based driver. “It will be a very difficult race, but every race is difficult. I just try to do my best because it’s my home race and the home race for Abarth.”

To date, Nucita is €28,000 in prize money and will earn €30,000 if he wins the title.

Meanwhile, details of the Abarth Rally Cup’s latest recruit will be revealed soon.

The post Nucita to fly the Abarth flag highest in the ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Saintéloc holds the edge in battle to win ERC Teams’ title

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 18:00

The Saintéloc Junior Team will be in front when the ERC heads to Italy next week for Rally di Roma Capitale.

Based in France and managed by Vincent Ducher, the squad is 21 points ahead of Latvian outfit Sports Racing Technologies in the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams following Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov's victory on last month's PZM 76th Rally Poland.

Toksport WRT from Germany in third position, 26 behind SRT. Rallye Team Spain is fourth, Estonian Autosport Junior Team fifth and ACCR Czech Rally Team I sixth.

Saintéloc finished second to the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team in 2018. With four rounds run, the German squad is ninth in the table.

Click here to view the full standings.

The post Saintéloc holds the edge in battle to win ERC Teams’ title appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Avcioglu goes back to go forward in ERC

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 12:00

Turkish talent Orhan Avcioglu will be taking a step back to go forward when he makes his long-awaited return to the FIA European Rally Championship on Rally di Roma Capitale next week.

Avcioglu was an ever-present in the 2018 ERC as he made his full-time step up to international level in a Toksport WRT ŠKODA Fabia R5.

He had planned a second season-long ERC campaign at R5 level in 2019 only for funding issues to dictate otherwise. But as part of ongoing efforts to return to the championship’s top tier for 2020, Avcioglu will contest the all-asphalt event in Italy from 19-21 July, although he will step down from ERC1 to the more accessible ERC3 category in a Peugeot 208 R2.

“We are back, albeit we are missing a rear diff and a turbo, but it's okay,” the Istanbul resident said. “We are super-happy and very grateful to Toksport WRT for providing this opportunity. The plan is to do the remaining four rounds of the championship in the ERC3 class. This will give us the best opportunity to be prepared for a full-time return in 2020.

“The 2018 season was a good learning curve for us to get to know all the rallies in the ERC. The plan was to build on that experience this year. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find financial partners to fund our R5 project so we are happy to announce that we will start Rally di Roma Capitale, one of my favourite events, with a Peugeot 208 R2 in the ERC3 class.”

A multiple 2WD class title winner in Turkey and the 2017 FIA Balkan Rally Trophy champion, the 33-year-old rallied two-wheel-drive machinery up until 2013 and in fact started his career with Peugeot power in 2005. He scored overall FIA European Rally Championship points on five out of eight starts in 2018, including a season-best fifth place on the Cyprus Rally.

Avcioglu also has previous experience of Rally di Roma Capitale, finishing P12 overall and P10 in ERC1 on the event last season.

Orhan Avcioglu’s planned ERC3 schedule
Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy), 19-21 July, asphalt
Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 16-18 August, asphalt
Cyprus Rally, 27-29 September, gravel
Rally Hungary, 8-10 November, asphalt

The post Avcioglu goes back to go forward in ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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PZM 76th Rally Poland - Newsfeed LEG 2

PZM 76. Rajd Polski - Etap 2

Kalendarz 2019

21-23.03.2019:

Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugalia)

02-04.05.2019

Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)

24-26 05.2019

Rally Liepāja (Łotwa)

28-30.06.2019

Rajd Polski

19-21.07.2019

Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)

16-18.08.2019

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)

27-29.09.2019:

Cyprus Rally (Cypr)

08-10.11.2019:

Rally Hungary (Węgry)