FIA ERChttp://www.fiaerc.comEuropean Rally ChampionshipFri, 22 May 2015 14:13:50 +0000en-UShourly1’s top drivers head to SATA Rallye Açores, 22 May 2015 12:06:14 +0000Paul Evans2015Antonín TlusťákBruno MagalhãesCarlos MartinsCharles MartinCraig BreenDávid BotkaDominykas ButvilasJaroslav OrsákJean-Michel RaouxJonathan HirschiJosé Pedro FontesKajetan KajetanowiczLuis RegoPedro MeirelesRicardo MouraTomáš KurkaVojtěch Štajf top Portuguese drivers will take on the FIA European Rally Championship regulars when SATA Rallye Açores turns 50 from 4-6 June.<p><img width="660" height="440" src="" class="attachment-large wp-post-image" alt="05 Ricardo Moura, Sancho Eiro , Ford Fiesta R5, during the 2014 European Rally Championship ERC Ireland rally, from May 15 to 17th, at Ponta Delgada, Azores Island, Photo Gregory Lenormand / DPPI" /></p>&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Two-time event winner Bruno Magalhães, who tackled selected ERC events in 2014, will contest his first rally for six months, and believes his Peugeot 208 T16 is capable for giving him his third win. Seven-time Azores champion Ricardo Moura will drive a new Ford Fiesta R5, while José Pedro Fontes, who has already won two rounds of this year’s Portuguese championship, appears in a Citroën DS3 R5. Despite a crash in testing, Pedro Meireles hopes to give the ŠKODA Fabia R5 its ERC debut, while Carlos Martins drives a ŠKODA Fabia S2000.<br /> <br /> &nbsp;<br /> <br /> The Portuguese drivers will mount a strong challenge for home victory, but will face stiff competition from the visiting ERC drivers – notably series leader Craig Breen (Peugeot 208 T16), Kajetan Kajetanowicz (Ford Fiesta R5), Jean-Michel Raoux (Fiesta R5), Antonín Tlusťák, Tomáš Kurka and Jaroslav Orsák (all ŠKODA Fabia S2000s) and Charles Martin and Jonathan Hirschi (Peugeot 208 T16s).<br /> <br /> &nbsp;<br /> <br /> There will also be a big battle in the ERC2 section, with last year’s SATA Rallye Açores ERC Production Car Cup winner Luis Rego (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) entering the fray and going head-to-head against three title contenders, Vojtěch Štajf and Dominykas Butvilas (both Subaru Impreza WRX STIs) and Dávid Botka (Mitsubishi).<br /> <br /> &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Entries for the 50th anniversary running of SATA Rallye Açores closed last night (21 May) and the entry list is scheduled to be published by the event organisers tomorrow. Junior Ingram fastest at RX shootout, 22 May 2015 11:05:48 +0000Paul Evans2015Chris IngramEuan Thorburn Ingram showed that he’s fast at driving rallycross cars too, when the Peugeot UK supported 208 R2 rally driver set the fastest lap time around Lydden Hill today in the RX Talent Search.<p><img width="660" height="440" src="" class="attachment-large wp-post-image" alt="Rally X <br /> RX LIGHTS<br /> Search for a star<br /> Lydden Hill, Kent.<br /> 21st May 2015<br /> Copyright Malcolm Griffiths<br /> Contact 07768 230706<br />" /></p>&nbsp;<br /> <br /> The 20-year old Manchester-based pilot, who lies second in the FIA European Junior Rally Championship, was one of 12 drivers invited to take part in the RX Lites shootout – with the prize of a drive at the FIA World Rallycross Championship meeting in Turkey on offer. The finalists, who came from circuit, rallying and rallycross backgrounds, were assessed on their driving, technical and media abilities. Ingram posted the quickest time of the day – his 48.107s lap two hundredths of a second quicker than budding rallycross star Dan Rooke.<br /> <br /> &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Ingram wasn’t the only ERC driver in the shootout, as Scottish Rally champion Euan Thorburn was also there.<br /> <br /> &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Despite Ingram’s fastest lap, the judging panel selected touring car driver Tom Onslow-Cole as the winner – but Ingram and Thorburn did the ERC proud!<br /> <br /> &nbsp; rising Latvian star joins Erc Juniors, 22 May 2015 08:32:45 +0000Paul Evans2015AçoresEmīls BlūmsRalfs Sirmacis 2015 FIA European Junior Rally Championship has reached the phenomenal figure of 23 registered drivers, following the arrival of Emīls Blūms.<p><img width="660" height="371" src="" class="attachment-large wp-post-image" alt="Emils" /></p>&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Blūms, who turns 23 next week, is another truly talented young Latvian driver originating from the LMT Autosport Academy. He currently lies third in the Latvian rally championship after two podium finishes – no mean feat, as the Latvian R2 championship is ultra-competitive this year, with 15 drivers from five countries having already taken part in the four events.<br /> <br /> &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Having finished runner-up to Ralfs Sirmacis in 2013, Blūms was the only driver to beat Ralfs last year – and we all know how super-fast Ralfs is!<br /> <br /> &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Blūms will drive an old-spec Ford Fiesta R2 at SATA Rallye Açores (4-6 June). The Baltic Motorsport Promotion team who runs the car is building a new Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost, which it hopes to have ready in time for Blūms to drive on the auto24 Rally Estonia (17-19 July).<br /> <br /> &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Picture courtesy of Arturs Igavens, ASRT media. registrations break the 80 mark, 21 May 2015 11:33:29 +0000Paul Evans2015 two weeks to go before the fourth round of the FIA European Rally Championship, series promoter Eurosport Events has now received a total of 82 registrations.<p><img width="660" height="440" src="" class="attachment-large wp-post-image" alt="AUTO - ERC AZORES RALLY 2014" /></p>&nbsp;<br /> <br /> The top Portuguese drivers have entered the championship ahead of SATA Rallye Açores (4-6 June), to make sure they benefit from being an official ERC registered driver. The benefits include eligibility to prize money, priority seeding, entry into the Qualifying Stage (which determines the all-important day one running order), priority status in the service area and global television coverage.<br /> <br /> &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Drivers who have most recently registered include Bruno Magalhães (Peugeot 208 T16), Ricardo Moura (Ford Fiesta R5), José Pedro Fontes (Citroën DS3 R5), Carlos Martins (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) and Pedro Meireles (ŠKODA Fabia R5). Miguel Carvalho (Citroën C2R2 Max) and Paulo Neto and Henrique Moniz (Citroën DS3 R3Ts) have all registered for ERC3, while Luis Rego (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) has registered for ERC2.<br /> <br /> &nbsp;<br /> <br /> There is also a new registration in ERC Junior, with the arrival of Emīls Blūms. The young Latvian, who turns 23 a week today (May 28), will drive a Ford Fiesta R2.<br /> <br /> In terms of class breakdown, 30 are registered for ERC1, 14 for ERC2 and 38 for ERC3 – 23 of which are ERC Junior entries. Orsák Rally Sport plans busy Erc summer, 21 May 2015 08:32:53 +0000Paul Evans2015AçoresJaroslav OrsákMartin HudecTomáš Kurka Czech Republic team GPD Orsák Rally Sport has a busy FIA European Rally Championship summer ahead, running a pair of ŠKODA Fabia S2000s for a number of quality drivers.<p><img width="660" height="440" src="" class="attachment-large wp-post-image" alt="AUTO - ERC LETTONIE RALLY 2015" /></p>&nbsp;<br /> <br /> The team has already run Jaroslav Orsák and Martin Hudec on Rally Liepāja. Orsák is also planning to contest both of next month’s ERC events – SATA Rallye Açores (4-6 June) and the Kenotek by CID LINES Ypres Rally (25-27 June). He will be joined in the two-car team by Tomáš Kurka in Azores and by the only non-Czech driver so far nominated in the team’s strong 2015 line-up, Norway’s Petter Kristiansen, in Belgium.<br /> <br /> &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Which drivers will contest the team’s remaining ERC events are not yet set in stone, and it’s possible that the flamboyant Hudec may return for the Barum Czech Rally Zlín (28-30 August). learning Erc Juniors ahead of title push in 2016, 20 May 2015 10:35:32 +0000Paul Evans2015Açores Romanian star Florin Tincescu says that this year’s FIA European Junior Rally Championship campaign is in preparation for a title push in 2016.<p><img width="660" height="440" src="" class="attachment-large wp-post-image" alt="AUTO - ERC IRELAND RALLY 2015" /></p>The 22-year old Napoca Rally Academy driver swapped his Citroën C2R2 Max for a Peugeot 208 R2 and immediately scored ERC Junior points first time out on the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally. Co-driven by Sergiu Itu, Tincescu – who is a defensive driving trainer and a student at a technical automotive university – hopes next month’s SATA Rallye Açores will net more experience and another points-scoring finish.<br /> <br /> “Azores is one of the most beautiful rallies I have ever done in my career and I can’t wait to go back on the Island,” said Tincescu. “In our first year with the Peugeot 208 R2 we will try to gain experience in every rally in order to fight for the ERC Junior title in 2016.<br /> <br /> “We will try to find a good rhythm quickly in the Azores and then to increase our speed on every stage. It’s a fantastic gravel rally and I hope that we can score some points in this new challenge.” Erc Azores memories from Kankkunen, 19 May 2015 09:26:35 +0000Paul Evans2015Açores 50th anniversary of SATA Rallye Açores, round four of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship, is a good time to reflect on the many famous international drivers that have won the event over the years<p><img width="660" height="440" src="" class="attachment-large wp-post-image" alt="Kankkunen Azores" /></p>Event winners include Yves Loubet (1992), Bruno Thiry (1997), Gregoire de Mevius (1999), Markko Martin (2000), Kris Meeke (2009) and Andreas Mikkelsen (2012) – and the most famous of them all is four-time world rally champion Juha Kankkunen. Co-driven by Juha Repo, the Finnish legend won the rally in 2001, driving a Subaru Impreza WRC.<br /> <br /> “I remember it very well,” said Juha. “It was in 2001 and we didn’t do so many rallies that year because I had stopped with Subaru on the world championship and it was before I started with Hyundai. We had the chance to come to the Azores and I was very happy for that. I remember some beautiful stages and a fantastic rally. In fact, after the rally I stayed for a bit and went round the island by bike for a little holiday. It’s not often I do that after a rally: normally I am in a hurry to get home. But this time I decided to stay.<br /> <br /> “It was very tricky and technical. I remember the stages being very narrow: you had to be so neat and precise, also with the pace notes. We had a good battle with Thomas Rådström that was very close but then on the final day he had a problem with I think his alternator so he had to stop. In any case we led from the start so I was very happy to win and we did a good rally. But it was nice that we had to fight hard for the win.”<br /> <br /> And as for his favourite Rallye Açores stage, Sete Cidades is high on Kankkunen’s list of great Azorean stages.<br /> <br /> “I liked them all, but there was the stage next to a big lake that I remember very well. It was really spectacular, but you had to stay concentrated so there was not much chance to look at the scenery on the rally, only on the recce!” Junior leader Bergkvist scores dress rehearsal win, 18 May 2015 13:35:29 +0000Paul Evans2015Emil Bergkvist Bergkvist’s dress rehearsal for Rally Açores (4-6 June) could not have gone better, as the FIA European Junior Rally Championship leader won his class on the South Swedish Rally.<p><img width="660" height="440" src="" class="attachment-large wp-post-image" alt="107_Bergkvist-800x533" /></p>Co-driven by fellow Swede Joakim Sjöberg, Bergkvist won the 2WD class in his ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team Adam R2.<br /> <br /> Bergkvist wasn’t the only ERC driver in action over the weekend, as fellow ERC Junior driver Łukasz Pieniazek finished his second start in the Polish Rally Championship with a class 4 podium finish in his LP Rally Team Peugeot 208 R2.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile in Germany, reigning FIA European Rally Championship vice-champion Sepp Wiegand looked to have won the Thüringen Rallye, only for his ŠKODA Fabia S2000 to run out of fuel between the end of the last stage and the finish! Junior gets advice from an Erc champion, 17 May 2015 08:22:52 +0000Jérôme RousselAçoresAleks ZawadaKrzysztof Hołowczyc European Junior Rally Championship driver Aleks Zawada has been getting some advice ahead of the SATA Rallye Açores (4-6 June) from former ERC champion Krzysztof Hołowczyc.<p><img width="660" height="373" src="" class="attachment-large wp-post-image" alt="azzz" /></p>The experienced and raising Polish rally stars met at a rallycross track recently, where Aleks was driving a friend’s Subaru and Krzysztof was attending a charity event.<br /> <br /> And to highlight how fast time really does fly, Hołowczyc became ERC champion in 1997 – when Zawada was five years old! event wins major tourism award, 16 May 2015 08:22:31 +0000Jérôme RousselIreland Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally, round three of this year’s FIA European Rally Championship, has won a major tourism industry award.<p><img width="660" height="440" src="" class="attachment-large wp-post-image" alt="01 Breen Craig Scott Martin Peugeot 208 T16 during the 2015 European Rally Championship ERC Circuit of Ireland rally, from April 1st to 4th, at Belfast, Ireland. Photo François Flamand / DPPI" /></p>The rally picked up a prestigious Highly Commended award in the Best Event or Festival Experience category at the 37th annual Northern Ireland Tourism Awards, which was held on 14 May at the Sir William Whitla Hall, Queen’s University Belfast.<br /> <br /> “The Circuit has received a number of trophies over the years and we’re really pleased to continue to pick up awards,” said the Circuit of Ireland Event Director, Bobby Willis. “It’s testament to all the hard work and planning which takes place 12 months of the year. This Highly Commended certificate relates to our 2014 event which attracted over 74,000 visitors and a global audience of over 14 million Eurosport viewers.  In 2015 we built on our 2014 success and this year’s event was heralded as a major success. We’re currently analysing all the statistics and will have a full report in due course.”