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Rallies of 2017 overview

4-6 May

Rally Islas Canarias

FIA EUROPEAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 2 OF 8
FIA ERC JUNIOR UNDER U27/ERC JUNIOR UNDER U28 ROUND 2 OF 6

THE RALLY IN 100 WORDS
The ERC returned to Gran Canaria in 2016 following a two-year absence for a rally big on challenge and spectators. Because the stages climb and descend, drivers pay close attention to corner speed and lines to ensure optimal momentum is maintained, while precise car set-up and pacenote accuracy are vital. One of the notable features of the stages is the abrasive surface, constructed partly from volcanic lava. It means grip levels are high and will remain constant if it rains, although tyre wear can increase. However, with the opportunity to take ‘cuts’ through corners limited, the roads remain relatively debris-free.

WHAT HAPPENED IN 2016?
Alexey Lukyanuk won the opening round of the 2016 FIA European Rally Championship after defeating the defending champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz on the final day. Lukyanuk started leg two with a 22.7-second deficit to his fellow Pirelli-shod Ford Fiesta R5 driver Kajetanowicz but profited when the LOTOS Rally Team driver suffered excessive tyre wear during the morning loop as the result of high tyre pressures. Lukyanuk took the lead on SS9 and resisted Kajetanowicz’s attempts to get back on terms, picking up his third and fourth stage wins of the event on the final two stages to finish up 32.7s ahead. Despite suffering gearbox gremlins of Friday in his Citroën DS3 R5, local rallying hero Luis Monzón returned to the ERC podium, matching his third place from the championship’s last visit to Gran Canaria in 2013. Robert Consani had moved up into third place overall at the end of Friday but endured a torrid second day, which began with his Peugeot 208 T16 failing to start prior to the morning’s first stage. The Frenchman then battled brake issues and was eventually classified seventh. Spanish Fiesta driver Jonathan Pérez took fourth while Jarosław Kołtun, in another Fiesta, was only 1.1s behind his fellow Polish driver and ERC2 leader Wojciech Chuchała going onto the final stage but was forced to settle for sixth after stopping to change a tyre. Hermen Kobus moved into fifth position on the second day’s opening stage, but crashed into a tree on SS9. Iván Ares was struck with braking issues after running a fine fourth during Friday. Visiting star Mads Østberg led until the final stage of day one on his ERC debut, before crashing his Fiesta R5 after experiencing brake fade. Wojciech Chuchała led ERC2 from start to finish, setting the best time on every stage and finishing 3m37.8s ahead of his nearest competitor, as well as taking fifth overall for the Subaru Poland Rally Team. Giacomo Scattolon (Italy) had held second position since the first stage on Friday but severe tyre wear during the morning loop had eroded an advantage of over 30s to Hungarian Péter Ranga, driving an older Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. The Hungarian cut the gap to Scattolon and outpaced his rival by 6.1s in the decider to steal the place. Argentina’s Juan Carlos Alonso was fourth on an unfamiliar surface ahead of Tibor Érdi (Hungary). Łukasz Habaj matched the efforts of his compatriot and fellow national champion Chuchała by sweeping the board in ERC3 and taking 15th overall in his Peugeot 208 R2. Double Turkish champion Murat Bostanci held second at the start of day two in his Ford Fiesta R2T but was passed by two-time ERC 2WD champion Zoltán Bessenyey on SS8. The Hungarian Renault Clio R3T driver held on, but the largest his margin grew to all day was the 4.3s gap at the finish – after the pair set identical times on the final stage. Habaj’s team-mate Tomasz Gryc claimed fourth ahead of four-time Slovenian champion Aleks Humar in a Clio R3T. Two more Polish drivers, Łukasz Pieniążek and Aleks Zawada, restarted for the second leg after being stopped on Friday by accident damage and a broken driveshaft respectively on their Opel Adam R2s, and were frequently the closest to Habaj in the stage times.

EVENT ESSENTIALS (all timings local and subject to change)
Starts:
20h30, Thursday 4 May, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina
Finishes: 17h50, Saturday 6 May, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina
Headquarters: Hotel AC Gran Canaria, Eduardo Benot 5, 35007, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Service park: Plaza de Canarias, 35007, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 2 (2013, 2016)
Stages: 12
Stage distance: 207.29 kilometres (97.87 kilometres leg one, 109.42 kilometres leg two)
Liaison: 369.74 kilometres
Total: 577.03 kilometres
Surface: Asphalt

MEDIA INFORMATION (all timings local and subject to change)
Media accreditation/media centre location: Edificio Miller, Santa Catalina Park, 35007, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Opening times: 09h30-21h00, Wednesday 3 May; 09h00-23h00 Thursday 4 May; 09h00-22h00 Friday 5 May; 08h00-21h00 Saturday 6 May
Pre-event briefing (all photographers must attend): TBA, Wednesday 3 May

MEDIA EVENTS (all timings local and subject to change, additional activities may be scheduled)
THURSDAY 4 MAY
Free Practice (for priority drivers):
09h00-10h30, GC-291 (3.57 kilometres)
Qualifying Stage (for priority drivers): 11h15-11h45, GC-291
Shakedown (for all drivers): 12h00-14h00, GC-291
Start order selection: 17h00, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina
Pre-rally press conference: 17h30, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina
Photocall: 20h10, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina
Ceremonial start: 20h30, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina

SATURDAY 6 MAY
Post-rally press conference:
19h00, Media Centre, Edificio Miller
Television coverage: Daily highlights, rally review and Inside ERC magazine show on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, plus additional coverage on a number of other networks
ERC Radio: Live throughout the event at FIAERC.com or through the ERC app
Results, standings, live timing and text commentary: www.fiaerc.com
Rights-free images: Register at http://media.fiaerc.com
Event media contact: Roberto Martí/Javier Viera, prensa@rallyislascanarias.com, +34 607755541

PREVIOUS WINNERS
2016:
Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov (Ford Fiesta R5)
2015: Miguel Fuster/Ignacio Aviñó (Porsche 997 GT3 RS)*
2014: Didier Auriol/Denis Giraudet (Citroën Xsara WRC)*
2013: Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia S2000)
2012: Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia S2000)
*Did not count as a round of the ERC/IRC