Welcome to the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship, the ultimate training ground for young hopefuls aiming for the top. Providing a clear path of progression from national level to the world stage, the oldest international rally series in existence is also open to all-comers, meaning age is no barrier to competing.
Contested over eight events from March to October, the ERC schedule has been structured in response to calls from drivers and teams who were keen to cap their number of competitive outings at between six and eight events. The calendar includes three rallies on asphalt and five on gravel (three on each surface for ERC Junior Under 27 and ERC Junior Under 28). And in a further cost-cutting measure, drivers chasing overall honours count their best six scores only.
22-24 March: Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugal, gravel) ERC Junior
3-5 May: Rally Islas Canarias (Spain, asphalt) ERC Junior
1-3 June: Acropolis Rally (Greece, gravel)*
15-17 June: Cyprus Rally (Cyprus, gravel)
20-22 July: Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy, asphalt) ERC Junior
24-26 August: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic, asphalt) ERC Junior
21-23 September: Rally Poland (Poland, gravel) ERC Junior
12-14 October: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel) ERC Junior
*Subject to signing of event promoter agreement
Route to the top
As in 2017, ERC Junior, the established training ground for factory WRC drivers, will be split into two separate divisions based on driver age and experience.
FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship
ERC Junior U27 is for drivers under the age of 27 at the start of 2018 competing in R2 cars on Pirelli tyres. With the best four rounds from six counting, the winner will receive a career progression fund worth 100,000 euros to use in ERC Junior U28 in 2019.
FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship
ERC Junior U28 offers the next step on the rallying pyramid for drivers under the age of 28 ahead of 2018. Again totalling six rounds with the best four scores counting, drivers use R5 cars. The champion will receive a drive on a European round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship as a P1 driver in a 2016-specification World Rally Car, although the prize could be adapted at the winner’s request.
The following are a selection of drivers with ERC experience competing in the World Rally Championship.
Craig Breen: ERC runner-up 2015 > factory Citroën WRC driver 2018
Juho Hänninen: ERC champion 2012 > factory Toyota WRC driver 2017
Jari Huttunen: ERC Junior U27 runner-up 2017 > factory Hyundai WRC2 driver 2018
Jan Kopecký: ERC champion 2013 > APRC champion 2014, factory ŠKODA WRC2 driver 2018
Esapekka Lappi: ERC champion 2014 > factory Toyota WRC driver 2018
Jari-Matti Latvala: ERC driver 2003 > factory Toyota WRC driver 2018
Stéphane Lefebvre: ERC Junior champion 2014 > factory Citroën WRC driver 2018
Kris Meeke: ERC event winner 2009 > factory Citroën WRC driver 2018
Andreas Mikkelsen: ERC event winner 2012 > factory Hyundai WRC driver 2018
Thierry Neuville: ERC event winner 2011 > factory Hyundai WRC driver 2018
Hayden Paddon: ERC driver 2013 > factory Hyundai WRC driver 2018
Ott Tänak: ERC event winner 2014 > M-Sport WRC driver 2017, new Toyota signing for 2018
ERC Junior Experience
One of the most comprehensive young driver training programmes in motorsport will shift up another gear in 2018. Drivers registering for the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship will now be automatically enrolled into the ERC Junior Experience training programme rather than applying separately and paying an additional fee, which was the case previously. There will be four ERC Junior Experience training events held in conjunction with rounds of ERC Junior U27. However, there will now be two optional packages for drivers to select in addition to the core package included in the registration fee. The training packages available are as follows. Drivers not registered for ERC Junior U27 can also apply:
Yellow: Included in ERC Junior U27 registration fee and covering media relations, TV interviews and the production process, pacenote preparation, tyre management, first aid and championship organisation and administration.
Green (optional package): ERC Junior U27 drivers will receive training on social media dos and don’ts, car set-up and tyre changing. They will also take part in a test session on Tarmac with an expert coach providing driving tips.
Blue (optional package): ERC Junior U27 drivers will be enrolled into workshops covering sponsorship acquisition, physical training and vision training. They will also take part in a gravel test accompanied by an expert driving coach.
Contact Evelien Deschuytter for more information by emailing Evelien@allinmotion.be or by calling +32 473990342.
FIA European Rally Championship for Teams
Registered teams can nominate a maximum of three cars from ERC-registered drivers, in either four- or two-wheel drive configuration or a combination of both, to score points on each event. The results of the two highest-placed cars from a team count, with teams tallying their best six scores from a possible eight. And with points distributed according to the four- and two-wheel-drive classifications of the rally, a team could score a maximum of 50 points per event with 25 on offer in 4WD and 25 also up for grabs in 2WD. There’s a prestigious FIA title up for grabs for the winning team.
ERC Nations’ Cup
The ERC Nations’ Cup is for teams supported by a national motorsport federation (ASN) or automobile association. The results of the two highest-placed cars from a team count, with teams tallying their best six scores from a possible eight. A maximum of three cars, in either four- or two-wheel-drive configuration or a combination of both, can chase points on each event, although it’s the results from the two highest-placed drivers that will count. With points distributed according to the four- and two-wheel-drive classifications, a federation or association can score a maximum of 50 points (25 points for 4WD, 25 points for 2WD) per event. Currently, the eligible teams are: ACCR Czech Team, ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team and Rally Team Spain.
ERC Ladies’ Trophy
ERC promoter Eurosport Events is committed to encouraging the participation of women in motorsport and has revamped the ERC Ladies’ Trophy accordingly. Rather than recognise the achievements of women when competing against other women drivers, to promote gender equality, drivers will score points based on where they appear in the final four- or two-wheel-drive order using a new scoring system. All rounds of the ERC are included in the ERC Ladies’ Trophy with all classes (ERC1, ERC2 and ERC3) eligible. Drivers count their best four scores. The scoring system is as follows: 1 = 100; 2 = 90; 3 = 80; 4 = 75; 5 = 70; 6 = 65; 7 = 60; 8 = 55; 9 = 50; 10 = 45; 11 = 43; 12 = 41; 13 = 39; 14 = 37; 15 = 35; 16 = 33; 17 = 31; 18 = 29; 19 = 27; 20 = 25; 21 = 23; 22 = 21; 23 = 19; 24 = 17; 25 = 15; 26 = 13; 27 = 11; 28 = 9; 29 = 7; 30 = 5; all remaining positions = 1 point.