20 March 2015: Newsletter #12/15

Martin ready for Peugeot ERC prize programme

Charles Martin’s preparations for his 2015 FIA European Rally Championship prize-winning campaign got off to the best start, when he won his class on the Rallye du Touquet.

The 25-year old Frenchman is following in the wheel tracks of Kevin Abbring, having won the Peugeot 208 Rally Cup. His prize is four rounds of the ERC in a Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16 (Ireland, Azores, Barum Czech Rally Zlin and Greece), plus two rallies in France (Le Touquet and Var).

Driving the 208 T16 for the first time, Martin and co-driver Thierry Salva performed superbly on the Rallye du Touquet – winning their class against strong competition, including the likes of Marc Amourette.

ERC Juniors top 21

A record 21 drivers have now registered for the 2015 FIA ERC Junior Championship.

The latest driver to sign is Manchester-born Fergus Greensmith. The 18-year old finished 21st in the 2012 World Kart Championship before switching to rallying in 2013, and will drive a Major Motorsport-run Ford Fiesta R2.

Kevin Eves is also a new recruit to ERC Junior. The 23-year old Irishman from Co. Donegal will drive a Peugeot 208 R2 on all remaining rounds of the series, beginning on his home event.

Hungarian teenager Kristóf Klausz has swapped his ERC3-specification Renault Clio R3 (in which he finished third on the Jännerrallye and ninth on Rally Liepāja) for a Peugeot 208 R2 in order to contest ERC Junior.

ERC Juniors count their best four scores from six events, with the Circuit of Ireland being round two.

ERC prep boost for Bux

Gino Bux’s preparations for the next round of the FIA ERC Junior Championship were given a big boost with a magnificent run on the Spa Rally last weekend.

Co-driven by Eric Borguet, the Belgian motorsport federation’s RACB National Team driver won the Junior and 2WD categories on the famous Belgium championship event, finishing a fantastic fifth overall in his Peugeot Belgium Luxembourg 208 R2.

ERC rally winner Freddy Loix won the Spa Rally in his ŠKODA Fabia S2000.

Scottish champion targets new ERC Tarmac challenge

Reigning Scottish champion Euan Thorburn will swap his gravel expertise for an asphalt challenge in the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship.

Co-driven by Paul Beaton, Thorburn will contest the Circuit of Ireland (2-4 April), before taking his Ford Fiesta S2000 to the Geko Ypres Rally in June. Other ERC outings might be on the cards too.

“I am very much looking forward to a new challenge this year,” said Thorburn. “I don’t know how much of the ERC we can afford to do, but the Circuit will definitely be a great start. We have very little experience on Tarmac, so feel this is the best way to gain the knowledge we need to compete at the higher levels.”

Huge ERC customer interest in the Fabia R5

Following the success of the Fabia Super 2000 in the FIA European Rally Championship, it comes as no surprise that ŠKODA Motorsport has received a huge amount of customer interest for its new Fabia R5.

Indeed, the Czech team has revealed that it already has a long customer waiting list, ahead of the Fabia R5’s FIA homologation.

“The Fabia Super 2000 has been an important figurehead for our brand in recent years,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek.

“The success of this car is emphatic proof of the technical expertise and passion that the entire ŠKODA team shows for motorsport. We will follow on from this with the R5. And it would appear that a lot of private motorsport teams are also confident of this. We already have a long list of potential customers.”

Subaru Poland Rally Team commits to full ERC programme

Following its excellent start to the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship, Subaru Poland Rally Team has committed itself to a full season – from SATA Rallye Açores onwards.

Lithuanian driver Dominykas Butvilas finished second in ERC2 (and third overall) on Rally Liepāja in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI. That result has put Subaru Poland Rally Team second in the Teams’ standings, and Butvilas fourth in the Drivers’ points table. Now they plan to challenge for both titles – starting with the Portugal round (4-6 June).

“The FIA European Rally Championship with Subaru Poland Rally Team is a great chance for me,” said Butvilas. “I will do all I can to make a good use of it, especially as our next rally is on gravel where I feel very comfortable. I cannot wait to go back behind the wheel of Subaru Impreza.”

“I’m very happy that I take this important step of my career in ERC series with Subaru Poland Rally Team,” added Butvilas’ Polish co-driver Kamil Heller, who has now been with the team for five years. “It will be an unknown territory, a lot of new rallies, which means a lot of work but I’m sure that describing a special stage running around the volcano is going to be exciting.”

Driver profile: Julius Tannert

Julius Tannert has made himself one of the ‘overseas’ favourites for ERC Junior victory in Ireland, after a very impressive win on the opening round of the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup, the ADAC Saarland-Pfalz Rallye. The 24-year old from Zwickau in Germany is certainly a very talented driver, as his domination of the Citroën DS3 R1 Trophy in Germany in 2013 proved, when he became champion with five wins out of five. And the wins continued in 2014 when he triumphed on three occasions in the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup. Student, performance driving instructor, motorsport marketing consultant and photographer, Tannert leads a very busy life in addition to contesting the 2015 ERC Juniors in his ADAC Sachsen e.V. entered Opel Adam R2. Expect him and co-driver Jennifer Thielen to go extremely well on their first visit to Ireland.

Press enquiries: Paul Evans, media.fiaerc.com, +44 7710 743167 Television: Antonios Argyropoulos, fia_erc_accreditations@eurosport.com Drivers and teams: Jean-Baptiste Ley, jbley@eurosport.com​