23 April 2015: Newsletter #17/15

Entries open for ERC round four – SATA Rallye Açores

The regulations have been published and entries are now open for round four of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship, SATA Rallye Açores.

Based on the island of São Miguel in the mid-Atlantic, the event is commemorating its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, the organisers have not only created a fantastic route but are also offering substantial incentives for competitors – such as taking care of the cost of boat transportation for all rally and service vehicles from Setubal in Portugal to the event’s host town of Ponta Delgada, and offering six passenger aircraft tickets with event sponsor SATA from the Portuguese capital Lisbon to Ponta Delgada.

The 2015 SATA Rallye Açores features 17 special stages covering 216.61 kilometres (88% gravel and 12% asphalt) and will include two runs over the famous signature Sete Cidades stage on Friday (5 June), part of which runs around the rim of an extinct volcano.

Further information, including entry forms, are available from the event’s website: www.satarallyeacores.com

50,000 Euros up for grabs for ERC privateer in Azores

To mark the 50th anniversary of SATA Rallye Açores (4-6 June), the FIA European Rally Championship series promoter, Eurosport Events, will increase its privateer prize fund from 20,000 to 50,000 Euros.

In addition to the top-placed privateer finisher receiving a larger cheque for 10,000 Euros, the top three privateer ERC Junior finishers will also share 12,000 Euros – with the leading Junior privateer receiving 6,000 Euros.

The breakdown of the increased privateer prize fund at SATA Rallye Açores is as follows:

General private driver classification

1st 10,000 Euros 2nd 8,000 Euros 3rd 6,000 Euros 4th 5,000 Euros 5th 4,000 Euros 6th 3,000 Euros 7th 2,000 Euros

ERC Junior private driver classification

1st 6,000 Euros 2nd 4,000 Euros 3rd 2,000 Euros

“The privateer driver is at the heart of the FIA European Rally Championship, the one who embodies the spirit of this great and long-standing championship the best,” said Jean-Baptiste Ley, ERC Co-ordinator. “The introduction of the privateer prize fund this year was a way of showing our appreciation to these great competitors, who – with 70 registered ERC competitors already this year – have shown their love and support of the ERC in large numbers. So, to coincide with the golden anniversary of SATA Rallye Açores, we have increased the privateer prize fund from 20,000 to 50,000 Euros.”

To be eligible for ERC privateer prize money drivers must register for the ERC, receive no manufacturer support*, use tyres from one of the three ERC partner companies (Michelin, Pirelli and Yokohama) and not compete in a Regional Rally Car. *Eurosport Events will determine privateer status in consultation with the manufacturer in question.

No place like home for Magalhães

Bruno Magalhães is returning to FIA European Rally Championship action in a Peugeot 208 T16 starting with his home round of the series, SATA Rallye Açores (4-6 June).

The 34-year-old Portuguese driver has won Rallye Açores twice before (in 2008 and 2010), and together with co-driver Hugo Magalhães, he will be aiming for a hat-trick of victories on the stunning volcanic island of São Miguel.

Following Rallye Açores, Magalhães will contest the Kenotek® by CID LINES® Ypres Rally (25-27 June), Cyprus Rally (25-27 September) and Rally of Greece (9-11 October). He is hoping to add more ERC events to that programme, as 2015 marks his 14th rally season with Peugeot.

“I am very happy to be able to continue this project with the Peugeot 208 T16 and return to a competition where I have been involved last year,” said Bruno. “After all, the events chosen by our team are the ones we think will allow us to demonstrate all the experience and skills we’ve achieved, as well as to get a great result with this car.”

Peugeot Portugal, ERA Expo, Whitestar, Pirelli and the Portuguese coffee brand, Delta Cafés, will support Magalhães in his 2015 campaign.

Tarabus and Trunkát become Barum Rally ERC ambassadors

FIA European Rally Championship front-runners Jaromír Tarabus and co-driver Daniel Trunkát have become official rally ambassadors for the Barum Czech Rally Zlín (28-30 August).

The role, which has been created specifically for this year’s event, is set to give the Barum Czech Rally Zlín a new promotional face both at home and abroad. Round seven of the ERC is seen as one of the top motorsport meetings in the Czech Republic.

“It’s an honour to get this important role,” said Tarabus. “I come from Zlín and the Barum rally is really close to my heart. The event is the most famous in the Czech Republic and a real pillar in the FIA ERC.”

“Becoming an ambassador for this key motorsport event fills me with pride,” added Trunkát. “I take it as an appreciation of our existing achievements and great motivation for the future.”

ERC form continues as Lukyanuk wins in Moscow

Alexey Lukyanuk, currently third in the FIA European Rally Championship drivers’ standings, won the Rally Masters Show in Moscow last weekend in a Subaru WRX STI.

“This was my first experience of driving a Subaru WRX STI on Tarmac, and I can say that we did it and we won the rally,” said an overjoyed Lukyanuk.

ERC Junior team Sports Racing Technologies sent two Peugeot 208s for Vasily Gryazin and his younger brother Nikolay, with the latter taking the R2 car to a giant-killing second overall – possibly helped by some local knowledge as one of the stages passed his home!

Q&A with Łukasz Pieniążek

Poland’s Łukasz Pieniążek has already shown great speed and skill in the opening two rounds of the ERC Junior category, scoring his first ever championship points on the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland. We asked the 24-year-old Peugeot 208 R2 driver from Częstochowa how the first part of his three-year ERC Junior plan is progressing – and what he is looking forward to next.

How have the first two ERC Junior rounds gone for you?

“First of all, I am very happy that I had the opportunity to take part in those rallies! It was an incredible adventure. I am pleased with the progress we are making and we were also able to realise our goals.”

How much are you looking forward to SATA Rallye Açores?

“This will be my first visit to the Azores, but I have followed the reports on Eurosport last year and I can say one thing – it will be the most beautiful rally in the entire series, but also the most difficult.”

What are you most looking forward to in the remaining ERC Junior events?

“I am very curious about Rally Estonia, which last year was given a prize for the best round of ERC, and also Barum Czech Rally Zlín, the closest rally to my country. On these two rallies I expect great interest from the fans and I would like to do our best for them.”

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