5 March 2015: Newsletter #10/15

Road safety promotion for ERC birthday boy Kajto

It’s Kajetan ‘Kajto’ Kajetanowicz’s 36th birthday today, and the leader of the FIA European Rally Championship will be spending it promoting road safety in his native Poland.

The LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 driver is an ambassador for an initiative called ‘LOTOS Mistrzowie w Pasach’ – which translated means ‘LOTOS Champions in Seatbelts’ or ‘LOTOS Champions Buckled-up’.

There is a road safety event in Warsaw today, organised by LOTOS and the Polish National Road Safety Foundation, at which Kajto will help promote the importance of wearing seatbelts, how to fasten them properly, teach parents how to use children seatbelts correctly and show children that wearing seatbelts is not only important but also a really cool thing to do.

After giving up his time for such a good cause, hopefully Kajto will have a birthday cake when he gets home!

Happy birthday Kajto!

Circuit of Ireland Rally receives local government support

This year’s Circuit of Ireland Rally has once again attracted the support of the local Northern Irish Government, with Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster attending the recent event launch.

Last year more than 74,000 people came to view the stunning stages across the counties of Antrim and Down – something which didn’t go unnoticed by another valuable supporter of round three of the FIA European Rally Championship (2-4 April), Tourism Ireland.

“Following on from the great success of last year’s event, the 2015 Circuit of Ireland Rally once more promises to deliver the very best in motorsport as Europe’s finest drivers compete on the most challenging roads in Northern Ireland,” said Mrs Foster.

“The huge interest in the event presents an outstanding opportunity to showcase our beautiful landscapes and spectacular scenery to international visitors and television viewers alike,” she added. “With an expected television audience of more than 14 million people, we are perfectly placed to help raise the profile of Northern Ireland, both to those who come here to spectate as well as to those tuning in around the world.”

Spectacular Rallye Açores 50th anniversary ERC video

To celebrate this year’s 50th edition of SATA Rallye Açores (4-6 June), the organisers of the fourth round of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship have produced a great video.

The event’s signature Sete Cedades stage, which runs along the rim of a volcanic crater, is one of the highlights of the video – with amazing scenery equalled by the skill and bravery of competitors. The video also goes back to the first running of Rallye Açores in 1965, and features great images from all the subsequent decades – highlighting what a rich history the event has.

Rallye Açores, which is based on the archipelago’s largest island of São Miguel in the mid-Atlantic, is a favourite with fans and competitors. And if, like us, you can’t wait until June, check out the great video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9KOVBbEOes.

Circuit call for ERC volunteers

Organisers of the Circuit of Ireland Rally, round three of the FIA European Rally Championship, are looking for additional volunteers to join the existing team of marshals.

For anyone who has ever fancied getting involved in rallying, this is a great chance to meet new friends and be part of the huge success that this year’s Circuit of Ireland (2-4 April) will undoubtedly be.

For more details and to register, log on to www.circuitofireland.net or call the volunteer hotline (NI) +44 (0) 7956 612235 / (RoI) + 353 (0) 8572 39426.

ERC registrations nears 60

Registrations continue to arrive for the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship, with almost 60 drivers now on the list.

The latest drivers to register include Irish brothers Sam and Josh Moffett, who will drive a pair of Ford Fiesta RRCs, and Hungarian ERC2 pilot Tibor Erdi.

There are now 19 drivers registered for ERC Juniors. Northern Ireland’s Calvin Beattie is the latest to join, while rapid ERC3 driver Kristóf Klausz (Hungary) has swapped his Renault Clio R3 for a Peugeot 208 R2 and joined ERC Juniors too.

Eurosport Events, the promoters of the ERC, has so far received 59 registered entries for the 2015 series. All registered drivers receive a number of exclusive benefits, including dedicated coverage on TV, web and social media, priority seeding, entry to each Qualifying Stage and a chance to win part of the 200,000 Euro privateer prize fund.

ERC bids bon voyage to Richard

After five years and over 60 rallies, the FIA European Rally Championship is bidding a heartfelt bon voyage to its loyal press officer Richard Rodgers.

He won’t be leaving the Eurosport Events family, however, as Richard takes up his new role of FIA Media Delegate for the FIA World Touring Car Championship – with the 2015 series beginning in Argentina this weekend.

“Everyone appreciates the fantastic job that Richard Rodgers has done over the last five years as IRC and ERC press officer and now he’s leaving rallying to follow Sébastien Loeb into the WTCC,” said Peugeot Rally Academy driver Craig Breen. “Rodge, you are the most politest man I’ve ever met in my life! It’s been great to work with you over the years and I wish you the very best of luck.”

So he doesn’t forget his rally friends, ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley presented Richard with the world’s biggest media pass, with a picture of all his Eurosport colleagues and the logos of all the events he has attended.

“I’ve enjoyed every moment working with Eurosport Events in the IRC and ERC. It’s a very happy family and I’m going to miss everyone very much,” said Richard.

Q&A with Jon Armstrong

FIA European Junior Rally Championship driver Jon Armstrong has changed his pace note system for 2015.

That’s as significant as changing your swing in golf or deciding to use your left foot instead of your right in penalty football shoot-outs! It worked well for Jon in Latvia, as the 20-year old from Northern Ireland finished fifth in ERC Junior on Rally Liepāja – so we asked him about the change.

What made you change your pace note system?

“I used a one to six pace note system before, with six being the fastest. This numerical system has traditionally been used by British drivers, including Colin McRae. The system was about what gear to take a corner in, but I found that it wasn’t as accurate as I wanted it to be. I wanted to change to a system that was purely about the angle of the corner, and that’s why I’ve changed to these new pace notes.

Where did you first hear about them?

“Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier both use this system and I did a bit of research behind their methods before using the system myself.”

Having done a couple of rallies with this system, do you feel your pace has improved?

“I think that using my new pace note system allows me to know the severity of the corners better than before, and now I use speed descriptions with every corner also. It is definitely a big improvement from before and it is getting better with every mile I do.”

Can you describe how you determine what number each corner is and if you have any special notes made for you?
“I put a mark on my steering wheel before every recce. That way I know exactly what the correct angle of each corner is and there will be no mistakes.”

Do you feel you were happy with your pace notes in Latvia, or is it an on-going learning process?
“In Latvia the pace notes worked extremely well, and it showed by how close we were to the pace on day two.”

Media accreditation open for ERC Circuit of Ireland Rally

All media planning to attend the Circuit of Ireland Rally on 2-4 April and not in possession of an ERC Permanent Press Credential must apply by following this link: http://www.circuitofireland.net/accreditation.html. ERC Permanent Press Credential holders planning to attend the event must confirm their attendance by emailing media.fiaerc.com. All television/radio enquiries must be addressed to Antonios Argyropoulos by emailing fia_erc_accreditations@eurosport.com.​