7 May 2015: Newsletter #19/15

Former ERC Junior star Kristiansen returns with Fabia S2000

Former FIA European Junior Rally Championship podium finisher Petter Kristiansen will return to the series this year in a ŠKODA Fabia S2000 – ahead of what he plans to be a bigger ERC programme in 2016.

The 25-year-old Norwegian driver will make his first ERC appearance of 2015 at the Kenotek by CID LINES Ypres Rally in Belgium (25-27 June). Co-driven by Ole Kristian Brennum, Kristiansen also hopes to drive the GPD Orsák Rally Sport-run car on the team’s home round of the ERC, Barum Czech Rally Zlín (28-30 August).

“Returning to the ERC in a ŠKODA Fabia S2000 is a new milestone in my career, and hopefully it signals the start of a bigger programme in 2016,” said Kristiansen. “This is a result of hard work over several years to make this come true. I am really happy that we can go to the ERC with GPD Orsák Rally Sport.”

Opel tests ahead of ERC gravel events

The ADAC Opel Rallye Team completed a successful gravel test near Rosenau in Austria earlier this week (5-6 May), in preparation for the third round of the FIA European Junior Rally Championship, SATA Rallye Açores (4-6 June).

Two-time ERC Junior season winner Emil Bergkvist (20) from Sweden and his German team-mate Marijan Griebel (who turns 26 on May 18) – who finished second on the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally – had one day each in the Opel Adam R2 test car.

“It was a great opportunity for me to gain experience on gravel“, explained Griebel. “During those runs I adapted my driving style more and more. It was a perfect preparation for the upcoming gravel events.”

Circuit of Ireland marshals win trip to Barbados

Two FIA European Rally Championship volunteers who marshalled at last month’s Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally will be jetting off to the Sol Rally Barbados 2015 (May 29-31) having won the marshals’ draw.

With 45 years of rally volunteer work between them, the worthy winners were Ian Connolly from County Londonderry and Kevin Flanagan from County Monaghan, who both worked on the timekeeping team.

Two-year ERC Junior plan for Klausz

Kristóf Klausz has a twoyear plan at the end of which the Hungarian teenager aims to become FIA European Junior Rally Champion.

Having switched from an ERC3 Renault Clio, the 18-year-old made his ERC Junior debut in a Peugeot 208 R2 on April’s Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally. Unfortunately he and co-driver Balázs Kecskeméti got caught out on one of the many Irish bumps – landing on the grass, hitting a pole and rolling. And yet that dramatic ERC Junior debut hasn’t dampened Klausz’s ambitions to become champion.

“From now on I will do all the rounds of this year’s ERC Junior and, I hope, next year also,” said Klausz. “This year we want to try the car and learn the stages in every country, and afterwards we’d like to challenge for the ERC Junior title next year.”

Q&A with Gino Bux

In only his second season of rallying, Belgian motorsport federation’s RACB National Team driver Gino Bux continues to show his immense talent – driving his Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 208 R2 in the ERC Junior championship. Last year’s SATA Rallye Açores was his first ever rally on gravel, so we thought it timely for a quick-fire Q&A.

You scored an ERC Junior podium finish on SATA Rallye Açores last year –what are you hopes and aims for this year’s event?

“Last year was an incredible experience. It was my first ever rally on gravel, so I took it carefully to the end. We made no mistakes, except a little one on the last stage that stopped the great battle we were having against my rival and friend Chris Ingram. At the end, we had a wonderful podium finish for our first experience there. For sure, the level of this year is much higher, and there are also more competitors. Anyway, the challenge will be bigger and it promises to be a huge fight between all the ERC Juniors. We really want to do better than in the first two rallies of our 2015 season in ERC Junior, where we had a mix of unlucky situations and small mistakes with big consequence. Now, it’s time to get back home with a proper result.”

What do you remember most about SATA Rallye Açores, and what are you most looking forward to?

“I am really looking forward to getting back on the volcano stage, Sete Cidades. It is a breath-taking stage. I must say that it was the best experience I ever had in a rally car.”

What event in the second half of ERC Junior are you most looking forward to, and why?

“I’m also really looking forward to the next Tarmac event in Belgium. It’s my home rally and I want to show that we could reach a very good result there with what I learned from last year. It’s always a special feeling to drive in your own country in ERC. Anyway, every ERC rally is specific and different. It means that you can look forward to every rally because there is always something special to discover or to enjoy.”