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ERC Newsletter #44/15

29 October 2015

Breen leads after day one at Rallye du Valais

Craig Breen leads the final round of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship tonight, after setting fastest time on all three opening stages of the Rallye International du Valais. The Peugeot Rally Academy driver is 15.4 seconds ahead of eight-time Valais winner Olivier Burri in his Citroën DS3 RRC. Alexey Lukyanuk is a very impressive third in his Russian Performance Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5 on his Valais debut, while rally legend and 2015 FIA R-GT champion François Delecour is fourth in a Porsche 997. Emil Bergkvist has made a great start on his R5 debut. The 21-year old Swede is driving a Michelin-shod 208 T16 run by Saintéloc Racing as a prize-drive for winning the ERC Junior title, and is a fantastic seventh overnight. Having been second fastest over the Qualifying Stage, Bryan Bouffier ran wide on a fast right hand corner on the opening stage – hitting a wall and retiring his Peugeot 208 T16 with a broken left rear wheel and a smashed brake disc. The three-day Rallye du Valais continues tomorrow and finishes on Saturday.

ERC Radio coming live from Valais

ERC Radio’s live coverage from the final round of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship, the Rallye International du Valais, will continue over the next two days, with Chris Rawes and Julian Porter reporting from the Swiss alpine stage ends. Coverage from Leg 2 begins at 09h45 tomorrow (Friday 30 October) from the stop line of SS4 and continues live on air until the overnight halt. Coverage of the third and final leg on Saturday (31 October) will also begin at 09h45 from the end of SS11. ERC Radio is available FREE on and via the ERC app, and you can get in touch with ERC Radio by e-mailing

ERC drivers support FIA Action for Road Safety in Valais

FIA European Rally Championship drivers taking part in the Rallye International du Valais were only too pleased to endorse the FIA Action for Road Safety campaign, with a photoshoot in a packed press room in Sion. The FIA's Action for Road Safety is a global campaign, focusing the federation's resources on helping its member organisations around the globe to educate and advocate for safer roads, vehicles and behaviours.

Stratieva retains ERC Ladies’ Trophy title

Ekaterina Stratieva is celebrating winning back-to-back ERC Ladies’ Trophy titles tonight, after starting the Rallye International du Valais. The Bulgarian driver was three points ahead of Martina Danhelová and Inessa Tushkanova, but as neither of her rivals started the final round in Switzerland, Stratieva’s title was assured. Whilst they obviously didn’t have to start the final round to win the title, Stratieva and her Hungarian co-driver Julianna Nyirfas also wanted to celebrate their birthdays in October by contesting Rallye du Valais, and have even given their Citroën C2 R2 a cool new paint job! Unfortunately a fuel problem has slowed them, but they hope to be back up to full power tomorrow.

Q&A with Jonathan Hirschi

Jonathan Hirschi is the top-seeded Swiss driver on the Rallye International du Valais. It might be his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship, but he lives a two-hour drive away from Sion – yet he knows the event well, and has a good record here. In his first full season of rallying, we caught up with Hirschi before the start.

This is your home round of the ERC. What are your hopes and aims in terms of performance on this year's event?
“For sure last year was really good, because we did really well here. This is the first year I have done a full season of rally, so for sure it’s a rally at home and normally we have to improve, but yes, it’s still difficult because the level is really high and there are a lot of good competitors and good cars and also the rally is a bit tricky because of the weather conditions. So yes, let’s see, especially on Saturday we will have to wait a little bit, because it’s a really long day with long stages, so let’s see.”

You finished 8th here in 2011, 6th in 2012 and 4th last year. Can you continue that run of results and finish on the podium this year?
“I hope so, but honestly I don’t want to push and not finish the rally. I am pretty young with not so much experience yet, so I have to continue to build my experience. The main target for me is to finish this rally. For sure we will drive quickly, not pushing a lot, but we will see.”

As the top-seeded Swiss driver, what advice would you give the drivers who are contesting the Rallye du Valais for the first time?
“It’s not an easy rally because you have a lot of small things like Les Cols, the long stage, with the wood, and many things like that, especially in the morning on the first loop it can be more dirty than you expect.”

- 0 DAYSrallye international du valais 
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Paul Evans
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