2016 FIA European Rally Championship calendar
The provisional 10-round calendar for the 2016 FIA European Rally Championship has been presented to the FIA Rally Commission, with the series maintaining its perfect balance of five Tarmac and five loose-surface events (including one on snow). Eurosport Events, the ERC promoter, has ensured there are no clashes with WRC events and has introduced two new rallies for 2016, in Canarias and Poland. There is at least a three week gap between each ERC event, and four to five weeks between the furthest island rallies. The competitive distance for each event will be between 200-230 kilometres, there will be a limit on the number of tyres which are allowed, while further cost-saving measures include generous logistical assistance to help competitors contest the events in Canarias, Azores and Cyprus. The ERC Junior championship will retain the same six rounds that it did in 2015. The full 2016 ERC calendar story is on fiaerc.com.
2016 ERC calendar (provisional)
Lukyanuk takes Valais win after exciting ERC finale
Alexey Lukyanuk won the final round of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship, Rallye International du Valais, in his Russian Performance Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5 by 1m20.6s, after Craig Breen was given a post-event two-minute penalty. Breen had driven brilliantly, leading the spectacular Swiss asphalt event from start to finish in his Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16. Unfortunately, a genuine mistake saw him leave service with 20 marked Michelin tyres instead of the allocated 18, and the penalty dropped him to second place, denying him his fourth ERC win of the season. For Lukyanuk it was his second win of 2015, and his first major win on Tarmac, securing the talented Russian driver third place in the final ERC driver standings, behind champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Breen. OIivier Burri came home top Swiss driver in third in his Citroën DS3 RRC.
Star drive from ERC Junior champion Bergkvist
One, if not the, star drives of the Rallye International du Valais came from Emil Bergkvist – who finished fourth on his first rally in a four-wheel drive car. Co-driven by Joakim Sjöberg, the 21-year old Swede made full use of his opportunity to show the world his amazing potential, having been released from his Opel Motorsport contract for one week to enable him to take up his ERC Junior prize-drive in a Saintéloc Racing Peugeot 208 T16. “It was a really good rally, everything went according to plan,” said Bergkvist. “We improved all the time. It was not so easy to do this rally for the first time, and also in an R5 car. I am really happy.”
Lukyanuk takes top ERC privateer prize money in Valais
Alexey Lukyanuk took home the top ERC privateer prize money award at the Rallye International du Valais, picking up a cheque for 7,000 Euros. Florian Gonon was rewarded with 5,000 Euros, while Nikolay Gryazin received 3,000 Euros. The cheques, presented at the finish ceremony by ERC Branding Manager Daniel Zanchetta, where give to:
First position: Alexey Lukyanuk (€7000)
Q&A with Dávid Botka
The exciting battle for the ERC2 title went down to the final round, with a truly fantastic second half of the season seeing Dávid Botka overtake arch rival Vojtěch Štajf and become champion. Fiaerc.com caught up with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX driver, following his triumphant return home to Hungary.
You've had a great battle all season with Vojtěch Štajf. Did you think halfway through the year that you would overtake him and win the title?
You won three out of the last four rounds of ERC2. What made the difference in those events?
What, apart from clinching the ERC2 title, has been your 2015 highlight?
What are your plans for 2016?