ENTRIES OPEN FOR 2016 ERC
Online registrations for the 2016 FIA European Rally Championship are now open. Teams and drivers planning to contest the 10-round, all-action series can formalise their participation by going to this link:
Registrations for the FIA ERC Junior Championship are also open. For more information email Jean-Baptiste Ley: Jean-Baptiste_Ley@discovery.com
Q&A: ERC CHAMPION KAJETAN KAJETANOWICZ
Poland’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz joined an illustrious list of former winners when he won the FIA European Rally Championship in 2015. The LOTOS Rally Team driver spoke to FIAERC.com at the recent Motorsport Awards by Eurosport Events ceremony in Paris following his success.
Kajto, we’re here at the Porte de Versailles, and we’re actually in the middle of the annual Paris Motorcycle Show! Do you like motorbikes? “I do! A few years ago I was at Monza in Italy watching the motorcycle racers. It’s an amazing sport with amazing guys – they do amazing things on these motorbikes. When they are braking, they start at 200-250kph and when they’re braking they’re sliding. It’s dramatic to watch that.”
Is it a big emotion to come here to collect the ERC trophy and to see everybody again? “I’m happy to be here of course, and I’m here with my girlfriend so she can see all of my rivals! I was fighting with the people here all year and now she can meet them.”
Looking back at this fantastic year, what are the moments that you’ll remember most? “It was very exciting, there were very many great moments in the season. It’s hard to say one. Every rally, not only the rallies that I won, but every rally. I love these rallies to be honest. My sister lives in Ireland so the Circuit of Ireland was a good one. There were so many great moments for us, not only winning.”
What’s your favourite rally, if you had to choose one? “The Açores Rally. There was the amazing stage around the volcano. And it was a very long stage this year, which made it even better.”
MAKE MINE AN R5, SAYS ERC JUNIOR CHAMPION BERGKVIST
Highly-rated Swede Emil Bergkvist doesn’t want his outing in an R5 car to be a one-off. The FIA ERC Junior Championship winner for 2015 received a prize drive in a Peugeot 208 T16 on the ERC season-closing Rallye International du Valais last month for capturing the young-driver title at this first attempt earlier this year. He finished fourth overall in Switzerland despite a dearth of experience in four-wheel-drive machinery and is now working on plans to rally an R5 car on a full-time basis in 2016 following his ERC Junior title with Opel, providing he can raise the necessary finances. “To get the chance from Peugeot, and for Opel to let us do it too, was amazing,” he said. “Thanks to Eurosport and the ERC for making it happen. It was very good for me to drive in the R5 in the same year as winning the Junior championship. That was the best moment to do it and it was a lot of fun.”
WHY 12 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER FOR ERC RALLY LIEPĀJA
The opening round of next year’s FIA European Rally Championship, Rally Liepāja, will again consist of 12 special stages. Scheduled to take place from 5-7 February 2016, the high-speed winter spectacular will cover 210 competitive kilometres, a small increase of five kilometres compared to this year’s event. Following the Qualifying Stage, start selection ceremony and ceremonial start on Friday 5 February, the opening six stages will take place around the town of Kuldīga on 6 February followed by the closing six stages on Sunday 7 February around host city Liepāja, which is located on Latvia’s Baltic coast. Entries opened at 12h00 local time on Friday 11 December.
ERC2 TROPHY MAKES BOTKA’S YEAR COMPLETE
Dávid Botka received his trophy for winning the ERC2 section of the FIA European Rally Championship as the various ERC award winners were celebrated in Paris earlier this month. The Motorsport Awards by Eurosport Events took place at the Paris Motorcycle Show where the winners of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, the FIA European Touring Car Cup and the FIM Endurance World Championship for motorbikes were also honoured for their achievements during 2015. Eurosport Events promotes all four categories and the ceremony in the French capital brought together leading lights from two and four wheels, and from the racing circuits of the world and the rally stages of Europe under one roof for the first time for a truly memorable occasion. Botka scored three ERC2 wins in 2015 and was joined in Paris by fellow Hungarian Peter Szeles, who co-drove his Mitsubishi Lancer for the latter part of the season.
ERC CALENDAR 2016 REMINDER
The calendar for the 2016 FIA European Rally Championship was confirmed recently. Here’s a reminder.
5-7 February: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel/ice/snow) (J); 11-13 March: 40 Rally Islas Canarias ‘El Corte Ingles’ (asphalt); 7-9 April: Circuit of Ireland Rally (Northern Ireland, asphalt) (J); 6-8 May: SEAJETS Acropolis Rally (Greece, gravel) *; 2-4 June: SATA Rallye Açores (Portugal, gravel) (J); 23-25 June: Kenotek by CID LINES Ypres Rally (Belgium, asphalt) (J); 15-17 July: auto24 Rally Estonia (gravel) ** (J); 5-7 August: 25 Rajd Rzeszowski (Poland, asphalt); 26-28 August: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic, asphalt) (J); 24-25 September: Cyprus Rally (gravel/asphalt)
Reserve event: 20-22 October: Rallye International du Valais (Switzerland, asphalt); (J) Indicates FIA ERC Junior Championship round; *Subject to signing the ERC Promoter agreement and sporting power delegation to the local federation; **Subject to signing of ERC Promoter agreement