Stunning ERC entry for Barum Czech Rally Zlín
Next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín (28-30 August), round seven of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship, has received a massive 143-car entry, with drivers from 26 countries participating in the challenging Tarmac event. There are 22 R5 and Super 2000 cars in the top ERC1 category, four in ERC2 and 19 in ERC3, within which are 14 ERC Juniors. Some of the big stand out names include three-time event winner Jan Kopecký, who drives a factory ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia R5. Last year’s winner Václav Pech returns in a Mini John Cooper Works S2000, last year’s ERC vice-champion Sepp Wiegand drives a ŠKODA Fabia S2000, and Alexey Lukyanuk, who won the auto24 Rally Estonia in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, returns in his Ford Fiesta R5. The battle for the ERC Drivers’ title will be intense, with Kajetan Kajetanowicz (LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5), Craig Breen (Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16) and Robert Consani (Citroën DS3 R5) all competing, as well as Breen’s team-mate Charles Martin and Jaromír Tarabus and Tomáš Kostka (ŠKODA Fabia R5s). The full entry list can be found at: http://www.fiaerc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/bcrz_2015_entrylist.pdf
ERC registrations reach 118
Some 118 registrations have now been received for the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship. The figure far exceeds the target set by series promoter Eurosport Events and highlights the increasing popularity of the series amongst drivers and teams. There is little doubt that the quality of the 10 events, the TV and media package, incentives like the privateer prize money fund, close competition, big crowds and the friendly atmosphere has struck a chord with competitors, giving them a series they really want to be a part of. In terms of class breakdown, 56 drivers are now registered for ERC1, 17 for ERC2 and 45 for ERC3 – 27 of which are ERC Junior entries.
KajTO tops ERC privateer prize money leaderboard
Having won 29,000 Euros already this season, Kajetan 'Kajto' Kajetanowicz currently tops the ERC privateer prize money leaderboard! Alexey Lukyanuk is second in the rankings with 15,000 Euros, while Robert Consani is third with 12,000 Euros. A total of 28 drivers have shared the 150,000 Euros that ERC promoter Eurosport Events has so far given away in privateer prize money. The prize winners include seven ERC2 drivers and four ERC Juniors. Eurosport Events will give away another 20,000 Euros to the top seven privateers in Zlín. To be eligible for the ERC privateer prize fund, drivers must register for the ERC, receive no manufacturer support*, use tyres from one of the three ERC partner companies (Michelin, Pirelli and Yokohama) and not compete in a Regional Rally Car. *Eurosport Events will determine privateer status in consultation with the manufacturer in question.
Five drivers fight for ERC Junior runner-up spot
Five drivers will be fighting to become ERC Junior vice-champion at the Barum Czech Rally Zlín as the 2015 series draws to an exciting climax. Ralfs Sirmacis is currently second in the Michelin-supported series, although the Sport Racing Technologies Peugeot 208 R2 driver is only eight-points ahead of third-placed Steve Røkland. Just four points cover Røkland (208), fourth-placed Chris Ingram (Peugeot UK) and fifth-placed Marijan Griebel (ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team Adam R2). However, all four could be leapfrogged by Portuguese Peugeot Rally Academy driver Diogo Gago, who could still catapult himself from sixth to second in the ERC Junior standings. He might have already clinched the ERC Junior title, but that hasn’t made Emil Bergkvist any less determined. He heads to Zlín in his ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Adam R2 looking for another win and has warned his rivals that he’s not there for a joyride!
Tarabus celebrates Fabia R5 ERC debut in cool colours
This is the ultra-cool looking Kresta Racing-run ŠKODA Fabia R5 that Jaromír Tarabus will drive on the Barum Czech Rally Zlín. Partnered by Daniel Trunkát, Tarabus is one of the first privateer Czech drivers to get his hands on ŠKODA Motorsport’s incredible new rally car – and we think the experienced 38-year old pilot has done a magnificent job with the colour scheme.
ERC Ladies’ champion Stratieva in surprise Evo move
ERC Ladies’ Trophy champion Ekaterina Stratieva will contest next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. It’s going to be a little different from the Citroën C2 R2 the hard-charging Bulgarian driver has been campaigning, yet Stratieva felt right at home in the car during a recent 80 kilometre test. The outing is thanks to the support of Czech driver Antonín Tlusťák, whose Tlusťák Racing team will run the car. Hungary’s Julianna Nyirfas will co-drive. “For the first time in my life I sat in an Evo,” said Stratieva. “The weather was very bad, with a lot of rain and also mud, but it is good that from the first moment I have hard conditions. I hope that afterwards, it will be more easy!"
Q&A with Diogo Gago
Diogo Gago is one of five drivers in with a chance of becoming ERC Junior vice-champion on next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín. By his own admission, it has been a bit of an up and down first season in ERC Juniors – with blistering speed and a few unfortunate crashes. Fiaerc.com caught up with the Portuguese Peugeot Rally Academy driver ahead of the ERC Junior finale.
What has been your ERC Junior highlight so far and why?
What are the main things you have learnt this year?
What will be your strategy and ideal result on the final round?