*Bottarelli, Canzian and Pisani get one-off drives on upcoming Tarmac rounds
*Motorsport Italia Toyota GT86 CS-R3 provided for exciting initiative
*ACI becomes fifth national federation to support programme in ERC 2017
The Automobile Club d’Italia, in partnership with the Motorsport Italia team, has become the latest national federation to invest in an FIA European Rally Championship campaign.
Under the ACI Team Italia umbrella, it will provide three young talents selected by ACI Sport with the opportunity to tackle a round of the ERC in a Toyota GT86 CS-R3.
Luca Bottarelli will contest Rally Rzeszow in Poland from 3-5 August, Riccardo Canzian will get his chance on Barum Czech Rally Zlín (25-27 August), while Gianandrea Pisani’s turn will come on Rally de Roma Capitale from 15-17 September.
ACI Team Italia stated: “It is a great opportunity for young drivers to improve and implement their experience in a Toyota GT86 CS-R3 with technical support from Motorsport Italia. While the financial support from the federation is important, we also have to thank Toyota’s promotion and Pirelli’s support.”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “ACI Team Italia’s announcement is more good news for the ERC and for young prospects hoping for the chance to prove their talent in a prestigious and long-established international championship. We will follow the progress of Luca, Riccardo and Gianandrea closely and hope they will be able to convert their one-off drives into full ERC campaigns in 2018.”
The ACI becomes the fifth federation to support a young driver development programme in the ERC this year with ACCR (Czech Republic), ADAC (Germany), EASU (Estonia) and RFEDA (Spain) all investing in activities in ERC Junior, which provides a clear ladder of progression from national to international level.
Starting out by completing the ERC Junior Experience training programme, drivers progress to the ERC Junior Under 27 Championship for competitors in R2 cars using Pirelli tyres. The champion receives 100,000 Euros to use for an ERC Junior Under 28 campaign the following season, when drivers step up to R5 machinery, with the winner handed a drive in a World Rally Car on a European round of the world championship the next year, thereby giving them the opportunity to showcase their talent on a global stage.
Established in 1953, the ERC is made up of eight events on gravel and asphalt. Cost-cutting measures limit scoring opportunities while helping to ensure strong competition. Extensive television coverage and social media activation are among the many benefits on offer to ERC participants.