*Frenchman makes it 25 registrations for young driver class
*Debut scheduled for this week’s Rally di Roma Capitale
Stéphane Consani has become the latest young star to sign up for the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship – because he wants to benchmark his skills against fellow promising talents.
Consani has demonstrated impressive pace and potential throughout his career but has often been held back by a lack of finance. However, following a strong season in the Coupe de France rally series in his homeland, the 26-year-old has been handed the opportunity to make his European Rally Championship in a Erreffe Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 on Rally di Roma Capitale from 14-17 September.
“The ERC Junior Under 28 Championship is really interesting with high level drivers,” said Consani. “Moreover, in 2015 and 2016, when I entered very few rallies, I had the opportunity to race against the two Peugeot Rally Academy ERC Junior U28 drivers, Pepe López and José Suárez, in the French 208 Cup. Unfortunately, my seasons were too short because of a lack of sponsorship so this is a great opportunity to compete with them again and it’s very exciting to race against drivers of my age.”
Consani has taken four wins and two podiums from six Coupe de France starts in 2017 and will complete a one-day test in Italy today (Tuesday) in readiness for the upcoming Rally di Roma Capitale. His compatriot Valentin Salmon will co-drive.
“I’ve raced with Erreffe Rally Team since the beginning of the season in France with good results,” Consani explained. “I now have a really good feeling with the Fiesta R5 and the whole team. As Erreffe Rally Team gave us the opportunity to enter Rally di Roma Capitale, Valentin and I immediately accepted this challenge as it will give us a pretty good idea of our level. The Coupe de France is our main goal this year. After the final round in October we’ll set up a new programme for next year although this will depend on my present partners and the budget we’ll gather around our project.”
Like the bulk of the ERC contingent tackling Rally di Roma Capitale, Consani has no previous event experience meaning he’s keeping his expectations in check. “My target is to gain experience with Valentin and Erreffe on an international rally as this will give us a more precise idea of what we can target in the coming seasons. Finishing on the ERC Junior Under 28 podium would be a fantastic result.”
Racing Lubes, Pirelli, Greco Paolo, Apisa, Fenice, Erreffe and Bardahl are supporting Consani’s ERC Junior U28 bid on Rally di Roma Capitale, which includes all-asphalt stages in and around the Italian city.
ERC Junior U28 was introduced at the start of 2017 by promoter Eurosport Events to provide a clear path of progression from national level to the world championship. It’s for drivers born on or after 1 January 1989 competing in R5 cars. The champion gets a World Rally Car drive on a European round of the WRC.