*German converts one-off World Rally Car ride into full ERC bid with Eurosport Events’ support
*Climb to the top continues but with more opportunities to prove talent
*Ace Griebel: “It makes sense to do a full R5 programme in 2018”
Marijan Griebel will continue to climb the international rallying pyramid in 2018 following his capture of the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship crown.
Having claimed back-to-back ERC Junior awards in R2 and R5 machinery, Griebel was handed a one-off drive in a World Rally Car on a European round of the world championship in 2018 as his ERC Junior U28 title prize. However, following discussions with ERC promoter Eurosport Events, Griebel will transfer the company’s support to a full season at the wheel of an R5 car.
While his precise programme is still being finalised, discussions are ongoing for the 28-year-old German to tackle an all-out FIA European Rally Championship assault.
“As good as the prize of a one-off drive in a World Rally Car is, as I’m not a rich guy it makes more sense for me to do a full programme in an R5 car in 2018,” Griebel explained. “I’ve only done six full rallies in an R5 car and I need to learn and improve. Rather than risking everything by driving a WRC car for one event with no experience and no chance against the pros and the manufacturer teams, my aim is to do a full programme in an R5 car. There’s still some budget missing to do exactly what I want but I’m working with my partners and with Eurosport Events to put everything together. Certainly, as an FIA champion there are more possibilities and more motivation to do something really good.”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Coordinator, said: “We have talked at length to Marijan and while the World Rally Car option remains on the table for him, he needs to do what’s right for him as he progresses up the rallying ladder. This was his decision and he has our full support. We’re now discussing exactly what his 2018 campaign will entail but we have no doubt Marijan will continue to build on the experience he’s accumulated from competing in the ERC Junior categories and further prove his talent.”
Griebel, who drove a Pirelli-shod Baumschlager Rallye & Racing ŠKODA Fabia R5 to European success in 2017, received his FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship trophy at a ceremony in Liepāja, Latvia earlier this month.
And looking back on his hugely successful stint in ERC Junior, he said: “The ERC is a great series to develop you as a driver. It has a lot of really good rallies with some different characteristics but also the competition is really good. It’s the best and most affordable way to start an international career.”