*Pole back on ERC duty and raring to start new season
*Dachowski recruited to co-drive compatriot
*Azores up first for ambitious driver
Aleks Zawada will contest the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship in 2017 as he bids for the career progression prize incentive of 100,000 Euros on offer to the eventual champion.
The talented Pole, who is back in action after almost a year out of competition, took part in the inaugural ERC Junior Championship in 2014 and claimed his maiden class win the following season.
He will drive a Peugeot 208 R2 and has recruited compatriot Grzegorz Dachowski to co-drive after they competed together for the first time on the ERC-counting Rally Islas Canarias last season.
“I’m really pumped to be getting behind the wheel of a rally car again,” said the London-born driver, who will turn 25 on the second day of the Azores Airlines Rallye. “It’s been a very long break, and loads has happened in the meantime – but I can’t wait to get back in the driver’s seat, spin up the wheels and get a move on.”
Zawada is better known for his exploits in Opel ADAM R2s but switches back to a Peugeot 208 R2 – similar to the car he used for his first season of ERC action – for the gravel spectacular in the mid-Atlantic.
“This rally will be a return to a Peugeot 208 for me, as I will be competing with the Spanish Mavisa Sport team, which admittedly will be slightly strange for me not to be with my homegrown group MSZ Racing, but I am confident that Mavisa Sport will be up to the task,” Zawada continued. “For the remainder of the rallies this season I will be back in my Opel Adam though. Wish us luck!”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, welcomed Zawada’s return for 2017. He said: “It’s great to have Aleks back in the ERC family. He always shows tremendous commitment both on and off the stages, whether that’s going for class wins or securing sponsorship and media coverage. He’s a model professional and a talented driver and we wish him well.”
The Azores Airlines Rallye takes place from 30 March-1 April and is the first of six ERC Junior U27 events scheduled in 2017. The category is for drivers born on or after 1 January 1990 competing in R2 cars on Pirelli tyres. Crews count their best four scores. The prize fund of 100,000 euros goes to the eventual champion for an ERC Junior U28 campaign in 2018 when they will step up to an R5 car.