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Press release

29 May 2015

FIA ERC Junior pre-event quotes: SATA Rallye Açores, Round 3 of 6, 4-6 June 2015

Mattias Adielsson (SWE) Born: 11 May 1991 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Christoffer Bäck (SWE)

“I’m really excited about the rally and it will be great fun and an adventure for all included. I have seen a lot of onboards and the stages look fantastic! It has been a really big effort from the team back home to get an entry for this rally, and we are very pleased with our sponsors’ help that we can do it. I have never been driving on similar roads, so it will be a big challenge and we need to learn during the rally. Everything came together just two or three hours before entries closed, and it was not good for the nerves, but I am so happy that we managed it and we will do our best to be as prepared as we can be, so we can do our best on the rally.”

Jon Armstrong (GBR) Born: 11 December 1994 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Noel O’Sullivan (IRL)

“I think Azores will be a very difficult rally for us because it is a rally like no other. The roads look insane from the coverage I've watched from previous years! So for our first time it will be very challenging but we also need to enjoy it. I did some testing on gravel before Latvia, but apart from that we haven't done any proper gravel events in the car. The Peugeot 208 is good on gravel, it has really nice traction so we will see what we can do.”

Emil Bergkvist (SWE) Born: 17 June 1994 Car: Opel Adam R2 Co-driver: Joakim Sjöberg (SWE)

“I am very much looking forward to our Azores trip. I have watched several onboard videos of the stages and can’t wait to drive those exciting gravel roads myself. I expect a very tough rally again even if winning the first two rounds of the FIA ERC Junior in Latvia and Ireland in a row gives all members of the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team a lot of confidence. Our Opel Adam R2 has proved to be a fantastic rally car on all surfaces and after a good gravel test in Austria and our start in the South Swedish Rally we feel very well prepared for the Azores. But the level of competition in the FIA ERC Junior is incredibly high, so the highest aim is to do a clean rally with as few mistakes as possible.”

Emīls Blūms (LVA) Born: 28 May 1992 Car: Ford Fiesta R2 Co-driver: Reinis Vilsons (LVA)

“I would like to thank my LMT Autosport Academy team for giving me this fantastic opportunity to participate in SATA Rallye Açores. This is my first ever event outside the Baltic States, so can’t wait to start. We were planning to do WRC Poland, but switched in favour of the Azores because of our long-term strategy to focus on ERC Junior. After having seen some onboards, I think the Azores roads will suit my driving style and my Fiesta as well. I am not dreaming of winning, but to finish in the top six would be great. We don’t have any experience in Azores, but neither have the majority of ERC Juniors participating. So no excuses – we don’t go there for an excursion, we come to see our speed.”

Gino Bux (BEL) Born: 11 August 1990 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Eric Borguet (BEL)

“Last year in the Azores was an incredible experience. It was my first rally ever on gravel so I took it carefully to the end. We made no mistakes, except a little one on the last stage that stopped the great battle we were having against my rival and friend Chris Ingram. At the end, we had a wonderful podium finish for our first experience there. For sure, the level this year is much higher, and there is also more competitors. Anyway, the challenge will be bigger and it promises to be a huge fight between all the ERC Juniors. We really want to do better than in the two first rallies of our 2015 season in ERC Junior, where we had a mix of unlucky situations and small mistakes with big consequence. Now, it’s time to get back home with a proper result.”

Diogo Gago (PRT) Born: 7 August 1991 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Jorge Carvahlo (PRT)

“Azores will be the next step forward in my ERC campaign. This is the only rally that I’ve already done, so I know what to expect on the stages. However, the competitiveness is really high so I expect a really hard challenge. This rally will be quite demanding for the drivers and machines, so it will be a quite a challenge for everyone. I want to capitalise on my experience from last year and I hope to fight from the start for a place in the podium. I feel really motivated to be competing in my home country and in front of my home fans. So, as always, I will do my best to take the maximum points I can for the championship.”

Marijan Griebel (DEU) Born: 18 May 1989 Car: Opel Adam R2 Co-driver: Stefan Clemens (DEU)

“Competing in the Azores with its stunning landscape and terrific gravel roads has been a childhood dream of mine that will come true now. I expect very challenging stages with changing rhythm and different kind of gravel surfaces. Also the weather can be a big issue on the Azores, so you have to be very careful and prepared to adapt to changing conditions very quickly. Achieving a one-two finish at the Circuit of Ireland Rally was a blast for the whole ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team. On the other hand, SATA Rally Açores will only be my second ever gravel rally in competition after our test outing in Rally Portugal two weeks before. Therefore my main goals are to gain experience, get our Opel Adam R2 to the finish line safely and score as many ERC Junior points as possible.“

Vasily Gryazin (RUS) Born: 11 November 1993 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Dmitry Lebedik (RUS)

“I'm really looking forward to Rallye Açores. I did the rally last year and I have very good experience. In the Azores I will try to push to the maximum. I feel very confident before the start of this rally. We will be serious contenders! I think we are well prepared for this rally.”

Chris Ingram (GBR) Born: 7 July 1994 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Gabin Moreau (FRA)

“We finished second in Azores last year, beaten only by Stéphane Lefebvre, who went on to become ERC Junior champion, so we take a lot of confidence to this year’s event because of that. That is also my best ERC Junior finish to date, so I’d obviously like to go one better and win. We’re second in the championship at the moment, and if we can score a podium finish on all the remaining rounds, that will be very good for our title hopes – but in the Azores, I think it’s time to push for a win.”

Łukasz Pieniążek (POL) Born: 19 September 1990 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Jakub Gerber (POL)

“SATA Rallye Açores is yet another completely new adventure for me. It will be my first chance to rally on Portuguese gravel, so I am hoping to complete as many kilometres as possible. This will also be a first such big challenge for my team in the logistic terms, but I am sure we will be able to face it without any problems. It’s been a while since the last round of the Junior European Rally Championship, but I was quite busy during this break – I have participated in two rounds of the Polish championship and I have also completed a lot of kilometres during testing. Keep your fingers crossed and see you on the special stages!"

Steve Røkland (NOR) Born: 14 June 1992 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: James Aldridge (GBR)

“I am really looking forward to driving SATA Rallye Açores on my favourite surface, but I don’t expect too much as I want to finish and gain some experience from the rally. It looks like a really difficult rally. James and I did the fourth round of the Norwegian championship a couple a weeks ago, which was a really good test for us on difficult conditions with heavy rain and very challenging stages. We are very pleased that my main sponsor, IDG-Tools, lets us drop the fifth round in Norway, so I can do Rallye Açores instead.”

Ralfs Sirmacis (LVA) Born: 29 May 1994 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Artūrs Šimins (LVA)

“We have never been to the Azores, although we have visited mainland Portugal several times. We know that it is a very difficult rally, with lots of rocks, hills and possibilities to fall off a cliff! We both love everything about gravel, we were born to drive gravel. It’s more difficult than Tarmac, and it never forgives mistakes. We will try and fight to be no more and no less than first!”

Florin Tincescu (ROU) Born: 8 April 1993 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Sergiu Itu (ROU)

“Azores is one of the most beautiful rallies I have ever done in my career and I can’t wait to go back on the Island. In our first year with the Peugeot 208 R2 we will try to gain experience in every rally in order to fight for the ERC Junior title in 2016. We will try to find a good rhythm quickly in the Azores and then to increase our speed on every stage. It’s a fantastic gravel rally and I hope that we can score some points in this new challenge.”