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27 MARCH 2017

FIA ERC JUNIOR UNDER 27 CHAMPIONSHIP PRE-EVENT QUOTES

Round 1 of 6: Azores Airlines Rallye, 30 March-1 April

BUǦRA BANAZ (TUR)
Co-driver:
Burak Erdener (TUR) Car: Ford Fiesta R2

“This is a dream come true for me and I cannot wait to get behind the wheel. There will be big competition in the ERC Junior category and that means 2017 will be an unforgettable year in my rallying career. I can see how important the Junior category is for ERC and that makes me twice as eager to work hard to win this year. However, this will be my rookie year, I never competed outside Turkey and I know it will be challenging. I feel privileged to be part of this big family.”

DOMINIK BROŽ (CZE)
Co-driver:
Petr Těšínský (CZE) Car: Peugeot 208 R2

“I was starting in Azores last year, it was my first regular event in ERC. It was a really tough rally and I was really happy that we were able to finish. This time we are coming with more experience and with a brand-new Peugeot 208 R2. Unfortunately, the car was finished at the very last moment, so we didn’t have chance to do enough testing before. The first kilometres we will make is on Monday in the official test.”

MARCOS GONZÁLEZ ESPINO (ESP)
Co-driver:
Rogelio Peñate (ESP) Car: Peugeot 208 R2

“I have been doing lots of rallies in the Canary Islands where I am from and also in Spain. This championship is very important and the objective is very simple: I need to learn more and try to go more fast. From the recce I understand this rally is very good and I will try to do the best I can but I have never driven in these kind of stages.”

JARI HUTTUNEN (FIN)
Co-driver:
Akki Linnaketo (FIN) Car: Opel ADAM R2

“I am very much looking forward to my first ERC Junior rally in the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team. As I don’t know the Azores Airlines Rallye I have watched loads of onboard videos over the winter. It looks tricky and challenging – exactly what I love. We had a good gravel test with my Opel team-mates earlier this month in Tuscany and a great outing at ADAC Saarland-Pfalz Rallye in Germany where we won the R2 class. In Finland, we only drive on gravel and snow, so I have some experience on loose surfaces and feel quite well prepared for the Azores. We will take it easy there with no pressure. We will do our job as good as we can, try to avoid any mistakes and see where we are. It’s a long season ahead, so we don’t want to take stupid risks in the first rally.”

CHRIS INGRAM (GBR)
Co-driver:
Elliot Edmondson (GBR) Car: Opel ADAM R2

“It will be my fourth time heading to the Azores so I have a lot of knowledge and great memories from the rally. I won the ERC Junior class in 2015 and finished second twice in 2014 and 2016, so I believe I’ve worked out how to attack the incredible but challenging stages. Although Tarmac is slightly more my preferred surface, the gravel stages in the Azores are some of my favourites. My co-driver Elliott and I have practised our pacenotes and we’re looking forward to getting back in our Opel ADAM R2 on the Monday test session to sharpen up. I also spent time in Sweden ice driving [over the winter] but this will be my first event of the season. I will attack for the victory but also be patient when needed. The goal is always to win and I’m confident having won my first ERC3 title last year with the amazing Opel team.”

KAREL KUPEC (CZE)
Co-driver:
Ondřej Krajča (CZE) Car: Peugeot 208 R2

“At the end of last year, I started on Rally Liepāja, and after that I was sure I wanted to do the ERC in 2017. I like that every rally is different, has different character of stages and surfaces. I hope I am well prepared for Azores Airlines Rallye – I have tried to get information from other Czech crews which were starting there in the past.”

FILIP MAREŠ (CZE)
Co-driver:
Jan Hloušek (CZE) Car: Peugeot 208 R2

“It will be my first start in ERC. After a successful year in 2016 with the Autoklub Peugeot Rally Talent project we are happy we can move one step higher and be a proud member of ACCR Czech Team. We don’t have so much international experience, so this rally will be about gaining experience. But of course we don’t want to be slow.”

TAMARA MOLINARO (ITA)
Co-driver:
Ursula Mayrhofer (AUT) Car: Opel ADAM R2

“I can’t wait for my first ERC Junior rally with the Opel Rallye Junior Team. I’ve worked on my fitness over the winter, watched a lot of onboard videos of the ERC rallies and had two great tests in my ADAM R2. A few weeks ago we contested the ADAC Saarland-Pfalz Rallye in Germany, which was a good opportunity to get back to competition mode. The Azores Airlines Rallye will only be my third rally on gravel, but it’s my preferred surface at this stage of my career. I don’t know the stages at all, so it will be tough to compete against all those experienced guys. But we will do our best to reduce the gap to the top runners steadily and grab points in the ERC Ladies’ Trophy. I can’t thank enough all the people who made this happen. I am probably the luckiest girl in the world…”

CATIE MUNNINGS (GBR)
Co-driver:
Anne Katharina Stein (DEU) Car: Peugeot 208 R2

“I haven’t competed in the Azores before and it will only be my second proper gravel rally. I’ve watched a few onboard videos – the roads look very challenging in terms of how little room there is for error. The main focus will be making sure that our pacenotes are 100 per cent accurate. It has been tricky for us to prepare for this rally due to setbacks at the beginning of the year. I had a small test on gravel in the south of France a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t properly sat in a rally car since Latvia last year. In the Azores, our main priority is getting to the finish and taking away as many lessons and as much experience as we can. We need to be consistent as well as improving our pace, and I am confident that with this approach we can get a good result.”

ALEKS ZAWADA (POL)
Co-driver:
Grzegorz Dachowski (POL) Car: Peugeot 208 R2

“I’m really pumped to be getting behind the wheel of a rally car again. 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. 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. For the remainder of the rallies this season I will be back in my Opel ADAM though. Wish us luck!”

ENDS

Photos

Jari Huttunen (Opel Motorsport)
Jari Huttunen (Opel Motorsport)

ERC Catie Munnings
ERC Catie Munnings

ERC Dominik Broz
ERC Dominik Broz

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