*Decision extends alliance between young driver category and Pirelli for fifth season
*Italian tyre firm remains Official Partner of ERC through agreement with Eurosport Events
*Six-round series features equal split of asphalt and gravel rallies
Pirelli will continue to equip some of rallying’s brightest young prospects after it was confirmed as the Official Tyre Supplier to the 2018 FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship following an electronic vote by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
A founding partner of ERC Junior in 2014 and a staunch supporter of driver development, Pirelli will also continue as an Official Partner of the ERC as part of a long-standing agreement with championship promoter Eurosport Events.
Pirelli will supply its P Zero RK tyre for the three asphalt-based rounds of ERC Junior Under 27 and its Scorpion K tyre for the three gravel events. It will also provide an on-event support service including technical advice from experienced engineers.
Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli’s Rally Activity Manager, said: “Pirelli is delighted to have been selected as the Official Tyre Supplier of the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship as part of our company-wide philosophy of promoting young talent in rallying to ensure the future of the sport. With Pirelli also being sole supplier to the FIA Junior WRC, as well as being present on several national rally series throughout Europe, a ladder of talent is in place to develop drivers from the grass roots of the sport all the way to the top, which is perfectly in keeping with the ethos behind the ERC as well. We look forward to another exciting season of great rallies and with the aim of discovering more champions of the future.”
ERC Junior, a joint initiative from Eurosport Events and motorsport’s world governing body the FIA for young drivers in Pirelli-equipped R2 cars, lists Marijan Griebel, Jari Huttunen and Stéphane Lefebvre among its graduates. For 2018 it offers one of the best prizes in international motorsport: a career progression fund of 100,000 euros – pledged by the promoter and allocated to the champion to use towards an ERC Junior Under 28 campaign in 2019 when they will step up from an R2 to an R5 car. And for the first time, drivers registering for ERC Junior U27 will be enrolled into the ERC Junior Experience training programme, which covers topics such as driving tuition, car set-up, vehicle extrication and first aid, social media dos and don’ts, interview techniques and sponsorship acquisition.
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “We are very pleased Pirelli remains the Official Tyre Supplier to ERC Junior following the vote by the FIA World Motor Sport Council. Pirelli continues to provide a high-quality product and service and its support of young drivers is in complete alignment with the ERC. We look forward to our continued partnership.”
The Azores Airlines Rallye hosts the ERC Junior U27 season opener from 22-24 March.