*Four-time domestic title winner targets full European championship bid
*MOL Hungary joins forces with ŠKODA-driving star for all eight events
*Herczig: “We wanted to show what we can achieve internationally for years”
Norbert Herczig has vowed not to waste his long-awaited chance to compete outside his native Hungary full time when he contests the FIA European Rally Championship in 2018.
Herczig will step up to the ERC as a four-time Hungarian champion after clinching his third consecutive national crown in 2017 and having landed support from oil company MOL Hungary.
The 42-year-old will drive a ŠKODA Fabia R5 under the MOL Racing Team banner and run by leading Austrian outfit Baumschlager Rallye & Racing, which guided him to domestic honours last season on the back of three wins and two podiums.
His programme is set to include all eight rounds of the ERC, starting with the Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March and finishing in Latvia, venue of Rally Liepāja, from 12-14 October. Ramón Ferencz, also from Hungary, has signed up as Herczig’s new co-driver.
“We have been preparing for years to show internationally what we are able to achieve,” Herczig explained. “But without proper backing we did not have the opportunity for that. So I am proud that one of the biggest companies in Hungary and many more of our partners decided to support me to achieve our common goals. I ensure everyone that we will do everything to finish the championship with the best result.”
Herczig has been using MOL Racing Fuel RST (Rally Standard) since 2016. And what was initially a supply deal developed into a fully-fledged partnership when MOL became his title sponsor the following year.
“MOL is engaged to support sports since sport is a universal language that connects all of us,” said Kata Apáti-Tóth, MOL Hungary's Communication Director. “We are fully standing by Norbert, which is why we decided to support him in the ERC this year. We are excited about the season ahead. It’s a big achievement that we have a Hungarian driver who can take part in the entire European Rally Championship. His skills and results make him deserving of this opportunity.”
ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley said: “A key objective of the ERC is to provide a platform for drivers to step up from national to international level, and we’re delighted that Norbert Herczig is taking this step with a top team in Baumschlager Rallye & Racing and a high-level sponsor in MOL Hungary. Of course, Norbert has a lot to learn, but he’s got a strong package behind him and it’s clear from what he has achieved in his career so far that he has the ability required to shine in the European championship.”