*PEUGEOT Deutschland chance is in addition to ERC campaign
*German talent eager to win a European championship rally outright
*Griebel: “I have a great opportunity to show what I can achieve”
One of the most successful young drivers in recent FIA European Rally Championship history has been handed a dream opportunity by PEUGEOT Deutschland for 2018. Marijan Griebel, who won back-to-back ERC Junior titles in R2 and R5 machinery, will add a German championship challenge to his planned outright ERC campaign after being signed by his country’s PEUGEOT importer to contest the eight-round domestic series in a PEUGEOT 208 T16.
His programme in Germany, which will also include the world championship-counting ADAC Rallye Deutschland in August, is in addition to his ERC bid when he plans to contest up to six European championship rounds, starting with the Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March. Griebel stands to tackle upwards of 14 rallies in an R5 car in 2018 with an outright ERC win a firm target for the 28-year-old German talent, a protégé of former European champion Armin Kremer.
“I’m always trying to build my experience in R5 cars and I now have a link to a manufacturer, PEUGEOT, which is important,” said Griebel, who has elected to swap a one-off drive in a World Rally Car – his prize for winning the ERC Junior Under 28 title in 2017 – for an expanded programme of ERC events in 2018 with the full support and agreement of ERC promoter Eurosport Events. “The aim is to do six ERC rounds and, after finishing second and third last year, the goal is to win a European championship rally in 2018 and then target becoming European champion in the future. With six rounds in the ERC compared to the four I was able to do in 2017, I am in a much better position than last year.”
Griebel plans to contest the ERC-counting Azores Airlines Rallye, Acropolis Rally, Rally di Roma Capitale and Barum Czech Rally Zlín with Rally Poland and Rally Liepāja dependent on budget and results. Rally Islas Canarias and the Cyprus Rally unfortunately clash with his German championship campaign.
“Last year it was really difficult for me to drive an R5 car on a complete private basis,” said Griebel. “Luckily it was just one year and now I have a great opportunity with PEUGEOT Deutschland with the same ROMO-Motorsport team I did the last round of the German championship with in 2017 when everything worked quite well. After that I worked hard to get the seat in the car for this year and now I am really looking forward to showing what I and the car can achieve together.”
ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley said: “To be handed this chance by a manufacturer such as PEUGEOT is an enormous opportunity for Marijan and a real recognition of his ability. He’s in a really good position to build his experience in R5 machinery and take another step as a driver.”
Stefan Kopczyk will co-drive Griebel in the ERC, when he will drive a ROMO-Motorsport 208 T16, with Alexander Rath doing likewise in the DRM, which begins with the Saaland-Pfalz Rallye from 2-3 March.