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Press release

1 MAY 2017

PREVIEW: ERC RALLY ISLAS CANARIAS

FIA EUROPEAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 2 OF 8
FIA ERC JUNIOR UNDER U27/ERC JUNIOR UNDER U28 ROUND 2 OF 6

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS
*Following an action-packed start in the Azores, the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship is island-hopping to Gran Canaria and the next instalment of the ERC’s exciting new era, Rally Islas Canarias
*The first of four all-asphalt ERC events, 68 crews, including 27 in top-of-the-range R5 cars, have entered the main ERC counter with a further 57 lining up in the supporting national section
*Rally Islas Canarias also marks the second event of the restructured ERC Junior Championship and its two categories based on age and car performance: ERC Junior Under 27 and ERC Junior Under 28
*Eighteen nationalities are represented on Rally Islas Canarias entry with the Czech and German ASNs actively involved. The Estonian and Spanish ASNs are also operating ERC-based programmes
*The appeal of the revamped FIA European Rally Championship for Teams is maintained with 20 crews now registered
*ERC Junior aspirants will build vital knowledge and skills as year two of the ERC Junior Experience training programme gets underway in the days leading up to the rally

CHAMPIONSHIP NEWS
*French asphalt champion Sylvain Michel and Spanish hope Surhayen Pernía line up in ERC Junior U28 for the first time. A World Rally Car prize drive awaits the category champion at the end of the year
*ERC Junior Experience graduate Sébastien Bedoret makes his debut in ERC Junior U27 and will go up against 10 fellow young prospects chasing success in Pirelli-equipped R2 cars as the race for the 100,000-euro career-development fund intensifies
*Championship leader Bruno Magalhães tops the bulging entry with ERC2 and ERC3 leaders Luis Pimentel and Chris Ingram, who also heads ERC Junior Under 27, also in action along with ERC Junior Under 28 pacesetter Marijan Griebel
*The ERC Ladies’ Trophy entry includes Red Bull-backed Tamara Molinaro and reigning champion Catie Munnings, part of the ERC Junior Experience training programme, plus Canary Islander Emma Falcón
*New format for 2017 means drivers count their best six scores from a possible eight to ensure a more consistent fight for honours with more drivers battling together more often

EVENT NEWS
*Running for the 41st time this season, new stages include the opening 25.13 kilometres of San Mateo, plus the street stage in host city Las Palmas, which rounds out leg one’s competitive action
*Twelve stages over a competitive distance of 207.29 kilometres make up this year’s challenge with Moya, run twice on day two, totalling 25.20 kilometres in length
*As well as counting for ERC points, Rally Islas Canarias is a Spanish asphalt championship round and also counts towards several local and regional championships

DRIVER NEWS
*Multiple ERC event winner Bryan Bouffier will use Rally Islas Canarias as the starting point of his planned six-rally bid. The Gemini Clinic Fiesta driver has one start in Las Palmas to his name dating back to 2011
*Like fellow Frenchman Bouffier, the country’s asphalt champion and ERC Junior Under 28 newcomer Sylvain Michel is also Rally Islas Canarias-bound, albeit for the first time
*ERC title leader Bruno Magalhães gets his second new ŠKODA Fabia R5 in as many events having landed the budget to build on his Azores Airlines Rallye victory
*Polish champion Grzegorz Grzyb is part of a five-strong Polish contingent, which also includes double title winner Kajetan Kajetanowicz and ERC Junior U28 contender Tomasz Kasperczyk
*The ACCR Czech Team will once again be out in force with Dominik Brož, Jan Černý and Filip Mareš
*Castrol Ford Team Turkey’s Murat Bostanci was a Rally Islas Canarias finisher in 2016 in an R2 Fiesta. He returns to prove his talent in an R5 version
*ERC stalwart Antonín Tlusťák is part of an expanded Botka-Tlusťák Racing line-up having missed out in the Azores
*A strong ERC2 line-up features Gilbert Bannout and Tibor Érdi for the first time in 2017
*ERC3 newcomers include Timo van der Marel and Dariusz Poloński

FAST FACTS
*Rally Islas Canarias boasts a number of prominent former winners including Didier Auriol, Piero Liatti and Carlos Sainz, who claimed five consecutive wins in the 1980s
*The Canary Islands is known for its good weather with the ambient temperature ranging from 17-24 degrees centigrade. Warm and sunny conditions are being forecast for rally week
*Rally Islas Canarias joined the ERC for the first time in 1982 and has counted for Europe’s premier rally championship 23 times
*Islas Canarias comes from the Latin Insula Canaria, or Island of the Dogs, which were believed to be a type of monk seal (sea dog)
*A dish of choice in the Canary Islands is ropa vieja, made from chicken, beef, potatoes and beans

DRIVER QUOTES
ERC1: Kajetan Kajetanowicz:
“Rally Islas Canarias is not only about excellent feeling, ideal driving line and perfect pace notes, but also about great number of different details. We will try not to forget about them and at the same time enjoy every single corner of this twisty route. G-forces are huge, bigger than during other rounds. I am facing another impressive character trial, test of precision and cooperation within the team, as well as period of thinking on my feet. Together with the whole LOTOS Rally Team we share good memories from last year, we have a great car and all things considered, firm reasons for optimism.”

ERC Junior Under 27: Jari Huttunen: “For sure the disappointment after our retirement at the Azores was big. But it has turned into an even bigger motivation to perform well at Canary Islands again and this time also take home a good result. We have seen that we can be quick as long as we avoid any big mistakes, and the Opel ADAM R2 has proved to be extremely competitive on asphalt in the past. So after two great days of tarmac testing together with our team mates we feel well prepared for the Canaries. We will focus very much on the recce and then just do what we love most to see where we end up.”

ERC Junior Under 28: Pepe López: “We are really looking forward to racing in the Rally Islas Canarias, is our home race and we can't wait to perform in front of the Spanish fans. It's going to be tough, because the level of the competitors proved to be really high and will also be our first rally on tarmac with the Peugeot 208 T16. So we face the second rally with a lot of things to learn. We will try to reach the maximum performance at every kilometre to be able to get a good result at the end, for the team and for the championship. The main goal for us will be to add as much points as possible to our score. If we finish this first two races in a good position, I believe it will give us the confidence we need with the car to ensure a good season.”

WHAT HAPPENED IN 2016?
Alexey Lukyanuk won what was the opening round of the 2016 FIA European Rally Championship after defeating the defending champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz on the final day. Lukyanuk started leg two with a 22.7-second deficit to his fellow Pirelli-shod Ford Fiesta R5 driver Kajetanowicz but profited when the LOTOS Rally Team driver suffered excessive tyre wear during the morning loop as the result of high tyre pressures. Lukyanuk took the lead on SS9 and resisted Kajetanowicz’s attempts to get back on terms, picking up his third and fourth stage wins of the event on the final two stages to finish 32.7s ahead. Despite suffering gearbox gremlins on Friday in his Citroën DS3 R5, local rallying hero Luis Monzón returned to the ERC podium, matching his third place from the championship’s last visit to Gran Canaria in 2013. Robert Consani had moved up into third place overall at the end of Friday but endured a torrid second day, which began with his Peugeot 208 T16 failing to start prior to the morning’s first stage. The Frenchman then battled brake issues and was eventually classified seventh. Spanish Fiesta driver Jonathan Pérez took fourth while Jarosław Kołtun, in another Fiesta, was only 1.1s behind his fellow Polish driver and ERC2 winner Wojciech Chuchała going onto the final stage but was forced to settle for sixth after stopping to change a tyre. Visiting world championship star Mads Østberg led until the final stage of day one on his ERC debut, before crashing his Fiesta R5 after experiencing brake fade. Łukasz Habaj matched the efforts of his compatriot and fellow former national champion Chuchała by sweeping the board in ERC3 and taking P15 overall in his Peugeot 208 R2.

THE RALLY IN 100 WORDS
The ERC returned to Gran Canaria in 2016 following a two-year absence for a rally big on challenge and spectators. Because the stages climb and descend, drivers pay close attention to corner speed and lines to ensure optimal momentum is maintained, while precise car set-up and pacenote accuracy are vital. One of the notable features of the stages is the abrasive surface, constructed partly from volcanic lava. It means grip levels are high and will remain constant if it rains, although tyre wear can increase. However, with the opportunity to take ‘cuts’ through corners limited, the roads remain relatively debris-free.

EVENT ESSENTIALS (all timings local and subject to change)
Starts:
20h30, Thursday 4 May, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina
Finishes: 17h50, Saturday 6 May, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina
Headquarters: Hotel AC Gran Canaria, Eduardo Benot 5, 35007, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Service park: Plaza de Canarias, 35007, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 2 (2013, 2016)
Stages: 12
Stage distance: 207.29 kilometres (97.87 kilometres leg one, 109.42 kilometres leg two)
Liaison: 369.74 kilometres
Total: 577.03 kilometres
Surface: Asphalt

MEDIA INFORMATION (all timings local and subject to change)
Media accreditation/media centre location:
Edificio Miller, Santa Catalina Park, 35007, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Opening times: 09h00-21h00, Wednesday 3 May; 09h00-23h00 Thursday 4 May; 09h00-22h00 Friday 5 May; 08h00-22h00 Saturday 6 May

MEDIA EVENTS (all timings local and subject to change)

THURSDAY 4 MAY
Free Practice (for priority drivers):
09h00-10h30, route GC-291 (3.57 kilometres)
Qualifying Stage (for priority drivers): 11h15-11h45, route GC-291
Shakedown (for all drivers): 12h00-14h00, route GC-291
Mandatory pre-event briefing: 16h00 (English speaking photographers); 16h30 (Spanish speaking photographers)
Start order selection: 17h00, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina
Pre-rally press conference: 17h30, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina
Photocall: 20h10, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina
Ceremonial start: 20h30, Podium, Parque Santa Catalina
SATURDAY 6 MAY
Post-rally press conference:
19h00, Media Centre, Edificio Miller

Television coverage: Daily highlights, rally review and Inside ERC magazine show on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, plus additional coverage on a number of other channels around the world
ERC Radio: Live throughout the event at FIAERC.com or through the ERC app
Results, standings, live timing and text commentary: www.fiaerc.com
Rights-free images: Register at http://media.fiaerc.com
Event media contact: Rober Martí/Javier Viera, prensa@rallyislascanarias.com, +34 607755541

PREVIOUS WINNERS
2016:
Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov (Ford Fiesta R5)
2015: Miguel Fuster/Ignacio Aviñó (Porsche 997 GT3 RS)*
2014: Didier Auriol/Denis Giraudet (Citroën Xsara WRC)*
2013: Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia S2000)
2012: Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia S2000)
*Did not count as a round of the ERC/IRC

KEY ERC STATISTICS
ERC rally wins in 2017:
Magalhães 1
ERC stage wins in 2017: Lukyanuk 6; Kajetanowicz 4; Magalhães 3; Griebel 1; Gryazin 1; Moura 1

ERC CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS
Go to FIAERC.com for the championship positions following round one of eight.

ENDS

Photos

ERC Rally Islas Canarias Alexey Lukyanuk.jpg
ERC Rally Islas Canarias Alexey Lukyanuk

ERC Rally Islas Canarias Marcos Gonzalez.jpg
ERC Rally Islas Canarias Marcos Gonzalez

ERC Rally Islas Canarias Pepe Lopez.jpg
ERC Rally Islas Canarias Pepe Lopez

ERC Rally Islas Canarias Aleks Zawada.jpg
ERC Rally Islas Canarias Aleks Zawada

ERC Rally Islas Canarias Tibor Erdi Jr.jpg
ERC Rally Islas Canarias Tibor Erdi Jr

ERC ACCR Czech National Team.jpg
ERC ACCR Czech National Team

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Press contacts

Press enquiries: 
Richard Rodgers
media@fiaerc.com
+44 7833470541
TV enquiries:
Pascal Petit
pascal_petit@discovery.com
Elise Lelias
elise_lelias@discovery.com
Vianney Castillo
vianney_castillo@discovery.com