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ERC Newsletter #05/13
Posted by: newsla on Jan 31, 2013 - 05:18 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
ERC Newsletter #05/13

Qualifying comes to the FIA European Rally Championship in Latvia this week when Rally Liepāja-Ventspils hosts the first Qualifying Stage of the 2013 season.


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All five loose-surface events on the ERC calendar will feature a Qualifying Stage to determine the starting order of the nominated priority drivers for the first leg of the rally.

Following a period of Free Practice on the morning of Friday 1 February, 12 priority crews get one run over a 5.89-kilometre course to set their best time. At 13:00hrs local time during the pre-event press conference, the quickest driver in qualifying will select their starting position for later in the day first with the second fastest driver next to choose and so on until all drivers have made their selection. Non-priority drivers will start leg one in seeded order.

The priority crews who will contest the Qualifying Stage are as follows:

1 Ketomaa/Lindström (FIN) Ford Fiesta RRC
2 Breen/Moynihan (IRL) Peugeot 207 S2000
3 Delecour/Savignoni (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000
4 Černy/Kohout (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia S2000
5 Tlusťák/Vyoral (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia S2000
6 Lukyanuk/Arnautov (RUS) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
7 Plangi/Sarapuu (EST) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X R4
8 Orsák/Šmeidler (CZE) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
9 Švedas/Sakalauskas (LIT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
10 Kisiels/Ronis (LAT) MINI John Cooper Works RRC
11 Puskádi/Gódor (HUN) ŠKODA Fabia S2000
12 Gryazin/Chumak (RUS) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX R4

Two of the new-generation R5 cars earmarked for the FIA European Rally Championship later this season were put through their paces last week.

Peugeot Sport took its 208 Type R5 (pictured) to southern France for four days of running with M-Sport heading to its private test facility close to its base in northwest England to continue the development of its Ford Fiesta R5.

Afterwards, bosses from both firms were pleased with the progress made so far. Alexis Avril, Technical Manager of Peugeot Sport, said: “Despite the changeable weather, we covered a high number of kilometres and we have already started to explore different technical solutions.”

M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson added: “The initial tests have been very promising indeed. We still have a lot of work to do before the car is ready for its competitive debut, but at the moment the project is looking good.”

After securing the funds to contest Rally Liepāja-Ventspils, glamour model Inessa Tushkanova endured the disappointment of having to withdraw her entry from the FIA European Rally Championship counter earlier this week.

The 25-year-old from Ukraine was contesting the Arctic Lapland Rally in Finland recently to prepare for the Latvian event. Unfortunately a crash on the second stage left her Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX damaged beyond immediate repair.

Despite missing out on a much-anticipated appearance on Rally Liepāja-Ventspils, Tushkanova will still be in action in the ERC this season when she contests Rally Poland in September.

The number 384 will be crucial on Rally Liepāja-Ventspils this week. That’s because Michelin, which along with Yokohama is an official FIA European Rally Championship partner, inserts 384 studs into each of its X-ICE NORTH tyres to provide the grip craved on the slippery Latvian tracks.

While the tread pattern has been designed to clear a path through loose-surface snow, studs are essential to bite through the layer of ice beneath to provide grip. Weighing four grams, each stud is 20mm in length with 7.0mm protruding from the surface of the rubber blocks.

To ensure teams on Rally Liepāja-Ventspils have enough tyres at their disposal, Michelin will send a four-person crew of tyre fitters to Latvia with one technician on the ground to provide expert tyre-related advice to competitors.

The stars of the FIA European Rally Championship do more than just drive rally cars for a living. For example, ERC 2WD pacesetter Hannes Danzinger is a driving instructor in his native Austria while fellow Austrian rally driver Ernst Haneder is a baker.

Here are five alternative careers pursued by rally drivers and co-drivers:

Electrician: Multiple world champion Sébastien Loeb worked as an electrician before rallying took hold. And before that he was a talented gymnast.

Fighter pilot: Carlos Magalhães was a jet fighter pilot before he changed to co-driving.

Road builder: P-G Andersson worked as a road layer to earn a living while competing in the world championship.

Shopkeeper: Husband and wife co-drivers Dominique Savignoni and Sabrina de Castelli run a shop in Corsica specialising in traditional island produce.

TV presenter: ERC 2WD Championship competitor Zoltán Bessenyey (pictured) presents a weekly motoring television programme in his native Hungary.

Eurosport has confirmed its programming for Rally Liepāja-Ventspils, round two of the new-look 2013 FIA European Rally Championship. Available on the Eurosport platform and online through Eurosport Player, the broadcast schedule for the Latvian event, which takes place from 1-3 February 2013, is as follows:

Saturday 2 February
Highlights Day One: 23:30hrs-00:00hrs (Eurosport)

Sunday 3 February
Highlights Day One: 08:00hrs-08:30hrs (Eurosport2)
Rally Review: 23:30hrs-00:00hrs (Eurosport)

Monday 4 February
Rally Review replayed: 07:30hrs-08:00hrs (Eurosport2)
Rally Review replayed: 14:30hrs-15:00hrs (Eurosport2)

Tuesday 5 February
Inside ERC: 23:15hrs-23:45hrs (Eurosport)

All timings are CET and subject to change. Check local listings for further details.

Craig Breen will begin his chase for FIA European Rally Championship silverware on Rally Liepāja-Ventspils from 1-3 February as part of the new Saintéloc Peugeot Rally Academy. Here’s what he’s had to say ahead of the snow event.

“The European championship is the perfect place to be and to be a factory driver with Peugeot is beyond my wildest dreams,” said Breen. “I get to compete in a very strong series in a good car and with a good team I know well. This is a big step forward for me.

“I’m not thinking about winning the title. Yes, it would mean a lot, but I still need to learn, I still need to improve by proving I can go flat out for a whole rally and not make mistakes. It’s something I’ve got to do in the ERC because the level will be very high and there will be some serious competition.

“As well as the rallies I’m going to be testing and developing the Peugeot 208 Type R5, which is a great opportunity to make this car the best in the R5 class. By doing the rallies I’ll be able to show I’m still competitive.”

Ralfs Sirmacis will get his chance to shine on the international stage when the FIA European Rally Championship visits his native Latvia this week. The youngster, who campaigns a Ford Fiesta for the Okartes Autosporta Akadēmija, is his country’s reigning R2 champion and a top tip for future stardom after he finished third in M-Sport’s annual Fiesta SportTrophy Shootout event in the United Kingdom last month.

Starting in Liepāja in Latvia’s Kurzeme region west of the capital Riga, the all-new event will gradually head north up the Baltic coast to Ventspils where it will finish two days and 243 kilometres of snow and ice-coated stages later. The roads are littered with jumps, high-speed turns and blind crests and will offer a stern test, not to mention some spectacular footage. The action begins with the Qualifying Stage contested by 12 priority drivers to determine the starting order for the first of three legs on Friday. The rally is also a counting round of the Latvian national championship.

Key facts
Starts: 14:45hrs, Friday 1 February, Vecā Ostmala 40, Liepāja
Finishes: 15:35hrs, Sunday 3 February, Sporta Street 7-9, Ventspils
Entries received: 40 (an additional 39 crews have entered the national event)
Stages: 15 over 243.00 kilometres
Surface: Snow and ice on gravel
2012 winners: Event runs for the first time in 2013

PaddockTalk Perspective

Also in WRC Rally News 2010:

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