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Erc Winner Magalhaes Is Back In Action With Peugeot
Posted by: newsla on Feb 22, 2014 - 04:09 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Erc Winner Magalhaes Is Back In Action With Peugeot

Top Portuguese driver Bruno Magalhães will return to FIA European Rally Championship action on next month’s Acropolis Rally – and plans are in place for the multiple national champion to drive a new-generation Peugeot 208 T16 from his home ERC round onwards.


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Magalhães, 33, will use a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 on the mixed-surface event in Greece from 28-30 March before he upgrades to the R5-specification 208 for SATA Rallye Açores from 15-17 May. Peugeot Portugal, Total and Pirelli will support his campaign.

Despite a prolific career, including successful stints in the Portuguese championship, ERC and Intercontinental Rally Challenge, Magalhães has only competed sporadically in recent seasons due to funding issues.

However, he’s back and raring to go with an exciting six-round effort, which is also set to include the Geko Ypres Rally, auto24 Rally Estonia, Barum Czech Rally Zlín and the season-closing Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse.

“I’m so happy to finally be back,” said Magalhães told Rallye-magazin.de. “I’ve had to contend myself with national events for two years but the goal was to return again to international rallying.”

Timmu Kõrge has emerged as an early contender for honours on the FIA European Rally Championship-counting auto24 Rally Estonia in July after he won the opening round of his country’s domestic championship recently.

Driving a Ford Fiesta R5 for Estonian rallying legend Markko Märtin’s eponymous team, Kõrge took victory on the Võrumaa Talveralli, which took place from 15-16 February.

And Kõrge, 26, is already well known to his ERC rivals following an impressive showing on the recent Rally Liepāja where he set the sixth fastest time on the Qualifying Stage.

A new addition to the ERC roster for 2014, auto24 Rally Estonia features 15 stages over a competitive distance of 235 kilometres on mainly gravel roads. The event is based in Otepää from 17-19 July with the start and finish in Tartu.

Leading FIA WRC 2 driver Robert Barrable is trying to secure the funding needed to contest the Circuit of Ireland Rally from 17-19 April.

The promising 26-year-old from Dublin will tackle the world championship-counting Rally of Portugal from 3-6 April. Providing he can raise the necessary budget, Barrable and co-driver Stuart Loudon will contest round four of the FIA European Rally Championship in a Ford Fiesta R5.

“I really want to do the rally,” said Barrable, who finished eighth overall when the Circuit of Ireland Rally was last run in 2012. “The European championship is a superb series and it has great TV coverage, which also gives the private driver plenty of promotion, as well as the professionals. As for the Circuit, it’s always a well-organised rally, a famous rally, and a challenging one. I am just waiting to hear back from our main sponsor, Tunnock’s and hopefully we will be there.”

Rising star Martin Kangur says the FIA European Rally Championship remains his target for 2014 following his enforced absence from Rally Liepāja at the start of February.

Kangur had hoped to begin his ERC campaign on the winter spectacular but was prevented from doing so due to a freak injury to an eardrum sustained during some free time with friends.

“I was hit with a knee and it broke my eardrum – the doctors thought I would need surgery,” said the Estonian talent. “But when it was discovered it was okay and I could do some training and the rally it was too late.”

Kangur is now targeting SATA Rallye Açores for his first appearance of 2014: “I am still trying to work on a programme in the ERC – I definitely want to drive here,” said the 21-year-old, a stage winner in last year’s championship. “I know a lot of ERC rallies and I really want to be there because there is a round in my country in July, which is a great event.”

SATA Rallye Açores organisers have published the programme for round five of the FIA European Rally Championship.

Available from the calendar section of the ERC website, all the key timings are included for the gravel spectacular, which takes place from 15-17 May.

And to provide a flavour of what’s in store in the Açores, organisers have produced a promotional video, which is available by clicking here.

Stéphane Lefebvre is refusing to give up on his FIA ERC Junior Championship dream despite engine failure costing him a finish and a possible shot at class victory on Rally Liepāja recently.

The Peugeot Rally Academy prospect was in contention for a podium place in Latvia when he was forced to retire the 208 R2 he shares with co-driver Thomas Dubois. He was 37 seconds behind category leader Jan Černý having just set a fastest stage time.

Lefebvre’s ERC Junior schedule numbers four events, the maximum number of rounds drivers can count towards their end-of-season totals, making a title bid somewhat difficult for the 21-year-old.

“The victory could have been possible because I was making up the time I lost on the first day having improved the set-up of the car,” said the highly-rated Frenchman. “The championship is difficult now but we try.”

Lefebvre’s next scheduled event is SATA Rallye Açores from 15-17 May.

The FIA ERC Production Car Cup event winner is swapping driving for team management having acquired a new-generation Ford Fiesta R5 for his DriftCompany operation.

What’s the plan for the remainder of the 2014 ERC?
“We have done European championship events for three years now and have the capability to run customers in our new Ford Fiesta R5. We have a big spares package and lots of good ideas for the set-up so we know we can achieve a good performance. Our Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4 will also be available for hire.”

Will you drive the Fiesta R5 yourself?
“Right now I have no contract with no sponsor and I have to concentrate on running the car. I will do some small local rallies in Austria with it just to improve the set-up of the car for our customers but that’s probably all.”

What do you think of the Fiesta R5?
“The car is great, really brilliant and really easy to drive. Okay we have only done a short rollout test so far and covered 24 kilometres but it won’t be long before we have a good set-up on Tarmac and then on gravel.”

PaddockTalk Perspective

Also in WRC Rally News 2010:

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