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ERC Newsletter #12/14
Posted by: newsla on Mar 21, 2014 - 06:10 AM
WRC Rally News 2010
ERC Newsletter #12/14

Belgium’s national motorsport federation has handed rising talent Gino Bux a dream drive in the new-for-2014 FIA ERC Junior Championship.


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Bux, 23, was among 206 hopefuls who took part in a selection process designed by the RACB to unearth the next Thierry Neuville, the country’s top international rally star.

Driving a DG Sport Compétition Peugeot 208 R2 under the RACB National Team banner, Bux will begin his ERC Junior bid on next month’s Circuit of Ireland Rally. He will also be in action on SATA Rally Açores, Geko Ypres Rally, Barum Czech Rally Zlín and Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse.

Bux and his fellow participants were timed on simulators with the fastest five going through to a series of assessments, including driving on a circuit. Belgian rallying aces Marc Duez, Freddy Loix and Bruno Thiry were among a judging panel that picked out Bux as the winner.

Geoffroy Theunis, the head of the RACB National Team, said: “Gino is a young driver who has only competed on two regional rallies but beat drivers with a lot more experience. We chose the ERC because the coverage on Eurosport is very good and we wanted the Belgian colours to be defended internationally by a young driver with a big potential.”

Alex Parpottas is the latest rallying hopeful to sign up for the inaugural ERC Junior Championship, which now has 17 official registrations since it got underway on Latvia’s Rally Liepāja last month.

Parpottas, who began competing aged 16 and was a leading light in the R2 section of last year’s British championship, will compete in a Ford Fiesta R2 from next month’s Circuit of Ireland Rally.

However, the 19-year-old will be combining his first season of international competition with this final year at university in England, where he is studying for a degree in business administration.

“The pressure’s on but pressure is good sometimes,” said Parpottas. “I’ve got exams to do but I’ve already checked the calendar and they fit around the ERC. But the university will let me move my exams if I need to. They follow my career and are very supportive of what I do.”

Of his decision to choose ERC Junior for 2014, Parpottas said: “The ERC Junior Championship is straight to the point with some brilliant rallies. I’ve not done any international rallies but in order to step up the ladder I need to get international experience and see how fast the boys are at the top.”

FIA European Rally Championship leader Esapekka Lappi reckons next week’s Acropolis Rally, which he’s contesting for the first time, will be a “big challenge”.

The ŠKODA Motorsport driver heads fellow rising star Vasily Gryazin by two points in the ERC title race following his standout victory on last month’s Rally Liepāja.

“It’s been a long break after Latvia and a rally after a long break is always nice,” said flying Finn Lappi. “But it’s going to be a big challenge because it’s a new rally again, you have Tarmac on one day and gravel the next and it’s the first time I’ve done that. It’s also going to be very interesting to see the Peugeot 208 T16s competing.”

Lappi is among a host of drivers tackling Greece’s round of the ERC from 28-30 March. As well as Gryazin and Peugeot 208 T16 drivers Kevin Abbring and Craig Breen, Lappi will face opposition from several star names including Bryan Bouffier, Kajetan Kajetanowicz, Bruno Magalhães and Sepp Wiegand.

Zoltán Bessenyey says a strong result on the Acropolis Rally will be crucial as he bids to successfully defend his FIA ERC 2WD Championship crown.

The Hungarian ace is chasing points after his Eurosol-run Honda Civic Type R suffered a rare mechanical failure on the season-opening Jännerrallye in Austria.

He said: “To defend my title we need to win or finish somewhere on the podium in Greece because only six points from Austria is not so much. Okay, we were one of the fastest there but we have also seen that some of the ERC Junior drivers have been fast and they will be back for the next round. In Greece there will be a lot of drivers with a chance to win so we need to be very clever and drive with our minds but certainly try to win ERC 2WD.”

Top Portuguese and ERC event winner Bruno Magalhães will be back on international rallying duty on next week’s Acropolis Rally in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000. He spoke to www.fiaerc.com.

How good does it feel to be back?
“It’s amazing because in the last two years I only made six rallies and only in Portugal. My dream is to continue my international career and fortunately for this year I have six events in the ERC. It’s my favourite championship and I believe in it because it’s very competitive and everybody goes always completely flat out. I really want to prove my pace.”

And back on such a legendary rally…
“Yes, it’s very mythical and will be for sure a good challenge for everybody. It’s my first time in Greece and it will be amazing. It’s easier to convince the sponsors to do this event because everybody knows it.”

What do you hope to achieve on this rally?
“I want to recover some rhythm because my second rally will be SATA Rallye Açores so it’s very important for me to make one rally before Açores when I will drive the 208 T16. The entry list is not so long but you have a lot of good drivers with a lot of good cars as well so a podium will be very difficult to achieve.”

PaddockTalk Perspective

Also in WRC Rally News 2010:

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