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Erc Newsletter #13/14
Posted by: newsla on Mar 27, 2014 - 04:26 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Erc Newsletter #13/14


The new-generation R5 category continues to go from strength to strength in the FIA European Rally Championship.

 

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M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta R5 is already a winner in the ERC courtesy of Kajetan Kajetanowicz, while Peugeot’s 208T16 will make its first start in the championship on this week’s Acropolis Rally with Kevin Abbring and Craig Breen competing in the all-new machines.

Last December ŠKODA Motorsport confirmed that it would be building an R5 version of the new Fabia road car and company chief Michal Hrabánek revealed this week that the exciting project is very much on track following recent tests.

"That is our motorsport future," he said of the 1.6-litre turbocharged machine. "Entering the R5 class is a logical step for the ŠKODA brand. As it stands, we expect the new car to be homologated by mid-2015."

As well as two Peugeot 208T16s, there will be two Fiesta R5s competing on the Acropolis Rally driven by Kajetanowicz and Greek driver Jourdan Serderidis.

BREEN: ERC ACROPOLIS RALLY IS WIDE OPEN

Craig Breen says predicting a winner of round three of the FIA European Rally Championship will be too close to call.

None of the FIA or ERC priority drivers contesting the 60th running of the Acropolis Rally have tackled the event before, while the asphalt stages that make up leg one are new for everyone.

"It’s going to be a really open event and perhaps some people will be stronger on Tarmac than on gravel and vice versa," said Irishman Breen, who will be competing in a Peugeot 208T16 for the first time. "It’s going to be a real mixed bag with a lot of people fighting for the win. Nobody knows what to expect with the Tarmac. It’s really exciting."

The Acropolis Rally takes place from 28-30 March. Breen and his British co-driver Scott Martin are among the favourites for victory.

ERC CIRCUIT OF IRELAND RALLY LAUNCHED IN BELFAST

While the focus of the FIA European Rally Championship is on the upcoming Acropolis Rally, which starts tomorrow, Friday, the official launch of the Circuit of Ireland Rally took place in Belfast earlier today.

The event, which counts as round four of the ERC, takes place from 17-19 April and organisers used the launch to reveal full details of the asphalt showcase to attending media.

Several drivers planning to contest the two-day rally next month joined Bobby Willis, the Event Director, and Andy Gilmore, the Clerk of the Course, and Northern Ireland’s Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster, at the launch held in the Titanic Drawing Offices in Belfast.

"We’re hoping to see thousands of really fans come out and support this fantastic event - one of the oldest rallies in the world - and now a key fixture in the European Rally Championship calendar," said Willis, pictured right with Arlene Foster. "There are many opportunities for the public to spectate, as the course is set to cover more than 230 kilometres across counties Down and Antrim.

"From the Qualifying Stage at the picturesque Ulster Folk & Transport Museum to the ceremonial start at Belfast City Centre and the service park at Titanic Belfast, as well as many towns and villages, the atmosphere is set to be electric."

NINETEEN NATIONS REPRESENTED ON ERC ACROPOLIS RALLY

A total of 19 nations will be represented on round three of the FIA European Rally Championship, the legendary Acropolis Rally.

Drivers and co-drivers from Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia and South Africa will contest the Loutraki-based event from 28-30 March.

The Czech Republic has the most representatives with eight (driver Jaroslav Orsák is pictured), with France next up on six. Host nation Greece has five drivers and co-drivers in action, while there are four from Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

CLASS BATTLES TO BE A HIGHLIGHT IN GREECE

It’s not just the battle for overall honours that will take centre stage on the Acropolis Rally this week: the ERC Production Car Cup and ERC 2WD Championship will also be hotly contested.

The ERC Production Car Cup has attracted six entries with Mitsubishi Lancer pilots Vitaliy Pushkar (pictured), Tibor Érdi, Charalambos Timotheou and Martin Hudec among the leading contenders. ERC Ladies’ Trophy ace Ekaterina Stratieva will also be eligible for class points following her step up to a Subaru Impreza on Rally Liepāja. Ioannis Zounis from Greece is another driver relying on Subaru power.

Honda Civic Type R exponent Zoltán Bessenyey will face opposition from Alex Filip, Todor Slavov and Simone Tempestini as he bids to get his ERC 2WD Championship defence back on track following his leg-one retirement on the season-opener in Austria. Filip and Slavov are both armed with Renault Clio R3s, while Tempestini is Citroën DS3 R3T mounted.

Q&A: Henk Lategan

Q&A: HENK LATEGAN

Rising South African star Henk Lategan, 19, will be embarking on his second ERC event when he makes his Acropolis Rally debut this week. He spoke to www.fiaerc.com ahead of the mixed-surface spectacular.

How good does it feel to see your name on the entry list for the legendary Acropolis Rally? "It is really exiting seeing my name on the entry list next to some of the world's top drivers, who I've looked up to throughout my short career."

What's your plan for the rally? "My main goal for this rally is to reach the end of it. I think I will take it easy and try to be safe on the first day, especially as I don't have much Tarmac experience. I am not too concerned about the results at the moment, I will try to get through the first day and then see what we can do from there."

You’ve got a new co-driver for the Acropolis in Klaus Wicha, what can he do for you? "I have never done a rally with Klaus, but I trust in his abilities and we will spend some time in the car and on the recce before the race."

ACROPOLIS RALLY IN 100 WORDS Running for the 60th time in 2014 and back in the ERC for the first time since 1968, the Acropolis Rally has undergone a major revamp for 2014 with leg one using fast asphalt roads and leg two featuring more traditional rough gravel tracks. Based in Loutraki on the banks of the Gulf of Corinth - its home since 2009 - the event also features an all-asphalt superspecial in Korinthos on day two plus a ceremonial start above the Corinth Canal. The action begins with a Qualifying Stage on Friday afternoon, with the rally running over two days from Saturday until Sunday.

Event essentials Starts/finishes: Friday 28 March/Sunday 30 March Stages:13 Stage distance: 238.84 kilometres (124.62 kilometres leg one, 114.22 kilometres leg two) Surface: Leg one on asphalt, leg two on gravel with the exception of the all-asphalt SS10

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