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ERC Newsletter #17/14
Posted by: newsla on Apr 24, 2014 - 09:06 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
ERC Newsletter #17/14

Kris Meeke has backed the new-for-2014 FIA ERC Junior Championship, describing it as a “great platform” for young stars to showcase their talents and raise the funding needed to continue their competition careers.


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Meeke was speaking during his visit to last week’s Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally, where he was a guest of ERC promoter Eurosport Events.

During an interview on the Inside ERC programme, which was aired earlier this week, Meeke said: “It’s a great platform to put the guys in similar category cars and let them go at the stages and also provide a platform for advertising their sponsors. This is so important for junior drivers [because] it’s quite difficult in the current climate to get the budget together, so providing a platform with a high profile to allow them to showcase their sponsors and their teams [is very important]. These guys will be the future champions of rallying.”

So far the ERC Junior initiative has attracted 19 registrations. Double winner Jan Černy leads the standings after the opening two events. Ten of the 18 drivers who have competed have scored stage wins, while all six cars built to the FIA’s R2 regulations have seen action.

Esapekka Lappi’s victory on last week’s Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally was significant in more ways than one. Not only did the Finnish driver’s first place put him back on top of the FIA European Rally Championship drivers’ standings, it was also the 21st win for ŠKODA’s Fabia Super 2000 in the ERC.

Following its ERC debut in 2009, the Fabia S2000 has achieved considerable success. As well as 21 ERC top scores, the car powered Juho Hänninen and Jan Kopecký to back-to-back European championship titles.

“We are delighted that we won in Northern Ireland,” said Lappi. “The whole team worked hard for this success. Before the rally we didn’t think that we would lead from start to finish. It was a perfect rally for us. The speed and reliability of the Fabia Super 2000 was crucial in this rally that demands a lot of drivers and cars. Our intensive preparations paid off. Thanks and congratulations to the whole team.”

Fabia ERC milestones
First maximum ERC score: Jan Kopecký, Rallye Principe de Asturias, 2009
Tenth ERC triumph: Juho Hänninen, Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 2012
Fifteen ERC victories: Freddy Loix, Geko Ypres Rally, 2013
Twenty-one ERC wins: Esapekka Lappi, Circuit of Ireland Rally, 2014

Kevin Abbring and Craig Breen are getting over their disappointment of retiring from round four of the FIA European Rally Championship by looking ahead to the next event, SATA Rallye Açores.

Abbring and Breen both failed to reach the finish of the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally after their Peugeot Rally Academy-run 208T16s suffered mechanical failures. Abbring stopped with a broken radiator, while a sensor fault accounted for Breen’s exit. Both drivers had run competitively with Breen in contention for a second-straight victory following a hat-trick of fastest stage times.

“My car had the speed and we had a good fight, so a big thank you to the team for all the hard work,” said Breen. “I am looking to the next round in the Açores to try to fight for another victory.”

Abbring added: “We absolutely need to find some evolutions to be in good shape for the next round in the Açores and try to recover the level of performance we know we have.”

SATA Rallye Açores takes place from 15-17 May using all-gravel stages on the mid-Atlantic island of São Miguel.

Top Irish brothers Sam and Josh Moffett don’t want the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally to be their last outing in this year’s FIA European Rally Championship.

Sam Moffett, 24, set a fastest stage time and was in the battle for third place when a fuel pressure fault stopped his Ford Fiesta RRC on leg two. However, there were no such problems for younger brother Josh Moffett, 21, who bagged top spot in the FIA ERC Production Car Cup classification in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.

“I would definitely like to come back,” said Sam Moffett. “I’d like to do more because the ERC is very well run and you’re driving against some nice guys who are easy to get on with.”

Meanwhile, Josh Moffett said: “After doing this I would love to do another round, possibly on gravel. But we’ll have to see.”

There will be a second chance to watch Inside ERC on Eurosport. In addition to Tuesday night’s broadcast, a replay of the Inside ERC magazine show will be broadcast tomorrow (Friday 25 April) at 08:30hrs CET.

As well as the standout footage from the stages – not to mention an interview with Citroën world championship ace Kris Meeke from on top of one of the iconic Harland & Wolff shipyard cranes – the programme includes interviews with the leading ERC drivers and co-drivers, a catch-up with ERC Junior newcomers and brother-and-sister team Stephen and Susanne Wright, commentary from Meeke live from the Eurosport helicopter above his native Northern Ireland, plus details on all the category winners.

Ulster and Ireland rugby star Stephen Ferris has become a big rallying fan following his first visit to the FIA European Rally Championship last weekend. He told Fiaerc.com why:

You got the opportunity to be driven through some of the stages by seven-time Circuit of Ireland winner Jimmy McRae. What was that like?
“It was absolutely fantastic. I really mean this but it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. When he took off at the start of the first stage it was like ‘wow’. I was gripping onto my seat, although in fairness it was a bit too small for me so I wasn’t going anywhere. Jimmy is an absolute legend in the world of rallying and to be sitting in the co-driver’s seat was just great. I thoroughly enjoyed it and Bobby Willis has done a great job in organising it.”

What does it mean to you when a big event like the Circuit of Ireland Rally, a round of the ERC, comes to your country?
“Well even the crowds in Newtownards and Lisburn were four or five deep. The turnout was great. The weather has definitely made it a great event and for the people of Northern Ireland to get out and support it is even better. Hopefully the rally will come back again.”

It’s not unheard of for sports stars like you to give driving a go. Would you ever consider getting behind the wheel of a rally car?
“Well I’ve owned a couple of nice cars in my time but nothing rally related. I’ll leave that to the likes of Jimmy. Maybe I might have a go on a race track rather than country roads.”

PaddockTalk Perspective

Also in WRC Rally News 2010:

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