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Estonian Young Guns Get Ready To Face Serious Competition In Erc
Posted by: newsla on Jul 03, 2014 - 06:56 AM
WRC Rally News 2010
Estonian Young Guns Get Ready To Face Serious Competition In Erc

The best young rally drivers from Estonia will be in action when the FIA European Rally Championship heads to the country for the first time later this month.


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Martin Kangur, Timmu Kõrge (pictured), Karl Kruuda, Sander Pärn, Siim Plangi and Ott Tänak are among the top home-grown talents who are set to contest auto24 Rally Estonia from 17-19 July when they will face up to the serious competition ahead from several ERC regulars.

For Kruuda in particular, victory is the only target in his R5-specification Peugeot 208T16: "I won the Super 2000 class on Rally Estonia two years running in front of the Group N cars," he said. "The only guys who have been faster were in the World Rally Cars. Because there are no WRCs this year and the winner gets the [prize] helmet, I’m definitely going after the helmet this year."

Entries for the high-speed contest have now closed. The seeded entry list will be published on 11 July.


Juho Hänninen will be back in the FIA European Rally Championship in Estonia this month - but this time he won’t be letting his driving do the talking.

Instead, the Flying Finn, ERC champion in 2012, will be talking about the drivers contesting auto24 Rally Estonia in his role as expert commentator on Eurosport’s coverage of the rapid gravel spectacular from 17-19 July.

He follows in the footsteps of fellow Hyundai Shell World Rally Team driver Thierry Neuville, who was Eurosport Events’ guest on last month’s Geko Ypres Rally, the Belgian’s home round of the ERC. And while Hänninen regularly travels the world to compete on rallies, the trip to Estonia will be somewhat shorter as the country borders his native Finland.


Double FIA European Rally Championship podium finisher Sepp Wiegand will take on his next challenge when he makes his auto24 Rally Estonia debut later this month.

Wiegand, who finished third on last month’s Geko Ypres Rally in his ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland-entered Fabia Super 2000, will be making his first start on a high-speed gravel event.

"I hear it’s like Finland, but I never drove in Finland with all the crests and everything and never did pacenotes like that, so it’s another new challenge for me but I again try my best," said Wiegand.

Wiegand’s ŠKODA team-mate Esapekka Lappi will also be in action in Estonia. The Finn leads the European championship standings by 33 points at the halfway stage of the season.


Xavier Panseri has praised Aleks Zawada following the young Polish driver’s impressive performance on last month’s Geko Ypres Rally, round four of the FIA ERC Junior Championship.

Panseri, who co-drove Bryan Bouffier to victory on last year’s Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse and has registered several podium finishes in the series, was linking up with Zawada for the first time, having worked as his advisor for several seasons.

Although an engine fault prevented Zawada from reaching the finish, he claimed a stage win and led the ERC Junior category for a time. "I told Aleks he could push harder and he did that very well," said Panseri. "We were able to speed up stage-by-stage and I know Aleks can drive even quicker - and I think that during Barum Czech Rally Zlín he will."


Leading Romanian drivers Marco Tempestini and his son Simone will return to FIA European Rally Championship action on auto24 Rally Estonia from 17-19 July.

ERC stalwart Tempestini Sr will drive his Napoca Rally Academy Ford Fiesta R5, with Tempestini Jr lining up in his Citroën DS3 R3T, as the youngster prepares for the world championship-counting Neste Oil Rally Finland two weeks later.

While both Tempestinis have been absent from the ERC in recent months due to other commitments, the Napoca Rally Academy has been active in the championship with Andrea Crugnola, Ekaterina Stratieva and Florin Tincescu all competing on a regular basis.


Italian ace Luca Rossetti, a three-time winner of the FIA European Rally Championship, made his return to the series on last month’s Geko Ypres Rally, an event he won back in 2007.

What was it like being back in Ypres and back in the ERC? "It was great with very good memories. After 2007 I came here every year, first with my racing boots and then with my gym shoes when I did not have a car to drive. I love this rally, this place and these people. It was a pleasure to be back."

What’s the attraction of Ypres to you?

"The feeling and also the special stages are completely different to what I know from Italy. I live in the middle of the Alps and was told there was a big mountain on this rally. I thought it would be like something in Italy but it was Kemmelberg, and Kemmelberg is not a mountain, it’s a hill! Anyway, I love this rally immediately in 2007 and again in 2008 when I came back. I have good friends here and when you are well with something you want to be back every time, every year. And the after rally party is not so bad."

Is there a chance of more ERC events for you this season? "I don’t know. DP Autosport called me in May and asked which rallies I would like to go on. I said Ypres and that’s it for now, but we are talking maybe for more rounds but not until after the summer."

PaddockTalk Perspective

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