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ERC Newsletter #29/14
Posted by: newsla on Jul 18, 2014 - 03:15 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
ERC Newsletter #29/14

The FIA European Rally Championship’s first visit to Estonia is already proving a success with thousands of fans flocking to the ceremonial start in Tartu last night.


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Estonia’s second largest city played host to a spectacular ceremony, which is a prelude to the 15-stage auto24 Rally Estonia. Cars drove onto a circular podium before passing over a raised platform where fans were afforded a close up view of the crews.

Prior to the ceremonial start, which was televised live on Estonian channel TV3, leading drivers and co-drivers took part in an autograph signing session, while several dignitaries gave opening speeches. They were: Tõnu Seil, Ministry of Culture, Undersecretary (Sports), Tarmo Mutso, Enterprise Estonia, Director of Estonian Tourist Board, Valvo Semilarski, Deputy Mayor of Tartu, François Ribeiro, Motorsport Director, Eurosport Events, Ari Vatanen, President of Estonian Autosport Union and Urmo Aava, auto24 Rally Estonia Director.

Sepp Wiegand is already a winner on auto24 Rally Estonia. The ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland driver was one of several FIA European Rally Championship stars taking part in a purely-for-fun race organised by Estonia’s Crazy Scientist in Tartu on Thursday evening.

Drivers and co-drivers were set the task of making a balloon-powered car using a limited range of materials. Once they had assembled their designs, a short race took place close to Tartu’s city hall with Wiegand’s creation emerging as the winner.

Wiegand’s next challenge is the 15-stage auto24 Rally Estonia. He will line-up number 13 the road in the Fabia Super 2000 he shares with co-driver and fellow German Frank Christian.

Martin Kangur will be one to watch on auto24 Rally Estonia after he set the fastest time on the DELFI Qualifying Stage on Thursday afternoon.

In doing so, Kangur outpaced pre-event favourite Ott Tänak, who is ranked as Estonia’s best international rally driver, to earn the right to select his starting position for leg one first.

At the selection ceremony in Tartu yesterday evening, Kangur chose to run in position number 11: “In this position the road is quite clean and I like to drive on a clean line so I think it’s a good choice,” he said. “I will just have some fun and we will see where we can reach.”

The FIA and ERC priority drivers and co-drivers contesting round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship have backed the FIA Action for Road Safety campaign by taking part in a photocall prior to auto24 Rally Estonia getting underway later today.

They assembled in Tartu on Thursday evening where they received an enthusiastic welcome from the thousands of fans in attendance.

The FIA's Action for Road Safety is a global campaign, focusing the federation's resources on helping its member organisations around the globe to educate and advocate for safer roads, vehicles and behaviours.

Kristian Sohlberg will be sporting a mainly-pink livery on his Ford Fiesta R5 on auto24 Rally Estonia – and for a very good reason.

The flying Finn is using the FIA European Rally Championship counter to raise awareness of cancer research and his friend Elina Jouhki’s battle to overcome leukaemia.

Jouhki is a Finnish triathlete who has twice beaten cancer and is currently in the USA receiving treatment. As well as raising awareness, Sohlberg has helped to raise 25,000 euros for cancer research and won’t be stopping there.

“The goal is to get people to really understand the problems with cancer and leukaemia, particularly the research and investigations that are going on to find a cure,” Sohlberg explained. “Elina Jouhki has survived breast cancer and leukaemia but, out of the blue, she got leukaemia for a second time and was only given a few weeks to live. But she is fighting the disease and doing a lot better now in a clinic in Texas where it is hoped she can win the fight.

“But it’s a case of finding the right medicine by doing the trials and I am doing these rallies in a pink car for her. I respect her so massively for the way she is fighting and I hope people can support her on Twitter and Facebook by spreading the word. We want to do this not only for Elina but for anyone with cancer or any disease where they need research to find a cure.” Visit Kristiansohlberg.com for details.

Inessa Tushkanova, who celebrated her 27th birthday yesterday, has commissioned a special edition T-shirt to help secure the backing needed to extend her FIA European Rally Championship campaign.

The glamour model is making her second ERC start of the year on auto24 Rally Estonia. Earlier she revealed plans to take in the season-closing sealed-surface rounds in Czech Republic, Switzerland and Corsica.

“We try to create some budget to do the ERC Tarmac rallies with a Czech team in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX,” said Tushkanova. “We have T-shirts on sale to buy from the rally shop and also in the service area. They are available in lots of sizes and it would be really nice if the fans could help me get the budget I need by buying these T-shirts.”

Of her auto24 Rally Estonia preparations, Tushkanova said: “Everything is going okay. Our car is quite old and has been repaired after a crash. I’ve not driven a four-wheel-drive car on gravel for a long time but for my birthday celebrations I have come here because I love this rally and these stages and I hope to do a better result than the last time.” Email anti@globalnet.ee for more details.

Hyundai Shell World Rally Team’s flying Finn and former European champion Juho Hänninen is in Estonia this week working as an expert commentator on Eurosport’s coverage of the FIA European Rally Championship.

Welcome back to the ERC Juho, what’s your job on auto24 Rally Estonia?
“I am here as a guest of Eurosport helping with the commentating. We will see some stages of the rally in a car and from the helicopter. The stages are very similar to Finland so from that side it’s nice to be here and we will see now from the inside how Eurosport is making this rally. Before I only saw from the car, now this is from the other side of the camera and it’s interesting for me.”

What memories do you have of your previous visits to Estonia?
“My first rally outside of Finland was the Saaremaa Rally in 2005 and I was able to win so it’s a nice memory. Quite soon after I did Rally Tallinn in 2006 and won in Group N so I only have positive memories from coming here.”

Is it frustrating being on a rally when you don’t actually get to drive?
“When I see the stages it will be more frustrating but as I said it’s nice to see the rally from this side and how Eurosport is doing the filming in the helicopter. But Rally Finland is coming and I am concentrating for this.”

A newcomer to the ERC for 2014, auto24 Rally Estonia is big on fast, smooth gravel stages with crests commonplace. To increase the challenge for the crews, the route has been revamped for the event’s fifth anniversary with narrow and twisty sections thrown in for good measure. Although the event’s headquarters and service park are located in the southern town of Otepää, Tartu – the second largest city in Estonia – will play a significant role this year by hosting the ceremonial start and finish, plus a street stage. Following Thursday’s Free Practice and Qualifying Stage, the stage action begins on Friday.

Event essentials
Starts: 20:00hrs, Thursday 17 July, Podium, Town Hall Square, Tartu
Finishes: 20:45hrs, Saturday 19 July, Podium, Town Hall Square, Tartu
Stages: 15
Stage distance: 231.55 kilometres (123.67 kilometres leg one, 107.88 kilometres leg two)
Surface: All gravel apart from the Tartu City sealed-surface superspecial stage

PaddockTalk Perspective

Also in WRC Rally News 2010:

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