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ERC Newsletter #30/14
Posted by: newsla on Jul 25, 2014 - 03:36 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
ERC Newsletter #30/14

Leading drivers and co-drivers were united in their praise of Estonia’s inaugural FIA European Rally Championship round, which took place from 17-19 July.


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Based in Otepää in the south of the country with the ceremonial start and finish and street stage in Tartu, Estonia’s second largest city, auto24 Rally Estonia proved a huge success with thousands of fans flocking to the picturesque stages to follow the thrilling action.

They included the Prime Minister of Estonia, Taavi Rõivas, who took his family to three stages on Friday and was accompanied by François Ribeiro, Motorsport Director of ERC Promoter Eurosport Events, and ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley.

“The organisers have done a perfect job although it’s not so easy to do a big event like this in a small place like Estonia,” said Ott Tänak, Estonia’s leading international rally driver and event winner in a Ford Fiesta R5. “But they made a big event with lots of spectators.”

Tänak’s co-driver, Raigo Mölder, added: “The organisation from my point of view was really good. And for the safety things there were no stupid places where spectators can be.

Third-placed co-driver Erki Pints said: “There were a lot of fans and it shows how much the Estonian fans like rallying. People in the rest of Europe can see we have good drivers and good fans in Estonia.”

Two of Finland’s biggest rallying talents met during auto24 Rally Estonia, round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship, last week.

While Lappi extended his ERC title lead by finishing fifth overall for ŠKODA Motorsport, Hänninen was working as an expert commentator for ERC promoter Eurosport Events and caught up with his countryman during a weekend off from his commitments to the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team.

Speaking on the Inside ERC programme, Hänninen was full of praise for Lappi: “He has been doing very, very good in the rallies this year and has a good future ahead of him.”

Lappi, who is co-driven by fellow Finn Janne Ferm, tops the ERC standings by 40 points.

Zoltán Bessenyey showed his determination to move into the lead of the FIA ERC 2WD Championship when he finished third in class on the recent auto24 Rally Estonia.

The defending champion was back on ERC duty for the first time since the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally and excelled in the Eurosol Racing Team Hungary Honda Civic Type R he shares with co-driver and partner Yulianna Nyirfás.

“It’s a great result and an amazing end to a very special weekend,” said Bessenyey. “Considering the amount of local drivers we were up against who know these stages so well, I’d never have thought we’d be able to clinch third no chance. Our target was always a place in the top six.”

Bessenyey will be back in action on next month’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín when he will be aiming to defend his title advantage.

Fabio Andolfi underlined his reputation as a star of the future when he finished second in the FIA ERC 2WD Championship section of auto24 Rally Estonia last weekend despite having never tackled a high-speed gravel event before.

The Italian ERC Junior Championship regular was competing in his familiar Peugeot 208 R2 alongside co-driver Simone Scattolin, albeit on Yokohama tyres. He belied his lack of experience to finish 18th overall, outgunning several rivals in faster R3 machinery in the process. Afterwards, Giuseppe Pezzaioli of Yokohama Italy Motorsports said: “That was a fantastic race he did.”

Andolfi has contested two ERC Junior rounds so far in 2014 and is 13th in the standings with 17 points. The series resumes on Barum Czech Rally Zlín from 29-31 August.

FIA European Rally Championship regular Robert Consani is hoping for a change of fortune when he gets back behind the wheel of his Delta Rally-prepared Peugeot 207 Super 2000 on Barum Czech Rally Zlín next month.

The Frenchman failed to finish for a second event in a row when a broken engine forced his early exit from auto24 Rally Estonia. “It is very frustrating, for me, my co-driver, my team, basically everyone who helps and supports me,” said Consani, who failed to get beyond the gravel event’s eighth stage. “I arrived 10kph faster than in the first loop and it was obviously too much, but I can’t help thinking that you also need a bit of luck in rallying, which I am clearly lacking. I am now looking forward to the Barum Czech Rally Zlin and hope my luck will be better there.”

Consani had enjoyed a strong run of results in the ERC earlier this season when he bagged a brace of fourth-place finishes.

Barum Czech Rally Zlín can’t come soon enough for Jaromír Tarabus following a tough return to FIA European Rally Championship action on auto24 Rally Estonia from 17-19 July.

Tarabus, who has limited experience driving on gravel, opened the road on both legs and struggled for form as a result in his Kresta Racing-run ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, which is co-driven by Daniel Trunkát. “When we were planning the season, it was almost sure there is no sense for us to go to Estonia as we had no chance to gain some points,” said Tarabus. “But since Acropolis we had long break and we needed to go back into a racing rhythm, so we have decided to go to Estonia. We have expected fast stages, but it was much faster than we expected. I was not satisfied with my pacenotes, they were very specific types of stages and with my experience it was not easy to write them correctly. And pacenotes on fast stages are very important and it was hard to clean the road for two days.”

Co-driver Daniel Trunkát added: “With a top speed of 170kph compared to the winning R5 car’s top speed of 190kph we were almost without a chance.” Tarbaus and Trunkát finished third overall on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last season. The event is round eight of the ERC season and takes place from 29-31 August.

FIA European Rally Championship newcomer auto24 Rally Estonia proved a huge success when it took place last weekend. Event Director Urmo Aava spoke to Fiaerc.com following the high-speed gravel spectacular.

How satisfied are you with auto24 Rally Estonia’s first appearance in the FIA European Rally Championship?
“I am very, very pleased. For me the rally was 110 per cent a success using our organisation, our knowledge and our budget. We were able to do all the things we wanted to do, and while there are always a few small details you like to improve upon, I don’t know how to organise it better.”

What is the significance of this rally to Estonia and Estonian motorsport?
“Year by year this rally is becoming more and more important. Our main aim was to promote rally sport in Estonia and now with the FIA European Rally Championship we have grown into the biggest sporting event so this is good promotion for rallying and it really grows the sport. Also, all the young Estonian drivers were doing the rally and I was really proud that they could compete against the leader of the European championship, Esapekka Lappi.”

What were your personal highlights of the event?
“The opening ceremony in Tartu, the Tartu city stage with so many people and the finishing ceremony in Tartu. All the fireworks, the flames, the music and the emotions from the drivers and the spectators were really great. I was also really amazed about the Eurosport programmes. Eurosport Events made a perfect job. It’s not because I want to be polite but the programmes brought the event to every Estonian’s heart. The balance between the nature, architecture and the sport was so well done. Even the footage was amazing because for a few moments I didn’t realise Estonia can be so beautiful.”

PaddockTalk Perspective

Also in WRC Rally News 2010:

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