Stratieva targets 2020 ERC campaign after unlikely title triumph
Ekaterina Stratieva wants to use her unlikely third ERC Ladies’ Trophy triumph as a springboard to an expanded FIA European Rally Championship campaign in 2020.
Stratieva, from Bulgaria, hadn’t competed for almost a year when she landed a late entry to contest Barum Czech Rally Zlín in August. After finishing second in class to Nabila Tejpar, Stratieva secured the funds to contest September’s Cyprus Rally, where a category win set up an unexpected title challenge on Rally Hungary earlier this month.
When Tejpar crashed out of the event in treacherous conditions, Stratieva kept going to not only clinch the ERC Ladies’ Trophy but take third in ERC3 and help her Saintéloc Junior Team win the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams alongside Alexey Lukyanuk and Sean Johnston.
Now she wants her comeback to continue into next season, when the ERC will again be contested over eight events, four on asphalt and four on gravel.
“Thanks to my co-driver Georgi Avramov, to my family that believe in us, to all organisation and fans of rally and of course to our partners from Petrol, Bauhaus, Sonax, Verso Travel, Boro and all others that help me make this dream come true,” said Stratieva. “For 2020 I hope to have enough budget to continue our collaboration with Saintéloc and, with a lot of winter practice, come back much faster.
“Like I say at the prize giving in Budapest ‘thanks to Nabila’ for our battle on the Barum Rally. This gave me the power to believe that I still have a place on the stages, to come back after this big break and again be part of the ERC family. We start our collaboration with Saintéloc and Vincent Ducher and all the guys from the team help me to feel the car and step by step to grow.
“It was my dream to drive the Peugeot 208 R2 for many years and I felt again the adrenaline and the emotions. We met so many new fans and made many new friendships. The cherry on the cake was my third title in the ERC Ladies’ Trophy. This year was more than amazing, bringing the trophy back to Bulgaria. Now I want to continue my dream in 2020 but come back stronger with more participation and better results.”
The 2020 ERC season gets underway on the Azores Rallye from 26-28 March.