Ex-racer Mayr-Melnhof expands ERC mission
Niki Mayr-Melnhof will look to continue his impressive transition from racer to rally driver when he embarks on a full-season FIA European Rally Championship campaign.
Following a successful GT racing career, rallying became the Austrian’s focus from 2016. He took his national title two years later and made his ERC event debut on Rally Liepāja in October 2018.
After registering for ERC priority status in 2019, Mayr-Melnhof impressed by scoring on his first event, Rally Islas Canarias, before claiming a top-five finish on the Cyprus Rally.
Great competition and destinations appeal to Mayr-Melnhof
“The ERC is the most competitive and best championship in the R5 category in the world and has some incredible destinations. I had the pleasure of competing in a few events last year and would also love to see the rest of the calendar.”
More learning planned in 2020
“We learned a lot during the last season and hope we can continue the progress and build up our speed gradually. We are very aware of the strong competition, which motivates our team even more to do the best job possible. We will fight hard to get to the top but consistency will be key.”
Pushed to the limits during pre-season preparations
“The whole team has put a lot of effort into the preparation of the new season, spending the winter working on the set-up. I’m still learning the car but we had successful tests on gravel and Tarmac, and we will see where we stand after the first few rallies. I’ve also had good training with my coach, Zsolt Matics, at Fit4Race. He is an amazing trainer and pushes you to your limits and beyond.”
Mayr-Melnhof and Welserscheimb keep DriftCompany
Poldi Welserscheimb will continue to co-drive his fellow Austrian Mayr-Melnhof, who is extending his partnership with former Austrian champion Beppo Harrach’s DriftCompany organisation, which will run a new-for-2020 Ford Fiesta R5 MkII. “I’m still learning a lot at every rally but I’m very fortunate to have a very strong and experienced team, which helped me tremendously over the last few years,” said Mayr-Melnhof.
A completely different world
“The biggest differences from circuit racing is to know when you can attack 100 per cent and when you need to be a little bit cautious. But it’s a completely different world because you are adapting to constantly changing conditions and the patience you need in difficult conditions.”