Ace Austrians of the ERC
Several Austrian drivers have aced it in the FIA European Rally Championship. Here are just 10.
Andreas Aigner (photo 1)
Aigner transferred his world championship pedigree to the ERC for the first time in 2012. The following year he took three ERC Production Cup wins on his way to the class title in a Stohl Racing Subaru Impreza. He also heroically claimed an overall European championship podium on the Croatia Rally in 2013 having led outright.
Raimund Baumschlager (photo 2)
Now an established ERC team owner running Albert von Thurn und Taxis and MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig, Baumschlager was also a big hit behind the wheel in the championship. He took a podium on his 50th and final outing as an ERC driver on the Internationale Jänner Rallye in 2014 having claimed six ERC event wins earlier in his career.
Göttlicher’s final ERC campaign in 1996 was perhaps his best when he finished runner-up to Armin Schwarz in that season’s title fight.
Haider netted 10 ERC event wins in more than 90 starts between 1976 and 1999. While he rallied Peugeots in his later years, Haider enjoyed significant success with Opel power.
Beppo Harrach (photo 3)
Harrach took back-to-back ERC Production Cup wins on the Internationale Jänner Rallye between 2013 and 2014. He’s since gone on to establish the DriftCompany rally school and rally team, which will run Austrian drivers Niki Mayr-Melnhof and Nikolai Landa in the 2020 European championship.
The double Austrian champion has sampled a variety of categories in the European championship from ERC 2WD to the top-level ERC1 division. His major achievements so far include an ERC 2WD podium in 2013 and an overall top 10 finish in 2014.
A one-time ERC event winner and 1995 Austrian champion, Stengg’s son Roland Stengg scored points on three out of five ERC3 Junior starts between 2018-2019.
Stohl is perhaps better known for his world championship exploits, particularly on events in Africa. But he also has an ERC event win to his name. Son Manfred Stohl (photo 4), meanwhile, made 17 ERC starts and scored three wins. His Stohl Racing concern has achieved success in ERC2, while its STARD offshoot ran Hiroki Arai in last season’s ERC1 Junior Championship.
Simon Wagner (photo 5)
Having shown impressive pace in ERC3 Junior, Wagner scored a debut ERC1 Junior podium on last season’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín. Away from the ERC he’s also notched up seven wins at Rally2 level since 2018, while younger brother Julian Wagner is also highly rated having made one ERC3 Junior start and finished runner-up in last season’s Austrian championship.
With 30 wins (including on his final ERC appearance in 2003) and 43 podium visits from 66 European championship starts, Wittmann’s achievements are significant and the stuff of legend. His son, Franz Jr, started selected ERC events in 2009 and 2010.
Two for the future? Nikolai Landa, 21, has announced an ERC3 Junior campaign in 2020. Niki Mayr-Melnhof, meanwhile, is an ex-GT racer and 2018 Austrian champion and has been quick on sporadic ERC appearances. He will be one to watch when he mounts a full-season bid in 2020 driving a Ford Fiesta R5 MkII.
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