Cais keeps looking up with ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory membership
Erik Cais will continue his rise up the ranks in the FIA European Rally Championship, enrolling in the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory and plotting a push for outright podiums alongside co-driver Jindřiška Žáková.
Preparing for only his fourth season of rallying following his switch from downhill mountain bike racing, the 21-year-old Czech can once again count on the expertise of Orsák Rallysport to oversee his MICHELIN-equipped, Yacco ACCR Team-entered Ford Fiesta R5 MkII.
As well as undertaking an ERC campaign, the highly-rated Cais is planning to contest Croatia’s inaugural FIA World Rally Championship round next month in addition to selected events in his homeland. He will launch his 2021 season on Rally Il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio in Italy this weekend.
“We will see how it will be with the economic and pandemic situation, but we would like to fight for the podium in ERC,” said Cais, who finished fifth in ERC1 Junior last season, his first at Rally2 level. “But it will not be easy because there will be 10 to 15 competitors from around Europe with the same ambitions.”
ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory welcomes top-quality first member
The ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory, which provides a package of incentives to drivers aged 28 and under at the start of 2021 competing in Rally2 cars on MICHELIN Tyres, welcomes an ace first member in Cais.
In his first Rally2 campaign last year, the Czech federation-backed driver scored an ERC1 Junior podium and two fifth-place finishes in the category. He also claimed outright wins on rallies in Italy and Poland.
“In my short career, 2020 was my best year because of the learning I did,” said Cais, who lists Colin McRae as his rallying hero. “I learned you cannot push like hell on the first stage and do a mistake. You need to go step by step and after that you can reach the finish on a good pace.
“I still need to grow up my experience to fight with the best guys and get the best results, which is difficult. Last year was my first in the R5 car and the improvement by the end of the year was really big. Definitely it was about teamwork, but also it was because there are a lot of drivers in the ERC and we could fight because every stage was big fighting and you fight until the finish by the seconds. That is what is making the ERC really beautiful. There is a lot of competitors from the world and what I am learning is to be really fast with these guys and reaching my goals when I am driving with these competitors.”
The 2021 ERC season is set to begin with the 55th Azores Rallye from May 6-8.