ERC 2019: A year of firsts
It’s been a year of firsts in the FIA European Rally Championship. As the end of 2019 approaches, here’s a reminder of just some of the highlights.
Chris Ingram became the first Briton since Vic Elford in 1967 and the first ERC Junior graduate to win the FIA European Rally Championship overall when he took title glory on Rally Hungary alongside co-driver Ross Whittock. It was also a first ERC title triumph for Toksport WRT.
Alexey Lukyanuk’s ERC title defence was his first driving a Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 R5. The Russian rocket scored his first win of the campaign on 76th Rally Poland in June, while Saintéloc placed first in the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams.
Łukasz Habaj claimed his first win in the ERC with victory on the Azores Rallye back in March.
By taking first place on in ERC1 Junior on Barum Czech Rally Zlín with a scant margin of 0.3s over Chris Ingram, Filip Mareš won the category for young stars in R5 cars. Jan Kopecký made it five wins in a row with first place overall on famous sealed-surface event.
First place for Oliver Solberg on Rally Liepāja made the 17-year-old the youngest ERC event winner. After Solberg took the first win for Volkswagen’s Polo R5 in the ERC, Nasser Al-Attiyah made it a win double for the German machine on the Cyprus Rally.
Juan Carlos Alonso’s long wait for a first ERC2 title ended on the Cyprus Rally when fourth place for the Argentine proved enough for him to be crowned champion.
Efrén Llarena was first in both the final ERC3 and ERC3 Junior orders for Rallye Team Spain.
Ken Torn impressed with three first-place finishes in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior for the Estonian Autosport Junior Team. Sindre Furuseth was third in ERC3 Junior and fourth in ERC3.
A first win in ERC3 for ex-downhill mountain bike racer Erik Cais on Rally Hungary underlined the ACCR Czech Rally Team driver’s huge potential.
The ACCR Czech Rally Team was classified first in the ERC Nations’ Cup ahead of the RFEDA-backed Rallye Team Spain and FPAK Portugal Team ERC.
Four class wins helped Andrea Nucita win the first Abarth Rally Cup to take place within the FIA European Rally Championship structure. Dariusz Połonski settled for the runner-up spot after Alberto Monarri won the first round on Rally Islas Canarias.
Rally Hungary joined the ERC roster for the first time with Frigyes Turán taking the win following an action-packed event in early November.
MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig used his home ERC counter to claim his first stage win of 2019.
Ekaterina Stratieva denied Nabila Tejpar a first ERC Ladies’ Trophy with a late-season charge.