The FIA European Rally Championship is home to a whole array of machinery from the FIA Rally Cars Pyramid. Think Rally2 to Rally5 but there’s more besides. The ERC also follows the FIA Rally Sporting Pyramid, designed to make rallying’s route from grassroots to the highest level easier to understand.
FIA Rally Cars Pyramid in short
Like single-seater racing where Formula 1 is at the top of the tree, international rallying uses the same nomenclature.
That means Rally5 is the starting point for drivers aiming for the sport’s highest level followed by Rally4, Rally3, Rally2 and, ultimately, Rally1, which has replaced the World Rally Car category from 2022 as the sport’s headlining category.
Rally2 Kit, Group N4 and RGT cars are also eligible for the ERC but given their specific characteristics they don’t appear on the FIA Rally Cars Pyramid.
FIA Rally Sporting Pyramid in short
The FIA Sporting Pyramid delivers a structured path of progression within the ERC and WRC with the route a driver can take as he or she rises up the ranks clearly defined.
At the same time, the titles of the various categories within the ERC and WRC have been aligned to improve understanding and make the sport easier to follow.
ERC4: The FIA Rally Sporting Pyramid begins with the ERC4 category for drivers competing in Rally4 or Rally5 cars. There’s also a Junior class (ERC4 Junior) for drivers 27 or under at the start of each season.
ERC3: From ERC4, a driver progresses to ERC3 for their first taste of four-wheel drive in Rally3 cars.
ERC: At this stage, a driver can continue their pursuit of success and experience in the ERC by stepping up to the ERC category for Rally2 cars, which remains a destination itself. Or they can switch sideways to WRC3 for Rally3 cars where Open and Junior classes exist. WRC2 (Open and Junior) is next with the headlining Rally1 category the target.
ERC categories in short
FIA ERC4: This is front-wheel-drive hot-hatch rallying at its best with the Ford Fiesta Rally4, Opel Corsa Rally4, Peugeot 208 Rally4 and Renault Clio Rally4 the main players. Competition-ready Rally4 cars use naturally-aspirated or turbocharged engines generating around 210bhp and sequential gearboxes. Entry-level Rally5 cars, like the Clio Rally5, are designed to be less technically advanced and therefore more affordable to run.
FIA Junior ERC: For drivers aged 27 and under on 1 January 2022 in Rally4 and Rally5 cars using Pirelli tyres.
FIA ERC3: An accessible route into four-wheel drive, Rally3 cars, of which M-Sport Poland’s Ford Fiesta Rally3 was the first to hit the market, will be faster and even more fun to drive from 2022 after the FIA World Motor Sport Council approved a power hike. The size of the turbo restrictor has been adjusted by 1mm from 30mm to 31mm, which is the equivalent of a power rise of approximately 15hp.
FIA ERC: For FIA-homologated cars conforming to Rally2 (formerly R5) regulations. That means 1.6-litre turbocharged engines, 32mm restrictors to control power (to around 290bhp), four-wheel drive, five-speed gearboxes and price caps to keep design and build expenditure in check. Think Citroën C3 Rally2, Ford Fiesta Rally2, Hyundai i20 N Rally2, Proton Iriz R5, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 and more.
FIA ERC Teams: To score points in the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams, competitors must register in ERC, ERC3 or ERC4 under a team name. A maximum of three cars may be registered for the purpose of scoring Team points.
A registered Team can score points with the two best placed cars of its Team in the final classification of each rally. For the purpose of calculating points, cars driven by ERC4 priority drivers will score points within their own group.
ERC Open: Exclusively for Rally2 Kit, homologated Group N4 and RGT cars. Rally2 Kit offers lower-cost, four-wheel-drive action and encourages technical ingenuity by independent operators. Examples of Rally2 Kit cars – which come with a ‘kit’ of performance parts from official supplier ORECA – used in the ERC in 2021 included the Škoda Fabia, Suzuki Swift and Toyota Yaris. In addition to Rally2 Kit cars, ERC Open caters for some of rallying’s most iconic names through Group N4 and RGT. Group N4 is the domain of the Mitsubishi Lancer and Subaru Impreza, while the Abarth 124 rally, Alpine A110 RGT and Porsche 997 GT3 are built to RGT regulations.
ERC titles up for grabs
- FIA European Championship for Drivers, Co-Drivers and Teams
- FIA ERC3 for Drivers and Co-Drivers
- FIA ERC4 for Drivers and Co-Drivers
- FIA Junior ERC
- ERC Open for Drivers and Co-Drivers