FIA ERC-bound Fiesta Rally3 try-out a big success
Potential drivers of M-Sport Poland’s exciting new-generation Ford Fiesta Rally3 got the chance to experience more financially accessible four-wheel-drive action during a recent three-day test.
The first FIA Rally3 car to break cover, the Fiesta Rally3 will be showcased in the Pirelli-equipped FIA ERC Junior Championship in 2021 with Ken Torn, the ERC3/ERC3 Junior champion from 2020, having announced his plans to bid for the title and the accompanying FIA Junior World Rally Championship prize-drive chance for 2022.
Highly-rated Estonian Torn, 27, was on hand at the test, held at the Silesia Ring complex in southern Poland, to give passenger rides to potential Fiesta Rally3 customers on a gravel stage.
Tom Kristensson, who finished runner-up in ERC3 Junior in 2018 before going on to win the FIA Junior World Rally Championship crown last season in a Ford Fiesta Rally4 after he moved up the ranks, co-drove a Tarmac-specification Fiesta Rally3 on the venue’s racing circuit. Several ERC and ERC Junior drivers past and present joined the Swede to sample the Fiesta Rally3.
Stringent COVID-19 protocols were followed at all times with customers put into bubbles and rigorous sanitisation carried out inside the cars between each run.
With the homologation of the Fiesta Rally3 expected in March, the test provided a first opportunity for the majority of attendees to try the new-generation, four-wheel-drive-based category, with many looking to step up from two-wheel drive in either 2021 or in the near future.
Maciej Woda, Director, M-Sport Poland, said: “We were able to host a series of customer tests to allow interested drivers to sample the new four-wheel-drive Fiesta Rally3. It was great to see some new and familiar faces trying the car and I was encouraged by everybody’s enthusiasm about the car and category.
“It was actually quite interesting to arrange such a test and be able to accommodate so many customers while keeping groups in separate bubbles with no mixing between tests. We were able to offer all customers passenger rides on a gravel stage at the Silesia Ring complex in Poland with Ken Torn, the 2020 ERC3 and ERC3 Junior champion.
“This was a great opportunity for Ken to get more mileage in the Fiesta Rally3 as he embarks upon his six-round ERC Junior campaign this year. We wanted Ken to drive to highlight what a good step Rally3 is for those coming from a Rally4 car. The Fiesta Rally3 is a car you’re able to build your confidence in and not be punished too hard when finding the limit compared to a Rally2.
“We made use of the Silesia Ring circuit too, letting customers sit in the driver’s seat to sample the Fiesta Rally3 with Tom Kristensson, the 2020 FIA Junior WRC champion, in the co-driver seat to offer some tips and advice. I’m really happy with the feedback we received from our guests and it’s helped to confirm that we have gone in the right direction with the Fiesta Rally3 and that Rally3 itself has a lot of interest.”
Next-generation Rally3 cars for FIA ERC Junior, champion gets FIA Junior WRC prize drive
The vastly successful two-tier FIA ERC Junior format continues in 2021 but with a difference. The FIA ERC1 Junior Championship becomes the FIA ERC Junior Championship from the upcoming season with drivers competing in next-generation Rally3 machinery on Pirelli tyres.
This exciting change is in line with ongoing measures to make international rallying in four-wheel-drive cars more accessible for young talents and offers a more achievable next step for drivers graduating from ERC3 Junior or national championships.
By switching to Rally3 regulations, FIA ERC Junior, which remains open to all teams and car brands, is leading the way as the very first championship reserved for Rally3, a category that is set to become increasingly important in the years ahead.
As part of an alliance between governing body the FIA, M-Sport – the company behind the Ford Fiesta Rally3 – tyre firm Pirelli and ERC promoter Eurosport Events, the winner of the 2021 FIA ERC Junior Championship will secure a step up to the FIA Junior WRC Championship in an M-Sport Fiesta on Pirelli tyres for five events in 2022. The framework of the championship, including the car category to be used, is expected to be announced by the FIA at the start of 2021.
ERC3 Junior continues as a multi-brand, multi-team category for Rally4 and Rally5 cars featuring Pirelli as the control tyre supplier. Details of the prize package appear in a section below.
More information on ERC Junior is available here: https://www.fiaerc.com/erc-junior-2021/