Fitness first in ERC Junior Experience
Four young rally crews were given the opportunity to build their knowledge and expertise during the latest ERC Junior Experience training sessions in Latvia last week.
The quartet took part in three workshops – physical training, partnership acquisition and retention and gravel driving technique – ahead of Rally Liepāja, the closing round of the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship from 12-14 October.
Newcomer Petr Semerád joined existing ERC Junior Experience pupils Hugo Margaillan (France), Niels Reynvoet (Belgium) and Roland Stengg (Austria), who was also competing in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship in Latvia, while Wojciech Chuchała, Evelien Deschuytter and Artis Lagzdiņš provided expert training and coaching.
Training week #3 curriculum: Liepāja, Latvia (9-12 October)
*Core stability training (physical health, concentration, stability, positioning and movement of the core) hosted by Artis Lagzdiņš at the Liepājas Olimpiskais Centrs
*Individual gravel-driving technique coaching from former ERC2 champion Wojciech Chuchała
*Pre-event test session on gravel
*Out-of-the-box training from Evelien Deschuytter in securing and maintaining partnerships
*Reconnaissance of all special stages
Coach Lagzdiņš: fitness can make drivers faster
Artis Lagzdiņš coaches MX2 rider Pauls Jonass and ERC Junior Under 27 champion* and ERC Junior Experience graduate Mārtiņš Sesks, making him ideally placed to assess the ERC Junior Experience intake’s physical fitness before equipping them with useful skills through several exercises. “It was a pleasure to see how the ERC Junior Experience drivers attended the core stability workshop with full commitment,” he said. “They realised core stability is important for a rally driver. I showed them different types of exercises what a rally driver must do, we practiced them and filmed it. This enables them to continue doing the exercises at home. It was great to see these young guys so motivated.”
Developing young drivers very important, says Chuchała
Former FIA ERC2 champion Wojciech Chuchała joined the coaching staff during the third week of ERC Junior Experience training. Providing one-to-one coaching on gravel, the talented Polish driver passed on his knowledge and expertise to the four student drivers and spoke highly of the ERC Junior Experience. “Development of young drivers is very important,” said Chuchała. “Making clever steps but keep a safe base is very important and the ERC Junior Experience is helping these young drivers to be prepared in every point. Technical knowledge, physical preparation and driving technique can improve drivers as fast as it is possible. It was a big opportunity for me to be a part of the programme and I really enjoyed the work and helping to improve these drivers and co-drivers.”
Semerád gains gravel skills
Newcomer Petr Semerád replaced Erik Cais during the ERC Junior Experience training week in Latvia. Cais joined the programme in his native Czech Republic in August, but a clashing event prevented him from attending the Liepāja sessions. Semerád – who like Cais is 17 years old and highly rated in his homeland – had never previously driven on gravel before. “I was here to learn as much as I could about driving on gravel and coping with the ruts because we only have Tarmac rallies in Czech Republic,” said Semerád. “The ERC Junior Experience crew taught me a lot and I was surprised how quickly I had everything under control when I got in the car. It was not easy but I really enjoyed it.” Semerád also took part in the core stability and partnership workshops and event reconnaissance. And following the training sessions, Semrad and co-driver Jiří Hlávka stayed on in Latvia to watch the conclusion to the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship on Rally Liepāja, visiting several stages and the service park.
ERC Junior Experience refresher
Established in 2016 to provide drivers and co-drivers with the myriad skills required for their step up from national to international level, the ERC Junior Experience is open to competitors in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship, plus other drivers aiming for the top. Sébastien Bedoret, Filip Mareš, Catie Munnings, Laurent Pellier and Mārtiņš Sesks are among its graduates. For more information contact Evelien Deschuytter, All In Motion, +32 473990342, firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA