Grigorov goes for it in ERC Junior
The FIA ERC Junior Championship will welcome its first Bulgarian driver in 2019 after rising star Grigor Grigorov signed up to follow in the wheel tracks of a long list of talents who have graduated from the Pirelli-supported category for R2 cars.
Grigorov, 24, has mainly focused on events in his homeland since he began competing in 2012, meaning his ERC3 Junior bid this season will mark his first campaign in a major international championship.
And having worked hard in recent years to put a programme in place, the PEUGEOT 208 R2 driver can’t wait for his ERC adventure to begin.
“ERC Junior is the right way to the big stage,” said Grigorov, who will bid to emulate leading graduates such as Emil Bergkvist, Marijan Griebel, Nikolay Gryazin, Jari Huttunen, Chris Ingram and Stéphane Lefebvre. “Over the years, we have witnessed pilots who were part of the ERC and now part of the world championship, such as Andres Mikkelsen, Espekka Lappi, Jan Kopecký and others. There is lots of competition and mass media coverage so what more can a newcomer on the European scene want?”
With zero knowledge of the events making up the ERC3 Junior schedule in 2019 and having never previously rallied on gravel, Grigorov will have plenty to learn. But he’s not shying away from the challenge ahead and has a firm plan in place.
“It is no secret that each pilot is involved with a desire to win, but since this is a new challenge for me of a very different nature, I have to be honest with myself and my team and we will set ourselves real goals to pursue throughout the year,” Grigorov explained. “For this season, our main goal is to enter the championship and show a steady, safe pace as with every mileage we cover, we will improve our overall performance and gain experience and impressions for the 2020 season.”
Grigorov, who harbours long-term ambitiions to compete in the World Rally Championship following a stint in the R5-based ERC1 category, will compete under the Grigorov Racing Team – Enekod banner. His co-driver will be announced in due course.
The ERC3 Junior champion will get a two-event prize drive package in a Motorsport Italia ŠKODA Fabia R5 in the 2020 ERC as his or her reward.
Subject to the signing of the event promoter agreement, the Azores Rallye will open the six-event ERC3 Junior Championship calendar from 21-23 March. ERC Junior drivers count their best four scores with three events on asphalt and three on gravel.