History to be made as new Rally3 ERC Junior era begins
History will be made in the FIA European Rally Championship later today when the new Rally3-based ERC Junior era begins.
Built to the FIA’s exciting new category regulations, Rally3 cars provide action-filled four-wheel-drive competition for a more accessible price.
From the 2021 season, Pirelli-equipped Rally3 cars will be used as standard in the FIA ERC Junior Championship with the talent-proving category getting underway on this weekend’s ORLEN 77th Rally Poland, starting with SS1 from 19h15 CET today. The high-speed gravel event is the first of six ERC Junior rounds with a dream Junior World Rally Championship prize drive in 2022 going to the eventual champion.
Ken Torn, who graduates to four-wheel-drive Rally3 competition from Rally4 level in 2021 as the ERC3/ERC3 Junior champion, was the first driver to sign-up for the groundbreaking category and will compete in a Ford Fiesta Rally3 from M-Sport Poland.
“I’m happy that we are finally back in the car ready to start our ERC Junior Championship campaign,” said the 27-year-old Estonian. “I am driving the M-Sport Fiesta Rally3 this year which is four-wheel drive and built by M-Sport Poland. I worked with the team to help develop this car and I feel privileged to be making the Fiesta Rally3’s ERC debut on M-Sport Poland’s home rally. I can’t wait for the new challenge and to what the Polish roads bring us.”
Briton Jon Armstrong, 26, will rival Torn for ERC Junior success this weekend at the wheel of a second M-Sport Poland Fiesta Rally3. “I’ve been really excited about the Fiesta Rally3 ever since my first test drive this year,” said the JWRC event winner, who made three ERC3 Junior appearances in 2015. “I was quite keen to drive the Fiesta Rally3 again this year to be one of the first in the category and enjoy it. Rally Poland is amazing, I was there in 2016 for the Fiesta Trophy and got my first international rally category win, I’ve got fond memories. Poland has nice roads and it’s a good opportunity for me and Phil to develop ourselves, see what the Rally3 category is all about and it’ll be quite cool to be working with M-Sport Poland on their home round.”
Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport Managing Director: “I’ll be with the team in Mikołajki as I want to be part of this historic moment for M-Sport, M-Sport Poland and the ERC. It’s crucial we work on developing ways to find affordable opportunities for young drivers in rallying and I really think the Fiesta Rally3 can provide those opportunities. I can’t wait to see the Fiesta Rally3 make its ERC debut in Poland in the capable hands of Ken and Jon. It’s an amazing category and cost effective for four-wheel drive experience which is essential for young drivers looking to progress through the ranks. The Fiesta Rally3 doesn’t just cater to junior drivers either which is reflected in the entries as it’s a very capable national level car too. It’s perfect for those who enjoy four-wheel drive rallying, as you can have so much fun in a four-wheel drive car.”