Hungary for ERC: Talking points
Rally Hungary hosts the penultimate round of the FIA European Rally Championship this week. Here are some of the main talking points.
*European championship leader Andreas Mikkelsen, who secured the WRC2 title in Spain last weekend, is in contention for a second successive Rally Hungary victory and a first ERC title for Škoda-powered Toksport WRT thanks to his 71-point advantage.
*ORLEN Team’s Miko Marczyk, the winner of the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory top prize of his full tyre allocation for the next two rounds of the ERC, starts Rally Hungary for the second time fresh from clinching the Polish championship for a second time following his victory on Rally Košice in Slovakia last weekend.
*Rallye Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena, meanwhile, took his maiden ERC podium in Hungary in 2020 and is third in the standings. He’s also determined to hit back from his crash on Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras earlier this month.
*Norbert Herczig (Škoda Rally Team Hungaria) claimed ERC podium number three on Rally di Roma Capitale and will do all he can to add a fourth on home soil.
*Czech youngster Erik Cais starts his third Rally Hungary having once again underlined his star qualities by placing third in WRC2 on his world championship debut in Spain last weekend. Nikolay Gryazin, who returns to ERC duty in Hungary, also impressed in Spain by finishing 10th overall.
*Norwegian Mads Østberg has been combining his WRC2 programme with a Hungarian championship bid in 2021, while Finn Jari Huttunen returns to the Team MRF Tyres line-up alongside Italian Simone Campedelli. Countryman Umberto Scandola will also be in action for Hyundai Rally Team Italia.
*Yoann Bonato (CHL Sport Auto Citroën C3 Rally2) has previous Rally Hungary experience to call on and is a known quantity on asphalt. Six-time Romanian champion Simone Tempestini appears on the entry list but his participation is uncertain.
*Italian youngster Alberto Battistolli has been building his pace and confidence in recent events, while Czech Petr Semerád is another rising young star having graduated from ERC3 Junior.
*A quartet of Hungarian drivers complete the Rally2 entry headed by reigning national champion András Hadik. Frigyes Turán, who won the first Rally Hungary in 2019, will also be in action along with Miklós Csomós, who has triumphed twice in his national championship this season, and Ádám Velenczei.
*Ken Torn looks set to continue his ERC Junior dominance in his M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3. Zoltán Lászlo is also Fiesta Rally3-mounted.
*Young Spaniard Javier Pardo can make it five consecutive ERC2 victories but will face tough opposition from home hero Tibor Érdi Jr. Andorran Joan Vinyes partners Pardo at Suzuki Motor Ibérica, while Dmitry Feofanov will also be Suzuki powered in Hungary.
*Poland’s Dariusz Poloński is the driver to beat in the Abarth Rally Cup, which also features class rival Martin Radafrom Czech Republic. Local driver Csaba Juhasz completes the ERC2 entry.
*Jean-Baptiste Franceschi and Pep Bassas are locked in a close battle for the ERC3 title, while Franceschi is in a fight for the ERC3 Junior crown along with Sami Pajari, the new Junior world champion.
*Pole Łukasz Lewandowski drives the lone Opel Corsa Rally4 in the ERC and is points-scoring regular.
*Norbert Maior excelled on his ERC3 Junior debut in Hungary last season and the Romanian has repeated that speed this season.
*Hungarian, Martin László will be in the mix for an ERC3 Junior podium as will Rallye Team Spain’s Alejandro Cachón and Belgian prospect Amaury Molle. Ola Jr Nore finished third in class on his Rally Hungary debut in 2020.
*Adrienn Vogel took a class win on last weekend’s Kazincbarcika Rally and has a new livery for his Ford Fiesta Rally2.
*Jon Armstrong, an expert esports competitor, is registered for ERC3 Junior having just missed out on the Junior world title last weekend. Frenchman Anthony Fotia is new to the ERC in a Renault Clio Rally4.
*Bendegúz Hangodi, Gábor Német and Gábór Szauer are frontrunners in Hungary’s one-make Peugeot series and will all be competing in ERC3 for the first time on their home round of the championship.
*Patrik Herczig, the teenage son of Norbert Herczig, makes his second Rally Hungary appearance but his first in a Toksport WRT Renault Clio Rally4.
*Bastien Bergounhe, Andrea Mabellini, Paulo Soria and Ghjuvanni Rossi are all in contention for the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT. Yigit Timur will join them in chasing the class win in Hungary.