Interest in ERC Junior remains strong with more new recruits for 15-car Rally Hungary entry
Hungarian newcomer Ádám Velenczei is one of nine young stars in Rally2 cars aiming to prove their talent in the FIA European Rally Championship this weekend.
Currently locked in a close battle for the Hungarian national title, 28-year-old Velenczei is making his ERC1 Junior debut in a Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo run by Topp-Cars Rally Team, the same outfit behind Andreas Mikkelsen’s Rally Hungary entry.
And Velenczei will start Rally Hungary on a high following his victory on the national championship Vértes Rally last month alongside co-driver Tamás Szőke.
“Winning [the Vértes Rally was] an awesome feeling,” said Velenczei. “It was fantastic to experience and has made us go forward. Everything will be different [on Rally Hungary] and we can expect a lot more difficult weekend that suits more to the more experienced rivals. We try to focus on ourselves, but we must keep an eye on the others, too. I hope that we will have an opportunity to enjoy a great drive in the ERC. This is the European championship race we are talking about, the festival of this sport in Hungary.”
Family pride for the Maiors in ERC3 Junior
Supported by the Romanian ASN, former karter Norbert Maior, 22, and co-driving sister Francesca, 19, clinched their national junior title last season when they also took part on Rally Hungary, albeit as a non-registered crew. They are back this year as part of the Napoca Rally Academy and will compete in a Pirelli-equipped Peugeot 208 Rally4.
“It is our first rally in ERC so we will try to get to the end of the rally and go faster and faster,” said Maior. “We know it’s going to be a tough rally but we will try to enjoy. Last year Rally Hungary was one of the hardest races I ever did because the stages were quite narrow and muddy and with the rain it was very complicated. I remember we were very happy because we managed to win the Peugeot Rally Cup in Hungary after some on-the-limit moments.”
Of his partnership with his sister Francesca, Norbert Maior explained: “The relationship between me and my sister is very good. Francesca is still very young but she managed to grow and learn a lot in the last years and has reached a really good level. We don’t fight because that wouldn’t help us so no fights in the car! Our parents are really happy and proud. We are a team and they are always by our side.”
Dream comes true for Norwegian Nore
Ola Jr Nore, who will link up with Veronica Engan in a Toksport WRT Renault Clio RSR Rally 5 has described his upcoming ERC3 Junior debut as a dream come true.
“Ever since I was little this has been a dream for me,” said the 20-year-old, who is set to complete the remaining three ERC3 Junior rounds. “I will use the first races to gain experience and for training. We have to build piece by piece and see where it ends. But this is an opportunity we have been working on for a long time. After several good years in the national championship, it was the right time to try ERC. We are grateful that Toksport and our sponsors made this possible for us. This will be a completely new challenge for us and gaining experience will be the main priority. We are very excited about this adventure.”
How they stand after 3/6 rounds (provisional):
ERC1 Junior: 1 Oliver Solberg (SWE) 96 points; 2 Grégoire Munster (LUX) 89; 3 Miko Marczyk (POL) 65; 4 Erik Cais (CZE) 55; 5 Domink Dinkel (DEU) 50; etc.
ERC3 Junior: 1 Ken Torn (EST) 111; 2 Pep Bassas (ESP) 84; 3 Dennis Rådström (SWE) 45; 4 Pedro Almeida (PRT) 41; 5 Sergio Cuesta (ESP) 32; etc.
Full provisional standings: