Loof ready to take next step in ERC3 Junior
Teenage German talent Nick Loof has chosen the FIA European Rally Championship as “the best way to start” his international career.
Having been selected as the only rally driver among a group of circuit racers, karters and motorbike riders to secure support from the ADAC Stiftung Sport training programme, Loof, 19, is stepping up to international level for the first time with an FIA ERC3 Junior Championship campaign.
Loof’s six-event bid, in a Pirelli-equipped, Orsák Rally Sport-run Ford Fiesta Rally4, begins on 77th Rally Poland from June 18-20 and also includes Rally Liepāja (July 1-3), Rally di Roma Capitale (July 23-25), Barum Czech Rally Zlín (August 27-29), Rally Hungary (October 22-24) and Rally Islas Canarias (November 18-20).
“Even though the season opener on gravel will be a big challenge for us, we look optimistically into the future,” said Loof, who has yet to rally on loose surfaces. “We have built a strong team and we will work hard to be prepared in the best way for our first ERC3 Junior outing. I am proud to have fantastic partners by my side.”
Loof, who will prepare for his ERC3 Junior season with selected tests and national rallies from April, placed third in the highly-competitive ADAC Opel Rallye Cup in 2019. But with the German championship not running in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Loof switched his focus to regional-level events in his homeland and scored several class wins. He also contested Rally Bohemia in Czech Republic.
“To begin an international career, the ERC is the best way to start,” said Loof. “The challenge is really good with many participants. The rallies in Germany and Rally Bohemia in Czech Republic, which we did last year, was the first rally outside Germany and a great experience. I am looking to more challenges.”
Loof also completed the recce for Rally di Roma Capitale last July and liked what he saw: “The recce is the key for fast driving. There are two types of stages in Rome, some really fast with bumpy roads and some technical parts in the mountains. It was really challenging, totally different to the German stages.”
Millener meeting convinced Loof Fiesta time was right
For 2021, Loof is swapping Opel Adam R2 power for a Fiesta Rally4, the car type Ken Torn used to claim an ERC3/ERC3 Junior title double last season. “After a visit to M-Sport during Rally di Roma Capitale our decision was clear: the Fiesta is the perfect car for us to be competitive in ERC3 Junior,” Loof said. “Richard Millener from M-Sport demonstrated the huge potential of the Fiesta and encouraged us to step up to ERC3 Junior.”
Big career-progression chance in store
If Loof wins the ERC3 Junior title he will secure a step up to the ERC Junior Championship for 2022 driving a Pirelli-equipped, four-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta Rally3 developed by M-Sport Poland as his prize.