Meet the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory intake
The first six drivers to enrol in the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory are all set for the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship to begin on ORLEN 77th Rally Poland this week.
Erik Cais, Efrén Llarena, Miko Marczyk, Grégoire Munster, Simone Tempestini and Nabila Tejpar are eligible for the various incentives up for grabs for drivers aged 28 and under at the start of 2021 competing in the ERC in Rally2 cars on MICHELIN tyres. The incentives include:
*Best performing driver after six rounds gets full MICHELIN tyre allocation for final two events of 2021
*Special tyre prices for ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory members on first six events of 2021 ERC season
*Tyre guidance from a MICHELIN tyre engineer on all ERC rounds in 2021
*VIP visit to MICHELIN’s Clermont-Ferrand headquarters in France for the three best performing ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory members following the first six events of the 2021 ERC season
But as well as the incentives on offer, the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory will recognise the performance of this group of rising talents and provide additional assistance as follows:
*ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory member achievements highlighted in the results of the first six events
*Dedicated content on FIAERC.com and the ERC’s social media channels
*Footage made available to ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory members during each rally
*Highlights review video published at FIAERC.com and shared through ERC’s social media channels
ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives available on first six ERC rounds of 2021
The six 2021 FIA European Rally Championship rounds on which ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives will be offered are as follows:
ORLEN 77th Rally Poland (Gravel), June 18-20, 2021
Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), July 1-3, 2021
Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy, asphalt), July 23-25, 2021
50th Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Asphalt), August 27-29, 2021
55th Azores Rallye (Gravel), September 16-18, 2021
Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras (Portugal, gravel), October 1-3, 2021
THEY SAID WHAT?
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Restructuring the ERC Junior categories for 2021 gave us an opportunity to develop a new way to recognise and incentivise drivers 28 and under at the start of the season competing in Rally2 cars. Opening the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory is a great away to do just that and we can’t wait to begin welcoming the first intake.”
Julien Vial, MICHELIN Motorsport – Customer Racing Director Europe, said: “We are very pleased to join forces with Eurosport Events in support of this excellent initiative. There are a number of promising young drivers who fit the eligibility criteria and we hope the benefits of ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory membership will assist them as they challenge for top outright results in the ERC.”
Grégoire Munster, ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory member, said: “It’s a really good incentive and it’s always good when young drivers compete against each other, a competition within a competition. I used to drive with a different brand of tyre so it will be quite interesting to see the difference and it makes you a more complete driver when you have these different experiences.”
THE ERC-MICHELIN TALENT FACTORY MEMBERS
Erik Cais (21, Czech Republic)
Cais was a top downhill mountain bike racer until injury put paid to a promising international career in the sport. He took up rallying in 2018 and has demonstrated a considerable talent, first at Rally4 level and, from 2020, at Rally2 level in the ERC.
Efrén Llarena (26, Spain)
A product of Spanish ASN RFEDA’s Rallye Team Spain driver development programme, Llarena claimed an ERC3/ERC3 Junior title double in 2019 and has since gone on to impress in Rally2 machinery. He switches to Škoda Fabia power for 2021.
Miko Marczyk (25, Poland)
The 2019 Polish champion, Marczyk’s progression is remarkable given the fact he only took up rallying in 2016 with no previous competition experience to count on. A frontrunner in ERC1 Junior last season, Marczyk is part of the ORLEN-supported athlete programme in his homeland.
Grégoire Munster (22, Luxembourg)
Born in Luxembourg but living in Belgium, Munster has followed in the wheel tracks of his ERC event-winning father Bernard. After impressing in two-wheel-drive machinery, Munster quickly adapted to four-wheel drive and came close to beating Oliver Solberg to the ERC1 Junior crown in 2020.
Nabila Tejpar (27, Great Britain)
A third-generation rally driver, Tejpar brings a Proton Iriz to the ERC for the first time and plenty of determination to succeed. After battling Ekaterina Stratieva for the ERC Ladies’ Trophy in 2019, Tejpar spent 2020 preparing for her step up to Rally2.
Simone Tempestini (26, Romania)
Despite his age, Tempestini is already a five-time Romanian champion and also lists an FIA Junior world title on his impressive CV. Highly capable on gravel an asphalt he’s making the ERC his focus in 2021 alongside a bid for a sixth national crown.