Poland season opener attracts record 72 ERC crews
The FIA European Rally Championship, the established feeder series to the FIA World Rally Championship, has once again underlined its appeal to drivers and teams one day hoping to step up to global level with a stunning entry for the season-opening ORLEN 77th Rally Poland from June 18-20.
No fewer than 40 drivers will compete in headlining Rally2 cars with 14 assembled across the Pirelli-supported ERC Junior and ERC3 Junior categories representing 13 countries.
ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives are up for grabs between six young talents in Rally2 cars, while the new-for-2021 Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT – the arrive-and-drive series for the MICHELIN-equipped Renault Clio Rally5 – can count on a multi-national line-up.
ERC2 is a seven-way battle for glory with Abarth-powered Pole Dariusz Poloński among that number. Twenty drivers have their eyes firmly on the prize in ERC3 competing in Rally4 cars from Ford (M-Sport), Opel, Peugeot and Renault.
Here are just some of the highlights on the entry list for the 100th anniversary, ORLEN-backed Rally Poland, which starts in Mikołajki on June 18 and finishes in the Polish capital Warsaw on June 20.
*Alexey Lukyanuk launches his title defence in a Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 Rally2
*ERC category champions include Wojciech Chuchała, Tibor Érdi Jr, Nikolay Gryazin, Efrén Llarena, Andrea Mabellini and Ken Torn
*ERC event winners Craig Breen, Gryazin and Andreas Mikkelsen compete in Rally2 cars from Hyundai, Volkswagen and Škoda respectively
*National champions past and present include Yoann Bonato (France), Chuchała (Poland), Grzegorz Grzyb (Poland and Slovakia), Norbert Herczig (Hungary), Fabian Kreim (Germany), Lukyanuk (Estonia, Russia), Miko Marczyk (Poland), Umberto Scandola (Italy), Nil Solans (Spain) and Simone Tempestini (Romania)
*Drivers chasing ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives are Erik Cais, Efrén Llarena, Miko Marczyk, Grégoire Munster, Simone Tempestini and Nabila Tejpar
*Other young talents in Rally2 cars include Alberto Battistolli, Callum Devine, Emilio Fernández, Gregor Jeets, Tomasz Kasperczyk, Roland Poom and Kacper Wróblewski
*Adrian Chwietczuk, co-driven by and three-time ERC champion Jarek Baran, makes his ERC debut for Hołowczyz Racing, the team founded by Krzysztof Hołowczyc, the 1997 ERC champion
*Simone Campedelli partners Breen in the Team MRF Tyres attack, while Rakan Al-Rashed, Aloísio Monteiro and Luis Vilariño are also registered
*Rallye Team Spain-backed Pep Bassas, Fabian Bernardi, Mathieu Franceschi are ones to watch in ERC3, which also includes a quintet of Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT drivers. They are: Yigit Alparslan Timur (Turkey), Bastien Bergounhe (France), Andrea Mabellini (Italy), Ghjuvanni Rossi (France), Paulo Soria (Argentina)
*Jon Armstrong and Ken Torn are the aces in the hunt for glory in ERC Junior, which caters for drivers in Rally3 cars on Pirelli tyres. A Junior WRC prize drive awaits the eventual champion
*ERC3 Junior has attracted a stellar line-up of 12 young stars representing 12 different countries, seven of whom are new to the category, with five of those graduating from national to international level for the first time. A full ERC Junior preview will be published separately
*Six new-generation Ford Fiesta Rally3 cars delivered by M-Sport Poland in action
*Rally4 cars from Ford (M-Sport), Opel, Renault and Peugeot in contention for ERC3 success
*Examples of Rally2-Kit machinery from Suzuki and Toyota feature in ERC2
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, Eurosport Events, said: “With 72 ERC registered crews entered, it’s clear the level of interest in the ERC is truly phenomenal and it’s a fantastic way to help the organisers of ORLEN 77th Rally Poland celebrate the event’s 100th anniversary. While the entry list is big in terms of numbers, it’s also massive in terms of quality and variety, which is testament to the championship’s accessibility and appeal.”
Click HERE to view the entry list.