Psychological advantage? ERC drivers who’ve managed to rally in 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to multiple event cancellations, the majority of FIA European Rally Championships will be far from ‘match-fit’ when Rally di Roma Capitale hosts the ERC season opener as scheduled from 24-26 July.
But some drivers did manage to rally before lockdown measures took hold in March, while others have been able to schedule practice events since. Here’s a summary:
Pep Bassas: Took a class win in an impressive eighth overall on Rallye Tierras Altas de Lorca in Spain from 6-7 March, which he entered under the Rallye Team Spain banner.
Craig Breen (pictured): After finishing seventh overall on Rally Sweden in February, the Team MRF Tyres driver headed to Finland where he secured a podium on the SM Itäralli in a Hyundai i20 R5 at the end of that month.
Erik Cais: Placed a fine third on Rallye Tierras Altas de Lorca. He’s scheduled to contest Rally Bohemia as a Roma warm-up next month in his YACCO ACCR Team Ford Fiesta R5 MKII.
Callum Devine: The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy star drove his Hyundai i20 R5 to third on the Fivemiletown Rally in Northern Ireland on 22 February, a gravel event that had been intended as practice for the postponed Azores Rallye.
Dmitry Feofanov: Russian Feofanov prepared for his ERC2 campaign with an outing on January’s Arctic Lapland Rally in freezing Finland.
Emil Lindholm: Team MRF Tyres’ Flying Finn managed four winter rallies before lockdown and won two of them outright. He also scored a podium on Sweden’s world round.
Niki Mayr-Melnhof: The former Austrian champion got his first rallying fix of 2020 by finishing in sixth position on the asphalt-based Kisvaszar Rally in Hungary from 13-14 June.
Dennis Rådström: A new ERC3 Junior recruit from Sweden, Rådström took a class victory on his home round of the World Rally Championship on 16 February.
Rachele Somaschini: The Italian will start her first ERC campaign with appearances on Rallye Monote-Carlo and the gravel-based Rally della Val d’Orcia on 23 February, where she won the R3T category.
Simone Tempestini: After winning the Winter Rally Covasna Metalubs on 2 February, Tempestini is contesting this weekend’s Raliul Argeşului Catena in his native Romania.