Semerád, 17, proves talent on ERC debut
ACCR Czech Rally Team’s Petr Semerád, 17, proved his talent in no uncertain terms with a hugely impressive FIA ERC3 Junior Championship debut on Rally Islas Canarias.
The Czech federation-supported promise, starting his first international rally, battled back from a roll on stage two to finish seventh out of 15 starters in the Pirelli-backed category.
Due to the late nature of his deal, his locally hired Peugeot 208 R2 only arrived in Gran Canaria on Thursday morning, which was too late for scrutineering and resulted in the teenager being forced to miss Free Practice and the Qualifying Stage.
But he shrugged off that setback – and his rollover – to reach the finish alongside co-driver Jiří Hlávka, who completed the road sections because Semerád is still too young to hold a driving licence and had to obtain special permission to tackle the event’s 16 all-asphalt stages.
“The roll was my fault,” said Semerád. “In the second stage in the first two kilometres there was a left hairpin and there were two layers of asphalt. I used the handbrake and the left-front wheel clipped the second layer of the asphalt and we just rolled. We lost 25s, it was so quick! Everybody ran to the car, put it back up, we start and go. The geometry was fine, it was braking, and turning.”
Semerád, who reported being slowed by a down-on-power engine later in the rally, continued: “It’s amazing to finish my first international event. I’m really pleased with the result. On the last two stages we’ve shown that if we want to and if we try we can push because when it’s going downhill there is no restriction of the engine so we can be fast.”
Semerád’s fellow ACCR Czech Rally Team driver Jan Talaš, the reigning Czech 2WD and Junior champion, completed leg one in eighth position but was excluded when it was found his car was underweight, the result of a miscalculation due to the fact both driver and co-driver are extremely light. Meanwhile, ACCR Czech Rally Team captain Vojtĕch Štajf finished P11 overall.