Wed 02 Mar 2022

Fantastic for Fafe as ERC opener attracts star-studded entry

The 2022 FIA European Rally Championship will be flat out in Fafe next week with an entry list packed with champions, established stars and young talents.

Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas, which takes place in northern Portugal from March 11-13, has attracted an impressive 54 entries with 42 set to chase European championship points across the various categories, namely ERC, ERC3, ERC4 and ERC Open.

There are 32 top-of-the-range Rally2 cars listed from Citroën, Hyundai, M-Sport (Ford), Škoda and Volkswagen of which 27 are being crewed by ERC-registered drivers. 

The Rally3-based ERC3 division has attracted three entries with all drivers relying on M-Sport Poland’s Ford Fiesta Rally3.

ERC4 lists seven cars, including the Ford Fiesta Rally4, Peugeot 208 Rally4 and Renault Clio Rally4, while ERC Open features Škoda, Suzuki and Toyota Rally2 Kit machinery. 

The three ERC-registered tyre companies, Michelin, MRF and Pirelli are represented throughout the star-studded line-up. The ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory will offer incentives for drivers under 28 in Rally2 cars contesting the challenging, mainly gravel event.

Champions aplenty chasing success

Championship-winning drivers from Hungary (Norbert Herczig), Italy (Simone Campedelli), Portugal (Armindo Araújo, José Pedro Fontes, Bruno Magalhães and Ricardo Teodósio) and Romania (Simone Tempestini) will be in action when the 2022 ERC season begins in a little over a week from now. 

ERC Junior champions past and present include top seed Efrén Llarena, Nikolay Gryazin, Mārtiņš Sesks and Ken Torn, the 2021 ERC Junior title winner. Sara Fernández won the FIA European Rally Championship for Co-Drivers and partners Llarena.

Andrea Mabellini won the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT and makes his first ERC appearance in a Renault Clio Rally4 as part of his prize package, while Javier Pardo steps up to Rally2 level after winning ERC2 in 2021.

Young stars on a charge

Several young stars are entered for Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas. They include Italian hopefuls Alberto Battistolli and Rachele Somaschini, WRC2 contenders Erik Cais and Georg Linnamäe, ERC stage winner Nil Solans, Rally2-bound ERC3 Junior graduates Pedro Almeida and Pep Bassas, plus French flyer Anthony Fotia. Estonian youngster Joosep Nõgene makes his long-awaited ERC debut after he was forced to withdraw from Rally Liepāja last season.

Three’s the magic number

ERC3, which is for Rally3 cars from 2022, lists Dmitry Feofanov, Kaspar Kasari and Igor Widłak in Ford Fiesta Rally3s.

Open season!

ERC Open for Rally2 Kit, RGT and Group N4 cars includes Victor Cartier, Alberto Monnari and Joan Vinyes among its ranks. Serhii Potiiko, who made his ERC debut on the 2021 season-closing Rally Islas Canarias is team-mate to Mārtiņš Sesks.

International appeal

As in previous seasons, the ERC has attracted drivers from far and wide. Paulo Soria is from Argentina, Paulo Nobre travels from Brazil, Ricardo Triviño is making the trip from Mexico, José Luís Garcia, Oscar Palomo and Luis Vilariño fly the Spanish flag, Ruben Rodrigues is from the Azores – venue of round two of the 2022 ERC season – Ireland is represented by Portugal-based Pauric Duffy, while Łukasz Kotarba is from Poland. Other Portuguese drivers in action include Miguel Correia, Ernesto Cunha and Pedro Meireles. Roberto Daprà is from Italy. 

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