Fri 11 Mar 2022

New ERC Open category launches in Fafe

Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas (11 - 13 March) marks the debut of the FIA European Rally Championship’s new ERC Open category.

Created exclusively for Rally2 Kit, homologated Group N4 and RGT cars, the new category uses the same points allocation as other ERC classes with competitors counting their best six results from eight rallies. 

"The ERC is a championship for all-comers and ERC Open very much reflects this," explained ERC Championship Manager Iain Campbell. "Having monitored the rise in popularity of Rally2 Kit, it was important to continue to provide an outlet for these cars and their drivers and teams to compete internationally. 

"It’s also very clear there is still an appetite for Group N4 and RGT cars and with the FIA RGT Cup appearing on three rounds of the ERC this year, it was a logical step to include RGT cars in ERC Open. We’re looking forward to welcoming more drivers to ERC Open throughout the year.”

Four crews have entered the season opener, with more expected to follow suit in future rounds. This week’s entry list consists entirely of Rally2 Kit machines.

Last year’s ERC2-winning squad Suzuki Motor Ibérica are fielding a pair of Swift cars, with Andorran star Joan Vinyes remaining part of the team. Vinyes has Claudio Ribeiro calling the pace notes after regular partner Jordi Mercader became ill before the rally.

He is joined by new recruit Alberto Monarri, who is no stranger to ERC action having won the Abarth Rally Cup round at Rally Islas Canarias in 2019.

Martins Sesks is also hoping to challenge for victory. The 22-year-old finished third in last year’s FIA Junior WRC, but a switch to four-wheel drive sees him pilot a Škoda Fabia prepared by Proracing Rally Team. 

Sesks won the Junior WRC class at Rally de Portugal last year, which used some of the same roads as this week’s counter. Past knowledge could come in extremely handy when the rally heads into the hills from Saturday morning. 

Victor Cartier was due to drive a Toyota Yaris, however, the Frenchman is a non-starter. He should be back in action for round two at Azores Rallye (26 - 27 March). Serhii Potiiko is also a non-starter.  

  • Full coverage from Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.
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