Tue 01 Nov 2022

Vinyes: ERC Open title ‘two years in the making’

Joan Vinyes’ ERC Open championship triumph was the result of two years of hard work, says the Suzuki Motor Ibérica driver.

Fifty-three-year-old Vinyes emerged as the victor in a two-way title scrap at last month’s RallyRACC Catalunya - Costa Daurada finale with Swift R4LLY S team-mate Alberto Monarri. At the end of the year, just six points split the duo. 

Vinyes, a former hillclimb competitor turned Suzuki rallying stalwart, first debuted a Rally2-Kit specification Swift in the ERC last year and finished fourth in the ERC2 class. 

Consistency has rewarded the star this year and he became the inaugural winner of the ERC Open championship. 

“It’s fantastic,” he said. “It’s not just about one day - it’s been two years for us in the European Rally Championship and it’s very important for me as a driver. I am very happy for everybody - for the team and for Jordi (Mercader, co-driver). It’s a dream to do it like this.

“Of course, it’s also amazing to finish the championship here at home. I live just 200 kilometres from here (Salou) and that makes it even more special. It wasn’t easy, especially in the final leg because it was important that we finished the rally - but we managed it.”

Vinyes started six rounds in 2022, finishing on the podium on every occasion. His highlights included a brace of victories in Fafe and at Rally Islas Canarias, where he celebrated his 100th start with Suzuki. 

“It was a hard season because there were so many rallies and in every rally we could not go maximum. For the head, that can be quite difficult,” he added. “But the end result is fantastic.”

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