Tue 21 Feb 2023

ERC helps Palomo’s Rally2 dream come true

Óscar Palomo has credited the FIA European Rally Championship for helping him to secure a “dream” Rally2 ride in 2023.

With the support of Spanish federation RFEDA (Real Federación Española de Automovilisimo), the 20-year-old won the ERC4 title last season, his first campaign outside the Iberia region and the opportunity to compete on high-level asphalt and gravel events against strong international competition.

His performances through the year earned him a programme in the Supercampeonato de España de Rallyes (S-CER) this season when he will step up from Rally4 to Rally2 level driving a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 supported by Hyundai Motorsport and Hyundai Spain.

“The ERC has helped me a lot for this opportunity because the rallies in the ERC are all very different,” said Palomo, whose 2022 ERC4 bid was his prize for winning RFEDA’s Beca Júnior R2 title in his homeland in 2021. “You need a very big level to adapt to different rallies and this experience in the last year helped me to be in Rally2 this year. It’s important to be in the ERC."

Palomo got his first taste of Hyundai i20 N Rally2 power during a two-day test earlier this month. He described the car and experience as “fantastic”.

“When I started in rally my dream was to try Rally2 and the dream is here,” Palomo said. “It’s true the next dream is Rally1 but that is more difficult and I need to take my time. For now the [Hyundai i20 N Rally2] is fantastic and the team gave me a car that was very easy to drive, the experience was fantastic.

“I take the feeling very fast but I need experience with the car because it’s true I go fast but I haven’t experience with the car, the settings, the brakes, things like this. In the first rallies I need to take the experience but in the middle of the championship I can take more speed.”

Top Portuguese squad Sports&You will run Palomo as well as fielding Hyundai-powered S-CER entries for Ivan Ares, Pepe López and Surhayen Pernía. And with Rally Islas Canarias, which counts as round two of the 2023 ERC season from 4 - 6 May, the third event on the S-CER calendar, Palomo is relishing the prospect of going up against the ERC elite.

“I did the rally last season and the one before and it’s a very good rally and perfect for enjoying with this category because Rally Islas Canarias is fantastic, the stages, the fans,” Palomo said. “It’s an event that maybe is more enjoyable than some others and I like it a lot. My programme is in the Spanish championship this year but maybe we also try to start another rally in ERC, I am not sure.”

Of his upcoming Spanish campaign, Palomo added: “This championship has very good rallies, very tough rallies and the level of the drivers is at the top because there are a lot of drivers with a lot of experience. It will help me to take the experience to jump to another championship in another year. Thank you to everyone who is supporting me.”

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