Wed 22 Feb 2023

Maximum man Franceschi goes for ERC glory

Mathieu Franceschi, who won all 10 rallies he started in 2022, is heading back to the FIA European Rally Championship this year, only this time he’ll be competing in the top tier.

Franceschi made has ERC debut on ORLEN Rally Poland in 2021 (pictured below) but has focused on national-level events since, going unbeaten to win the Championnat de France des Rallyes Terre (French Gravel Rally Championship) last season.

For 2023, Franceschi and new co-driver Jules Escartefigue will mount a full ERC campaign in a Michelin-equipped Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo run by AMD Motorsport from France.

The 23-year-old explained why the ERC was the right move for his career progression. “The ERC is a magnificent championship and for us it is the right step between the French championship and the world championship,” he said. “We want to reach the high level and for that we must do things in order.

“This year the objective will be to gain as much experience as possible by being on the finish line of each event, to do the best we can.

“It’s true that my only experience in ERC is Poland in 2021 with a very good result. I have great memories of this event, it helped me discover the ERC system and how to anticipate a race outside France.

“Above all, 2023 is a year of discovery for both us and the team so we will approach the races with a lot of humility and this will help us to take the right path.”

Franceschi, who works as a builder for his family’s construction business when he’s not competing, also hopes to use his momentous 2022 season as a springboard for his ERC campaign.

“It was incredible, it's a season that will forever be etched in my head,” Franceschi said. “I believe that all the victories have come from a perfect team cohesion and a preparation for each race without neglecting any points and this is the package that we will keep for the ERC.”

Having worked with Lucie Baud extensively in recent seasons, Franceschi has joined forces with new co-driver Jules Escartefigue for the 2023 season, which will also include a handful of events in their native France.

“Jules will accompany me for the next few years,” Franceschi explained. “He is full of motivation and talent, we are the same age and have the same rage to get there, there is no doubt that our collaboration will work very well.”

Franceschi will serve as a brand ambassador for tyre company Michelin in 2023 and has thanked the company and other investors for their support.

“Of course I would like to thank Michelin for their involvement in the programme, the local partners in my village who are following us on this great adventure and of course my AMD Motorsport team who believes in me and puts everything in place for me to be in the best possible conditions.”

Franceschi’s older brother Jean-Baptiste won the Junior ERC and ERC3 (Rally4) titles in 2021 and was a winner in the Junior WRC Championship in the past.

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