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Thu 02 Mar 2023

Kreuter buckles up for ERC adventure

Norman Kreuter is about to embark on his first – and potentially last – FIA European Rally Championship adventure.

The 50-year-old from Germany wants to mount a full international campaign before starting the process of winding down his career behind the wheel of a rally car.

Despite competing since 2002, Kreuter has only made sporadic appearances outside his homeland with his ERC4 programme for 2023 aboard a Peugeot 208 Rally4 his first season-long international-level effort.

“I wanted to make one big international season as I’m slowly starting to think about the end of my career,” explained Kreuter, who will be co-driven by Denmark's Jeannette Kvick. “Before I go back to smaller rallies, I wanted to do something big. I tried already the Mitropa Cup and TER, but I like much more the challenge of the longer rallies in the ERC and the competition with the younger guys. I know I am not as fast as them but perhaps I can be more consistent so I can get some good points.”

Kreuter entered Rally di Roma Capitale and Barum Czech Rally Zlín last season to ensure the ERC was the right fit for him.

“The two events I tried last year were not that bad from the performance and I’ve seen if you don’t do mistakes, you can go good in the classification,” he said. “It’s not the goal to win ERC4 but we can get some good results and then see how the speed is. The rallies are in interesting locations, it’s a nice championship and I like this. But we are also combining the rallies with making vacations, so we stay in Portugal, we stay in Gran Canaria and after Latvia we make the trip to Sweden [for ERC Royal Rally of Scandinavia] through Finland, things like this.”

With the bulk of his competitive experience gained on asphalt events, Kreuter completed a course at the London Rally School in Great Britain four years ago and spent time at the Vittorio Caneva Rally School in Italy earlier this year. In addition, Kreuter tackled the Lausitz Rallye in 2022 to build his gravel-driving knowledge.

“For me it’s good to do new rallies because it’s more interesting and it takes more attention from me and it’s more of a challenge,” said Kreuter. “It starts getting boring for me and I don’t do a much better performance if I do the same rally over and over. I tend to start quick and this will be the level I will be on for the rest of the rally, there is not much improvement, so I am glad to be on new rallies like Barum, even though it’s very difficult.”

Although Kreuter will be lacking in event experience when the 2023 ERC season begins on Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto from 10 - 12 March, as an owner of a chain of gymnasiums in southern Germany, Kreuter won’t be lacking in physical fitness.

“I have my own programme for the health fitness and even I have a coach for the mental fitness,” said Kreuter. “We are working since one year together, working for stress assistance, concentration, making less mistakes, things like this. Hopefully it’s helping.”