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Tue 21 Mar 2023

Sibling rivalry not pictured for new ERC brother and sister pairing

A new brother and sister pairing are contesting the FIA European Rally Championship this season with the addition of Matthieu and Mathilde Margaillan to the line-up.

The siblings began their latest career adventure on Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto earlier this month as part of a selected programme of ERC events in 2023.

Competing in a Michelin-equipped Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, the Margaillans finished 18th after battling back from 33rd position on the rain-hit event in northern Portugal.

That was after the French pairing, having dropped 20sec stopped at a junction on SS2, overcame the challenging weather conditions and posted several encouraging stage times in the process.

“The first stage was okay for us but we stop on a junction and we lose 20 seconds,” the 36-year-old Matthieu Margaillan explained. “On the second stage it was okay but not very fast. The third stage was like with fog and snow, you couldn’t see and there was no grip. I was not very happy to drive in these conditions but in the end it was okay.”

Of his relationship with sister Mathilde, 30, Matthieu said: “We have been competing for 10 years and it works well, it’s not easy all the time but it’s okay.”

Matthieu Margaillan placed third in the French Gravel championship in 2022 courtesy of four podium finishes. The title went to Mathieu Franceschi, who is also competing in the European series this season.

The Margaillans are not the only sibling pairing with recent ERC experience. Others include Norbert Maior and his sister Francesca from Romania, who have been Junior ERC frontrunners in recent campaigns, plus Polish brothers Łukasz and Tomasz Kotarba, who twice finished in the overall points-paying positions last season.