Wed 17 May 2023

Back-to-back McErlean hoping to “benchmark” against the best in ERC – in a new car

Josh McErlean will go from scoring FIA WRC2 Championship points to ‘benchmarking’ himself against the best in the FIA European Rally Championship on ORLEN 79th Rally Poland this week – and he’ll do so in a brand-new Hyundai i20 N Rally2.

The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver finished runner-up in the WRC2 Challenger category in 12th overall on Vodafone Rally de Portugal and is now completing his final preparations for his second appearance in this year’s ERC.

“Poland is obviously a little different to Portugal, but I’ve never done back-to-back events like this and it’s good to be up to speed,” McErlean said. “Everything is fresh in your head from driving to writing pacenotes and that will be an advantage.

“It's quite demanding [physically and mentally doing back-to-back events] and we did a lot of preparation for Poland before we went to Portugal. All stages are new to me as I’ve never done this event before so I don’t have any pacenotes but I’m fresh from Portugal and I did an event in Lithuania [in 2022] and that should provide a good base. Because it’s a fast gravel rally, that will be good experience for the WRC events I’m going into [in the summer].”

McErlean will be at the wheel of a brand-new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 run, as ever, by the Irish PCRS team and co-driven by John Rowan. He can’t wait to compare himself against the European elite.

“It’s good to get a new car and of course we need to find our feet,” said the 23-year-old. “It’s about gaining experience on these fast rallies, but you also want to go there and be competitive. The pace [in Portugal] has been promising and we’ll definitely be trying to improve in Poland.

“The entry for every ERC event is quite strong, I saw in Fafe the names on the list is incredible, a lot of ex-WRC drivers and that’s a good benchmark and that’s why we want to go to improve our pace and what’s what you have to do against these guys. Okay, we’re going to be a bit back from them but it’s still a good benchmark.”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM