Wed 24 May 2023

All positive as new Hankook-equipped Junior ERC era begins

The Hankook-equipped FIA Junior ERC Championship era got under way on ORLEN 79th Rally Poland last weekend with 16 young talents from three continents in action on the event’s fast-paced gravel stages.

While some drivers fared better than others, comments on the Hankook tyres were universal in their praise, particularly when the road surface became noticeably more rutted during second passes of stages.

Norbert Maior, who finished second to winner Ola Nore, said: “The tyres were good, it was positive. It’s not a love story between me and this type of surface but I could be consistent even when the road was getting rough.”

Like Maior, Patrik Herczig was competing in a Peugeot 208 Rally4. He said: “Everything was perfect. It was the first time with these tyres and they’re really good, especially in the big corners and the high speed. Even with the big rocks everything has been really good.”

Opel Corsa Rally4 driver Fabian Zeiringer said: “The Hankook tyres work very well and the tyre wear is not that much, I think the tyre wear on the two kilometres [of Friday’s super special] was maybe the same as [Saturday morning’s] loop.”

Five other notable Junior ERC firsts in Poland
As well as marking the first event with Hankook as the FIA Junior ERC Championship’s official tyre partner, ORLEN 79th Rally Poland delivered several notable firsts. Here are just five.

1: Johansson makes history
Mille Johansson (below) had the honour of winning the first stage of the new Junior ERC era with the fastest time through the Mikołajki Arena super special stage on Friday evening. But it was close as the Swede beat his fellow 18-year-old Max McRae by 0.4sec.

2: Ola on top
Ola Nore’s class victory was his first in Junior and the first for the Clio Rally4 since the 2021 season (below).

3: Hansen’s wait is over
Prior to ORLEN 79th Rally Poland, Victor Hansen (below) had never featured on a Junior ERC podium. But that changed when he took third place behind runner-up Norbert Maior.

4: Exams come first for Spitalier
Before Patrice Spitalier (below) could get properly stuck into his Poland preparations the Mexican had to sit an online exam on Wednesday evening as part of his civil engineering studies. “It’s the name of the game to be able to switch from exam mode to rally mode,” he said.

5: Jalava is best rookie
Finnish champion Miko Jalava (below) placed first among the Junior ERC rookies in Poland, coming home as the top Ford Fiesta Rally4 finisher in fifth position behind Roberto Daprà.

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