Tue 20 Jun 2023

Second time lucky for new Junior ERC recruits

Several FIA Junior ERC Championship rookies were able to go the distance when Tet Rally Liepāja hosted round two of the season last weekend.

After posing DNFs on the opening event in Poland last month, Simon Andersson, Mille Johansson, Alfred Kramer, René Noller and Timo Schulz all made it through the high-speed Latvian stages in their Hankook-equipped Rally4 cars.

Andersson (above), who was at the wheel of a replacement Peugeot 208 Rally4 following his crash in Poland, finished 12th on what the Swede used as a confidence-gaining experience. To underline his potential, he clocked the fastest time on the rain-hit Liepāja City Stage on Saturday evening having hit back from an early off and a broken windscreen wiper on SS4.

Johansson (below) rebounded from his Poland exit caused by driveshaft failure to complete the top 10 in Liepāja, despite being delayed by three flat tyres in his Ford Fiesta Rally4.

Kramer, whose ORLEN 79th Rally Poland challenge ended under water when he went off the road into a small lake, completed only his third gravel event in P11 on the back of a solid performance from the Austrian (below).

Having crashed on the demanding Polish stages, Noller (below) battled to the finish in Latvia with brake issues to score his first Junior ERC points in 13th position.

Schulz, meanwhile, achieved the highest score among Junior ERC’s bounce-back drivers by finishing in sixth position in his ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team Corsa Rally4.

The 23-year-old (below) has stepped up to Junior ERC for 2023 as his prize for winning the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup last season and was on flying form in Latvia, with the fastest Power Stage time a notable highlight.

“Today was much better than yesterday even though we struggled a bit in the ruts in the first stage because they were quite deep,” Schulz explained. “The second stage was very good and was the first time I had a good feeling. We were on pace and in the last part of the stage we had quite heavy rain and the wipers couldn’t manage all the water and there was a lot of standing water for the last few kilometres so we lost some time.

“We changed the ride height for the afternoon, went a little bit higher to not get stuck in the penultimate stage. The last stage was getting drier and drier and we managed to get a good run in there. It was the first time for me his weekend that I was confident, I had a good run and it was fine. I’m looking forward to the next event in Sweden now.”

Unfortunately, Fabian Zeiringer (below) will have to wait until his next event to go the distance and score hist first Junior ERC points after he rolled into retirement on SS1 and did not restart on leg two.

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