Mon 02 Oct 2023

Next stop Hungary for title-chasing Junior ERC trio

The Hankook-equipped FIA Junior ERC Championship is set for a thrilling Rally Hungary decider this weekend with three young stars vying for the coveted title – and the FIA Junior WRC Championship prize drive in 2024 that goes with it.

Roberto Daprà from Italy, Romania’s Norbert Maior and Norwegian Ola Nore will start the Nyíregyháza event from 6 - 8 October locked in an intense battle for glory.

Peugeot 208 Rally4 driver Maior is four points ahead of Daprà, who also relies on Peugeot power, and 12 ahead of Nore before dropped scores are factored in.

Maior moved to the top of the provisional standings after finishing fourth on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, the penultimate event of the season, in August. With experience gained from three Rally Hungary appearances, the 25-year-old is in the title driving seat.

“We consider Hungary almost a home rally because we did this rally many times and it should be good for us,” said Maior. “We need to win in Hungary, this is what I want and this is what I have prepared for.

“Fourth [in Zlín] was not the best result but it’s minus one event [in the championship] and hopefully this was our minus because it’s not great to finish in fourth position in terms of the championship fight.”

Daprà prepared for Rally Hungary with an outing on last weekend’s Romanian championship-counting Raliul Clujului, where he finished two places behind Maior in fifth.

“It’s very strange thinking I can be a champion,” said the ACI Team Italia member, 22. “It can be a very big opportunity for me winning this title but also for the other drivers because the winner will go in Junior WRC3 with a Rally3.

“Hungary will be very difficult because I never did it before but Maior and Nore made the rally in the last years. I know there are broken roads and also some gravel parts. I am a bit stressed than normally but we did the home rally of Maior to prepare although we know anything can happen in Hungary. You can have a problem, you can go off, the pace will be very high from all the drivers.”

Nore, meanwhile, missed Barum Czech Rally Zlín due to a shortage of funds but returns in an Opel Corsa Rally4 run by Stohl Racing, having claimed back-to-back wins at the start of the season driving a Renault Clio Rally4.

“We found some budget and some people helped me,” the 22-year-old explained. “I got a good offer from Manfred Stohl and I will drive an Opel now. I need some luck to win the title, the opportunity is there but it’s a small margin to do it. It’s possible, I don’t think it will go my way, but I hope.

“The Junior WRC prize was the goal at the start of the year and of course I still want it. I have good experience from the rally because I was in the Rally5 Clio and I got a good result there [in 2020 when he finished third in Junior ERC].”

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