Fri 06 Oct 2023

Marczyk mighty with ERC Qualifying Stage best

Miko Marczyk has got his bid to win Rally Hungary off to a flying start by going quickest on the Qualifying Stage for the deciding round of the 2023 FIA European Rally Championship.

The double Polish champion and one-time ERC event winner took 2min 13.046sec to complete the 4.08-kilometre Nyíregyháza test aboard his Škoda Fabia RS Rally2.  

Explaining his fastest stage time, Marczyk, who also set the Free Practice pace, said: “It’s just a great feeling about the new car, this stage was quite easy with just single corners and big braking through the chicanes. I also appreciate the Michelin tyre and we are happy we are starting on them. It was a little bit easier than it will be on the race but it’s a good start for us after a one-year break [on Tarmac], I am happy.”  

Mārtiṇš Sesks, who is looking to cement his runner-up spot in the overall ERC standings in Hungary, was second quickest on a 2min 13.384sec for Team MRF Tyres despite admitting to being “a bit unprepared”.

Josh McErlean impressed aboard his Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy entry by going third quickest. The Pirelli-equipped Hyundai i20 N Rally2 pilot’s time was a 2min 13.847sec.  

Mads Østberg (pictured above), who won Rally Hungary in 2021, set the fourth quickest time aboard his Citroën C3 Rally2, a 2min 13.384sec, despite an issue with the front-right corner. He said: “I’ve seen it, I didn’t know what was happening and I heard a sound in the car so I was a bit unfocused after that. It was a bad time but we will look ahead to the rally.”  

Home hero Miklós Csomós was fifth fastest in a time of 2m14.102s, one place ahead of Hankook-equipped Hungarian champion Ferenc Vincze. He said: “It was okay, we lost one second so the drive was not perfect.”

Yoann Bonato was seventh with Filip Mareš next up. Mareš said: “I tried to do my best but I struggled a bit in the square corners, it was quite slippery for us. But the race is still ahead of us.”

Erik Cais was ninth with Efrén Llarena completing the top 10 followed by Mathieu Franceschi and Frigyes Turán, who reported a pop-off valve issue aboard his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.  

Behind András Hadik and Philip Allen, who were 13th and 14th quickest respectively, Martin László was 15th fastest but was concerned about an issue with his car. “We have something on the right side, something is shaking in the car or we had a brake issue,” he said.  

World Touring Car racer and rally rookie Norbert Michelisz (pictured above) was 17th fastest.  

Drivers will select their starting positions for leg one from 16:30 CET with the opening stage, SSS Rabócsiring, due to begin at 18:00 CET. The ERC stars will tackle the 2.4km test in pairs.

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