Tue 06 Feb 2024

Split-surface calendar perfect fit for Junior ERC returnee Polášek

Daniel Polášek will return to the FIA Junior ERC Championship in 2024, citing the equal spread of asphalt and gravel events as the perfect fit for his continued learning and progression.

The 24-year-old switched to rallying in 2019 following a successful career as a finswimmer in his native Czech Republic and beyond.   

After two seasons of Junior ERC action in 2021 and 2022, Polášek turned his attentions to the Finnish championship in 2023 to develop his driving skills on gravel events.  

Having graduated from university in Scotland last September, Polášek is now preparing to embark on a full Junior ERC campaign once again, this time in a Peugeot 208 Rally4 run on Hankook tyres, the championship’s official tyre supplier.

“I am coming back to the ERC because of my desire to be successful,” the Czech talent said. “Junior ERC makes me happy because I can compete with the best guys and try to succeed. And the Junior ERC champion wins a season in Junior WRC, which is really good.”  

With three Junior ERC events on gravel and three on Tarmac, Polášek said he couldn’t have picked a better championship to compete in.  

“I feel I am a better driver than I was before,” he said. “We competed last year in Finland when I focused on developing on the gravel. I’m really happy there are three gravel races in the ERC because I find it is my stronger side. But I believe I am able to compete either on gravel or on Tarmac.”

Having worked with professional teams in the past, Polášek plans to go it alone in 2024, as he explained: “We decided to buy our own car and prepare the car by our own. We now get to know new races like Hungary, Sweden, Estonia, also Wales and Silesia but I can also get the knowledge of how a team is working. But it would take me a lot of time to be the team manager as well as driving so my best friend is doing that job for me.”   

With long-term co-driver Kateřina Janovská unable to compete due to changing jobs, Polášek has recruited 25-year-old Omelka Zdeněk for the 2024 season.  

“I started my international career with Kateřina and we were a great team but she got a new job so I needed a new co-driver,” Polášek said. “But I have found a good guy of a similar age to me. We work a lot together so I believe it will be a great cooperation and we will get used to each other soon.”

The 2024 Junior ERC season begins with the fifth running of Rally Hungary from 12 - 14 April, now an all-gravel event run from the city of Veszprém.  

Meanwhile, Polášek has been named an ambassador of Barum Czech Rally Zlín. The event forms round six of the ERC season from 16 - 18 August. While it’s not a Junior ERC counting round in 2024, it’s part of the ERC4 schedule, for which all Junior ERC drivers are eligible.   

Photos: Martin Husár

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