Wed 20 Mar 2024

Sei’s karting start to aid Junior ERC bid

Karl-Markus Sei plans to utilise his experience gained racing karts when he tackles his first full season in the FIA Junior ERC Championship in 2024.

Sei, 19, tried Junior ERC for size for the first time on Tet Rally Liepāja last season and set a succession of top-five category stage times before he dropped out during the second leg.  

He will continue to rely on Peugeot 208 Rally4 power when he contests the six-round Junior ERC, starting with V Rally Hungary from 12 - 14 April.   While the Veszprém event runs on gravel stages, the surface most familiar to the ALM Motorsport driver, three rounds of the championship take place on Tarmac.

Although that will represent unchartered territory for the Estonian talent, he has a plan in place to counter his absence of asphalt driving time.

“The biggest challenge will likely be the asphalt rallies because I’ve never driven with an asphalt set-up car before, or neither have I ever competed in an asphalt rally,” Sei said. “However, if the pacenotes are okay, it shouldn’t be too bad, because I’ve been driving with karts for 12 years.”  

Sei explained why Junior ERC was attractive to him: “We considered it most reasonable to choose Junior ERC as we have been driving with the Peugeot in Estonia for two years already and believe that by racing in Europe we can further develop.  

“Last year in Liepāja the speed was decent, some splits were even really good, but I couldn't put together any stage and we went off already on the first stage. The competition was quite high, I must say, as most drivers have already switched to four-wheel-drive cars. However, this intense competition also pushes me to drive faster so it’s rather good to have these guys [as competitors].”

Sei, who studies at Miina Härma Gymnasium in his home city of Tartu, has set out his target for the upcoming Hankook-equipped Junior ERC season, which includes Delfi Rally Estonia as round four from 5 - 7 July.   

“Our goal for this year is to gain useful experience from the new rallies where we haven’t raced before,” he said. “But if the feeling in the car is good, we’ll also try to take some risks and push.    

“Delfi Rally Estonia being in the Junior ERC calendar definitely gives me a little advantage because some stages will most likely be the ones I have driven before in the local events and also having the knowledge of the surface.”  

Drivers planning to contest the 2024 Junior ERC Championship must be younger than 27 on 1 January, compete in a Rally4 or Rally5 category car, register for the FIA ERC4 Championship, and also complete the WRC Promoter GmbH Junior Driver Agreement, which is available here:

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