Mon 01 Apr 2024

Co-drivers to take the wheel on ERC Power Stage

Co-drivers will swap their pacenote books for the steering wheel under a new FIA European Rally Championship regulation announced today, 1 April.

From next week’s V-Híd Rally Hungary, co-drivers will switch seats with their drivers for the Power Stage, the deciding test on all rounds of the ERC.   In addition, the bonus points currently allocated on a descending 5-4-3-2-1 scale will be doubled in recognition of the rule change.  

Iain Campbell, the ERC championship manager, said: “The ERC is a fantastic championship and one that appeals to fans all around the world. But we’re always looking at how we can spice things up and make it even more entertaining. We’ve therefore used today, 1 April, to announce this exciting new regulation for the 2024 season and we hope it will be a big hit.”  

ERC title contender and multiple Power Stage winner Andrea Mabellini said of changing places with his co-driving girlfriend Virginia Lenzi: “She is very good at driving. But she don’t like changing gears so without that it will be quite okay! I will not be the best co-driver as I’m not very good at reading notes. I tried sometimes in testing but with a really bad result.”

Eoin Treacy, who will co-drive fellow Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy member Jon Armstrong during his maiden ERC campaign, said: “It will just be about trying to compute and take in all the information they’re normally taking in from us and obviously hearing the feedback when they see us attempt to take the steering wheel.  

“I’ve done a rallysprint or two behind the wheel so I know it will need to be a steady approach and Power Stage points might be foregone. But Jon did a bit of co-driving last year so he’s well warmed up and ready after his spin with Willie Mavitty last year.”

Simon Wagner (pictured above left), a podium finisher on last season’s ERC-counting Barum Czech Rally Zlín alongside Gerald Winter (pictured above right), added: “I already had a dream about exactly this three years ago and since this dream I will for sure never compete as a co-driver.   

“It was horrible and when my co-driver finally launched the car from the startline it took us just a couple of metres until the second corner where he completely overshoot the junction and I closed my eyes. When I opened my eyes again we were still sitting in the car but the car was somehow in a trailer. I think now you can imagine why I would never sit next to him although maybe in the dream it was because it wasn’t a Škoda and no Michelin tyres.”  

V-Híd Rally Hungary, which is based in the city of Veszprém, is all set to open the 2024 ERC season from 12 - 14 April.

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