Wed 01 May 2024

Junior ERC star Schulz aiming to turn Hungary minus into a Canarias positive

Timo Schulz will make his Rally Islas Canarias debut determined to get back on terms in the FIA Junior ERC Championship title fight following his non-score on V-Híd Rally Hungary last month.

After landing a breakthrough Junior ERC victory on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last season, Schulz started 2024 as a firm title contender aboard his ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team-entered Corsa Rally4.  

However, his retirement on the Hungary season opener means he has ground to make up in his pursuit of the Junior WRC prize drive for 2025, which goes to the eventual winner of the Junior ERC crown.  

“Unfortunately, we had to stop [on leg one in Hungary] with a damaged cooler and couldn't start [leg two],” Schulz said. “We were of course very disappointed, but we are looking forward to the second run in Gran Canaria. The set-up fits and we have a good feeling about the car [following our test]. Thanks to Waldherr Motor-Sport for the perfect preparation and effort on the car.”

Max McRae tops the Hankook-equipped Junior ERC entry following his maiden category win in Hungary. With Jaspar Vaher, who finished second, unable to compete on Rally Islas Canarias because of his age – he’s 17 but must be 18 to drive on Gran Canaria – McRae’s advantage is nine points over Mille Johansson, who finished third on round one.  

“We made a great start to the season in Hungary,” said 19-year-old McRae. “Now we need to capitalise on that in the Canaries. We know there’s going to be a really strong entry – there always is on the Junior ERC rounds – and we know the fight’s going to be tough.”  

McRae, the nephew of rallying legend Colin McRae, follows in the wheel tracks of his father Alister and grandfather Jimmy by competing on Rally Islas Canarias. Jimmy finished seventh on the event in 1992, while Alister went one better in 1993 by taking sixth place.

“I am still a little bit short on experience for the asphalt roads, but I can’t wait for the start,” Scotland-born McRae said. “I was reading what Carlos Sainz said about Rally Islas Canarias; he talked about the huge support and the enthusiasm and passion the Spanish fans have on the island – I can’t wait for some of that.   

“I’ve watched this event a few times on TV and, of course, checked as many onboards as possible on YouTube. The roads are fairly complex, but the grip looks good, even if that means tyre wear can be pretty high, and it looks like a fantastic place to compete.”

McRae is one of 13 Junior ERC drivers contesting the all-asphalt Rally Islas Canarias for the first time, which is set to result in a wide-open victory battle. With the event not forming part of the 2023 Junior ERC schedule, only Daniel Polášek (below) has previous Rally Islas Canarias experience to count on dating back to 2022.

In addition to Johansson, McRae, Polášek and Schulz, Jack Brennan, Calle Carlberg, Patrik Herczig, Liam Müller, Geronimo Nerobutto, Davide Pesavento, Aoife Raftery, Karl-Markus Sei, Aleksandar Tomov and Mattia Zanin form part of the talent-packed Junior ERC entry.  

How to watch?
Fans across the globe can experience the excitement and drama of the ERC with every stage of every rally broadcast platform. In addition, the ERC is broadcast in a number of countries around the world and fans are advised to check local listings for details.   

Rally Islas Canarias 2024: the key numbers 
Stages: 13
Competitive distance: 193.12 kilometres 
Total distance: 617.68 kilometres

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