Tue 25 Jun 2024

High-quality entry for ERC’s high-speed Estonia return

Fifty-one crews are set to take on Delfi Rally Estonia’s high-speed gravel stages when the FIA European Rally Championship returns to the Baltic nation for the first time since 2016 from 5 - 7 July. Here are some of the highlights of the provisional entry list published today.

Six ERC winners in action: Six drivers entered for Delfi Rally Estonia have won at least one round of the ERC. They are Nikolay Gryazin, Miko Marczyk, Mads Østberg, Mārtiṇš Sesks, Simone Tempestini and Hayden Paddon, the defending ERC champion and number one seed.  

Franceschi bids to bounce back: After crashing out of the BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia podium fight on the event-deciding Power Stage, Michelin-equipped Mathieu Francescchi (pictured below) will bid to make the ERC title lead his own once again after Hayden Paddon drew level on points in the race to claim championship gold after he finished runner-up in Sweden.  

Who will fly the Eesti lipp the highest in ERC1? Gregor Jeets, Kaspar Kasari, Georg Linnamäe and Robert Virves are four young Estonian drivers aiming to fly their country’s flag at Rally2 level on their home ERC counter.  

Spreading his wings: Frank Tore Larsen’s reward for finishing fourth overall on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia is the opportunity to do it all over again, only this time the Norwegian is swapping Sweden for Estonia for what will mark his event debut.

If at first you don’t succeed… After posting a DNF on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia  Philip Allen gets a second opportunity to try a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 for size in Estonia.  

Finnish champions past and present go for ERC glory: The Finnish champions from 2022 (Mikko Heikkilä) and 2023 (Teemu Asunmaa) feature on the star-studded Delfi Rally Estonia entry list. Benjamin Korhola, meanwhile, is a potential Finnish champion of the future having claimed three podiums so far during his first season at Rally2 level in his homeland. The 21-year-old impressed in a Ford Fiesta Rally3 on Rally Estonia last July when it counted as a round of the FIA World Rally Championship.  

Gearing up for home ERC duty: Following Delfi Rally Estonia, Rally di Roma Capitale is next on the ERC fixture list. And for Giacomo Costenaro and MRF Tyres-equipped Andrea Mabellini (pictured below) the event marks their home round of the championship. It was also the setting of Pirelli-shod Jon Armstrong’s FIA ERC3 title triumph in 2023. All three drivers will be in action in Estonia.  

Toyota hopeful makes ERC return: After impressing on selected ERC4 appearances in 2023, Japan’s Yuki Yamamoto returns to the FIA European Rally Championship in a Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 as part of the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Challenge Program.

Jürgenson aiming to Star in ERC: The leader of the FIA Junior WRC Championship after three rounds, Romet Jürgenson (pictured below), a member of the FIA Rally Star talent detection initiative, will go for ERC3 and ERC Fiesta Rally3 Trophy glory on his home event. Jürgenson’s Fiesta-powered opposition on Delfi Rally Estonia is set to include Tristan Charpentier, Patrick Enok, Kerem Kazaz, Filip Kohn, Martin Ravenščak and Igor Widłak. Joosep Ralf Nõgene, a former Junior ERC contender, is also eligible for ERC3 honours in a Renault Clio Rally3.   

Bertalan is back: Márton Bertalan is back on ERC4 points chase after finishing runner-up in the category on V-Híd Rally Hungary. Romania’s Cristiana Oprea has endured her fair share of bad luck this season but returns for Delfi Rally Estonia when more ERC4 points and progress will be key targets.

Young talents to highlight sport’s bright future in ERC: The FIA Junior ERC entry is talent-packed with points leader and Opel-powered Mille Johansson going for a hat-trick of wins. Max McRae (Peugeot), the winner of the Hankook-equipped category on V-Híd Rally Hungary in April, and Calle Carlberg (pictured below) from the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team will be among 12 drivers aiming to stop him. Others include rapid Estonian pair Karl-Markus Sei and Jaspar Vaher, Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy’s Aoife Raftery, ACI Team Italia duo Davide Pesavento and Mattia Zanin, Czech Daniel Polášek, Germany’s Timo Schulz and Hungarian Patrik Herczig. Teenage Swede Adam Grahn and Finn Tuomas Väiliä make their first Junior ERC starts.   

Download the Entry List here.

Delfi Rally Estonia takes place from 5 - 7 July. Click HERE for more event information.

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