Wed 03 Jul 2024

Sei’s here: Karl-Markus has hopes of home Junior ERC progress

Karl-Markus Sei starts his home round of the FIA Junior ERC Championship with a spring in his step following his breakthrough podium in the Hankook-supplied category on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia last month.

Sei, who finished third behind winner Mille Johansson and second-placed Calle Carlberg, is one of 13 drivers in contention for Junior ERC points on this week’s Delfi Rally Estonia, which starts and finishes in his home city of Tartu.  

“It’s a big psychological boost for me to finish on the podium and I’m really looking forward to the Estonian round now,” said the 19-year-old student, who drives a Peugeot 208 Rally4 for ALM Motorsport. “We didn't catch the Swedes, but I hope that the roles will be reversed in Estonia. The goal was achieved, and the podium gave a strong positive emotion for Delfi Rally Estonia. From here, it can only get better.  

“The rally in Sweden is different to Estonia but it will really help because gravel is gravel and every kilometre is important for us because we’re still learning, it’s only our third year. There are lots of Estonians coming and hopefully it will be a really good event, I will be giving it my best there.”

Vaher’s wait for more Junior ERC action is over
Jaspar Vaher (above) was the youngest driver among the Tet Rally Liepāja entrants when he made his ERC debut as a 16-year-old in June 2023. Now aged 17, Vaher is contesting a partial Junior ERC schedule in 2024 based on the countries where’s old enough to drive on the road, making Estonia his second appearance of the season following his event-leading performance in Hungary.  

“Our goal is, as always, to gain valuable experience and collect kilometres for the future,” said the Team Estonia Autosport member and Ford Fiesta Rally4 driver. “Of course, on the home roads, we want to show good speed, as it is a good place for that. We will not put pressure on ourselves and will do it with pleasure and go to enjoy it.”

Raftery to count on legend Haugland for Junior ERC driving tips
Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy-supported Aoife Raftery (above) will count on Norwegian rallying legend John Haugland for expert advice during Delfi Rally Estonia.  

The highly respected rally school operator, 77, was in Sweden last month to oversee Raftery’s progress aboard the Hankook-equipped Peugeot 208 Rally2 she shares with co-driver Hannah McKillop. And he will continue to mentor the Raftery when she competes on the high-speed Estonian stages this weekend.  

“John is a fantastic help and he advised me in the right direction with driving and it is great for me to work with such a highly regarded rally driver of his experience and talent,” said Raftery, who is a strong fifth in the Junior ERC standings after three rounds. “John has been eager to work with me and help me to succeed after he sat in the passenger seat at his rally school with me and after a few days of us working together.”

Big competition in Junior ERC
While Opel-powered Mille Johansson will go for a hat-trick of wins in the Hankook-supplied FIA Junior ERC category, Max McRae (Peugeot) has a points gap to close following an accident-hit BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia. ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team’s Calle Carlberg will also be out to halt Johansson’s charge, while other contenders include ACI Team Italia duo Davide Pesavento (above) 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 on Delfi Rally Estonia.   

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.   

Delfi Rally Estonia 2024: the key numbers 
Stages: 14
Competitive distance: 187.79 kilometres 
Total distance: 757.41 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