Two steps to the WRC: ERC Junior offers ultimate career progression opportunity
Drivers can compete in a World Rally Car in the FIA World Rally Championship within two years by signing up for the ultimate career progression opportunity.
The hugely successful FIA ERC Junior Championship will be split into two separate divisions from 2017 based on driver age and car performance.
ERC Junior U27, which totals six events, is for drivers born on or after 1 January 1990 competing in R2 cars on Pirelli tyres. With the best four rounds counting, the winner will receive a career progression fund worth 100,000 euros to use in ERC Junior U28 in 2018.
ERC Junior U28 offers the next step on the rallying pyramid for drivers born on or after 1 January 1989. Again totalling six rounds with the best four scores counting, drivers use R5 cars with no restriction on tyre choice. The champion will get a drive on a European round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship as a P1 driver in a 2016-specification World Rally Car.
Both ERC Junior divisions benefit from substantial television coverage with at least three minutes per programme broadcast on Eurosport dedicated to the two young driver categories.
“It’s clear there is a growing number of ERC Junior graduates and other young drivers looking to take the next step in rallying but without the financial means to run a full international campaign in an R5 car or lacking the experience required to achieve consistent success,” said ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley. “ERC Junior U28 will bridge this gap by providing a step up in performance for ERC Junior U27 graduates, albeit in a managed environment where they will come up against like-minded drivers with similar experience. And by providing a World Rally Championship prize drive to the ERC Junior U28 champion, we’re recognising the ambition of young drivers to reach the sport’s top level.”
Despite entries only opening on 1 January, interest in ERC Junior U27 and U28 is high with several drivers having either announced their programmes or being in the process of doing so.
ERC promoter Eurosport Events launched the ERC Junior Championship for the 2014 season in partnership with motorsport’s world governing body, the FIA, with 67 drivers taking part since then. Current factory Citroën WRC driver Stéphane Lefebvre won the inaugural title with Emil Bergkvist triumphant in season two and Marijan Griebel claiming the silverware in 2016.
The 2017 ERC Junior U27 and U28 championships will be contested over six events as follows:
30 March-1 April: Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugal, gravel)
4-6 May: Rally Islas Canarias (Spain, asphalt)
3-5 August: Rally Rzeszow (Poland, asphalt)
25-27 August: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic, asphalt)
15-17 September: Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy, asphalt)
6-8 October: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel)
Application forms are available via this link: https://www.fiaerc.com/regulations/