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Up for the double: Érdi Jr targets ERC title defence

Up for the double: Érdi Jr targets ERC title defence

29/01/2018 12:00

Tibor Érdi Jr has no intention of winning the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 title just once after announcing plans to defend his crown in 2018.

Érdi Jr claimed the showroom category laurels in a thrilling final-round decider on Rally Liepāja last October when he pipped Zelindo Melegari to top honours. Now he wants to become back-to-back champion.

The Hungarian has targeted a five-event campaign in 2018 although he has yet to confirm whether he will contest the season-opening Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March or push back the start of his title defence to round two, Rally Islas Canarias, from 3-5 May.

“Our plan is to compete on five rallies but, right now, we’re not sure if we can participate in the Azores,” Érdi Jr explained. “We are waiting for the [new mandatory] safety fuel tank to be delivered and we’re not sure it will arrive in time to participate on that event. But anything can happen so our schedule is maybe Azores, Canarias, Greece, Italy and Czech Republic. These are the countries we would like to participate in and we will keep Latvia as the spare event.”

Érdi Jr is the second European championship regular to reveal his plans for an ERC2 campaign in 2018 following on from Sergei Remennik’s announcement last week confirming he will return for a second season after placing third in last year’s final standings.

And like Remennik, Érdi Jr intends to take advantage of a regulations tweak for 2018, which stipulates that ERC2 drivers count their best four scores rather than the previous six, a response to calls from competitors to lessen costs, reduce their time commitment and ultimately make ERC2 more accessible to more drivers.

While Érdi Jr’s precise ERC2 schedule is still to be finalised, the 35-year-old has already switched into competition mode in 2018 by contesting the Latvian championship-counting Rally Alūksne earlier this month. Driving a Vorobjovs Racing Mitsubishi Lancer, Érdi Jr placed P13 overall and fifth in class.

Co-driven by compatriot György Papp, Érdi Jr took the 2017 ERC2 crown courtesy of category victories on Rally Islas Canarias, Barum Czech Rally Zlín and Rally di Roma Capitale. He finished second on the SEAJETS Acropolis Rally in Greece and Rally Liepāja.

The Azores Airlines Rallye marks the opening round of the 2018 ERC season from 22-24 March. The calendar features eight events, five on gravel, three on asphalt with the championship finale taking place in Latvia with the sixth running of Rally Liepāja from 12-14 October.

It’s 25 days until the Azores Airlines Rallye opens the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship on 22 March. Here’s an update of what’s in store on the all-gravel spectacular in the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

Aloísio Monteiro will drive a ŠKODA Fabia R5 in the upcoming FIA European Rally Championship – and ERC ace Bruno Magalhães has been showing him the ropes.

Armindo Araújo, who will contest next month’s FIA European Rally Championship season-opening Azores Airlines Rallye, claimed a top-five finish on his return to competition following a lengthy absence.

Catie Munnings is targeting yet more progress when she embarks on her second FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship campaign in 2018.

Jari Huttunen impressed on his first outing in this season’s FIA World Rally Championship, taking two class stage wins and finishing sixth in his division on Rally Sweden last weekend.

Ricardo Moura has laid down the gauntlet to the FIA European Rally Championship title contenders by winning round one of the Portuguese national series yesterday (Sunday).