Vilarino steps up to ERC with clear two-year plan
Luis Vilariño will start his FIA European Rally Championship adventure on next month’s 55th Azores Rallye with a clear two-year plan.
After several years focused on his business interests, the Spaniard returned to competition in 2020 and is now preparing for an ERC campaign in a Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo run under the Vilariño Team banner and co-driven by compatriot Álex “Kuku” Noriega.
“We are aware that our debut in the ERC among so many experienced drivers will not be easy, especially since in more than 20 years I have never raced on gravel,” said Vilariño. “We face this first season in the ERC with the aim of learning to be more competitive next year.”
Vilariño will prepare for his ERC campaign – and increase his limited knowledge of the Fabia Rally2 Evo – with outings on the Spanish Superchampionship-counting Rallye Sierra Morena (April 8-10) and Rallye Tierras Altas de Lorca (April 23-24).
“Practically, this car is new for us, but we are getting on well,” said Vilariño, the 2013 Galician rally champion. “We know the car won’t be the problem!”
A qualified engineer and an entrepreneur in various sectors, Vilariño is undertaking his “exciting challenge” with “the aim of making Spanish fans enjoy and the commitment to provide international visibility to sponsors such as Hankook, Xacobeo 2021, Diputación de Lugo and DOP Arzúa-Ulloa,” he said. “Without their help, this incredible experience would be unfeasible.”
Getting to know Luis Vilariño García
Born in Palas de Rei in Galicia, the 47-year-old has claimed six overall wins and 33 podiums in more than 130 rallies. He became Galician champion in 2013 after finishing runner-up in 2007, 2008 and 2012. He returned to competition in 2020 after several years focusing on his business commitments.
Getting to know Álex ‘Kuku’ Noriega
Álex ‘Kuku Noriega from Llanes in Asturias is one of the best known and most loved co-drivers on the national scene in Spain. Noriega has co-driven for several leading Spanish drivers including Jesus Puras, Luis Climent and Luis Monzón. Since the 48-year-old’s career began, he’s made more than 200 starts at regional, national and international level. He joins the Vilariño Team for 2021 to contribute his experience, knowledge and, above all, “good vibes”.