What if? ERC title outcomes explained
Three drivers are locked in combat for the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship crown starting the Cyprus Rally from 27-29 September.
Chris Ingram is on top of the table with two rounds remaining after he demoted Alexey Lukyanuk, the defending champion, on the last round, Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
But Briton Ingram’s advantage over Lukyanuk is a slender one point with Poland’s Łukasz Habaj nine points behind the Russian. Of the trio, only Lukyanuk has competed in Cyprus before.
Whoever prevails at the end of the season will write the latest chapter in ERC history, which began in 1953 when Helmut Polensky took the crown for Germany. This is a short explanation of the title outcomes.
If the Toksport WRT driver, 25, claims the title he will become the youngest winner since Esapekka Lappi took the laurels as a 23-year-old in 2014. While Ingram wouldn’t set a new record as the youngest ERC champion, he would be the first British winner since Vic Elford triumphed way back in 1967. And with legend Elford, now 84, the only ERC champion from the UK so far, Ingram would join a select group of winners.
If the Russian claims back-to-back titles he will join Bernard Darniche (1976-1977), Luca Rossetti (2010-2011) and Kajetan Kajetanowicz (2014-2017) on an illustrious list of successive champions. It would also be the first crown for the French Saintéloc team, which guided Craig Breen to the runner-up spoils in 2015, while Citroën would celebrate a first ERC title since Simon Jean-Joseph secured top honours in 2007.
If Habaj comes out on top in the title race, he will become the fourth Polish European champion following in the wheel tracks of Sobiesław Zasada, Krzysztof Hołowczyc and Kajetan Kajetanowicz, whose third and final ERC crown came in 2017. And if Habaj won to give Poland an eighth ERC title then it would mean another European accolade for Latvia-based Sports Racing Technologies, which oversaw Nikolay Gryazin’s ERC1 Junior title success in 2018.
The Cyprus Rally takes place from 27-29 September with Rally Hungary following from 8-10 November. Drivers count their best six scores from a possible eight. Click here to view the standings.