World Rally Car chance for ERC Junior champion Griebel
Marijan Griebel will get the chance of a lifetime when he contests his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship later this month – using part of his prize for winning the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 crown in 2017 to secure the opportunity.
Griebel, winner of the recent German championship ADAC Rallye Wartburg, was offered a one-off drive on a European round of the world championship in a previous-generation World Rally Car by ERC promoter Eurosport Events for winning the category for young stars in R5 cars last season.
At the time he opted to swap that opportunity for an expanded programme of rallies in a PEUGEOT 208 T16 with Eurosport Events’ full blessing. But with his 2018 schedule in the French car adjusted, Griebel has secured a home run on ADAC Rallye Deutschland in a Citroën DS3 WRC instead. It’s the same PH Sport machine he used to win the recent Rallye Lëtzebuerg alongside local co-driver Johny Blom.
“ADAC Rallye Deutschland is in the middle of my home area with everything around 20 kilometres of Hahnweiler where I live so it’s a special event for me,” said Griebel, who will link up with German co-driver Alexander Rath. “After my overall win in Luxemburg, I talked to PH Sport then talked to my sponsors about my idea of doing this special home rally in a very special car. They were all very interested and gave me some additional support. My main sponsor is Armin Kremer but a lot of other people and companies, including Eurosport Events, are involved, too, and this has made the project possible.”
Griebel, 29, won the ERC Junior crown in 2016 driving a Pirelli-equipped Opel ADAM R2, and was rewarded with a drive in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 on the season-closing Cyprus Rally as his prize. After finishing the event second overall on his debut in an R5 car, he secured an ERC Junior Under 28 bid in 2017 driving a Fabia for Baumschlager Rallye & Racing, taking the inaugural title with three wins.
He’s relishing the challenge of contesting ADAC Rallye Deutschland as the only German to do so in a World Rally Car. “It will be even faster and more impressive than an R5 car and, for sure, more fun as well. It’s a good opportunity to learn, to get some media coverage and promote myself for the future. Okay, I don’t have a chance against the drivers in the 2018-specification World Rally Cars but I can run in a really fast car in a WRC field, which is great for me. My aim for the weekend will be to stay on the road, beat all the R5 competitors and finish in the top 10 to get some real world championship points.”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “We’re very pleased Marijan has secured this opportunity and we’re happy to have played a part in helping him turn his plans into reality through the support we have given him for winning the ERC Junior Under 28 title in 2017. Marijan is a fantastic talent so it’s great he has this platform to showcase that to a big audience both nationally and internationally.”
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