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2013 FIA European Rally Championship

Posted: September 19, 2013 4:22 PM - 7950 Hits

IRC & European Rally Championship Merged from 2013

ERC TO BE SHOWN ON TELEVISION IN THE USA

Posted: September 19, 2013 4:22 PM

The FIA European Rally Championship will be shown on television in the United States of America from later this month.

Eurosport, the leading international sports media group, has announced an agreement with its new stakeholder, Discovery Communications, that will bring its flagship Eurosport TV channel to U.S. viewers for the first time in its 24-year history.

From 28 September, a new Saturday afternoon programming block Eurosport on Velocity featuring motorsports highlights will air from 1-3 PM ET/PT, with encore presentations airing every Sunday morning on Discovery’s Velocity channel, the first U.S. cable network targeting an upscale male audience.

Eurosport Group CEO, Jean-Thierry Augustin, said:
“This is the first programming agreement with Discovery since our partnership was forged at the end of 2012. It’s a great example of the powerful synergies and opportunities we can create together. For the first time in Eurosport's history, American viewers will have a sight of our channel's expert sports TV production and best-in-class commentary. We’re delighted our TV channel’s initial programming steps into the U.S. will be on our stakeholder's channel, Velocity.”

As well as showing the serious competition ahead in the ERC, Eurosport on Velocity will introduce three other motorsport series to U.S audiences with British Superbikes, the Silk Way Rally and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge all being shown.

NEW-GENERATION R5 CARS MAKE HUGE IMPACT IN ERC

Posted: July 5, 2013 8:41 AM

Fans attending last week’s Geko Ypres Rally, round six of the FIA European Rally Championship, were treated to a glimpse of the sport’s future when M-Sport and Peugeot Sport ran their all-new R5 challengers as course cars on the asphalt event.

Thierry Neuville drove the Ford Fiesta R5 with Kris Meeke aboard the Peugeot 208 T16. The cars demonstrated tremendous pace and potential. And although no official times were recorded, both cars were faster than the headlining Super 2000 cars they will eventually replace.

“To take a car onto the stages and have it consistently on a good pace is a good thing,” said Meeke. “But Ypres was also a huge learning curve for the team with the car because you learn so much more doing a rally than you do in testing as you have so many different conditions.”

Meanwhile, Neuville said:
“It’s been really nice, everything has gone well and the car is so competitive compared to old Super 2000. We’re happy and pleased with our performance. We started to push on last two stages and we had no problems at all during the whole weekend.”

SAN MARINO RALLY NO LONGER ON 2013 ERC CALENDAR

Posted: May 3, 2013 10:59 AM

The 2013 FIA European Rally Championship will total 12 rounds following confirmation that the San Marino Rally will not form part of this year’s calendar.

Scheduled to run as round seven from 11-13 July, the event’s inclusion on the ERC roster had always been subject to the signing of an agreement between the rally organisers and the ERC promoter Eurosport Events.

Despite extensive efforts to ensure that the rally remained on the ERC schedule, the event organisers have informed Eurosport Events that they are not in a position to sign the agreement for financial reasons.

With no replacement rally planned, drivers will now count their best four scores from the first six rounds and their best four results from the last six rallies.

“We have tried everything to find a number of solutions to keep the San Marino Rally on the ERC calendar but, unfortunately, this has not been possible with the new management of San Marino’s motorsport federation,” said François Ribeiro, Motorsport Development Director, Eurosport Events. “We regret the idea of losing a compact gravel event in Italy, but the cut in public funding went beyond expectations.”

ROBERT KUBICA OPTS FOR THE CITROEN DS3 RRC

Posted: March 8, 2013 3:11 PM

A few weeks after having competed in two rallies in a C4 WRC, Robert Kubica has decided to pursue his rally driving career in a Citroe?n DS3 RRC. The Pole’s 2013 programme will get underway at the Rally Islas Canarias – the third round of the FIA European Rally Championship – before he begins his campaign in the WRC2 at Rally de Portugal.

Eagerly awaited by his fans, Robert Kubica’s 2013 racing programme is set to place much greater emphasis on rallying. After having predominantly taken part in national rallies thus far, the Polish driver will compete in the European and World Rally Championships in a Citroe?n DS3 RRC.

“I weighed up the different options before deciding on this programme,” confirmed the Krakow-born driver. “I kept in touch with Citroe?n Racing and both sides were keen to continue working together. I’m really pleased now to be able to return to top-level racing. Taking part in Rally Islas Canarias will be an interesting challenge for me. I can’t wait to start racing, but I haven’t set myself any specific target. I still have a lot to learn in rallying and to improve I will need to rack up the miles on the stages.”

Three weeks after competing in the Canaries, Robert Kubica will line up at the start of his first World Championship Rally in Portugal. Entered in the WRC2, he is committed to contesting seven rounds of the 2013 calendar. He may also end up competing in additional European Championship rallies.

Faithfully derived from the DS3 WRC, the RRC version differs from its big sister in that it has more restrictive aerodynamic features and a smaller turbo flange. Following special dispensation granted by the FIA, the Polish driver’s car will have a specifically-designed gearbox, with a paddle installed to the left of the steering wheel.

“I am especially pleased to have Robert Kubica as one of our drivers in 2013,” added Yves Matton, Citroen Racing Team Principal. “Thanks to the support of his partners, we are in the process of putting together a racing programme that will enable him to improve in a car that offers similar handling to a World Rally Car. Robert’s determination is an example to us all and we are proud to associate Citroe?n Racing’s image with such a resolutely positive individual. I would also like to thank the FIA for supporting us with this arrangement.”

European Rally Championship set for Super September / Date changes for Croatia Rally and Rally Poland

Posted: March 8, 2013 1:52 PM

There will be Serious Competition Ahead in the FIA European Rally Championship during the month of September when three rounds take place over an exciting five-week period.

Super September will consist of the ERC rallies in Czech Republic, Poland and Croatia and is the result of a request by the Croatian motorsport federation to switch its event from an original June slot to September to coincide with the country hosting a meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) at the end of that month.

To accommodate this request, ERC promoter Eurosport Events reached agreement with the Rally Poland organisers for their event to move to 13-15 September with the Croatia Rally now taking place from 26-28 September, the weekend when Rally Poland had been due to run. Barum Czech Rally Zlín will conclude on 1 September to kick off a thrilling month of motorsport action, which will receive extensive television coverage on Eurosport. The changes were approved by a fax vote among WMSC members.

François Ribeiro, Motorsport Development Director of Eurosport Events, said:
“Changing the calendar once the season is underway is never an ideal situation but we must thank the organisers of Rally Poland for their assistance in accommodating a request by the Croatia Rally. Even though we have now a gravel event in between two Tarmac rallies, the momentum will be high and the ERC will firmly be in the public eye during the month of September.

“While the date of Rally Poland now clashes with the WRC round in Australia, something we had looked to avoid with the FIA, the different time zones and the fact the two rallies appeal to a different competitor base means neither rally should be overly affected.”

M-SPORT TO SUPPORT ONE-MAKE FIESTA R2 SERIES IN ERC

Posted: March 8, 2013 1:35 PM

M-Sport has announced plans to launch a one-make series for the Ford Fiesta R2 in this year’s edition of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC).

To be known as ‘Ford Fiesta SportTrophy Europe’, the series will take in four classic rounds of the ERC. Commencing at the illustrious ‘Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse’ in May, the championship will then venture to the stages of the ‘GEKO Ypres Rally’ in Belgium and the ‘Barum Czech Rally Zlín’ in the Czech Republic before Rally Poland brings the season to a close in September.

Battling throughout each challenging event, competitors will be fighting for the ultimate prize – a chance to pilot an M-Sport supported Ford Fiesta S2000 at Rallye Sanremo in October.

The programme will operate on an ‘arrive and drive’ format with all cars built and maintained by M-Sport from their base in Krakow, Poland.

The series will also be open to regional drivers on a one-off basis. Despite not being eligible to score points, M-Sport is encouraging local Fiesta R2 competitors to join the championship with their own cars. Benefiting from all the series has to offer, this initiative will also provide those with lower budgets the perfect platform on which to compare their speed with ERC regulars.

Up to five places will be available with the cost of entry set at £70,000 GBP. For more information on the series and for details on how to apply, prospective drivers should contact Andrew Wheatley (awheatley@m-sport.co.uk) or Maciej Woda (mwoda@m-sport.co.uk).

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“Following the success of our one-make series on the world stage, the next logical step for M-Sport was to bridge the gap between our globally successful Ford Fiesta SportTrophy programmes by implementing the concept on the European rally scene.

“The ERC [European Rally Championship] is a fantastic championship, and with a car like the [Ford] Fiesta R2 – which has proven itself as a highly competitive and reliable model – we hope to see some impressive young talents coming through the ranks.”

RALLY CLASS TO SUPPORT ERC IN 2013

Posted: February 8, 2013 12:35 PM

The Subaru Impreza’s illustrious participation in rallying will continue this year with the news that the Rally Class concept will join the FIA European Rally Championship in 2013.

Rally Class is designed as an affordable one-make series, using identical Class 3-specification Subaru Imprezas. For 240,000 Euros, competitors will be able to ‘arrive and drive’ on six ERC events this year, with all costs included.

At the end of the season, the Rally Class winner will be rewarded with three prize drives in an R4-specification Impreza in the 2014 ERC. The second-placed finisher will receive one prize drive in next year’s series. Rally Class will support the ERC rounds in Açores, Belgium (Ypres), San Marino, Czech Republic (Zlín), Italy (Sanremo) and Switzerland (Valais).

Belgian team Symtech Racing will prepare and maintain the identical cars and plans to host the competitors and their cars in a dedicated ‘village’ area within the service park on each event.

Symtech’s Dirk Van der Sluys commented:
“The series provides the perfect stepping stone for drivers who wish to progress in their rally career with the full support and back-up of a highly experienced team.”

Peugeot 208 Type R5: Testing continues with Craig Breen

Posted: January 28, 2013 7:47 PM

After an initial shakedown test in December, development work on the 208 Type R5 continued this week with a four-day programme attended by Irish driver Craig Breen.

The 208 Type R5 returned to a gravel test stage near Riboux, in the south of France, for a four-day workout beginning on Tuesday, January 22. The official Peugeot Rally Academy driver Craig Breen took over from Bryan Bouffier for this week's session at the wheel of Peugeot Sport's latest hot hatch.

Craig Breen:
"It's great to have tested the 208 Type R5. It handles really well and I believe its two chief strengths are its brakes and gearbox. The conditions were difficult at times yet its braking performance was exceptional and I felt very confident. As for the gearbox, it is very easy to use and gear shifts were impeccable! I like the engine, too. It's got incredible torque. You could feel the car improve run after run, so it's been quite an exciting week!"

Alexis Avril, Technical Manager:
"December's test was essentially a shakedown, but this week we started to get some real development work done and that has provided us with an indication of the areas where we need to take our work next. Despite the changeable weather, we covered a high number of kilometres and we have already started to explore different technical solutions."

Order books open in March

The 208 TypeR5 has lost no time attracting interest from potential customers and is the third version of the model to be developed especially for motorsport after the 208 R2 and the 208 Racing Cup. The Peugeot Sport Racing Shop will begin to take orders in March 2013.

iRally Interview with Craig Breen ahead of R5 testing and Latvia Rally

Posted: January 24, 2013 10:27 PM

Craig Breen Joins Peugeot Sport as a Factory Driver on ERC. David Moynihan to co-drive

Posted: January 18, 2013 2:23 PM

The Peugeot Rally Academy

Very much like its track racing driver development programme, the RCZ GT Academy, Peugeot Sport is now set to launch the Peugeot Rally Academy. In 2013, the Academy will feature three talented young drivers. The top two in the 2012 “Volant 207” are already familiar with their official racing programme for 2013. Jérémi Ancian and Stéphane Lefebvre will be taking part in the ERC. They will therefore be able to develop their experience in an international series, whilst also learning from Irish driver Craig Breen, who is joining Peugeot Sport as a factory driver.

Peugeot Sport, a recognized driver development programme

Peugeot Sport has been pursuing its policy of developing and promoting talented young rally drivers for many years now, ever since it created the first Peugeot Cup. Since then, the “made-in-Vélizy” customer racing programmes have given several drivers the chance to shine, such as Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier and Bryan Bouffier to name just a few.

Rebranded for 2013 as the car used changes to the 208, the 208 Rally Cup is set to be a genuine springboard for drivers thanks to the helping hand provided by Peugeot Sport, which is offering the winner a racing programme in one of the higher-level categories. Last year, the Peugeot Sport factory driver Germain Bonnefis went on to claim the title of French Gravel Rally Champion after winning the Peugeot series in 2011.

Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport Team Principal: “With the Peugeot Rally Academy, we are taking another step forward in terms of the support we provide to the winners of our promotional formulas. The 208 Rally Cup* has all the required elements to be a great sporting success, with the 208 R2 which is already a leading car, a varied calendar and the unrivalled concept of offering a “drive” to the winner. I am confident that Craig will confirm all the good things that have been said about him in this year's ERC, and I can't wait to see how our winners will fare alongside him. There is no pressure on them to achieve results. It’s all about accumulating experience for these young drivers; we’re not fighting for the championship.”

Craig Breen will be taking part in eight ERC events. He will also, along with other drivers, be tasked with leading the intensive test programme for the 208 Type R5, starting next week on gravel.

The 2012 SWRC Champion has long been loyal to Peugeot, since he made a significant contribution to the development of the 208 R2, in testing and competition, and he is already very familiar with the 207 Super 2000, having driven it on many an occasion in the IRC. The young Irishman now acquires the status of Peugeot Sport factory driver.

Craig Breen:
"This is incredible and beyond my dreams. I am really excited to work with a manufacturer like Peugeot Sport, I think of it since I was a young boy. To arrive here in front of a nice season is a good position to be in. My objective is to show good speed and challenge for some victories on a regular basis. For the testing program, I will give the best I can to support the development of the 208 Type R5”.

Provisional calendar:

    · Rally Liepaja-Ventspils (Latvia) (G & S), 1-3 February.
    · Rallye Açores (G), 25-28 April.
    · Tour de Corse (T), 16-18 May.
    · Belgium Ypres Westhoek Rally (T), 27-29 June.
    · Rally San Marino (G), 11-14 July.
    · Rally Poland (G), 26-29 September.
    · Rallye Sanremo (T) 10 -12 October.
    · International Rallye du Valais (T), 7-9 November.
Breen and all Academy drivers will be part of the Saintéloc team, competing in the colours of Peugeot Sport, Total, Michelin and Sparco.

David Moynihan will co-drive for Breen.

NEW-LOOK ERC, NEW-LOOK WEBSITE

Posted: January 3, 2013 11:02 PM

Get ready because there’s serious competition ahead in 2013 and it’s coming from the new-look FIA European Rally Championship.

Starting with the International Jännerrallye in Austria this week and concluding on Rallye International du Valais across the border in Switzerland 11 months from now, the ERC is an all-action motorsport contest featuring some of the best rising talents up against experienced professionals on gravel, asphalt and snow in a variety of different rally cars.

To mark the start of the 2013 season, a new website is being launched. Available at www.fiaerc.com, the website will contain daily news, video content, event details, archive information, a media lounge for journalists covering the series plus links to the ERC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

FIA European Rally Championship calendar for 2013 confirmed

Posted: December 18, 2012 10:55 AM

Thirteen exciting events on asphalt, gravel and snow will form the calendar for the new-look FIA European Rally Championship in 2013, Eurosport Events, the ERC promoter, has confirmed.

Running from January to November across Europe, the schedule features seven events on asphalt, four on gravel and two snow rallies. All rounds will be filmed and produced for television coverage by Eurosport Events with at least two rounds – Açores and Corsica – shown live on Eurosport.

The vacant slots earmarked for two gravel events in July have been awarded to Rally San Marino and the Sibiu Rally in Romania, while Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés replaces the Circuit of Ireland Rally as the first pure asphalt event of the season from 21-23 March.

Organisers in the Canary Islands will provide assistance to teams travelling to the event, while the Circuit of Ireland promoters were not in a position to honour the terms of the proposed agreement with Eurosport Events.

François Ribeiro, Motorsport Development Director of Eurosport Events, said:
“We wanted to achieve a good balance between different surfaces and reasonable logistic costs for the teams. All selected rallies have strong sporting foundations, significant domestic media following and a great fan base, all the ingredients we need to make ERC 2013 a success. We are now working hard with each rally promoter and local government to deliver as many events live on TV as possible.”

Jean-Pierre Nicolas, a former international rally driver and now the General Co-ordinator of the ERC, has carried out visits to the two snow rallies in Austria and Latvia and was very impressed.

“Jännerrallye will offer very similar conditions to Monte Carlo in terms of the prospect of changeable weather and wintry conditions due to its early January date,” said Nicolas. “We experienced wide and undulating incredible stages on smooth Tarmac. The event organiser has already received more entries than in previous years and has extended its closing date to 15 December to allow more teams time to register.”

And snow is also set to form the backdrop to the second round, Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils, which takes place on a gravel base between the two Latvian cities in early February.
“The snow was just arriving when we visited Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils,” Nicolas continued. “The stages have a good, clean surface with no ruts or large stones. There are a lot of blind crests and an average speed of between 100 and 120kph. As with the Jännerrallye the stages in Latvia are going to be a great challenge for the drivers and will look amazingly good on television. I’ve been involved in rallying for nearly 50 years but, to be honest, I was not expecting such quality stages in Latvia.”

The FIA European Rally Championship Sporting Regulations for 2013 have also been approved. Of the key points, drivers will not be required to contest a minimum number of rallies, they will count their best four results from the first seven rounds and their best four results from the last six rounds. There will be drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles for overall, two-wheel drive and Production Car with no registration required.

Three new teams’ titles will be awarded for overall, 2WD and the Production Car. Teams must register with the FIA and pay a registration fee. Elsewhere, a Qualifying Stage will be used to determine the starting order for gravel events.

Eurosport Events has pledged its commitment to all three categories:
“Eurosport Events will film and promote all three categories on television and the internet, not only the overall battle between drivers on Super 2000, Regional Rally Cars and R5 cars. We will also dedicate a significant part of the ERC TV programmes to the new Team Championships which should be contested by some of most experienced rally teams in Europe.” François Ribeiro confirmed.

Circuit of Ireland will not be part of 2013 ERC

Posted: December 18, 2012 10:35 AM

Exciting new-look FIA European Rally Championship calendar for 2013 (Includes Circuit of Ireland)

Posted: November 8, 2012 4:06 PM

Since the last FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting on 28 September when it was confirmed as the promoter of the FIA European Rally Championship under a 10-year agreement, Eurosport Events has met organisers of rallies on the existing ERC and Intercontinental Rally Challenge schedules to submit to the FIA Rally Commission on 31 October its first new-look ERC 2013 draft calendar.

With 21 rallies aiming for the 13 available slots, it has proved a delicate exercise, particularly given the high level of demand from very well organised and established events.

Eurosport Events set out to deliver a calendar without any clashes of dates with the FIA World Rally Championship and featuring a combination of asphalt and gravel rallies, plus rallies taking place in winter and snow conditions to ensure the ERC offers young drivers a similar challenge to the WRC.

The calendar for the 61st ERC season also had to meet additional criteria including geographical location, heritage, level of public support, national media and competitor interest, plus the sporting spectacle for drivers and fans attending the events and watching on television.

François Ribeiro, Motorsport Development Director, Eurosport Events, who worked in close partnership with ERC Manager, and former international rally driver, Jean-Pierre Nicolas to prepare the schedule, said:
“One month after signing the agreement with the FIA to build a very strong European Rally Championship, we have been very encouraged by the level of interest from teams and drivers. Having so much demand from events is great but consequently means we won’t be able to fit them all in the schedule. All the teams we have met called for a calendar that would be logistically affordable given the tough economic conditions in Europe right now.”

Ribeiro continued:
“Two gravel events in July remain open as we just did not have enough time to finalise discussions with governments in Bulgaria, Romania, San Marino and Turkey which are all good candidates. We are confident the ERC calendar will be very appealing and balanced. It won’t be long before we can submit the final draft calendar for FIA WMSC approval and ratification.

“In parallel, Eurosport Events is working hard developing a new ERC brand identity and website. We expect the level of TV exposure to be even higher than the outstanding coverage delivered for the IRC. We will keep pushing our pioneering live broadcasts. Finally, we are very happy with the outcome of the FIA Rally Commission meeting in Paris last week where several ERC matters relating to the team championship, tyre regulations, Production Cars and 2WD categories were discussed.”

2013 FIA European Rally Championship calendar (Rev 4)

Posted: November 8, 2012 4:05 PM

    01 :International Jännerrallye (Austria) / Asphalt/snow / 3-5 January 2013
    02: Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils (Latvia) / Gravel/snow / 1-3 February 2013
    03: Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés (Spain) /Asphalt / 21-23 March 2013
    04: SATA Rallye Açores (Portugal) / Gravel / 25-27 April 2013
    05: Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse (France) / Asphalt / 16-18 May 2013
    06: GEKO Ypres Rally (Belgium) / Asphalt / 27-29 June 2013
    07: Sibiu Rally (Romania) / Gravel / 25-27 July 2013
    08: Barum Czech Rally Zlín / Asphalt 30 August-1 September 2013
    09: Lotos 70th Rally Poland / Gravel / 13-15 September 2013
    10: Croatia Rally / Asphalt / 26-28 September 2013
    11: Rallye Sanremo (Italy) / Asphalt / 10-12 October 2013
    12: Rallye International du Valais (Switzerland) / Asphalt / 7-9 November 2013






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