Total teamwork: revamped ERC Teams’ Championship is go!
Teamwork will come to the fore in the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship when the battle for the all-new ERC title for teams kicks off on the Azores Airlines Rallye later this month.
Rather than separate titles in ERC1, ERC2 and ERC3 as was the case previously, for the first time in ERC history there will now be one trophy up for grabs for all competing teams.
Each outfit will nominate a maximum of three cars from ERC-registered drivers, in either four- or two-wheel drive configuration or a combination of both, to score points on each event. The results of the two highest-placed cars from a team will count, with teams tallying their best six scores from a possible eight.
And with points distributed according to the four- and two-wheel-drive classifications of the rally, a team could score a maximum of 50 points per event with 25 on offer in 4WD and 25 also up for grabs in 2WD.
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Never before in international rallying have teams in different categories fought it out for the same trophy so history will be made this season and the European Rally Championship for Teams is something ERC promoter Eurosport Events is really proud of. We hope that by streamlining the structure the result will be more interest and even bigger competition.”
Each squad will nominate a captain from its driver line-up to act as a figurehead, reveal the drivers chasing points on the team’s behalf on each rally, accept trophies at prize-giving ceremonies and, in some cases, potentially instruct his or her fellow drivers on any strategy calls made by team management. “Every good team needs a leader so the team captain will play an important role and create another story-telling opportunity,” said Ley. The team captains will be announced ahead of each event and will also be required to attend press conferences and other media activities arranged during the course of the season.
A number of multi-car teams have already revealed their plans for the upcoming ERC season. They include ACCR Czech Team, Opel Rallye Junior Team, Peugeot Rally Academy and Sports Racing Technologies. Single-car entrants can join forces to form teams. However, only ERC-registered drivers can be included in participating team line-ups. As well as the prestige of winning an FIA title, the winning team will receive a three-minute bespoke highlights video for non-broadcast use.
Squads registered for the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams include:
ACCR Czech Team
Neiksans Rally Sport
Opel Rallye Junior Team
Peugeot Rally Academy
Play/Auto Acoreana Racing
Sports Racing Technologies
Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team