Roland Poom will follow in the wheel tracks of a host of young drivers by choosing the FIA European Rally Championship to prove his talent at international level.
The 25-year-old from Estonia has signed up with the ERC title-winning Saintéloc Junior Team to drive a Citroën C3 Rally2 on Pirelli tyres. Briton Darren Garrod will co-drive.

Poom is confirmed for the four gravel-based rounds of the ERC but is keen to expand his bid to include the four asphalt rounds as well, subject to funding being secured.

He’s never competed in the European Rally Championship before but did undertake an ERC Junior Experience training course in 2018.

“We’re going to take things step by step but we’re going to do as many rallies as possible as I consider I am only in the first season of driving Rally2 cars after doing a few rallies last season,” said Poom, who will contest selected rounds of the Estonian championship in tandem with his ERC bid. “I am not going to tell any specific targets because I have no clue about the ERC events. But every time I am starting a rally I want to win and I am always aiming for the top results so let’s see.”

Citroën relationship excites Poom
“To race and have a close relationship and technical support from a factory is what we have been looking for and it’s obviously a good thing to be driving a Citroën,” Poom said. “I hope I can make them happy with the results and maybe there will come more support so we can do some more events. I want to build a good cooperation with them.”

Ready for Rally2
“The step from Rally4 to Rally2 cars was not too difficult,” Poom explained. “Okay, to find the maximum limit is difficult and I am used to brake really early because the brakes are not the best in Rally4, but with Rally2 you can just be on the limit all the time. That’s maybe the difficult part but, overall, it’s a not a very big step, it’s more a bigger step financially.”

Learning from the best
Poom joins a Saintéloc Junior Team headed up by Alexey Lukyanuk, who is in contention to win the overall ERC title for the third time in 2021. Poom is a fan having followed his new team-mate’s success on rallies in Estonia in the past. “He was driving in Estonia for many seasons and he was already called the Russian Rocket back then! Everybody knows him in Estonia and he was competing with Ott Tänak. He was fast on many rallies, many stages and he’s a really good driver. There is definitely a lot to learn from him.”

PlayingColin McRae Rallyhelpinig Poom’s transition to English-language pacenotes
“Last season I switched my pacenotes to English to have more co-drivers to choose from and I always thought if I am using English notes then the co-driver must be from the UK,” Poom explained. “I knew Darren so I asked about his plans and he was available so that was an easy choice. In the beginning of the year in Estonia when we did the Talveralli everything worked out well, it’s easy with him. It was difficult at first with English notes when there is a lot of information coming in, but I played the Colin McRae game on my computer with English pacenotes from when I was 10 years old so it was not a big problem.”

The 2021 ERC season is set to begin on the 55th Azores Rallye from May 6-8.

Photo:Marko Leesi
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