Champions, winners and ERC Juniors fill exciting Azores Rallye entry list
The 2019 FIA European Rally Championship is go with the publication of the Azores Rallye entry list* by the event organisers.
Headed by reigning ERC champions Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov, the entry features 21 R5 cars – including examples from Citroën, Ford, Hyundai, ŠKODA and Volkswagen – 18 ERC Juniors, plus national title winners from Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Portugal among others.
ERC Juniors go for gold
Eighteen future stars will chase ERC Junior points on the Azores Rallye with six runners in the R5-based FIA ERC1 Junior Championship and 12 in the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship for R2 cars on Pirelli tyres. Of the 18, eight will line up in the Azores as ERC Junior rookies. They includeAlex Tsouloftasfrom Cyprus, Portugal’sPedro Almeida, Czech 2WD and Junior championJan Talaš, Germany’sRoman Schwedtand Sweden’sElias Lundberg, who is competing in ERC Junior as his prize for winning the 2018 ADAC Opel Rallye Cup in Germany.
Inter-make R5 battle in store
Volkswagen’s all-new R5 challenger will make its ERC debut withMarijan Griebel– the reigning German champion and double ERC Junior champion – andNorbert Herczig– the four-time Hungarian title winner – competing in the German cars run by Baumschlager Rallye & Racing.Alexey Lukyanuk, exciting Swedish prospectMattias Adielssonand past Azores winnerBernardo Sousawill have the Citroën C3 R5 at their disposal. Team OSCARO’sPierre-Louis Loubet, son of 1989 ERC champion Yves, multiple Azorean championRicardo Moura, Polish title winnerŁukasz Habajand 2017 ERC Junior championChris Ingram, who will be announcing details of his programme for 2019 in due course, are among 13 ŠKODA Fabia R5-powered drivers set for action.Bruno Magalhães, who has three Portuguese titles and three Azores victories to his name, will fly the Hyundai i20 R5 flag, while ERC Junior newcomerMiguel Correiais starting his second event in a Ford Fiesta R5.
Strong competition expected in ERC2, ERC3
The ERC2 category for production cars is set for a close battle betweenJuan Carlos Alonso,LuísPimentel andSergei Remennik. Peugeot Rally Academy pairCatie Munningsand Yohan Rossel will be in contention for ERC3 honours, as will AmericanSean JohnstonandDmitriy Myachinfrom Russia.
ERC Nations’ Cup expandsfor 2019
ACCR Czech Team, ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team, Sweden National Team, Rally Team Spain and the newly-formed FPAK Portugal Team ERC squad will contest the ERC Nations’ Cup in the Azores.
The Azores Rallye takes place from 21-23 March. The full entry list is availablehere.
*Subject to FIA approval