*July slots awarded to gravel rallies in Romania and San Marino
*Canary Islands included on revised list of events for 2013
*Opening snow rounds most beautiful way to start ERC season says Jean-Pierre Nicolas
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 Liepāja-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 Liepāja-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. Ive 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.
FIA European Rally Championship 2013 calendar
01: International Jännerrallye (Austria) / Asphalt/snow / 3-5 January 2013
02: Rally Liepāja-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: Tour de Corse (France) / Asphalt / 16-18 May 2013
06: Croatia Rally* / Asphalt / 6-8 June 2013
07: GEKO Ypres Rally (Belgium) / Asphalt / 27-29 June 2013
08: Rally San Marino** / Gravel / 11-13 July 2013
09: Sibiu Rally (Romania) / Gravel / 25-27 July 2013
10: Barum Czech Rally Zlín / Asphalt / 30 August-1 September 2013
11: Rally Poland / Gravel / 27-29 September 2013
12: Rallye Sanremo (Italy) / Asphalt / 10-12 October 2013
13: Rallye International du Valais (Switzerland) / Asphalt / 7-9 November 2013
* Subject to signature of Promoters Agreement
** Subject to ASN confirmation
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