National champions set for FIA ERC season-opener in Austria

*Serious competition ahead as Baumschlager, Delecour, Kajetanowicz and Kopecký sign up for International Jännerrallye

National champions from Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and Romania are among the drivers gunning for glory on the International Jännerrallye, round one of next year’s new-look FIA European Rally Championship from 3-5 January 2013.

Jan Kopecký, the Czech champion in 2012, heads the entry in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 with French legend François Delecour, the winner of the Romanian national championship this year, seeded third in a Peugeot 207 S2000.

Raimund Baumschlager, who claimed yet another Austrian crown in 2012, will compete in a Fabia with Kajetan Kajetanowicz, who secured a third consecutive Polish title during the season just gone, taking part in a Subaru Impreza R4 STI.

Other notable names taking part include former Rallye Monte-Carlo winner Bryan Bouffier, 2011 IRC 2WD Cup champion Jean-Michel Raoux, leading Czech drivers Vaclav Pech (MINI John Cooper Works S2000), Antonin Tlusťák and Pavel Valoušek, plus former world rally champion Stig Blomqvist in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.

“The entry list for the new-look FIA European Rally Championship in 2013 is building up day by day and some of the drivers that were not able to be ready for the Jännerrallye due to the early start to the season will join in Latvia or the Canary Islands,” said ERC General Co-ordinator Jean-Pierre Nicolas. “But we are delighted the first round of the ERC has attracted such a strong entry and congratulations to the event organisers for their efforts. The entry features a perfect blend of established stars and rising talents and we look forward to some serious competition ahead in Austria in January.”

A total of 63 crews have entered the main international event, which features 18 special stages over a competitive distance of 248.46 kilometres and will enjoy extensive coverage on Eurosport and Eurosport Player. Snow and ice-coated roads are once again expected to be a feature of the popular asphalt event, which regularly attracts more than 100,000 spectators. Meanwhile, a further 33 crews set to tackle the national-level rally.

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