Less than a month after his sensational FIA European Rally Championship debut on asphalt, Robert Kubica will be trying gravel for size when the ERC resumes in Açores from 25-27 April.
The Formula One race winner led Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés by more than one minute after setting the fastest time on the event’s first eight stages in his Citroën DS3 RRC. He will now look to transfer that pace to the spectacular loose-surface runs of SATA Rallye Açores, which will receive live coverage on Eurosport, RTP Açores and the official ERC website, www.fiaerc.com.
Kubica got his first taste of gravel competition in Portugal last week: “For my first gravel rally, I think I have shown good pace on the stages where I didn’t have any problems. I have found a lot of answers to the questions I had a few days ago so that augurs well for the rest of the season.”
He continued: “The most important thing for me is to manage to correlate what I see in recce with what happens in the race. I am already aware that none of the rallies will be easy.”
M-Sport chooses ERC for Fiesta R5 debut
M-Sport’s all-new Ford Fiesta R5 could make its FIA European Rally Championship bow as early as Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse in mid-May before it competes in competition for the first time on the GEKO Ypres Rally at the end of June.
Under plans currently being finalised by M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson, the Fiesta R5 will run as a non-competitive course car in Corsica. Providing dispensation is granted, the car will then compete in Belgium from 27-29 June, a few days prior to the intended homologation date of 1 July.
“We want to showcase the car, show the world hopefully how good it is and we’re confident it will be,” said Wilson. “The ERC is going to be a big market and, personally, the ERC is just going to get stronger and stronger as a championship, especially if the WRC goes more global. They’re trying very hard with the live streaming from the Açores. It makes a lot of sense.”
Meanwhile, Citroën Racing head Yves Matton has confirmed that the company’s DS3 R5 will be ready for use from January 2014. “The idea is to have the car ready for the rallies at the start of next year. It will be an ideal car for the European championship,” he said.
Meeke: live ERC TV is the ultimate for rally fans
Kris Meeke has urged fans not to miss the live coverage of round four of the FIA European Rally Championship next week.
ERC promoter Eurosport Events will produce for live broadcast six stages of SATA Rallye Açores, an event Meeke won in 2009 before finishing in second place one year later.
He said: “I don’t want to watch it, I want to be driving on the rally but fans love to be part of it and the Eurosport coverage is what everybody wants. You’re sitting with the driver in the car as he goes down the stage. It’s all very well watching highlights the week after the rally but the buzz and the adrenalin has gone. If you’re watching rallying live there’s no other sport like it.”
SATA Rallye Açores LIVE broadcast schedule*
Friday 26 April 2013
SS7: Feteiras 1 (7.54kms): 14:00hrs-14:30hrs (www.fiaerc.com)
SS8: Sete Cidades 1 (23.97kms): 14:30hrs-15:30hrs (Eurosport, RTP Açores)
SS11: Feteiras 2 (7.54kms): 18:30hrs-19:00hrs (www.fiaerc.com)
SS12: Sete Cidades 2 (23.97kms): 19:00hrs-20:00hrs (Eurosport, RTP Açores)
Saturday 27 April 2013
SS14: Tronqueira 1 (21.33kms): 12:15hrs-13:15hrs (Eurosport Player, RTP Açores)
SS19: Tronqueira 2 (21.33kms): 19:00hrs-20:00hrs (Eurosport)
* All timings are CET and subject to change
Stargazing in the ERC
A star-studded entry will ensure there’s serious competition ahead when the FIA European Rally Championship thunders back into life in Açores from 25-27 April.
Forty-two cars will line-up for the spectacular gravel event, which will feature live coverage on Eurosport, RTP Açores and the ERC’s official website, www.fiaerc.com.
The full entry list can be found by clicking here but here are some of the key highlights:
Six: Stages broadcast live
Nineteen: Special stages
One: Formula One race winner – Robert Kubica
Seventeen: Nations represented
Two: ERC Ladies’ Trophy participants
Three: National champions – Ricardo Moura (Açores, Portugal) and Mark Wallenwein (Germany)
One: World champion – Craig Breen (pictured)
One: ERC 2WD champion – Jan Černý
Two: Regional Rally Cars in action
Eleven: Manufacturers represented
In the spotlight: Molly Taylor
Leading female driver Molly Taylor will tackle eight rounds of this year’s FIA European Rally Championship, chasing points in the ERC 2WD Championship and ERC Ladies’ Trophy in the United Business Rally Team Citroën DS3 R3T she shares with British co-driver Sebastian Marshall. Taylor, who was inspired to take up rallying by her mother Coral, a successful navigator in her native Australia, achieved early success back home before stepping up to the British Rally Championship in 2009. Her performances in the UK earned the Sydney-born Taylor a shot at a Pirelli Star Driver scholarship for the inaugural WRC Academy in 2011. She was one of six drivers selected for the programme and impressed throughout the season. However, a lack of funds prevented her from continuing her career until management company, United Business, stepped in and handed her a programme of international rallies in the latter half of 2012.
– 7 Days
SATA Rallye Açores