Jean Todt, the President of motorsport’s world governing body, the FIA was an interested visitor to round 10 of the FIA European Rally Championship in Croatia last week.
President Todt visited the service park in host town Poreč and also followed the action as the battle for victory on the Croatia Rally drew to a close.
“I’m very happy that Eurosport Events is the promoter for the European Rally Championship,” President Todt told the Inside ERC programme. “And I’m very pleased to be here in Croatia. We attended the FIA World Council in Dubrovnik [on Friday]. It gave me the opportunity to refresh myself and to enjoy the rally atmosphere. Indeed, there is a new breeze in the European championship.
“Sometimes there is a big fight, ending with a battle for seconds on the last stage. Even more important, I noticed that the public is very enthusiastic and that’s very important for motorsport and its development. There are also very attractive rallies in the European championship and there is the new R5 category that several car manufacturers are interested in. That will make the rallies even more affordable.”
Italian legends gear up for Sanremo ERC thriller
Two of Italy’s best drivers, Paolo Andreucci and Giandomenico Basso, will both be in action when the FIA European Rally Championship resumes on Rallye Sanremo next week.
Multiple Italian champion Andreucci and two-time ERC title-winner Basso will go up against a host of regulars from the European championship on the legendary asphalt counter which is based in the Italian riviera town from 10-12 October.
And they will be evenly matched with both competing in Peugeot 207 Super 2000s, which were unbeatable in Sanremo from 2009-2011. It’s also the car of choice for Bryan Bouffier and Craig Breen. They are in a close battle for second place in the ERC standings with two rounds left.
The full Rallye Sanremo entry list will be published on Saturday 5 October. Keep visiting www.fiaerc.com for more information.
ŠKODA Motorsport boss backs ERC
ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek celebrated Jan Kopecký’s maiden FIA European Rally Championship title* by outlining the benefits the company enjoys by competing in the ERC.
The Czech manufacturer has helped the last two ERC drivers’ champions to the crown with Juho Hänninen winning in 2012 prior to Kopecký’s success alongside co-driver Pavel Dresler.
“We can increase the reputation of our brand image, promote ŠKODA and show the real product and the technology to the competition,” said Hrabánek.
Of ŠKODA’s plans for 2014, Hrabánek insisted that nothing had been finalised. “We are working continuously on our plans but I can assure you that we will stay in motorsport, in rally sport. What category and what car is still open, it’s too early to talk about this,” he said.
Peugeot optimistic as 208 T16 debut gets closer
Peugeot Sport boss Bruno Famin says he is “optimistic” that the 208 T16 will be on the pace when the R5-specification machine makes its FIA European Rally Championship debut next season.
The new-generation challenger was used as a course car on the Geko Ypres Rally ahead of its planned homologation on 1 January 2014.
“The car is almost for sale now,” said Famin. “We still have quite a lot of work to do but we have the time to finalise everything in absolute performance and reliability. We are optimistic but of course optimism is one thing but the race is another thing.”
Peugeot’s 208 T16 will be available for customer use only with no factory team planned. “There will be only one specification of car, the best one, and everyone will have the best one,” added Famin. “We will help all our customers in the same way, working on the set-up and giving this information to everybody.”
Champions crowned in the ERC*
Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler are not the only people celebrating in the FIA European Rally Championship after they clinched the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles respectively*.
Napoca Rally Academy put the ERC Production Car Cup for Teams beyond doubt with a strong result on the Croatia Rally where Molly Taylor clinched the ERC Ladies’ Trophy* (pictured).
GPD Mit Metal Racing Team and Eurosol-Honda Civic Type R have long since been uncatchable in the European Rally Championship for Teams and ERC 2WD Championship for Teams respectively.
With two rounds remaining, several titles have yet to be sewn up with the ERC Production Car Cup tightly poised heading to Rallye Sanremo next week.
*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA
In the spotlight: Hermann Gassner Jr
Once ranked as one of Germany’s brightest young stars, lack of finance has largely forced Hermann Gassner Jr to step off the international trail for 2013. The former German champion, 24, and Red Bull athlete has managed to make selected appearances in his homeland and in Europe this season alongside working as a mechanic for his father Hermann Sr’s preparation business, but his undoubted talent makes him worthy of more outings on higher-profile events. He finished third on the Croatia Rally in second place in the ERC Production Car Cup and hopes his performance will attracted much-needed financial support.