Category Archives: European Rallying News

Jännerrallye stages will thrill, says ERC’s Nicolas

Next year’s FIA European Rally Championship will get off to a spectacular start if the stages of the Jännerrallye are anything to go by.

That’s the view of ERC General Co-ordinator Jean Pierre Nicolas, a former international-level rally winner, following a drive through the Austrian event’s stages earlier last week.

The 30th running of the Freistadt-based rally will launch the new-look ERC from 3-5 January 2013 and Nicolas says the stages will provide the perfect setting for the season opener, which took place in snowy and icy conditions when it appeared on the ERC schedule for the first time earlier this year.

“Quite simply the stages are beautiful,” said Nicolas, who was accompanied by Eurosport Events’ Director of Editorial and Programme Development Gilbert Roy on a fact-finding mission to Freistadt. “The scenery is spectacular, the stages are great for the drivers, they are smooth, they are not bumpy at all and there is plenty of wide open areas to go through. There is definitely some serious competition ahead.”

With the event being filmed and post-produced for television coverage by Eurosport Events, the new ERC promoter, Nicolas and Roy also used the visit to earmark several static camera locations and determine some of the flight paths to be used by the helicopter that will follow the action and capture dramatic images during the course of the event.

Entries for the Jännerrallye close at 16:00hrs local time on 15 December and more information is available from http://www.jaennerrallye.at.

All crews with cars conforming to FIA Regional Rally Championship regulations will be eligible for ERC points with no registration required. Teams will have to register for the new Teams’ Championship, however, and can do so by visiting http://www.fia.com.

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Goodbye IRC; Hello ERC

Article by Liga Stirna.

Just two weeks ago the rallying world waved good-bye to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), and immediately plans for new European Rally Championship (ERC) were started. Organizers of the IRC, Eurosport Events, will be responsible for the revised and renewed ERC for next 10 years, and they promise a brand new approach to this Championship.

Compared to previous ERC, the new-look 2013 series might feature fewer rounds one the calendar, but it has more consistency and new additions to the rallying world to enjoy. For these 13 rallies, some “big name” events have been lost and some new countries have appeared on the list: we here in Baltics are especially proud of the inclusion of Rally Liepāja-Ventspils in 2013 ERC. Considering the high level of rally organization in Latvia, we can promise a great and safe event!

Before the final ERC calendar was finalised, a press conference was held in Riga where the inclusion of the Latvian Rally Liepāja-Ventspils in ERC as the season’s second round and first gravel/snow event was announced. In this press conference, the IRC Commercial Director Mr. Antonello Ledoletti spoke about the visions of revised ERC.

Q: How much of the IRC philosophy will you keep in ERC?
AL: “Basically we’ll keep all our philosophy and more. The same passion, with more and more passion. We’ll keep our experience in IRC, our business model to realize it in the fantastic European championship. We want to say that this won’t be a switch [from IRC to ERC], but this will be real takeover. We are sure that it will be good for teams, for drivers, for everybody, as in the end it will be a true European Rally Championship title. We will transfer all our experience from the IRC to the ERC.”

Q: Taking in account that there will be just 13 events in ERC, you will create fierce rivalry between rallies. How are you going to judge them, as Rally Liepāja – Ventspils never will be like Rally Monte Carlo, for example?
AL: “A lot of elements will be taken in consideration: local promoter, support from local authorities, support from sponsors, and government. And, last but not least, the beauty of the country. Don’t forget that rally is also about landscape: in TV that looks spectacular. For Latvia, of course, we have fingers crossed for snow, then this rally will be even more spectacular.”

Q: Will this new Championship be driver-dedicated?
AL: “Our intention is to follow the same mentality of the IRC and also to make the ERC open for new and young drivers, but also for the stars that wants to participate. We’d like to have the same open-minded approach to receive all the teams and drivers, and why not to make new stars as we’ve done until now for the future. ERC will be a championship for teams and drivers, not car manufacturers.”

Q: What about cars and classes?
AL: “We are open to all classes as out interest is to have more participants. We want to be open for teams, drivers, everyone. Of course there are sporting regulations, but we will try to maintain this with he FIA.”

Q: Are you satisfied with TV viewers’ interest for rally?
AL: “The audience of the IRC has reached more than 120 million houses in Europe and everything looks fine for rallying with this new deal with the FIA. Last year we had more than 100 million of viewers all around the world.”

Q: Are you planning to continue to broadcast live stages?
AL: “Yes, we’re planning to do that. But unfortunately, not from the Latvian rally. As you can understand, this is a very huge involvement from us with a lot of matters, first of all, financial, so for the moment just some stages from some rallies will be live.”

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53e Rallye Sanremo, Sanremo 22-24 09 2011

Opel returns to rallying!

Opel is returning to motor racing in the form of an internationally oriented rally program with the new Opel ADAM. “These new motorsports activities play an important role in the strategic re-alignment of the company; they are a fundamental element of our brand profile,” says Dr. Thomas Sedran, Opel’s Deputy CEO. Especially in grassroots, popular sports, the Ruesselsheim carmaker can look back on a long and successful tradition. The aim of the company is to create a new competition that appeals to customers which is both technically sophisticated and reasonably priced, while at the same time providing a platform for young ambitious drivers to continuously develop their talent.

With its commitment to rallying, Opel has the European stage now in its sights. After all, beyond the core market of Germany, there is a strong interest in rallying in all of the key European markets of the brand. Moreover, the World Motor Sport Authority FIA also has fixed regulations that provide entry points and advancement opportunities for young drivers. A rally cup version of the new Opel ADAM, which has been closely specified to FIA R2 standards, will be used in the 2013 season. As part of the “ADAC Rally Masters” race series these customer cars will compete in a branded cup (” ADAC Opel Rally Cup “). The allure of the competition is also increased by the fact that the most successful drivers can expect to win cash prizes. In addition, there is a special “junior rally” points system for drivers younger than 27 years. The overall winner of a set of final trials will get special coaching in the next season.

As a strong partner Opel was able to gain an ally in the ADAC that shares an almost identical vision for new talent development. Above all, the ADAC uses its organisational and motorsport infrastructure for the common project. Opel’s strategy has been devised to last initially until 2016. After that a modular development program has been envisaged where talented rally drivers can graduate from the “ADAC Opel Rally Cup” to an international level. In the first two of four stages, the ADAM will be employed. In stages three and four the next generation Opel Corsa is expected to be the rally vehicle.

The most successful era of the company’s rally history began in the mid-seventies. It was quite literally “driven” by the German driver, Walter Roehrl, one of the all-time top rally pilots. During his time with Opel, he and his Ascona A won the European championship title in 1974 and again in with the Ascona B in 1979. The crowning glory of the Regensburg man’s era was his world championship title in 1982. He achieved this with his legendary Ascona 400.

The new-look European Rally Championship gets a new logo too

To signal the beginning of the new-look FIA European Rally Championship from 2013, the promoter, Eurosport Events, has unveiled a new official logo and launched a new strapline, “Serious Competition Ahead”.

Designed to reflect the modern and fresh approach of the revamped ERC, the striking logo underlines the exciting nature of the all-action ERC, while the inclusion of a star re-enforces the European-centric nature of the championship, which will visit 13 countries across the continent next season. At the same time, Eurosport Events was keen for the logo to be a departure from the existing IRC and ERC designs, while, at the same time different from the current FIA World Rally Championship logo.

François Ribeiro, Motorsport Development Director of Eurosport Events, said: “We wanted a logo that was modern, that creates a strong identity that also promotes the championship’s European roots, while ensuring an appearance that differentiates the ERC from other motorsport series. We believe we have achieved these aims. At the same time, “Serious Competition Ahead” describes the ERC in a nutshell as we prepare to witness some fantastic action on the stages between great drivers and teams. It’s very positive to see the level of interest the ERC has generated since we have announced our agreement with the FIA one month and a half ago. We have no doubt competition will be high in 2013 in the drivers’ and teams’ championships.”

Eurosport Events has also launched a new Twitter page under the @FIAERC domain. The new official ERC Facebook page will be launched with a revamped ERC website due to go live in mid-December.