The FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission, in partnership with the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, united forces last weekend for the first-ever joint conference for Women in Motorsports. Hosted in Vierumäki, Finland, the conference brought together more than 100 representatives from 25 countries across every continent to provide a broader view of what it is to be a woman in sport today.

The historic event was opened by FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission Director, Nita Korhonen, and more than 40 international speakers – including those from outside the motor sport world – shared experiences and expert knowledge during the two-day conference.

The key trends regarding women’s involvement in sport, as well as the evolution of their participation, were discussed and enhanced by inspirational stories from riders, drivers and engineers who have forged successful careers through passion and relentless determination. The motor sport industry and the development of products specifically for women provided an interesting insight into how companies are positioning themselves in the female segment, and a motivational panel discussion from women in leadership positions underlined how it is possible to reach the top, not only in motor sport but also in a wide diversity of federations and companies.

Targeting the next generation of competitors and volunteers was another key topic, as well as the importance of sponsorship, branding, social media and personal positioning. Tiina Lehmonen, one of the founding members of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission and one of the Sporting Co-ordinators for its Girls on Track initiative, talked about the success of the Federation’s European Young Women Programme and the measures in place to help encourage young girls to give motor sport a try.

In addition to a host of riders and drivers, insights from Ulla Kulju, the world’s first paraplegic female rider to race in a circuit racing world championship, as well as a five-time cross country ski Olympic medallist and World Champion, ice hockey and volleyball coaches, federation and industry representatives highlighted the many common challenges faced by women in sport. A number of Finnish regional representatives, as well as the country’s Minister for Development, Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Ville Skinnari, also attended, underlining their support for the progression of women’s sport. 

Colombian racer and Women in Motorsport Ambassador, Tatiana Calderón, was one of the inspirational speakers representing the FIA’s Commission. “It was an amazing experience to be part of the first Women in Motorsports Conference, to share the stories, the experiences and the challenges we all have faced and to realise that they are very similar to the two-wheel world,” said the Alfa Romeo Formula One Team test driver and FIA Formula 2 racer. “I had the chance to meet inspirational women as drivers, riders, engineers and team members, among others, and it has been a very productive weekend where we discussed a lot of plans we can put into action to continue making the difference. It was such an honour to represent the FIA at such a great event.”

Leena Gade, another Ambassador for the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission in the field of engineering, also joined the conference, explaining the challenges she faced on her journey to becoming the first female race engineer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, not once, but three times.

Photos: Taneli Niinimaki

After winning the inaugural FIA World Endurance GT Driver’s Championship title in 2017 with Italian teammate Alessandro Pier Guidi,  James Calado spent the 2018/19 Super Season trying to win the coveted title again for himself and Ferrari.  

However, it wasn’t to be but the Anglo-Italian partnership did win two of the eight races, including finishing the season on a high note by winning the LMGTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.  Calado and Pier Guidi finished the 2018/19 season as Vice Champions, just 18.5 points behind the Porsche pairing of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen.

After a short four week break the teams gathered in Barcelona for The Prologue, the official pre season test, and we caught up with James Calado as he and his team prepare for the new season that begins at Silverstone on Sunday 1 September.

“It’s nice to be back at it again; not a lot of time since Le Mans.  Silverstone is the first race, which is great for the British drivers.  I love the Silverstone circuit, it’s a fantastic track and I am really looking forward to getting started with the new season.

“Going from Le Mans we’ve got a great chance, we showed some performance and I am looking forward to the whole season.

“Winning Le Mans was very special.  We prepared very hard.  We took a different approach, a more reliable approach as we wanted to keep the car as fresh as possible for the end of the race. We know that the car is very fragile, so strategy was a big part of it and to get the win was amazing, I think I have only just come down from it.  

“It’s been mental since the win but now we need to forget that and concentrate on a new season and on the next Le Mans.  We just need to keep pushing and get the best result for Ferrari.”

The 4 Hours of Silverstone is Round 1 of the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship season which takes place in the UK from Thursday 30 August until Sunday 1 September.

 

 

Quotes from the top three drivers on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, round six of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship, appear below.

Barum Czech Rally Zlín, FIA European Rally Championship Round 6 of 8

18 August 2019

Jan Kopecký, ŠKODA Motorsport, first position

Q:

How would you evaluate your performance on this rally?

JK:

This rally was very beautiful for us. We’ve reached our target, which was to win the overall classification, and also the Czech championship. I’m glad that Martin Vlček who crashed on the last stage is okay and in good condition. That is the most important news I’ve heard. I also want to say thanks to all the spectators and all the fans. They were a huge motivation for us. In the beginning it was a close fight with both Russian guys, Alexey and Nikolay. They are really crazy. I’d also like to thank our team for helping us to reach victory.

Q:

Now you’ve won this rally eight times, will you come back to try to win for a ninth time in 2020?

JK:

We will see what happens next year. Still I like the driving so if I have the chance with a good team, then I will come.

Q:

And you’re the Czech champion again?

JK:

I don’t want to be the Czech champion again! I would like to do more European rallies or something like this, but we will see what happens next year.

Q:

It’s been a great day for Czech Republic with Filip Mareš winning the ERC1 Junior title. What do you think of his performance?

JK:

I think he was really great. Also, Chris Ingram did a really great job because Filip has a really great mentor from here, Roman Kresta, so for him I think it’s a small advantage. I hope that next year that these two guys will be a bit more in the front. They will join the Russian guys because they were absolutely amazing.

Filip Mareš, ACCR Czech Rally Team, second position (ERC1 Junior first position)

Q:

What an incredible day for you Filip, how are you feeling?

FM:

For sure, it was a really close battle between me and Chris, so for sure I am now really happy with this result. We are ERC1 Junior champions so it was the result we hoped for. I don’t know what to say more because I am just happy.

Q:

How stressful has this day been?

FM:

For sure it was, but this is what we love in rallying. So, this battle was just amazing. I hope the spectators enjoy this fight as we do. We are the happiest in the finish, so very good weekend for us.

Q:

Two more rallies now in Cyprus and Hungary to prove your talent even more. How good is that?

FM:

It’s fantastic because if I’m right we a chance to be on the podium overall in ERC, which is quite good, and definitely we want to try it.

Q:

How important has the Czech federation been in making you a champion?

FM:

It’s very important for me for my future career. You know, Czech federation has supported me for many years, so it’s important and thanks to this support I am here, I have a possibility to compete here in ERC with this amazing car from Kresta Racing, so it’s important.

Q:

Do you have a set plan for 2020?

FM:

No, now we are the champions in ERC1 Junior which is the most important for me, because probably I will start on the next two rounds of the ERC, which is fantastic because my season would probably stop on this race and after this race. Now we are continuing with ERC championship, so it’s good and we will see what happens next year.

Chris Ingram, Toksport WRT, third position (ERC1 Junior second position)

Q:

It wasn’t the title you’ve worked so hard for but you must be proud?

CI:

Yes, very proud. It’s been an incredible fight, the best fight ever. It’ll just make me a stronger driver. I’ve proven to myself that I’ve got the pace. I’ve been putting too much pressure on myself this season and pushing too hard and we’ve been slower than last year. Until here so I just tried to relax and I was driving like myself again. At times we ran really good pace. So it’s promising.

Q:

It was a very determined drive all weekend…

CI:

It’s been a rubbish year really until now. I’ve been putting way too much pressure on myself, been in a bad place mentally and not driving like me, but I’ve proven to myself here that by relaxing as much as possible we have got the pace, definitely. It’s a shame to miss out on the Juniors and the money because it’s been all about budget this year and that’s why the pressure’s been on so, so much. But we’ve got the speed, so we need to find a way to carry on and fight for the overall title. That’s one of my life ambitions. I need to stay positive and stay focused on that, it’s the only way.

Q:

You’re now leading the overall championship by one point but in need of budget to compete in Cyprus and Hungary. What can you do?

CI:

As soon as we finish the podium, start thinking! The Junior title would have been nice, but it was about the money. It’s about the overall title, but I needed the money, I need to find the money.I’ve got to stay positive. I’m leading the European Rally Championship: I need to find a way to carry on because I don’t have any money. I owe my team a lot of money, but I’ve got to find a way to carry on and win that, because if I win that, this won’t even matter.

*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA

Ken Torn had initially celebrated ERC3 Junior title success only for class winner Jean-Baptiste Franceschi’s original notional time for stage 15 to be adjusted after it emerged that a technical problem had struck, dropping the Frenchman to fourth in class and promoting Efén Llarena to first place.

FIA European Rally Championship 2019, Round 6 of 8

Barum Czech Rally Zlín ERC3 leg two report: 18 August 2019

The one extra day point for Llarena means he takes the Pirelli-supported championship by a single point ahead of Torn.

“We were always on the limit with some big moments like all the drivers,” said Llarena. “We knew we needed to win and we deserved it. We were working too hard for two years not to win and we thank the Spanish federation a lot for all the support. We were very fast on all the rallies and my team did a very good job. Me and Sara [Fernández, co-driver] worked a lot, not just with the pacenotes but on the car. We tried to be more professional and work as hard as possible. We improved a lot during the year.”

Franceschi fell to fourth with fellow Ford Fiesta R2T driver Erik Cais promoted to second and Sindre Furuseth to third as Torn came home in fifth.

Trouble had struck Torn’s hopes when he lost nearly two minutes on the first pass of Kašava. He’d been battling ACCR Czech Rally Team driver Cais for fourth place but fell well behind to fifth, meaning a Llarena victory could potentially give the Spaniard the title.

But Franceschi intervened, having passed Llarena for the lead on the same stage as Torn lost his time. Franceschi increased his advantage by 1.3s on Maják and though Llarena clawed that time back on Pindula, with the final stage of the rally halted after a crashed car blocked the road, Frenchman Franceschi appeared to have secured his second ERC3 Junior win of 2019 with Llarena four seconds behind and seemingly seven points down on Torn in the title battle.

Sindre Furuseth, who had an outside shot at the championship prior to the Czech Republic finale, fell to fourth behind Cais on the penultimate stage of the rally.

Ex-downhill mountain bike racer Cais impressed throughout Sunday, going 6.6s faster than anyone else across leg two’s six stages to score his second consecutive podium.

Though Torn had struggled for pace, he thrived on Pindula and demoted both Florian Bernardi to sixth and Yohan Rossel (Peugeot Rally Academy) to seventh, beating Bernardi to fifth in ERC3 by only 0.6s.

Miklós Csomós (East Motorsport Kft.), René Dohnal (ACCR Czech Rally Team) and Orhan Avcioğlu (Toksport WRT) rounded out the top 10. Turkish driver Avcioğlu broke into the top 10 at the last moment, overtaking Sean Johnston on the afternoon pass of Pindula and pipping the Saintéloc Junior Team driver by just 0.6s after the American was delayed by a puncture.

Outside the ERC3 top 10, Petr Semerád demonstrated what might have been after his first-class stage win on leg one. He caught and passed the only remaining ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team machine of Elias Lundberg for sixth in ERC3 Junior on Pindula, the position Lundberg’s team-mate Grégoire Munster had occupied before retiring with a technical problem.

Nabila Tejbar scored a last-gasp ERC Ladies’ Trophy victory over former champion Ekaterina Stratieva, gaining nearly half a minute on Pindula to secure the award by just 7.2s.

LEG ONE ERC3 REPORT:Click here for leg one ERC3 report

Live timing and results: https://www.fiaerc.com/live-timing/

What’s next? Round 7 of 8, Cyprus Rally, 27-29 September: While the 2019 ERC3 Junior season has concluded, the battle for ERC3 glory continues on the Cyprus Rally, which has put car and crew to a significant test since 1970. And while the current format is a little less taxing than it once was, underestimating the challenging nature of this rallying heavyweight would be a big mistake. Although fundamentally a gravel rally, some Tarmac sections feature, while punishing ambient and ground temperatures are often a factor. The Nicosia-based event will continue to feature a street stage through the United Nations-controlled Buffer Zone between Nicosia’s Greek Cypriot and Turkish inhabited areas. Information/ accreditation: Petros Soutzis, psoutzis@cytanet.com.cy

*Home hero Mareš wins ERC1 Junior title by 0.3s ahead of Ingram *Llarena beats Torn and Furuseth to ERC3 Junior gold following three-way fight *Thousands watch Kopecký bag his fifth consecutive outright win in Zlín *Nucita secures ERC2 and Abarth Rally Cup double in style *Ten points separate top three in overall ERC standings with two rallies remaining

FIA European Rally Championship 2019, Round 6 of 8

Barum Czech Rally Zlín leg two report: 18 August 2019

Filip Mareš and Efrén Llarena have given their hopes of further career progression a huge lift by capturing the FIA ERC1 Junior and FIA ERC3 Junior titles respectively on Barum Czech Rally Zlín*.

While Jan Kopecký and ŠKODA Motorsport co-driver Pavel Dreslercelebrated a fifth consecutive victory on this tremendously challenging sealed-surface event, Kopecký’s eighth in total, Mareš and Llarena can now look forward to two fantastic prize-drive opportunities.

Mareš, who competes for the Autoclub of Czech Republic-backed ACCR Czech Rally Team, will receive 100,000 euros from ERC promoter Eurosport Events to contest the season-closing events in Cyprus and Hungary alongside co-driver Jan Hloušek.

Real Federación Española de Automovilismo (RFEDA)-backed Llarena, meanwhile, gets two rounds of the 2020 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship in an R5 car run by Motorsport Italia as his prize.

Significantly, both ERC Junior champions received direct support from their respective ASNs as part of ongoing efforts by Eurosport Events to provide a stepping stone from national to international level.

“Now we are the champions in ERC1 Junior we will start on the next two rounds of the ERC, which is fantastic because my season would probably stop after this race,” said Mareš. “It was a really close battle between me and Chris, so for sure I am now really happy with this result. The Czech federation has supported me for many years and it’s thanks to this support that I am here. Thanks also to Kresta Racing for this amazing car.”

Ken Torn had initially celebrated ERC3 Junior title success only for class winner Jean-Baptiste Franceschi’s original notional time for stage 15 to be adjusted after a technical problem struck, dropping the Frenchman to fourth in class and promoting Llarena to first place. The one extra day point for Llarena means he takes the title by a single point ahead of Torn.

“We were always on the limit with some big moments like all the drivers,” said Llarena. “We knew we needed to win and we deserved it. We were working too hard for two years not to win and we thank the Spanish federation a lot for all the support. We were very fast on all the rallies and my team did a very good job. Me and Sara [Fernández, co-driver] worked a lot, not just with the pacenotes but on the car. We tried to be more professional and work as hard as possible. We improved a lot during the year.”

But while the ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior titles have been decided for 2019 subject to the confirmation of the results by the FIA, the battle for the overall crown still rages with two events remaining. Although Ingram suffered the huge disappointment of missing out on the ERC1 Junior crown to Mareš by 0.3s, the Toksport WRT driver has moved to the top of the overall FIA European Rally Championship standings. He’s one point ahead of reigning champion Alexey Lukyanuk, whose bid for maximum leg two bonus points following his Sunday restart were wrecked by a puncture on the final stage.

As well as his ERC1 Junior title success, Mareš celebrated his best ERC finish to date by following Kopecký home in second place with Ingram taking third ahead of Czech Tomáš Kostka, double ERC Junior champion Marijan Griebel from Germany and Austrian ERC1 Junior newcomer Simon Wagner, who secured third place in the category for young stars in R5 cars.

Sicilian Andrea Nucita grabbed an ERC2/Abarth Rally Cup double with Pole Dariusz Poloński restarting to finish second in the Abarth Rally Cup and third in ERC2 behind Argentine Juan Carlos Alonso.

Łukasz Habaj had been due to start first on the road on day two in P10 overall but he was prevented from doing so when it was discovered his Fabia R5’s roll cage had been damaged during an off on Saturday. As a result, the former title leader was a non-scorer in Czech Republic and slips to third in the overall standings, albeit 10 points behind new pacesetter Ingram.

Leg Two round-up: Mares beats Ingram by 0.3s in thrilling Barum Czech Rally Zlín finale

Filip Mareš fought Chris Ingram tooth and nail to take the ERC1 Junior title by just 0.3s, as Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport) was unchallenged for victory out front after Alexey Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team) and Nikolay Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies) – who was using the second of his prize drives as last year’s ERC1 Junior champion – both hit trouble on Saturday.

But behind the now eight-time Barum Czech Rally Zlín winner, Mareš and Ingram were swapping positions on almost every stage, trading only a handful of seconds on each stage.

Unhappy with the twisty nature of the Maják test at the start of the afternoon loop, Ingram lost three seconds to Mareš and fell to second in class, only to fight back into a lead of 0.6s by beating his Czech rival on the iconic Pindula. That created a tense showdown on the event-closing Kašava stage, which Mareš completed 0.9s ahead of Ingram after the Briton ran wide at the penultimate corner.

Ingram may have missed out on the ERC1 Junior title, but his third place overall has put him one point ahead of Lukyanuk in the overall ERC classification, with Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) a further nine behind after the Pole retired with rollcage damage in Sunday morning service.

Tomáš Kostka (Kresta Racing) finished just one place away from a fourth ERC podium in fourth place, mirroring Mareš and Ingram’s times closely but falling back slightly as the day wore on.

Double ERC Junior champion Marijan Griebel took a much-needed top five finish after a difficult season, taking a cautious approach on the notoriously tricky stages and gradually moving up the leaderboard during the weekend.

Simon Wagner’s ERC1 Junior debut was a highly successful one, the Austrian scoring a class podium and sixth place overall on his first European championship start in an R5 car.  Driving the new ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo, Wagner overcame a stomach bug on Saturday to climb the leaderboard, retaking the final ERC1 Junior podium spot after Nikolay Gryazin struck a bridge and broke the rear-left corner of his older-spec Fabia when he crashed heavily on Sunday’s second stage.

Jaromír Tarabus finished seventh and looked set to be followed home by Vojtěch Štajf, but the ACCR Czech Rally Team captain crashed out on the final stage of the rally, promoting Tomáš Pospíšilík to eighth instead. Pospíšilík, one of the original competitors in the first ERC Junior event back in 2014, secured fourth place in ERC1 Junior on his category debut, his one-minute loss with a puncture on Maják not posing any obstacle to scoring his first overall top 10 finish in ERC.

Martin Březík (Samohýl ŠKODA Team) picked up ninth place after Martin Vlček (Hyundai Kowax Racing) retired close to the finish of the final stage, while Efrén Llarena completed the top 10 in his ERC3 Junior-winning Peugeot 208 R2.

Nucita takes Zlín win but Alonso takes ERC2 lead

Andrea Nucita scored his first outright win in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, but second place for Juan Carlos Alonso gave the Argentine the title lead.

Nucita, who also won the Abarth Rally Cup for Loran SRL, was handed a clear path to victory when arch rival Dariusz Poloński retired with transmission failure on Saturday, although the Pole returned on Sunday to score an ERC2 podium and second in the Abarth Rally Cup.

Alonso had issues of his own on Saturday with a broken limited-slip differential costing him several minutes. But he hung on to score his third podium of the year to take a five-point title lead over Nucita.

Zelindo Melegari had led ERC2 heading to the Czech Republic but crashed out on leg one. Both he and co-driver Corrado Bonato are recovering in hospital having sustained rib injuries.

Late result change hands Llarena ERC3 glory

Ken Torn appeared to have won the ERC3 Junior title but following an adjustment to the notional time awarded to Jean-Baptiste Franceschi on the halted stage 15, Efrén Llarena was promoted from second to first in class, which gave the Spaniard the championship – and two ERC1 Junior prize drives in 2020 – by a single point ahead of Estonian Torn.

Franceschi fell to fourth with fellow Ford Fiesta R2T driver Erik Cais promoted to second and Sindre Furuseth to third as Torn came home in fifth.

Trouble had struck Torn’s hopes when he lost nearly two minutes on the first pass of Kašava. He’d been battling ACCR Czech Rally Team driver Cais for fourth place but fell well behind to fifth, meaning a Llarena victory could potentially give the Spaniard the title.

But Franceschi intervened, having passed Llarena for the lead on the same stage as Torn lost his time. Franceschi increased his advantage by 1.3s on Maják and though Llarena clawed that time back on Pindula, with the final stage of the rally halted after a crashed car blocked the road, Frenchman Franceschi appeared to have secured his second ERC3 Junior win of 2019 with Llarena four seconds behind and seemingly seven points down on Torn in the title battle.

Sindre Furuseth, who had an outside shot at the championship prior to the Czech Republic finale, fell to fourth behind Cais on the penultimate stage of the rally.

Ex-downhill mountain bike racer Cais impressed throughout Sunday, going 6.6s faster than anyone else across leg two’s six stages to score his second consecutive podium.

Though Torn had struggled for pace, he thrived on Pindula and demoted both Florian Bernardi to sixth and Yohan Rossel (Peugeot Rally Academy) to seventh, beating Bernardi to fifth in ERC3 by only 0.6s.

Miklós Csomós (East Motorsport Kft.), René Dohnal (ACCR Czech Rally Team) and Orhan Avcioğlu (Toksport WRT) rounded out the top 10. Turkish driver Avcioğlu broke into the top 10 at the last moment, overtaking Sean Johnston on the afternoon pass of Pindula and pipping the Saintéloc Junior Team driver by just 0.6s after the American was delayed by a puncture.

Outside the ERC3 top 10, Petr Semerád demonstrated what might have been after his first-class stage win on leg one. He caught and passed the only remaining ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team machine of Elias Lundberg for sixth in ERC3 Junior on Pindula, the position Lundberg’s team-mate Grégoire Munster had occupied before retiring with a technical problem.

Nabila Tejbar scored a last-gasp ERC Ladies’ Trophy victory over former champion Ekaterina Stratieva, gaining nearly half a minute on Pindula to secure the award by just 7.2s.

LEG ONE REPORT: Click here for leg one report

LEG ONE ERC3 REPORT: Click here for leg one ERC3 report

PROVISIONAL TOP 10 POSITIONS (after 15 stages, 219.63 kilometres)

1 Jan Kopecký (CZE)/Pavel Dresler (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo 2h05m17.4s

2 Filip Mareš (CZE)/Jan Hloušek (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5 1m31.5s

3 Chris Ingram (GBR)/Ross Whittock (GBR) ŠKODA Fabia R5 1m31.8s

4 Tomáš Kostka (CZE)/Ladislav Kučera (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo 1m51.1

5 Marijan Griebel (DEU)/Pirmin Winklhofer (DEU) ŠKODA Fabia R5 2m49.7s

6 Simon Wagner (AUT)/Gerald Winter (AUT) ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo 3m07.9s

7 Jaromír Tarabus (CZE)/Daniel Trunkát (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5 3m15.4s

8 Tomáš Pospíšilík (CZE)/Jiří Hovorka (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5 5m38.5s

9 Martin Březík (CZE)/Marek Omelka (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5 6m51.9s

10 Efrén Llarena (ESP)/Sara Fernández (ESP) Peugeot 208 R2 10m36.6s

FIA ERC2: Andrea Nucita (ITA)/Bernardo Di Caro (ITA) Abarth 124 rally

FIA ERC3: Efrén Llarena (ESP)/Sara Fernández (ESP) Peugeot 208 R2

FIA ERC1 Junior: Filip Mareš (CZE)/Jan Hloušek (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5

FIA ERC3 Junior: Efrén Llarena (ESP)/Sara Fernández (ESP) Peugeot 208 R2

Abarth Rally Cup: Andrea Nucita (ITA)/Bernardo Di Caro (ITA) Abarth 124 rally

ERC Ladies’ Trophy: Nabila Tejpar (GBR) Peugeot 208 R2

Click here for full provisional results, stage classifications, retirements and other data or follow this link: https://www.fiaerc.com/live-timing/.

RALLY LEADERS

SS1-SS2: Kopecký/Dresler

SS3: Gryazin/Fedorov

SS4-SS5: Lukyanuk/Arnautov

SS6-SS15:Kopecký/Dresler

STAGE WINNERS

Full list of stage winners available in attached file.

KEY STATISTICS:

ERC rally wins in 2019: Basso, Habaj, Kopecký, López, Lukyanuk and Solberg 1

ERC stage wins in 2019: Lukyanuk 31; Crugnola 13; Solberg 10; Kopecký 6; Habaj and López 5; Gryazin, and Loubet 4; Huttunen and Teodósio 3; Ingram 2; Basso, Campedelli, Marczyk, Moura and Suárez 1

CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS: Click here the provisional positions after 6/8.

LIVE TIMING AND RESULTS: https://www.fiaerc.com/live-timing/

Day two newsfeed: https://youtu.be/u6i3KXpU9Fg

What’s next? Round 7 of 8, Cyprus Rally, 27-29 September: The Cyprus Rally has put car and crew to a significant test since 1970. And while the current format is a little less taxing than it once was, underestimating the challenging nature of this rallying heavyweight is a big mistake. Although fundamentally a gravel rally, some Tarmac sections feature, while punishing ambient and ground temperatures are a factor. Returning to Nicosia for 2019 has resulted in mountain stages around the capital being revived. The street stage through the United Nations-controlled Buffer Zone between Nicosia’s Greek Cypriot and Turkish inhabited areas continues remains on the combined ERC and Middle East rally. Information/ accreditation: Petros Soutzis, psoutzis@cytanet.com.cy

*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA

Norway’s Thomas Bryntesson recorded his first FIA European Rallycross Championship victory of the season at the standalone Euro RX round four, presented by Monster Energy, at a sodden Estering in Germany.

The TBRX driver took his Volkswagen Polo across the line ahead of championship leader Robin Larsson, of Sweden, with Germany’s Rene Muennich third. 

Bryntesson started from the front row in the final alongside pole-sitter Larsson and was able to dominate the race after a good launch off the line and a safe passage around the all-important turn one. 

Heavy morning rain had made track surface at the famous Estering circuit treacherous. By the time of the final, the rain had eased but Bryntesson was able to master the tricky conditions nonetheless despite suffering a puncture during the final.

The Norwegian had finished second at the opening round in Great Britain, third at Hell, Norway and seventh after a bout of engine trouble in Sweden. 

“I am super happy for the team because we have been working really hard. It’s the first season in Euro Supercar for the team and it’s all new so to get a win here at such a famous track like Estering feels really good,” 23-year-old Bryntesson said.

“I got a really good start and good traction out of the first corner which is really important at Estering. I just tried to spare the tyres because the track was drying up a little. 

“I got a puncture just before the joker lap so I had to use the handbrake to get in to the joker but it worked out well and we got the win. 

“We lost a lot of points in Holjes with the engine failure but to score some good points here is important for the championship.”

Larsson, who had an unblemished record heading to Germany after wins in all three opening rounds, had set the weekend pace through qualifying and posted a dominant semi-final win and looked set to continue the winning sequence.

However, the Swede struggled to get off the line cleanly from pole position in the final in his JC Raceteknik Audi S1 and despite hounding Bryntesson in the early stages, could not get the better of the Norwegian. 

“Of course you always want to win but I don’t think we could do much more in the final. It was really slippery and (Thomas) Bryntesson is a really good driver so P2 and almost maximum points is good for me,” Larsson said.

“The start is really important here and I was on pole in the semi and the final and I couldn’t get good traction off the line. We’ll review the whole race weekend and analyse it closely and we’ll come back stronger in France.”

Muennich, the team boss of ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport squad, was delighted to secure a podium finish on home ground in his Seat Ibiza.

“It’s a great feeling to get a podium after 12 years of rallycross here in Germany,” he said. “There was a lot of support for me and the team here so it was good to give the fans something to cheer about.

“The track was difficult because the conditions were changing all the time. Really wet, then drying but very slippery in some parts. We were not sure what set-up we should use or what tyres we should use. But in the end it was the same for everyone. 

“I am so pleased to finish the weekend on a good note.”

Fourth was Sweden’s Pontus Tidemand who had a mixed weekend in the Eklund Motorsport Volkswagen Beetle. He was P4 after day one but dropped to P10 after Q3 when he stalled the car at the start but still managed the win in Race 2. 

In Q4, he had a spin at the exit to turn one and eventually scrambled in to the semi-finals in P10. Again, he struck trouble in semi-final two getting turned around into turn one and dropping to the back of the order. He produced yet another stunning recovery just to reach the final.

Fifth was Peter Hedstrom in the Hedstroms Motorsport VW Polo despite jumping the start and incurring a double joker lap penalty. The Swede finished just ahead of Jean-Baptiste Dubourg’s Peugeot 208. 

Larsson maintains his lead of the championship on 117 points. Bryntesson’s victory took him to a clear second on 95 ahead of JB Debourg on 83 and Munnich on 70. 

Tamas Karai looked set to challenge for honours in the final but had a messy semi-final which ended with his Audi A1 contacting the barriers at turn one dropping the Hungarian to last place in his semi. 

Munnich’s German team-mate Mandie August reached the semi-final as did the younger of the Dubourg brothers Andrea along with Lithuania’s Paulius Pleskovas, Norway’s Sondre Evjen and Mikko Ikonen, of Finland.

Christer Dalmans, in the second of the Hedstroms Motorsport Volkswagen Polos narrowly missed the semi-finals on his Euro RX debut. “I had a great experience. This was only the third time I had driven in the wet so it was quite challenging – and fun at the same time,” he said. 

Czech driver, Ales Fucik, also in a VW Polo, was progressing towards qualifying for the semi-finals but was unable to start Q4 due to a broken front differential sustained in contact with the barrier in Q3 and finished at the tail of the weekend’s standings.

Estering ended early for Portugal’s Mario Barbosa. His Citroen DS3 suffered a broken camshaft in free practice on Friday and saw no further action.

In Euro RX Super1600, Volland Racing’s Yuri Belevskiy scored his first ever European rallycross victory. He won the final in front of Hungary’s Gergely Marton and Norway’s Marius Bermingrud. Championship leader Aydar Nuriev was fourth.

 

“I really don’t know how to describe how great it feels to get my first win at such an historic rallycross tack as Estering,” a delighted Belevskiy said. 

“This first win is very memorable both for me and the team. Before the weekend I thought I would do well just to reach the semi-finals because when I have been here before I haven’t suited this track, so this is a welcome surprise.”

 

Russia’s Marat Knyazev made the best start in the final and took the hole shot but was contacted in the first corner melee and lost ground, before making a mistake at turn two. Artur Egorov ran third early in the race but crashed into a barrier when taking his joker lap, putting him out of contention.

 

Russia’s Egor Sanin initially qualified for the final but was handed a five-second penalty for contact in this semi, which promoted Egorov into the final.

 

Nuriev continues to lead the points on 110, with Marton second on 88 and Egorov third with 72.

The championship for Euro Supercar and Super1600 now moves to Loheac in France for round five from August 31 to September 1.

Full results and standings here.

Jan Kopecký is leading the FIA European Rally Championship classification after nearest rivals Alexey Lukyanuk and Nikolay Gryazin hit trouble, but all eyes are on a breathtakingly close battle for the ERC1 Junior title.

Behind 2013 ERC champion Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport), Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) and Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) took centre stage, the pair battling over a 100,000 euro prize to compete on the last two rounds of the ERC season for being the top young star in an R5 car.

Reigning ERC1 Junior champion Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies) had initially been ahead of both his fellow young stars and fighting for the overall lead until a puncture cost him two minutes, turning the lead battle into a Kopecký versus Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team) affair.

But when Lukyanuk was forced to retire after a front-left puncture on the latter pass of Halenkovice damaged his front-left suspension – a near identical incident to the one which sidelined him from first place on Rally Islas Canarias – Mareš and Ingram came to the fore.

The championship-battling pair traded places several times during the day, and Ingram had begun to edge ahead in the middle of the first leg.

Semetín, a stage which drivers had pinpointed as the hardest of the day, turned the battle on its head, with Ingram conceding 9.2s and admitting he had been “driving all over the shop for about a kilometre”.

That promoted Mareš to first place in ERC1 Junior, but there was one final twist before the day was out. Ingram pulled off a blinding final stage to beat Kopecký to the fastest outright time, gaining five seconds on Mareš and pipping the home favourite to a maximum seven leg points and the overnight lead in ERC1 Junior by 3.8s.

“It’s been a fantastic day,” said Ingram. “I always go well in the dark and road rally boy Ross [Whittock, co-driver] always does as well. Though I didn’t think we’d be that quick; it felt ragged!”

“We were just carrying as much speed as we could through the dodgy sections but it was comfortable, so bring on tomorrow!”

Mareš was determined to regroup and restore his class lead, remaining optimistic despite the late setback.

“It was a good day for us and we can be satisfied with our performance generally, but there are a lot of things we can improve for tomorrow. I hope the new day will suit us better than today.”

Václav Pech (EuroOil – Invelt Team) briefly passed the quarrelling pair of Juniors but was bumped back down to fourth place overall as Ingram and Mareš upped the ante in the final stages of leg one.

Fellow Czech driver Tomáš Kostka (Kresta Racing) had struggled with tyre wear late on the first loop after taking softs, but felt more comfortable on the second set of stages and cemented his fifth place, 12.5s behind Pech.

Past ERC1 and ERC3 Junior champion Marijan Griebel was able to pick up his pace as the day wore on, making his way up from P10 to sixth by the end of the day aboard his ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Despite losing two minutes with his earlier puncture Gryazin was able to climb all the way to seventh place, retaking third place in ERC1 Junior on the final stage of the loop.

That improvement came at the expense of ERC3 Junior graduate Simon Wagner, who is making his ERC1 Junior debut this weekend in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo, who was battling a stomach bug. He dropped behind both Gryazin and Jaromír Tarabus (Agrorodeo) to end the day in ninth place.

Łukasz Habaj admitted he hadn’t made the most of the “gift” given to him by Lukyanuk’s retirement, ending leg one in P10. He had struggled to make an impression on the front-running positions and lost time when he hit a tree on Semetín, his car very badly dented but otherwise undamaged.

Tomáš Pospíšilík (BTH Import Stal Rally Team), who participated in the first ever ERC Junior event in a ŠKODA Fabia R2 in 2014, made a good impression on his step up to ERC1 Junior, rounding out the top five in class after passing Matias Adielsson (Sweden National Team) and Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport) on pace alone.

Both Adielsson and Marczyk hit trouble; a puncture in the morning followed by power steering failure in the afternoon cost sixth-placed ERC1 Junior runner Adielsson sixth, while Marczyk crashed out on the first pass of Kostelany.

Andrea Nucita (Loran SRL) leads both the ERC2 production category and Abarth Rally Cup after leg one, while Efrén Llarena (Rallye Team Spain) is keeping his ERC3 Junior title hopes alive by leading the ERC3 category outright, 7.8s ahead of Jean-Baptiste Franceschi

Championship leaders Robin Larsson and Aydar Nuriev took the quickest times in Q1 at the Euro RX of Germany, round four of both the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercar and Super1600. 

Sweden’s Larsson took the hole shot in Q1 race 2 and went quickest with the JC Raceteknik Audi S1. Taking the best start in Q1 race 4, Sweden’s Pontus Tidemand also won his race from the front of the field and was P2 in Q1, despite a small misfire with the Eklund Motorsport Volkswagen Beetle.

The weather changed during the session, rain falling at the turn two section of the Estering circuit, which slowed the later races. Even with the more slippery conditions, Germany’s Rene Munnich took the hole shot in race three, surviving contact after the start line, won his race and was P3 in the session, with Finland’s Mikko Ikkonen, Sweden’s Peter Hedstrom and Norway’s Sondre Evjen competing the top six.

Championship contenders Thomas Bryntesson and Jean-Baptiste Dubourg both lost time in the first corner of their races, Dubourg getting spun around.

In Super1600, Russia’s Egor Sanin took the lead of Q1 race 5 on lap one, but with an early joker lap tactic Championship leader Aydar Nuriev took the lead, race win and the quickest time. Sanin was second quickest with his Renault Twingo and ahead of Holjes RX winner Marius Bermingrud, who won race three on a drying track and was P3.

Czech Republic’s Tomas Krejcik had a battle with Volland Racing drivers – Switzerland’s Yuri Belevskiy and Arthur Egorov – Belevski ending the race on top with P4 in the Q1 times. Czech Republic’s Josef Susta and Pavel Vimmer completed the top six.

Find full Estering RX results here.

Erik Cais, Jan Kopecký, Alexey Lukyanuk and Zelindo Melegari attended the post-event press conference for Barum Czech Rally Zlín, round six of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship. A transcript follows.

Barum Czech Rally Zlín, FIA European Rally Championship Round 6 of 8

16th Floor, Building 21, Zlín, 14h3o, Friday 16 August 2019

In attendance:

Erik Cais, ACCR Czech Rally Team

Jan Kopecký, ŠKODA Motorsport

Alexey Lukyanuk, Saintéloc Junior Team

Zelindo Melegari, Loran Srl

Q:

You’ve won this rally seven times. What are your best memories?

JK:

The best memories from the Barum Rally… for sure there are many but sometimes you are going to lose and that’s part of the game. Let’s say this year you can memorise more than the beginning moments [of my career]. But for sure there is2009, when I won my first Barum with Petr Starý, because Petr Starý is big here in Zlín, and after that in 2016 when we had a big battle with Alexey.

Q:

It’s your first time on this event with the new ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo. How is that working out for you?

JK:

Biggest news here is that we are going to use the new ŠKODAFabia R5 for the first time on these roads. After the last event, Rally Bohemia, we have new dampers so hopefully they are going to work well and we will show some nice pace.

Q:

Alexey, welcome to Barum Czech Rally Zlín. You are here for the fifth time and in two last ERC events you finished second. Will you prioritise collecting points for ERC or do you want to win here in Zlín?

AL:

Yes. Actually the two main goals for us are to score points but try to win also. The priority is definitely for the championship but I would like to do our best as always.

Q:

This is your first time here with Citroen C3 R5. Do you think the car suits these roads?

AL:

We will see. We are trying to improve the car all the time and we have also new dampers for this rally, but I’m not sure if they’re working in the proper way so far. We’re still learning: it’s a new car, new team, new tyres, a lot of new things for us. It’s not easy. With the [Ford] Fiesta I was more comfortable and confident but still we are trying really hard to get the best possible level.

Q:

You were third on the Qualifying Stage, but in free practice you went off the road. What happened?

AL:

I saw so many spectators around, so I decided to communicate with them. I was a bit excited with how many helped me to get back to the road! I was just trying to push hard and brake as late as possible but I was too optimistic.

Q:

You started the season with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X but on the last event you switched to the Abarth 124 rally. What made you switch?

ZM:

I didn’t find a feeling with the Mitsubishi Lancer so for Rome I changed the car, I take the Fiat Abarth, it’s four or five kilograms less and on the Tarmac the performance for sure is very better. I am still trying to find a good set-up. In the first loop in the Free Practice the car was more soft but in the Qualifying Stage it was more hard but the direction of the car was still the same.

Q:

This is your second start here but what’s your goal for the rally?

ZM:

For sure to confirm my position in the championship is the best goal. I hope tomorrow to have a fight with [Dariusz] Poloński and maybe also [Andrea] Nucita would be a very good goal for me.

Q:

Do you think your Abarth will be suited to the stages here?

ZM:

I think for me for sure it’s better than the Mitsubishi. Okay it’s a hard rally but I hope I can fight with the other crews for the victory.

Q:

You’ve earned international respect on last year’s Barum Rally, where you were fighting for first place in ERC3. This year you are part of ACCR Czech Team and you are a using Ford Fiesta R2T from Orsák Rally Sport, which you are using in ERC as well. How do you evaluate the results on the ERC so far?

EC:

Hello everyone. I think that my year was quite good. I really like the concept of ERC Junior. I’m sad that I couldn’t start Rally Islas Canarias due to a final exam at school but I think we will score more point here on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Q:

There is very tough competition in ERC3 but it’s also your home rally in front of your home crowd. How well prepared are you for this event?

EC:

Getting a good result on the Barum Rally is really challenging because it’s such a long and difficult event. Ken Torn described it to me really well: he said that the types of rally that exist are Tarmac rallies, Gravel rallies and Barum Rally! I think this is absolutely describes this event.

Q:

In order to prepare you’ve raced on Rally Rzeszów. How did that go?

EC:

In my second season it’s difficult to say something about the car and its setup. Last week I did Rally Rzeszów, where I lost a great finish due to my mistake, but I think it was a good test for the Barum Rally and I’m looking forward to it.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR:

Q (Pavel Jelinek, MotorMix):

The car seemed to be OK when you left the track, so you actually achieved a very good time on that stage. Is the car OK and well prepared?

AL:

Yes, it looks like the car is OK. Before going off I thought maybe it ends up bent but it was very soft ground, no stones, nothing. Luckily we were unhurt.

Q (Jaroslav Pazdernik, Horacke noviny):

What was the challenge like in changing from the old ŠKODA Fabia R5 to the new Evo model?

JK:

The old car was really good, it won everywhere, every single rally, so it was a very difficult challenge for the team to improve when putting some new things on the car. So we tried to find lots of small details; a little bit from the engine, a little bit from the suspension, a little bit from the brakes and we tried to make the car a little more comfortable and easy to drive. I hope that we did this job and for sure it’s just on the beginning now, this car. If you look back how many steps forward we did with the old car and how we improved, I expect that in the future this car will be much, much stronger.

Q (Pavel Jelinek, MotorMix):

You’ve also switched cars for this year. Are you happy with the switch of the car?

AL:

It’s a nice car actually, it smells fresh inside, with a nice French aroma! The car is nothing new: there is some things that I like, some that I’d like to change, but more or less the same. I’m really thankful we have a chance to drive a car with this [level of] performance, so I cannot be upset.

2016 FIA WEC LMGTE Driver’s Champion Marco Sørensen is looking forward to the new challenge of the upcoming season which will see the World Endurance Championship travel to eight of the greatest endurance race circuits in the world, starting at Silverstone at the end of this month.

We caught up with the Danish Aston Martin Racing driver at The Prologue in Barcelona to talk about the 2019/20 season.

“First of all I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel but also hoping for some closer racing from our side this season.  I think the improvement we have found in the car from last season and a small update in the tyres should mean we have a better chance going forward. We want to go for the championship, and of course Le Mans.  

“It is no secret we were struggling a little bit on the tyre side and we have been working hard with Michelin to get everything sorted out for the new season.  So we should be where we want to be; I am looking forward to being able to fight a little bit more.

“Looking at the 2019/2020 calendar I have never been to Sao Paulo, so that is going to be a first for me. I love new tracks and I love the experience of going out to figure stuff out.  I have had three seasons with the same tracks and now I get to go to a new one.  They should add one new track to the calendar every year just to mix everything up.

“Of course it is a shame that Ford and BMW are not here this season but I still believe with Porsche, who are going to come in strong this year, and Ferrari, who always have a strong team, these are the best.  It is going to be as hard as ever to win and to take the world championship.  It is going to be tough, no matter what.

“The first race is at Silverstone, Aston Martin’s home track, which I am really looking forward to.  I have been doing some simulator testing for an F1 team and now I know that the new asphalt at Silverstone is going to make things interesting because last time they put new asphalt down it was a different track around Silverstone.  The new layer should make it even more smooth, which is only going to give us an extra challenge. But we don’t mind. 

“It’s very nice that it is the home event for Aston Martin but for me it is just another race and I will go there with the same mentality, and that is to win.  That is never going to change!”

Round 1 of the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship is the 4 Hours of Silverstone on Sunday 1 September.