Suzuki Motor Ibérica has once again underlined its commitment to rallying – this time with a maiden FIA European Rally Championship campaign.
It will enter the ERC2 category with the Swift R4lly S challenger built to Rally2 Kit specification. The vastly experienced Joan Vinyes and Jordi Mercader will compete in one car with emerging talent Javier Pardo linking up with co-driver Adrián Pérez in the second entry.
Juan López Frade, President of Suzuki Motor Ibérica, said: “It has not been easy to prepare 2021’s programme with the uncertainty of the pandemic. In any case, our goal with the official team is to make our first foray into ERC2 and see where we can be. In addition, there are drivers from other countries interested in the Suzuki Swift Rally2 Kit, so it will be a great showcase for our cars.”
Suzuki stalwart Vinyes in ERC return
Andorran Vinyes, 51, has been part of the Suzuki attack since 2010, campaigning a Swift S1600 for several seasons before his move to the R+ version in 2017. His last European championship appearance was on Rally Islas Canarias in 2013 when he led what was then the ERC 2WD Cup for a time.
From ERC Junior Experience to ERC chance for Pardo
Spaniard Pardo, 24, was set to mount an ERC3 Junior Championship campaign in 2020 only for the COVID-19 pandemic to lead to a switch of focus to events closer to home as budgetary issues hit.
Variety the spice of life
The inclusion of the Suzuki Swift R4lly S in ERC2 adds further diversity to the category, which featured appearances by Mitsubishi Lancers, a Subaru Impreza, a Porsche 997 GT3, the Alpine A110 RGT, plus several Abarth 124 rally models last season.
Busy season ahead
In addition to its multi-round ERC2 effort, Suzuki Motor Ibérica is also set to undertake other events in the region. Aside from its ERC commitments, a one-make Swift Cup will consist of rallies in Spain and Portugal, while an entry in the Spanish Championship of Alternative Energies with a Suzuki ACross is also planned. A testing programme for the ERC-bound Swift R4lly S is due to begin in February ahead of the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship season getting underway.