- FIA ERC Juniors head to Portugal for latest talent-proving opportunity
- European championship newcomer Rally Fafe Montelongo hosts the third event of 2020 season
Oliver Solberg tops FIA ERC 1 Junior standings, Ken Torn in front in FIA ERC3 Junior *Rally2 prize drives up for grabs for eventual ERC Junior title winners *Dedicated TV coverage, highlights videos and social media push among benefits.
The FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior categories will provide an opportunity for young talents to showcase their pace and potential at international level on the remaining four rounds of the 2020 season.
Following the opening two events, Rally di Roma Capitale and Rally Liepāja, the Rally Fafe Montelongo, Rally Hungary and Rally Islas Canarias in November and December’s Spa Rally in Belgium will all feature on the ERC1 Junior and Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior calendars with drivers counting their best four scores out of a possible six.
Huge interest in ERC Junior categories
So far in 2020, 30 drivers have registered for ERC Junior action. Oliver Solberg (Sweden) heads ERC1 Junior from Grégoire Munster (Luxembourg), Emil Lindholm (Finland), reigning ERC3 Junior champion Efrén Llarena, Polish title-holder Miko Marczyk and current Romanian champion Simone Tempestini.
In ERC3 Junior, Ken Torn (Estonia) tops the rankings followed by Dennis Rådström (Sweden), Pep Bassas (Spain), Nikolai Landa (Austria), Reinis Nitišs (Latvia) and Amaury Molle (Belgium).
Career-progression prize package up for grabs
The winner of the ERC1 Junior Championship, for drivers born on or after January 1, 1992, competing in Rally2 cars, will receive €100,000 from ERC promoter Eurosport Events to contest two rounds of the FIA European Rally Championship in a car and with a team of their choosing. The amount will be divided equally between the two events and can be used this season (2020) or next (2021) – depending on at what stage of the season the title is secured – as part of an overall title bid.
The ERC3 Junior champion will get two fully supported drives in a Rally2 car run by Motorsport Italia on Pirelli tyres in the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship when they will be eligible for ERC1 Junior points. It is hoped the ERC3 Junior champion will be able to secure additional funding to mount a full ERC1 Junior title bid. ERC3 Junior is for drivers born on or after 1 January 1993 competing in Rally4 and Rally5 cars on Pirelli tyres.
Dedicated TV coverage and social media content
ERC Junior drivers benefit from dedicated sections in the daily highlights programmes from all events, the extended ERC Rally Review programme distributed to broadcasters around the world, plus the ERC All Access magazine show, which is broadcast on the Tuesday after each rally.
Videos and social media content are published regularly along with news on the championship’s official website and app. A press officer and promotional manager are on hand to provide additional support.
They said what? ERC Junior drivers on the European championship’s young driver categories
“I chose ERC because it has the best competition at the Rally2 level and all the rallies are very special and difficult. Every rally has its own character and I can improve my driving skills on every surface. There are a lot of very good drivers and the competition is very high.”
“ERC Junior is the best way to progress. Last year we showed that ERC1 Junior is as competitive as the overall championship, the battle I had with Filip Mareš on the Barum Rally was one of the highlights of the season even though I didn’t win. But, also ERC3 Junior, which we both did before moving up to ERC1 Junior. For me, it’s the best way to get into international rallying. You’re not restricted to a certain car and when I started the ERC I pretty much turned up with my Dad and a mechanic and we were able to compete. To be able to go from turning up with a family-run team to be able to win the overall championship with a professional team, the ERC made that possible so it’s very special for me.”
“Progression is the main thing for us, but the level in the ERC is high, the rallies are completely new for me so there will be lots and lots of learning. I still want to do the world championship and this is a good step forward.”
“I’m very happy to make real this project in ERC1 Junior as the ERC3 Junior champion. The battles are always intense and the experience very important.”
“The ERC is the natural and best step for me after winning the Polish championship. The rallies in Poland are very good but the level of roads and the competition is bigger in the ERC. It is, therefore, a good place to learn and develop and also to fight with other young drivers from European countries before I take the next step.”
“ERC Junior is the best way to compete abroad. Being promoted by Eurosport Events is a key with the good visibility you have and also the atmosphere. It was always my target.”
“Every rally in the ERC is a challenge. You have nice roads and it’s all good for the experience and it’s good learning.”
“The ERC is great for my development because I work in a team environment with everyone around you, the engineers, wanting only you to win. The ERC is also a great championship with great events and great competition.”
“The rallies are fantastic and exciting to drive. I came to the ERC to build my experience and build my pace on Tarmac and the ERC is very good for this. Then you have guys like Alexey Lukyanuk to compete against. He’s one of the fastest R5 drivers in the world.”