ERC A FULL 2013 / 2014
ERC reveals exciting new-look calendar for 2014
*Twelve rallies, one rally per month to facilitate ERC teams’ logistics
*Four new events: Acropolis, Circuit of Ireland, Cyprus and Estonia
*Sibiu switches to February for inclusion in three-event ERC Winter Challenge
There will be serious competition ahead – and seriously good events – in next year’s FIA European Rally Championship with the publication of the draft list of dates for 2014.
Following a meeting of the FIA Rally Commission in Geneva last month, Eurosport Events, the ERC promoter, is delighted to reveal a 12-round schedule, which is due for final ratification by the FIA World Motor Sport Council at its meeting in Paris in December.
It features three events on snow and ice as part of the exciting new ERC Winter Challenge, two on gravel, four entirely on asphalt and three on a combination of asphalt and gravel, with a more even spread of rallies from January to November.
Eight rounds included this season remain on the schedule for 2014 with three legendary events returning to the ERC after several years of absence: the Acropolis Rally, the Circuit of Ireland Rally and the Cyprus Rally. Meanwhile, auto24 Rally Estonia is a new addition to the ERC calendar having hosted a round of the European Historic Sporting Rally Championship in recent years.
ERC Winter Challenge is go!
As previously announced, the 2014 ERC season kicks off with two winter events, the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich in Austria (3-5 January) and Rally Liepāja in Latvia (31 January-2 February). A third winter event, Sibiu Rally Romania, has now been confirmed from 27 February-1 March and will form part of the all-new ERC Winter Challenge, which will carry its own points and awards. The popular rally in Transylvania is switching from its traditional July slot and will include a stage on the famous Transfăgărășan mountain pass.
Legendary events return to the ERC
The ERC calendar for 2014 is further enhanced by the inclusion of the Acropolis Rally, Circuit of Ireland Rally and the Cyprus Rally, three flagship events. The Acropolis Rally, previously Greece’s round of the world championship, celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2014. Taking place from 28-30 March, it is one of the most famous rallies on the international calendar and will include asphalt and gravel stages when it runs next year. The Circuit of Ireland Rally first took place in 1931, making it the third oldest in existence. Using asphalt stages in Northern Ireland, the rally is scheduled for 17-19 April. The Cyprus Rally will take place from 19-21 September over a mixed-surface route. It returns to the ERC roster for the first time since 1999.
Established rallies strengthen ERC ties
Eight rounds of next year’s ERC formed part of the 2013 calendar. The 49th SATA Rallye Açores moves from late April to 15-17 May, while Belgium’s Geko Ypres Rally will take place from 19-21 June. Barum Czech Rally Zlín is scheduled for 29-31 August. Rallye International du Valais in Switzerland is due to run from 23-25 October with Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse switching from mid-May to the final round from 6-8 November subject to the signing of the event promoter agreement. ERC newcomer auto24 Rally Estonia will run from 17-19 July.
François Ribeiro, Motorsport Development Director, Eurosport Events, said: “We’re delighted to announce the ERC calendar for 2014, our second season promoting the championship under our agreement with the FIA. We’ve included some of the best events in Europe over an 11-month spread to facilitate logistics for the teams. We have achieved a good split of surfaces and will visit a number of key markets. As well as showcasing several emerging rallies, we’re also incorporating several legendary events famous throughout the world. Allied with a number of new initiatives to be announced soon, the revamped calendar gives us great cause for optimism for the year ahead.”
FIA European Rally Championship 2014 provisional calendar*
01: 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich (Austria), Asphalt/snow, 3-5 January 2014
02: Rally Liepāja (Latvia), Gravel/snow, 31 January-2 February 2014
03: Sibiu Rally Romania, Gravel/snow, 27 February-1 March 2014
04: Acropolis Rally (Greece), Asphalt/gravel, 28-30 March 2014
05: Circuit of Ireland Rally (United Kingdom), Asphalt, 17-19 April 2014
06: 49th SATA Rallye Açores (Portugal), Gravel, 15-17 May 2014
07: Geko Ypres Rally (Belgium), Asphalt, 19-21 June 2014
08: auto24 Rally Estonia (Estonia), Gravel, 17-19 July 2014
09: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic), Asphalt, 29-31 August 2014
10: Cyprus Rally (Cyprus), Asphalt/gravel, 19-21 September 2014
11: Rallye International du Valais (Switzerland), Asphalt/gravel, 23-25 October 2014
12: Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse (France), Asphalt, 6-8 November 2014**
*Subject to ratification by the FIA World Motor Sport Council
**Subject to the signing of the event promoter agreement
Q&A: François Ribeiro
Motorsport Development Director, Eurosport Events
Q: The 2014 FIA ERC calendar is very exciting indeed. How satisfied are you?
A: “We have worked on this calendar for many months with the objective of creating a schedule of events that offers a wide variety of surfaces and terrain but spread over the balance of the season. We’ve also ensured a good mix of established and emerging rallies, plus hallmark events, such as the Acropolis, Circuit of Ireland, Tour de Corse and the Cyprus Rally.”
Q: You mentioned the Acropolis Rally, Circuit of Ireland Rally, Tour de Corse and the Cyprus Rally. What does it mean for the ERC to have such famous events on the schedule?
A: “We are thrilled to include these events on the ERC calendar for 2014. The Acropolis is a name synonymous with rallying and the organisers are planning a real big push for the event’s 60th anniversary celebrations. The Circuit of Ireland is the third oldest rally in the world and its forward-thinking organisers have exciting plans in place for 2014. The Cyprus Rally gave a big push to return to the ERC and help teams with logistics. The Tour de Corse remains the stuff of legend and is a very good event to finish the season. It’s also several weeks after the Rallye de France WRC event and this was important to the French Federation.”
Q: The ERC Winter Challenge is new for 2014. What more can you say about this?
A: “It was always the plan to maximise the number of events run in the winter months because rallying on snow and ice is truly spectacular. We were looking for a way to overcome the roughness of the gravel stages in Romania. When the Sibiu Rally organiser accepted to switch to February, it made complete sense to set-up a three-event Winter Challenge and incentivise drivers to participate. There will be separate points and awards with a Winter Challenge champion crowned following the final event in Sibiu, which is going to be a classic with a stage on the famous Transfăgărășan mountain pass. It may be the best road in the world to organise a special stage, halfway between Pikes Peak and Alpe d’Huez cycling climb, and it’s coming to the ERC in 2014.”
Q: How important was achieving a greater mix of surfaces in the calendar?
A: “It’s vitally important to offer competitors, manufacturers, fans and the media a variety of surfaces as it creates added interest and increases the challenge on offer. While some drivers relish competing on all surfaces, others prefer to specialise on one surface. With more events on each surface on offer they are able to do this and be a title contender at the same time.”
Q: The calendar spans 11 months from January to November. What benefits will this bring?
A: “With pretty much one rally per month, each rally will become a focal point and the interest in the ERC will be maintained for almost the entire calendar year. Teams have been all asking for a better spread of rallies across the season and contribution to the cost of ferries for the Açores and Cyprus to reduce their logistic budget so they’re closer to an event based on mainland Europe.”
Q: We’ve seen the revamped calendar for 2014 but what else will be new for next year?
A: “Standby for an announcement soon when we’ll reveal more details about the ERC in 2014 and some cost saving initiatives for the teams.”
The 2014 ERC rallies in 25 words
01: 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich (Austria), 3-5 January 2014
Based in Freistadt, near Linz, the event will make its third ERC appearance in succession in 2014. Thousands watch the action on snow-coated undulating stages. www.jaennerrallye.at
02: Rally Liepāja (Latvia), 31 January-2 February 2014
ERC newcomer in 2013, the snow rally will now focus on stages around Liepāja having ventured north up the Baltic coast to Ventspils this year. www.lvrally.com
03: Sibiu Rally Romania, 27 February-1 March 2014
Previously held in the July heat, the gravel-based Sibiu Rally in Transylvania completes the three-event ERC Winter Challenge. The Transfăgărășan stage will be a highlight. www.raliulsibiului.ro
04: Acropolis Rally (Greece), 28-30 March 2014
Turning 60 in 2014 and back in the ERC after lengthy WRC stay with a mixed-surface route. Based in Loutraki beside the Gulf of Corinth. www.acropolisrally.gr
05: Circuit of Ireland Rally (United Kingdom), 17-19 April 2014
First held in 1931, the world’s third oldest rally returns to the international schedule after a one-year absence. Run on asphalt roads in Northern Ireland. www.circuitofireland.net
06: 49th SATA Rallye Açores (Portugal), 15-17 May 2014
Based São Miguel, the Atlantic archipelago’s largest island, the event features stunning countryside and narrow and undulating gravel stages. Changeable weather is also a factor. www.satarallyeacores.com
07: Geko Ypres Rally (Belgium), 19-21 June 2014
Using farmland asphalt roads around the historic market town, the narrow stages are lined by drainage ditches and telegraph poles and popularised by tight junctions. www.ypresrally.com
08: auto24 Rally Estonia, 17-19 July 2014
An ERC newcomer, auto24 Rally Estonia is big on fast, smooth gravel stages with crests commonplace. Based in Otepää in the south of the country. www.rallyestonia.com
09: Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 29-31 August 2014
Established event featuring high-speed blasts through forests, sections of broken Tarmac, a high likelihood of intermittent showers, bumpy roads and huge numbers of enthusiastic fans. www.barum.rally.cz
10: Cyprus Rally, 19-21 September 2014
With technical stages on gravel and asphalt, the Cyprus Rally is a tough test for car and crew. High ambient temperatures add to the challenge. www.cyprusrally.com.cy
11: Rallye International du Valais (Switzerland), 23-25 October 2014
Taking place in the mountains of southwest Switzerland close to Lake Geneva on mainly asphalt roads, the event enjoys a rich history in the ERC. www.riv.ch
12: Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse (France), 6-8 November 2014 (subject to signing of event promoter agreement)
Called the ‘Rally of 10,000 Corners’ due to its high frequency of turns, the route runs over the picturesque island’s narrow and undulating mountain passes. www.asacc.fr
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