Thursday, June 30, 2022
Author Administrator  ERC  0  121
12 Jun 2022
Miko Marczyk claimed his first-ever FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) victory despite a late scare at Orlen 78th Rally Poland on Sunday afternoon.

Miko Marczyk claimed his first-ever FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) victory despite a late scare at Orlen 78th Rally Poland on Sunday afternoon.
Marczyk finished third overall in last year’s ERC, but has since focused his 2022 efforts on a full campaign in the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support category, WRC2.

The opportunity to prove himself in front of local fans, however, tempted the Pole and he relished a guest appearance on home soil with his Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo.

As predicted, Marczyk was immediately on the pace and found himself locked into a tight duel with Nil Solans - the winner of two rallies already this season. Cash-strapped Solans was lucky to even be starting the event having secured a late deal to drive a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 with days to spare.

A scintillating battle unfolded between the pair as they traded blows over Saturday’s superfast stages, with Solans leading the way before coming unstuck on SS7. The steering broke following a heavy compression and the Spaniard became a passenger as his car slid off into a ditch and out of the rally.
Solans’ demise left Marczyk comfortably in front and he carried a 20.4sec advantage into Sunday’s final leg. His task - to manage the gap - appeared to be straightforward, but soon proved otherwise.

Rough second pass conditions were a challenge for all and the leader hit trouble when his Fabia scooped up some gravel on SS12, causing the water temperature to rocket as he nursed his car to the finish in road mode.

Frantic activity ensued at the stop line as the crew removed dust from the grille and, luckily, they were able to continue despite the heart-stopping moment.

Two more nail-biting stages followed as an anxious Marczyk coaxed the Fabia through the ruts. He dropped time to a charging Tom Kristensson over the final tests, but ultimately kept the Swede at bay to record victory by 10.0sec.
"It was not easy,” admitted Marczyk. “Yesterday was a really good day from our side - we were fast and we had luck too. It's a shame that Nil did not finish the day, but it was all part of the fast pace.

"Today was tough. The start was okay, but Tom was moving closer to us. I felt good in the Mikolajki MAX stage and decided to push the car to build a gap, but one kilometre before the finish line we got some gravel in the radiator. We were lucky - a kilometre more and we would probably not have had an engine because the temperature was up to 140 degrees!

"We are here as the winners of Rally Poland. It's unbelievable because this shows me that my path of development and doing everything step by step is working. After some years we are fast and reliable, and we are on the finishing line."

Kristensson was thrilled to finish as runner-up in his KOWAX Racing Hyundai i20 R5. The Swede started Sunday under pressure from the chasing crews, but chalked up two stage wins during the last leg to leave them for dust.
Ken Torn completed the podium another 8.1sec in arrears. The Estonian driver banished all memories of his rocky season start by posting some hugely impressive stage times aboard his Ford Fiesta Rally2, ending the rally 16.6sec in front of Efrén Llarena.

Llarena - driving another Škoda for Team MRF Tyres - was very much a podium challenger until two faulty spark plugs hampered his progress on Sunday morning. It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Spaniard, though, as Solans’ non-score allowed him to stretch his championship lead to 24 points with four rounds to go.

The rest of the leaderboard was made up entirely of Škoda cars, with Simone Tempestini completing the top five. The 27-year-old once again proved his strong gravel pace with a string of top three stage times and trailed Llarena by a tiny 1.2sec despite a rear puncture on SS13.

Home hero Grzegorz Gzryb was more than a minute behind and scrapped with compatriot Adrian Chwietczuk right until the Power Stage, when Chwietczuk punctured and dropped to 12th. Filip Mareš, starting his first gravel rally in three years, swooped into seventh and was only 2.3sec behind.
Alberto Battistolli, Javier Pardo and Norbert Herczig rounded off the leaderboard. Pardo carried a 50sec time penalty because of an engine fault which delayed him before SS7, while Herczig was penalised by one-minute for an early check-in.

Robert Virves delivered one of the weekend’s star performances to finish 13th overall as well as winning ERC3 by over five minutes from fellow Ford Fiesta Rally3 driver Kaspar Kasari.

Mārtiņš Sesks took another dominant ERC Open victory and topped the timesheets in his MRF-shod Fabia Rally2 Kit.

The ERC season plunges into its second half with a visit to Latvia for round five next month. Rally Liepāja is set to serve up more thrilling action and takes place on 2 - 3 July.

Author Administrator  ERC  0  84
11 Jun 2022
Miko Marczyk is on course for victory on home soil at Orlen 78th Rally Poland after rival Nil Solans went off the road on Saturday’s penultimate test.

Miko Marczyk is on course for victory on home soil at Orlen 78th Rally Poland after rival Nil Solans went off the road on Saturday’s penultimate test.
The Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo star will start Sunday’s final leg with a hefty 20.4sec advantage over Tom Kristensson after pulling clear on what turned out to be a disastrous day for Solans, who led for the majority.

Just nine-tenths of a second separated the pair as the championship’s fourth round got underway in earnest following Friday evening’s super special stage - and a thrilling battle developed on the superfast gravel stages.

Marczyk and Solans were in a league of their own as they traded blows throughout the opening loop, although the Spaniard stretched his legs with a blistering time on the final stage of the morning to carry a 4.6sec advantage into the afternoon.
Solans added another 0.8sec to his assault over the next two speed tests before drama struck on the second pass of Wieliczki. The steering broke following a heavy compression and he became a passenger as his Hyundai i20 N Rally2 slid off into a ditch and out of the rally.

His demise left Marczyk all alone at the front and the Pole was in high spirits as he returned to the Mikołajki service park.

"I am very happy to be honest,” reflected the leader. “It was a big day for us and this rally is something special for me because I made another step in my development.

“We drove today not only on stages we knew from the past, but we also had some new stages which were very good. We are here and I am very happy.
“It's not good that Nil isn't here, but this is part of the rally game. Tomorrow is a long day, but I am in good shape and I will try," he added.

Solans’ KOWAX Racing team-mate Kristensson showed impressive pace aboard his first-generation i20 R5 and is clearly enjoying his first ERC start since 2018.

The Swede came under increasing pressure from those behind and ended 5.6sec in front of Fiesta Rally2 man Ken Torn, who leapfrogged Team MRF Tyres Škoda driver Efrén Llarena in the final stage.

With Solans out of contention, Llarena is on course to extend his championship lead. He is a mere 0.3sec back from the podium, while Simone Tempestini finished another 5.0sec down to round out the top five in his Škoda.

The rest of the leaderboard comprised of Fabia cars, headed by sixth-placed Adrian Chwietczuk.
He trailed the leaders by 1min 4.4sec at close of play with Grzegorz Gzryb, Filip Mareš and Alberto Battistolli hot in pursuit. Javier Pardo was over two minutes off the pace in 10th and picked up 50sec in time penalties for a late check-in caused by an engine fault.

ERC3 category leader Robert Virves was 11th overall with an M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3, while Mārtiņš Sesks tops the ERC Open standings.

Simone Campedelli languishes well down the order after spending over 20min stuck in a ditch on the first stage of the day, with his MRF team-mate Norbert Herczig also sitting outside the top ten after being dealt a 1min penalty for an early check-in.

Vaidotas Žala suffered a similar fate to Solans when a suspension damper broke on his Fabia. The Latvian had been running as high as eighth at the time.

Author Administrator  ERC  0  118
10 Jun 2022
Nil Solans’ bid for a hat-trick of ERC victories is off to a strong start as the Spaniard went fastest at Orlen 78th Rally Poland’s Qualifying Stage on Friday afternoon.

Nil Solans’ bid for a hat-trick of ERC victories is off to a strong start as the Spaniard went fastest at Orlen 78th Rally Poland’s Qualifying Stage on Friday afternoon.
Solans, debuting a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 with Polish team KOWAX Racing, laid down the gauntlet on the superfast 3.46km Baranowo warm-up test to stop the clock 1.825sec faster than his closest challenger as under four seconds blanketed the top ten.

The 30-year-old is lucky to even be starting the championship’s fourth round, with financial struggles in the run-up to the rally resulting in a late change from his usual Volkswagen Polo earlier this week.

He drove the Hyundai at a pre-event test on Wednesday, although tonight’s opener will be the first time he uses it on a competitive stage.
FIA World Rally Championship regular Miko Marczyk signalled his return to the ERC by setting the second-best time in his Škoda Fabia Rally2. Marczyk finished third here last year and starts the rally as home favourite.

Local driver Adrian Chwietczuk completed the leading trio in another Škoda. He was followed Team MRF Tyres driver Norbert Herczig’s similar car, with Ford Fiesta Rally2 man Ken Torn only 0.023sec further back in fifth.

Tom Kristensson brought his i20 R5 home 1.749sec down on Hyundai team-mate Solans, closely followed by Romanian rocket Simone Tempestini in another Škoda.

Championship leader Efrén Llarena was eighth in another MRF-shod Fabia, while Alberto Battistolli and Grzegorz Grzyb completed the leaderboard, Both were driving Škoda cars.

The rally begins later this evening with a super special stage based on the outskirts of the service park.

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