ERC news in brief before Latvia Rally (part 2)

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By Olivier Ferret

1 February 2013 - 16:54
ERC news in brief before Latvia (...)

Ketomaa selects first on the road on Rally Liepāja-Ventspils

Jari Ketomaa and Kaj Lindström will run first on the road on the opening leg of Rally Liepāja-Ventspils, round two of the FIA European Rally Championship.

Finn Ketomaa earned the right to select his starting position first after winning this morning’s Qualifying Stage in his Ford Fiesta RRC.

Alexey Lukyanuk, who was the second driver to make his choice, opted to start in sixth position with Vasily Gryazin – third fastest in qualifying – selecting fifth place on the road.

Crews are now preparing for the ceremonial start in Liepāja at 14:45hrs local time. The first of 15 stages, Rallyofchampions.com (Podnieki), goes live at 17:10hrs and covers a distance of 6.16 kilometres.

Starting position selections:

1 Ketomaa/Lindström (Ford Fiesta RRC)

2 Plangi/Sarapuu (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X R4)
3 Švedas/Sakalauskas (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X)
4 Breen/Moynihan (Peugeot 207 S2000)
5 Gryazin/Chumak (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX R4)
6 Lukyanuk/Arnautov (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X)
7 Kisiels/Ronis (MINI John Cooper Works RRC)
8 Delecour/Savignoni (Peugeot 207 S2000)
9 Černy/Kohout (ŠKODA Fabia S2000)
10 Orsák/Šmeidler (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX)
11 Tlusťák/Vyoral (ŠKODA Fabia S2000)
12 Puskádi/Gódor (ŠKODA Fabia S2000)

All non-priority drivers will start in seeded order with Estonia’s Raul Jeets 13th on the road follow.

Baller to fly the Honda flag on Latvia’s ERC counter

Zbyněk Baller will fly the Honda flag on the second round of the FIA European Rally Championship in Latvia this week.

The Czech, who will compete in a Honda Civic VTi, takes over as the Japanese make’s lead pilot in the race for ERC 2WD Championship glory after Eurosol-Honda Type R driver Zoltán Bessenyey elected not to take part on Rally Liepāja-Ventspils.

“With my limited experience on snow and ice, it didn’t seem wise to compete in the conditions we would encounter inLiepājaand Ventspils,” said Bessenyey. “I have been driving a lot on circuits, and I still am more confident on Tarmac roads.”

Bessenyey (pictured) will return to ERC duty on round three, Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés, leaving Baller to uphold Honda honour in Latvia.

Napoca’s ERC team entry a big boost for Romanian motorsport

The Napoca Rally Academy’s decision to enter the FIA ERC Production Car Cup for Teams could give opportunities for young drivers from Romania to compete in the ERC according to Marco Tempestini.

Tempestini, who will drive one of the squad’s Subaru Impreza R4 STIs in the 2013 European Rally Championship together with son and team-mate Simone Tempestini, is the driving force behind the Romanian motorsport project, which promotes education, corporate responsibility and team-building activities.

“From this year there is the opportunity to have also teams competing in the ERC so I took the opportunity,” said Tempestini Sr. “This was the first step. The next one is to give the opportunity to our other drivers to compete this year in the ERC together with us because Napoca Rally Academy means not only Marco and Simone Tempestini. We have a lot of very talented drivers and we want to give them the opportunity to compete at the highest level.”

The Napoca Rally Academy runs rally teams, provides driver training from bases in Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu and Bucharest, promotes initiatives to improve behaviour behind the wheel and arranges driving-based team-building exercises.

Marco and Simone Tempestini will begin their ERC campaigns on Rally Liepāja-Ventspils in Latvia from today (1 February). The ERC will visit Romania in July for the gravel-based Sibiu Rally.

Puskádi plans expanded ERC campaign

Janós Puskádi’s appearance on Rally Liepāja-Ventspils in Latvia this week certainly won’t be his last in this year’s FIA European Rally Championship.

The Eurosol Racing Team Hungary driver has revealed plans to enter at least six ERC events in 2013 in the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 he shares with co-driver and fellow Hungarian Barna Gódor.

“The plan is to try and do eight rounds but we will certainly do six with the next two island rallies [Canarias and Açores] and then maybe Corsica,” said Puskádi, who is making his debut on a winter rally this week. “We will also do Poland and San Marino, where I would like to get to the finish after crashing so close to the end last year. Sibiu is also a possibility.”

Puskádi will combine his driving duties with running the Eurosol-Honda Civic Type R operation in the ERC 2WD Championship.

“I’m just a hobby driver really so I don’t have any unreasonable hopes about where I can finish in the championship,” he said. “If I can score points in each race I can do then I could be in the top 10. I will be happy with that.”

It’s a family affair for the Moynihans

It’s fair to say that rallying is something of an obsession for the Moynihan family as David Moynihan, navigator to Craig Breen in the FIA European Rally Championship, explains.

Moynihan is one part of a rally-mad family from Cork in the Republic of Ireland with fathers, uncles, sisters, brothers and cousins all involved in the sport.

“My father Philip co-drove at international level, my sister Amy co-drives for my other sister Sarah, my cousins Liam and Colin both co-drive and my uncle John was a driver,” said Moynihan, who will co-drive Breen in a Saintéloc Peugeot Rally Academy 207 Super 2000 on this week’s Rally Liepāja-Ventspils. “We’re completely warped by the sport, we run businesses in it and I’m born and bred into it.”

When Jari met Valentino

When MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi took part on Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship in 2008 his favourite number 46 had already been taken.

With Production Car championship competitors allocated permanent numbers for the entire season, none other than Jari Ketomaa, top seed for this week’s Rally Liepāja-Ventspils, was using number 46.

But when Ketomaa, who will drive a Ford Fiesta RRC on the Latvia-based FIA European Rally Championship counter, learned of Rossi’s attachment to number 46, the Finn was given approval to hand Rossi number 46 and took up number 146 instead. And to show is appreciation, Rossi invited Ketomaa to his then Stobart Motorsport team’s service area for a formal handover.

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