European Rally Championship will really blossom in 2014 says boss
|By David Evans||Wednesday, April 10th 2013, 15:47 GMT|
The fruits of the European Rally Championship's revamp will really be seen in 2014, says organiser Francois Ribeiro, who predicts that next year will be the greatest in the series' 60-year history.
Ribeiro believes the onset of R5 category cars allied to the already strong base of Super 2000 and Regional Rally Car machinery will transform the ERC into a hotbed of competition.
"Next year," said Ribeiro, "we will have a super-strong championship with three types of R5 car on the market. And as well as M-Sport's Fiesta, Citroen's DS3 and Peugeot's 208 R5 cars, we will also have more than 300 S2000 cars still on the market.
"Next year will probably be better than even the best years in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, when we had so many cars competing. It is very exciting for next year."
Eurosport Events took over the running of the ERC for this season after the championship had spent many years in the shadows. The firm had previously been responsible for the IRC.
The inaugural year of the revitalised ERC has attracted an encouraging entry including Formula 1 star Robert Kubica, Skoda works driver and three-time IRC runner-up Jan Kopecky, and 2012 World Rally Super 2000 class champion Craig Breen.
Ribeiro is also making efforts to make the ERC more affordable. The calendar is expected to be cut from 13 to 11 or 12 rounds. The Canaries Rally is unlikely to make the cut unless it can fund all the teams' transport costs to the island.
Ribeiro is working hard to bring a British round back to the schedule, with the Circuit of Ireland or an event running out of Sunderland thought the most likely.
The other change will be in the tyre allocation on ERC rounds. Unlike the WRC, which strictly controls the use of tyres, teams in the ERC can run as many different tyres as they want.
"It's completely open, you change tyres when you want," said Ribeiro. "For the Janner Rally there was 42 different types of tyre - Skoda ordered 80 tyres for one car for this event. This is pure nonsense.
"We have to cut this cost dramatically. I say this to the FIA and they agree and they want it doing quickly. By June, at the latest, this will be decided."