Friday, 28 April 2023 16:52

The most exciting FIA ERC in recent years, at the 47 Rally Islas Canarias


The insular appointment is the first on asphalt in the calendar of the continental event. Two drivers with extensive experience in the FIA ​​World Rally Championship, the New Zealander Hayden Paddon and the Norwegian Mads Ostberg, lead the field of participants. The followers of the Supercampeonato de España de Rallyes and those of the Canarian Rally Championship on Asphalt have a new opportunity to measure themselves against the benchmarks in Europe.

 

The FIA ​​European Rally Championship engages its second gear and prepares its landing in the Canary Islands. The contenders for the continental throne will be present next week in a 47 Rally Islas Canarias that is the first confrontation of the year on asphalt. After competing at the beginning of March in the gravel specials in the north of Portugal, it was time to change the configuration of the vehicles and adapt them to the abrasive roads of the island of Gran Canaria.

Two drivers loaded with experience in the FIA ​​World Rally Championship command the classification of the continental event and the wide range of contenders for victory in the island event. On the one hand, the New Zealander Hayden Paddon, winner of the 35 Serras de Fafe Rally at the controls of a Hyundai i20 N Rally2. On the other, the Norwegian Mads Ostberg, who leads the line-up of the MRF Tires team with a Citroën C3 Rally2. Both have the endorsement of their respective careers, crowned by their victories in the highest competition.

Efrén Llarena, the person in charge of defending the title, debuts a Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 this season and repeats with the Indian tire manufacturer. The Asian company's commitment to the FIA ​​ERC is even stronger than last season. Also included in their ranks is the Latvian Martins Sesks (Skoda Fabia RS Rally2) and the Italian Andrea Mabellini (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo), two young talents looking for their place in the elite.

In the Portuguese round that opened the course, the figure of Mikko Heikkilä stood out. The Finnish national champion led in his Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo until a puncture on the final special derailed his chances. His setback was taken advantage of, among others, by Frenchman Yoann Bonato, who will seek his third podium finish on the islands at the wheel of his usual Citroën C3 Rally2. The Swedish firm Tom Kristensson, winner of the FIA ​​Junior World Rally Championship in 2020, will also take the start with the French firm's vehicle.

Other important names are those of Miklós Csomós, Mathieu Franceschi, Simone Campedelli and Filip Mares, all of them armed with individual Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo units. The Austrian Simon Wagner, one of the most active drivers in Europe and first leader of the 'Canary Islands' 2022, will drive the most up-to-date Skoda Fabia RS Rally2

Several followers of the Spanish Rally Super Championship and the Canary Islands Rally Championship on Asphalt will take advantage of the opportunity presented by the 47th Rally Islas Canarias to measure forces against the fast foreign teams. Representing the national section will be the Hyundai i20 N Rally2 of Javier Pardo, Iván Ares and Óscar Palomo, the Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 of José Antonio Suárez and the Citroën C3 Rally2 of Diego Ruiloba. The regional cartel is led by Miguel Ángel Suárez (Citroën C3 Rally2), Jan Cerny (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) and Enrique Cruz (Ford Fiesta Rally2).

Regarding the support divisions of the FIA ​​ERC itself, the event based in the municipality of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria will be valid for the ERC3 and ERC4 categories. In the first, the British Jon Armstrong will have no rivals with a Ford Fiesta Rally3. In the second, the Italian Roberto Daprà, aboard a Peugeot 208 Rally4, will have a list of opponents, including the German Norman Kreuter with an identical mount.

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