R5 alive in Poland! The popularity of the ERC is underlined with a record 26 top-of-the-range R5 cars registered for the international section of Rally Rzeszow, 13 more than in 2016 when the event formed part of the ERC schedule for the first time.
In total 45 drivers will chase ERC points on Rally Rzeszow with 96 drivers taking part across the three counting championships, an increase of 6 cars from 2016.
Bryan Bouffier, whose CV includes three Polish titles and four Rzeszow victories, is one of several championship-winning drivers in action, such is the highly competitive nature of the ERC. Others include double European champion and home hero Kajetan Kajetanowicz, triple ERC title winner Luca Rossetti, Mads Østberg, a two-time Norwegian champion and world championship event winner, three-time Portuguese champion Bruno Magalhães, French Tarmac champion Sylvain Michel, double Turkish champion and 2015 FIA European Rally Trophy winner Murat Bostanci, plus Łukasz Habaj and Grzegorz Grzyb, the winners of the Polish championship in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
We will also see Alexey Lukyanuk who will return to the FIA European Rally Championship. Lukyanuk was seriously injured in a testing crash in his native Russia days after winning Rally Islas Canarias in early May, a result that put him firmly in contention for the coveted overall crown. But he’s battled back to fitness and will return almost one month ahead of schedule as he attempts to get his championship challenge back on track.
Although the Russian Performance Motorsport driver has missed two events, ERC drivers count their best six results from a possible eight meaning Lukyanuk remains firmly in title contention as the second half of the all-action 2017 season approaches.
Twenty-one ERC Junior contenders will line up on Rally Rzeszow with eight drivers chasing success in the ERC Junior Under 28 category and 13 going for gold in ERC Junior Under 27. They include newcomers Radomir Kupec and Simon Wagner, plus Kristóf Klausz, who makes his first start of the season. Polish drivers Tomasz Kasperczyk (ERC Junior U28) and Aleks Zawada (ERC Junior U27) will be attract significant fan following and media interest.
ERC2 category regulars Zelindo Melegri, Tibor Érdi Jr and Sergey Remennik face competition from Subaru Poland Rally Team drivers Miko Marczyk and Marcin Słobodzian.
Emma Falcón, Tamara Molinaro and Catie Munnings renew their rivalry for the ERC Ladies’ Trophy having filled the class podium when they met on Rally Islas Canarias.
Rally Rzeszow hosts the ERC for a second time next month (3-5 August).