The FIA European Rally Championship is go for 2023 with an incredible 40 drivers competing in headlining Rally2 machinery on the season-opening Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto from 10 – 12 March.
And to further underline the popularity of the ERC – the recognised feeder series to the FIA World Rally Championship – 48 crews have registered to score ERC points on round one of the 70th-anniversary season in northern Portugal, 14 national or regional champions are taking part, while 23 nationalities are represented.
ERC Championship Manager Iain Campbell said: “It’s fantastic to be heading into the ERC’s 70th-anniversary season knowing there is so much interest in the championship based on the size of the entry. But as well as being big on quantity, the entry is also big on quality with an incredible number of top-level drivers plus drivers new to the championship aiming to gain international experience but in a highly competitive environment taking part. It’s also great news that so many nationalities are represented.”
Established in 1953, the ERC remains Europe’s premier rally series and the recognised springboard for drivers stepping up from national level with the aim of one day forging a career in the FIA World Rally Championship. With events taking place over two days, the action is constant and the battles for position intense, making the ERC an ideal way to gain knowledge and build experience of international-level competition.
Promoted by WRC Promoter for a second season through a long-term agreement with motorsport’s world governing body, the FIA, every stage on every rally is broadcast live on WRC+ and the new-for-2023 Rally.TV platform.
Drivers in Rally2 cars can partner with one of four leading tyre manufacturers: Hankook, Michelin, MRF Tyres or Pirelli.
There are categories for Rally3 cars (ERC3) and Rally4 and Rally5 cars (ERC4), while young, up-and-coming talents are given their chance to shine in the FIA Junior ERC Championship, supported by Hankook, which begins on ORLEN 79th Rally Poland in May.
Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto provides a tough start to the 2023 ERC season, with 16 challenging gravel-based stages, plus a super special stage though the Tarmac and cobblestone streets of host town Fafe. The event route covers 180.29 kilometres and concludes with the Lameirinha Power Stage, complete with the iconic Pedra Sentada jump, from 16:00 local time on Sunday.