The FIA European Rally Championship’s double-header concept developed by promoter Eurosport Events and sanctioned by motorsport’s world governing body, the FIA, remains in place following the rescheduling of the 55th Azores Rallye and Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras.
Using spectacular all-gravel stages on the island of São Miguel, the 55th Azores Rallye will now take place from September 16-18 with Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras moving to October 1-3. The dates of the other six rounds remain unchanged.
The 55th Azores Rallye had been due to run from May 6-8 but was postponed at the request of the local health authority following a rise in COVID-19 cases on the island of São Miguel. The new date for Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras follows a request from the event organising team to run their high-speed gravel event one week later than originally planned to avoid the previously scheduled municipal elections.
FIA European Rally Championship 2021 revised calendar
Round 1: ORLEN 77th Rally Poland (Gravel), June 18-20, 2021 J, A, C, M
Round 2: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), July 1-3, 2021 J, A, M
Round 3: Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy, asphalt), July 23-25, 2021 J, A, C, M
Round 4: 50th Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Asphalt), August 27-29, 2021 J, A, C, M
Round 5: 55th Azores Rallye (Gravel), September 16-18, 2021 M
Round 6: Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras (Portugal, gravel), October 1-3, 2021 M
Round 7: Rally Hungary (Asphalt), October 22-24, 2021 J, A, C
Round 8: Rally Islas Canarias (Asphalt), November 18-20, 2021 J, A
J = ERC Junior/ERC3 Junior round; A = Abarth Rally Cup round; C = Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT round; M = ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives available
The ERC’s double-header concept explained
Designed to reduce the cost of competing in the established feeder category to the FIA World Rally Championship, double-header, same-surface rallies remove the requirement for teams to return to their respective bases unnecessarily between events that are scheduled close together in terms of timing and location, and instead head to the next rally.
ERC 2021 begins with the first of two double-headers, ORLEN 77th Rally Poland (June 18-20) and Rally Liepāja (July 1-3). Following the Polish round, a secure parking facility for the storage of rally cars, transporters, trailers and support vehicles will be made available for teams to use free of charge ahead of the journey from Poland to Latvia one week later.
The gravel-based 55th Azores Rallye (September 16-18) and Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras (October 1-3), form the ERC’s second grouped event configuration for 2021. Following the completion of the 55th Azores Rallye, a vessel will leave São Miguel island for the city of Porto, located 40 kilometres from Fafe, where a secure parking facility will be arranged for teams contesting Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras two weeks later.
Jean-Baptiste Ley, ERC Co-ordinator, Eurosport Events, said: “Making the FIA ERC as affordable as possible has always been a priority and we hope the double-header concept will create real cost savings for our teams and drivers. While it was possible to maintain the group-event format for ORLEN 77th Rally Poland and Rally Liepāja, the postponement of the 55th Azores Rallye from May created several challenges that had to be overcome so the double-header with Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras could remain in place. Following the extensive effort and cooperation between a number of organisations, this has been possible, and we thank the FIA, the Portuguese ASN, FPAK, the Government of the Azores and the authorities in and around Fafe for accommodating these changes, which have been made with the best interests of the ERC and the two events in question at heart.
“Of course, Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras is now scheduled on the same date as Finland’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship, which is an unavoidable consequence of the fluid nature of the international motorsport calendar resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are totally convinced that these two well established events taking place on opposite sides of Europe with a time difference of two hours will both be extremely successful.”