As the F1 fraternity packs up their equipment – minus the radios (!) and heads off the night race around the streets of Singapore we are staying a little closer to home, and taking in the FIA European Rally Championship round at Cyprus.
The European Rally Championship or ERC for short was born out of the IRC or Intercontinental Rally Challenge a few years ago, a series aimed at bringing new talent through the rally ranks at a time when the WRC was losing teams and drivers thanks to the domination of a certain French partnership.
As a result, in the past the IRC grew and even held some of the larger rally events over the WRC, hosting the Monte Carlo Rally 3 times from 2009-2011.
During this time many faces familiar to fans of the WRC either moved to or competed in this championship instead of / as well as the WRC.
For 2013 the series was merged with the European Rally Championship and runs under that banner although this round also forms part of the MERC (Middle East Rally Championship) so expect a few more cars and drivers to feature.
As with most forms of rallying there are several classes all on the road at once.
The main S2000 class, 2wd, Junior and Group N (production based) classes with a separate championship for female drivers.
At the end of the season prizes are also to the top points scorers on snow, gravel and tarmac surfaces.
Ok so I know the format, who are the ones to watch?
Well, bit of a difficult one this, the leaders of the S2000 – Esapekka Lappi and 2WD – Janne Ferm championships will not be competing in Cyprus. So expect both Sepp Wiegand (S2000) and Frank Christian (2WD) to be looking to take full advantage as the season draws towards its close, although saying that for the production (Group N) teams this will be the final round.
Sounds good, what sort of cars compete then?
Well, as with most rally series currently most cars are based on hatchback models, expect Peugeot 207/8s, Skoda Fabias, Ford Fiestas, Minis, Suzuki Swifts, the odd Honda Civic and in the production category for old school rally fans, Mitsubishi Lancers and Subaru Imprezas. Enjoy!
So where can I see it?
The ERC is promoted by Eurosport so, unsurprisingly it can be seen on the Eurosport channel in the UK.
However, as is becoming more the norm these days there is plenty of action from past events available to whet your appetite on YouTube.