All surfaces, all action for 2015 ERC calendar

Crews contesting the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship will demonstrate their skills on ice, snow, asphalt and gravel over an exciting 10-event schedule from January to November.

Eurosport Events, the ERC promoter under a long-term agreement with motorsport’s world governing body, the FIA, has announced a provisional calendar for next season following a meeting of the FIA Rally Commission on Wednesday. It takes in some of Europe’s best and most prestigious rallies with five events on asphalt and five on loose surfaces. Meanwhile, the FIA ERC Junior Championship will take in six rounds (see calendar below).

The 2015 ERC season kicks off on the ice-coated roads of the Jännerrallye from 4-6 January. Uniquely, the event will start on Sunday and finish on Tuesday to take in the Austrian Bank Holiday weekend. From Upper Austria, the ERC heads north to Latvia for Rally Liepāja (6-8 February), a high-speed snow spectacular through the Baltic forests.

It’s back to asphalt for the Circuit of Ireland Rally, one of the oldest events on the international calendar, from 2-4 April prior to a short break as the ERC crews recharge their batteries following an all-action start to the season. The competition resumes with one of the most spectacular gravel events of all, SATA Rallye Açores (4-6 June), before a return to asphalt for Belgium’s Geko Ypres Rally from 25-27 June.

auto24Rally Estonia, a hit new addition to the ERC schedule for 2014, retains its mid-summer slot with crews set to fly over the gravel jumps and crests from 17-19 July. The all-asphalt Barum Czech Rally Zlín is next up from 28-30 August with the Cyprus Rally scheduled for 25-27 September, one week later than 2014 to allow teams more travel time. Discussions are taking place to offset the cost of travel to Cyprus and Açores.

The ERC remains on gravel for Rally of Greece, previously the Acropolis Rally, from 9-11 October having run in March this season, but it’s back to asphalt for the season-closer, the iconic Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse from 5-7 November.

“Once again we have put together an exciting schedule of emerging and established events in all four corners of Europe,” said Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC General Co-ordinator. “With rallies on ice, snow, asphalt and gravel, crews can experience serious competition on a variety of surfaces.”

Events will be run over a competitive distance of between 200-230 kilometres as part of ongoing cost-cutting measures, which also include restrictions on testing and tyre use.

The provisional FIA European Rally Championship calendar for 2015 will now be submitted to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for final ratification at its meeting in Doha, Qatar on 3 December.

The provisional FIA European Rally Championship calendar for 2015 is as follows:
Round 1: Jännerrallye (Austria, asphalt/ice/snow): 4-6 January 2015
Round 2: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel/ice/snow): 6-8 February 2015 (J)
Round 3: Circuit of Ireland Rally (Northern Ireland, asphalt): 2-4 April 2015 (J)
Round 4: SATA Rallye Açores (Portugal, gravel): 4-6 June 2015 (J)
Round 5: Geko Ypres Rally (Belgium, asphalt): 25-27 June 2015 (J)
Round 6: auto24 Rally Estonia (gravel): 17-19 July 2015 (J)*
Round 7: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic, asphalt): 28-30 August 2015 (J)
Round 8: Cyprus Rally (gravel): 25-27 September 2015
Round 9: Rally of Greece (gravel): 9-11 October 2015*
Round 10: Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse (France, asphalt): 5-7 November 2015

(J) Indicates FIA ERC Junior Championship round
*Subject to signing of ERC Promoter agreement