ERC title battles: pre-auto24 Rally Estonia update

The thrilling 2014 FIA European Rally Championship season enters its second half when auto24 Rally Estonia takes place this week. And this is what’s at stake in terms of the various title battles.

Esapekka Lappi, who is 33 points ahead in the title race, can pull further clear with a strong result in Estonia. However, if the Finn non-scores then his ŠKODA Motorsport team-mate Sepp Wiegand could move in front but would need to bag his maiden ERC victory in order to do so.

Wiegand, from Germany, is equal on points with Peugeot Rally Academy’s Craig Breen having scored podiums on his last two ERC outings. Breen, meanwhile, will be resuming his ERC title challenge on Barum Czech Rally Zlín next month.

Vitaliy Pushkar (pictured) is well-placed to grow his ERC Production Car Cup lead due to the absence of championship rival Martin Hudec, who hasn’t nominated the Otepää-based event as one of his scoring rounds. Ukrainian Pushkar is 11 points ahead of his Czech competitor.

Elsewhere, Hungary’s Zoltán Bessenyey can boost his prospects of defending his ERC 2WD crown with a podium finish in Estonia, which marks the Honda driver’s first European championship start since the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally. He’s 15 points adrift of first place.

In the ERC Ladies’ Trophy, Inessa Tushkanova can narrow Ekaterina Stratieva’s advantage to four points providing she reaches the finish in Tartu on Saturday night. Stratieva won’t be competing in Estonia.