FIVE DAYS TO FAFE: ERC 2023 ALMOST ABOUT TO GET UNDERWAY
The countdown to round one of the 2023 FIA European Rally Championship enters its final phase today (Sunday) with five days left until the action begins in northern Portugal.
On Friday 10 March, Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto begins with the first of 17 stages. Here are five big numbers to look out for.
8: With 8 March marking International Women’s Day, it’s fitting, therefore, that eight female co-drivers are registered for ERC points on the season opener. They include double champion Sara Fernández (pictured below) and Julia Thulin, who helped Robert Virves win the Junior WRC title in 2022.
40: An incredible 40 drivers are entered in Rally2 machinery, while 48 crews out of the 55-strong entry eligible for the ERC. There are 13 national or regional champions competing and 23 nationalities represented.
7: Seven drivers are in contention for FIA ERC4 honours in Fafe. The list includes Italian Roberto Daprà, Estonian Joosep Ralf Nõgene and local driver Ernesto Cunha, who made his ERC debut in Fafe in 2021.
7: And seven drivers set fastest stage times when Fafe hosted the ERC for a second time in 2022 to underline the championship’s wide-open competition. It’s not long to find out how many will top the timesheets in 2023.