FIA European Historic Rally competitors set to tackle Mecsek Rallye

FIA European Historic Rally competitors set to tackle Mecsek Rallye

The 2024 FIA European Historic Rally Championship reaches halftime in Hungary this week (June 13-15) with 19 crews preparing to tackle the 57th Mecsek Rallye.


Having delivered action aplenty during the first three events of the year – including on Historic Rally of Asturias last month when the top two finishers were separated by 1.6 seconds – the FIA EHRC contenders are set to provide another exciting spectacle on the Tarmac stages around host city Pécs.


With an eclectic mix of cars in action, the FIA EHRC is a celebration of rallying’s glorious past, as well as providing an accessible platform for drivers with varying levels of experience and resource to compete at an international level.


Who’s in it to win it?
Flexifly Rally Team’s British driver James Potter (Ford Escort Twin Cam) starts the Mecsek Rallye aiming to maintain his lead of the Category 1 standings over Italian Antonio Parisi (Porsche 911 S). Jesus Villaroel from Spain swaps his Escort for Porsche 911 power, while Italy’s Carlo Fiorito is equipped with his familiar BMW 2002 ti.


With top scores on Rally Costa Brava and Historic Rally of Asturias, overall FIA EHRC points leader Angelo Lombardo heads the Category 2 ranking at the wheel of a Porsche 911 Carrera RS. The Italian’s competition includes local driver László Mekler (Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA).


Italian “Zippo” (Audi Quattro) starts the Mecsek Rallye in the knowledge that a strong result will put him top of the Category 3 order, due to the current top two, Jesus Ferreiro and Christophe Jacob, not including the Pécs-based event on their schedules for 2024. FIA EHRC newcomer Maciej Lubiak, a tennis player in his youth, will be hoping to serve up a strong result aboard his Porsche 911 Carrera SC.


The Category 4 contingent includes Hungary’s top seed Tibor Érdi Jr, who drove his Ford Sierra Cosworth 4x4 to victory on the 56th Mecsek Rallye in 2023, and Czech Vojtĕch Štajf, the winner of April’s Historic Vltava Rallye in a Toyota Celica GT-Four ST185. With points leader Martin McCormack not in action, Flexifly Rally Team’s second-placed Ernie Graham will aim to close the gap to his fellow BMW M3 driver. Frenchman Pascal Eouzan also relies on BMW power, while Hungarian Péter Magoss competes in a Subaru Legacy 2.0 4WD Turbo. Austrian Georg Reitsperger drives a Ford Sierra Cosworth 4x4.


Piotr Gadomski (Toyota Corolla AE82) starts the Mecsek Rallye bidding for back-to-back wins in the FIA EHRC Front Wheel Drive Trophy but faces opposition from Sicily-based Natale Mirabile (Fiat Ritmo Abarth 130 TC) and Hungarian János Dunavölgyi (Lada 2108 Samara). James Potter, László Mekler and Piotr Gadomski are among the drivers in contention for FIA EHRC 1600cc Trophy honours.


Flexifly Rally Team tops the FIA EHRC Teams' Trophy ahead of Rododendri Historic Rally and Escuderia Madrid Historicos.

FIA EHRC 2024: how it works?
The FIA EHRC is for historic rally cars built prior to 1969 and homologated up to 1990. It’s divided into four categories (1-4) based on year of manufacturer with sub-divisions in Categories 2-4 to allow for different levels of car performance.


Competitors count their best six scores from nine rounds held on asphalt and gravel between March and November. Events typically run for one and a half days following reconnaissance with approximately 150 timed kilometres on offer.


The overall title is contested by all drivers and co-drivers regardless of their category with all rounds counting. The FIA EHRC Historic 1600cc Trophy is for cars up to 1600cc from Categories 1-4 with the six best scores counting. The rise in the number of front-wheel-drive cars competing has been recognised with the FIA EHRC Front Wheel Drive Trophy with crews also counting their best six scores.


In addition, the FIA EHRC Teams’ Trophy, which has attracted more than 25 entries for the 2024 season, features a new bonus points system with 10 additional points on offer on the Historic Rally of Asturias and the Historic Acropolis Rally.


Three new titles are up for grabs in the FIA EHRC this season. An overall FIA European Historic Rally Championship crown is being awarded for the first time, while the FIA European Historic 1600cc Trophy and FIA European Historic FWD Trophy titles have also been introduced for 2024.


Although the creation of the all-new titles is partly in response to competitor feedback, their introduction is in line with the FIA’s desire to raise the profile – and spectacle – of the FIA EHRC, while also providing an accessible point of entry to international-level historic rallying.


Mecsek Rallye in short
First run in 1967 and taking place for the 57th time in 2024, the Mecsek Rallye represents another challenging Tarmac test for the FIA EHRC crews. The mainly forest-based stages use fast, bumpy roads with the often lower-grip asphalt broken in places. And while corner ‘cutting’ can be a factor in certain sections, organisers have developed a series of anti-cut measures to minimise debris being dragged onto the road. While rain is forecast in the build-up to the rally, dry conditions are expected for the weekend when the ambient temperature is expected to peak at 27 degrees centigrade. FIA EHRC crews tackle 12 stages across Friday and Saturday with Friday’s six-stage route, which covers a competitive distance of 79.10 kilometres, getting under way with SS1 from 14:00 CET. A further 86.70 timed kilometres over 12 stages await on Saturday, starting with SS7 from 08:50 CET, for a total competitive distance of 165.80 kilometres. 

Related Motorsport Articles

84,731 articles