FIA European Rally Championship 2019: ŠKODA privateer
Chris Ingram wins title – Filip Mareš ERC1 Junior Champion in another ŠKODA

› Double victory for ŠKODA crews winning overall and junior title of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC)
› Last minute championship for Chris Ingram and Ross Whittock after thrilling showdown at season closing Rally Hungary becoming the first Britons since 1967 to win European title
› Filip Mareš and Jan Hloušek from Czech Republic secure ERC1 Junior title by a mere 0.3 seconds at Barum Rally Zlín

ŠKODA crews played a leading role in the FIA European Rally Championship 2019 (ERC). Four of the eight rounds were won by crews using ŠKODA FABIA R5 and ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo. Chris Ingram and co-driver Ross Whittock (GBR/GBR) became champions after a Hungarian thriller, Filip Mareš/Jan Hloušek (CZE/CZE) won the ERC1 Junior Championship and Lukasz Habaj/Daniel Dymurski (POL/POL) finished third in the overall standings.

The opening ERC round, the Azores Rally, was won by Lukasz Habaj/Daniel Dymurski (POL/POL), leading a pure ŠKODA podium with Ricardo Moura/António Costa and Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock taking second and third. Next ŠKODA winners of the season were Giandomenico Basso/Lorenzo Granai (ITA/ITA) on their home round, Rally di Roma Capitale.

At Barum Rally Zlín, young Czech driver Filip Mareš and co-driver Jan Hloušek had a tense fight for the junior title (ERC1) with the British pairing Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock, both driving ŠKODA FABIA R5. While ŠKODA factory driver Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZE/CZE) won the event overall, Filip Mareš and co-driver Jan Hloušek came second, beating their closest rivals Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock at the end by just 0.3 seconds. Thus, Mareš/Hloušek claimed the European Junior Championship (ERC1). The Czech crew, which is strongly supported by Czech rally ace Roman Kresta and the ACCR Czech Rally Team, received 100,000 Euros as a reward.

Barum Czech Rally Zlín 2019

Barum Czech Rally Zlín 2019

Barum Czech Rally Zlín 2019

Despite being defeated in the junior category, Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock were still leading the ERC overall classification – but had no budget left to compete in the two final ERC rounds. That is, until Ingram’s mother initiated the crowd founding “Back the Brits” to cover the shortfall. With the money raised from sponsors, family, friends, fans and supporters as well as the strong support of their TOK Sport WRT Team, they could make it to the Cyprus Rally. On the island they came second after a smart drive, which gave the Britons a comfortable overall lead. The title decision between Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock, second placed ŠKODA stablemates Lukasz Habaj/Daniel Dymurski and Citroën crew Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov (RUS/RUS) was postponed to the season’s final in Hungary.

Even the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, could not have done better concerning the dramaturgy of Rally Hungary. Going into the very last stage of the season, championship leaders Chris Ingram and Ross Whittock were third. That could have been enough to secure the title, even if long time rally leaders Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov had taken the victory. But Ingram’s championship hopes seemed to be gone, when he collected a puncture with the finish in sight and dropped to fourth. Incredibly, Lukyanuk punctured as well during the last meters of the rally, as a consequence dropping to second overall. In the end, Chris Ingram and Ross Whittock were confirmed as overall champions. The last Briton to win the European Rally Championship was Vic Elford back in 1967 – he was one of the first to congratulate Ingram via short message.

At Rally Hungary, ŠKODA crew Frigyes Turán/Lázló Bagaméri, who had driven into the last stage of the rally ahead of Lukyanuk and Ingram and didn’t know about the incidents, only found out they had claimed their maiden ERC victory, when they got a phone call from their team on the road section to the podium.

Another ŠKODA crew delivered a stunning performance throughout the 2019 ERC season as well: Lukasz Habaj/Daniel Dymurski (Sports Racing Technologies) from Poland finished third overall.

Championship result ERC Overall/Drivers
1. Chris Ingram (GBR), ŠKODA, 141 points
2. Alexey Lukyanuk (RUS), Citroën, 132 points
3. Lukasz Habaj (POL), ŠKODA, 116 points

Championship result ERC1 Junior/Drivers
1. Filip Mareš (CZE), ŠKODA, 133 points
2. Chris Ingram (GBR), ŠKODA, 131 points
3. Mattias Adielsson (SWE), Ford/Citroën, 71 points


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Zbyněk Straškraba
Communications Motorsport
T +420 605 293 168

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