In one week the Rallye Casinos do Algarve will get underway with 16 of the 36 car field competing for top honours in the 2018 European Rally Trophy final on the 16/17 November in Portugal.
Five ERT class cars will be going head-to-head, with two regional champions, Dan Girtofan (ROU), and Ondřej Bisaha (CZE), challenging to win their second major trophy of the 2018 season.
2004 Romanian Rally Champion Dan Girtofan will be joined, once again, by co-driver Tudor Marza in the no4 Skoda Fabia R5. The two Romanians won the Rally Serbia in September to claim the Balkan Rally Trophy title with 92 points.
Ondřej Bisaha will be partnered by fellow Czech Petr Tešinsky in the no5 ACCR Czech Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5. The Czech duo won two Central Rally Trophy events together in 2018, with Bisaha also winning a third rally, the Rallye Weiz, Styria in Austria with Martin Turecek. Bisaha finished the season on 114 points to claim the top prize in the Central Rally Trophy region.
The third entry in the ERT class is Portuguese duo José Pedro Fontes and Paulo Babo in the no3 Citroen Vodafone Team Citroen C3 R5. 2008 and 2016 Rally Algarve winner Fontes finished in second place in the Iberian Rally Trophy six points behind Spain’s Ivan Ares, who is not competing on the Rallye Casinos do Algarve.
The second crew from Portugal are Alexandre Camacho and Rui Rodrigues in the no6 Skoda Fabia R5. Camacho, who is a five time Madeira Rally Champion, finished the season on 39 points and placed fourth in the Iberian Rally Trophy overall standings.
The fifth and final ERT class crew is the no7 Ford Fiesta R5 of Dutch pairing Kevin Van Deijne and Hein Verschuuren. In his first season rallying in the R5 class Van Deijne finished the Benelux Rally Trophy season in 5th overall with 38 points, his best result was second on the GTC Rally in The Netherlands.
The ERT Class
Class R5 are defined as cars conforming to the 2018 Appendix J, Art. 261 and are Touring Cars or Large Scale Series Production Cars, with a supercharged Petrol engine and 4‐wheel drive. At least 2500 identical examples of these cars must have been manufactured in 12 consecutive months and homologated by the FIA in Touring Cars (Group A).
Class R5 cars are powered by a 4 cylinder 1.6-litre turbocharged engine and using a five-speed gearbox. The combined minimum weight of the car with only one spare wheel and crew (driver + co‐driver) is 1390 kg.
The FIA European Rally Trophy
The European Rally Trophy is made up of competitors from seven regions, which are the Alpine Rally Trophy, the Balkan Rally Trophy, the Baltic Rally Trophy, the Benelux Rally Trophy, the Celtic Rally Trophy, the Central Rally Trophy and the Iberian Rally Trophy. The top five competitors in each class from the seven regions are eligible to enter the 2018 European Rally Trophy final.
The Rallye Casinos do Algarve gets underway on Wednesday 14 November with reconnaissance over two days. Scrutineering and admin checks take place on Thursday 15 November, with the start of the first leg of the rally taking place on Friday 16 November and concluding on Saturday 17 November.
For more information on the 2018 European Rally Trophy CLICK HERE
For more information on the Rallye Casinos do Algarve visit the website HERE (in Portuguese)
IMAGE COURTESY OF João Viana