Simon Wagner has secured the chance to prove his talent in the FIA European Rally Championship’s top tier when he contests next week’s Rally Hungary in a Rally2-specifiation Škoda Fabia.
The 27-year-old Austrian, who claimed an ERC1 Junior podium on last season’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín in a strong sixth overall, is entered for the Nyíregyháza-based event in a Fabia Rally2 Evo run by the Hungarian Eurosol team. Gerald Winter, his compatriot, will co-drive.
“It feels amazing to be back in the ERC,” said Wagner, an FIA ERC3 Junior Championship graduate. “After the Barum Rally was cancelled I tried hard to realise another ERC event this year. It looks like Hungary will be the strongest ERC competitions of the year with so many Rally2 cars entered. Also, I only know the rally from watching the live coverage last year so it might be hard to repeat our sixth overall from Barum. But, as always, we will try our best.”
Despite his limited international experience at Rally2 level, Wagner has an impressive record in top-of-the-range machinery from selected national events. From 15 starts, he’s managed nine outright victories. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic his competitive outings have been limited to five starts on events in Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic and Italy.
“We do miss some mileage but Gerry [Winter] and I feel well prepared with our great working Michelin- equipped Eurosol Škoda Fabia Rally 2 Evo,” said Wagner. “My main goal for Hungary is for sure to give my team, which is from Hungary, a good result on their home soil as they are always working hard and deliver. Besides that, it will be interesting to see where we stand compared to the other ERC Juniors, even if we are not registered in ERC Junior due to our limited funds.”
It’s an important period for Wagner. As well as his outing on Rally Hungary from November 6-8, the talented Austrian is entered for the final round of his national championship, Rallye W4, which is scheduled to take place from November 13-15.
“Bringing the car back home in one piece is very important as we’ll have the last round of the Austrian championship only five days later at Rallye W4,” Wagner explained. “It’s on gravel when I will try to defend my victory from last year.”
Wagner is supported by Škoda Austria, Michelin and Autoland Hinterleitner.