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EHRC - Erdi Triumphs in thrilling Rallye Weiz

  • Third win of the 2023 FIA European Historic Rally Championship season for Hungarian ace Erdi
  • ‘Lucky’ maintains strong season of podium finishes in second place, Jürgen Geist completes the overall and Category 4 podium
  • Intense battles throughout the field, with margins as narrow as 0.7 seconds after 13 timed stages

Tibor Erdi claimed his third outright win of the 2023 FIA European Historic Rally Championship season with a dominant performance on Rallye Weiz in Austria. Huge crowds cheered the Hungarian ace and his Croatian co-driver Istvan Kerék onwards through eastern Styria in their Ford Sierra Cosworth 4x4 while savouring a hugely entertaining event.

From the outset, Erdi’s nearest challenger was once again Italian star ‘Lucky’ and his former WRC vice-champion co-driver Fabrizia Pons. The popular pairing and their distinctive black Lancia Delta Integrale 16v were hampered by time penalties after falling foul of heavy traffic on the road sections, but enjoyed a clean rally to notch up their X podium of the season.

Pre-event favourites Karl Wagner and co-driver Gerda Zauner were sadly forced to retire their evocative Porsche 911 3.0 RS after the first timed stage due to an oil pump failure. The Austrians had hoped to convert their home ground advantage into another strong finish, but in their absence a battle royal for the final place on the podium raged between Germany’s Jürgen Geist and Czech co-driver Josef Kral in their Opel Manta 400 and the BMW E30 M3 of Ernie and Karen Graham.

The event marked rather a change of pace for the Grahams, having successfully put the Category 1 title out of reach in the previous event, Hungary’s Mecsek Rallye, they seamlessly swapped their familiar Ford Escort Mk1 Twin-Cam for the more modern and powerful BMW.

Geist and Graham traded times on every stage, leapfrogging one another on the leader board from one stage to the next. In the end the advantage fell to Geist on the 13th and final stage of the rally, the two cars separated by a margin of just 0.7 seconds after a pitched battle that both crews thoroughly enjoyed.

Behind the leading quartet of Category 4 cars, another spellbinding contest was happening for fifth place overall and victory in Category 3.

This three-way battle was played out between the superb Renault 5 Turbo of Frenchmen Philippe Mermet and co-driver Gerard Clerton, the immaculate Swiss-crewed Porsche 911 of Guy Trolliet and Sébastien Moulin and the muscular Opel Ascona 400 of local aces Gert Göberndorfer and Mario Koller.

After the final morning’s stages were complete, the advantage lay with Göberndorfer after he sprang up from third to the lead immediately before the service halt. With four stages remaining in the afternoon loop, it was Göbendorfer who took off to build a 50-second advantage by the end of the rally, earning a tumultuous welcome from the local fans, with Trolliet a delighted second and Mermet equally pleased with the trophies for third place.

In a dramatic twist at the end of the event, however, the class-winning Opel Ascona was excluded from the results after an unhomologated differential was discovered. This promoted Trolliet and Mermet to the top two places and handed third place to Austrians Michael and Elizabeth Putz in their spotless Porsche 911 SC.

One of the most popular entries for rally fans, Sir Andrew McAlpine’s sonorous Ferrari 308 GTB, was sadly eliminated from a major part in the fight for Category 3 honours by a fire in the engine bay. Although the incident looked dramatic, McAlpine was able to stop near a fire marshal who was swiftly able to douse the blaze alongside the driver and co-driver Andrew Bull.

In fact, the damage was light enough for the team to consider restarting on Day 2 but discretion was the better part of valour – and McAlpine praised the event organisers for their role in saving the car.

Things were no less dramatic in Category 2, where the Porsche 911 of Italian veteran Paolo Pasutti and co-driver Giovanni Campeis spent the rally trading fastest stage times with the BMW 2002ti of Czech pairing Stanislav Budil and co-driver Petr Vejvoda. On the final afternoon, the Italians put on a real charge to claim the class from Budil, with Austrians Richard and Lucie Ronay third in their Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800.

Ernie Graham’s move to more modern machinery left the lone contender for Category 1 as the Czech father-and-son pairing of Oldrich Kovarik Jr and Sr in their Škoda Octavia Super. What they lacked in terms of rivals for the category win, the pair more than made up for in spectacle as they kept the little 62-year-old car absolutely on the limit throughout the event, delighting the crowds on each stage. They were welcomed onto the podium to a huge response from the crowd to claim their first EHRC class win of the season.

The FIA EHRC now prepares for its first gravel outing of the year, the Lahti Rally in Finland, where among the series regulars a very familiar face will be Toyota’s World Rally Championship team principal and former WRC driver Jari-Matti Latvala. The event will take place on August 11-12 based in Lahti Port.

Rallye Weiz Top 10 Results

Date: July 14-15, 2023. Location: Weiz, Austria. Number of Entrants: 28 (FIA EHRC). Number of Stages: 13. Total distance: 493.6 km Stage distance: 145.3 km









Tibor Erdi Jr/Istvan Kerek


Ford Sierra Cosworth 4x4


1hr 31 m 3.7s


‘Lucky’/Fabrizia Pons


Lancia Delta Integrale 16v


+1m 2.0s


Jürgen Geist/Josef Krall


Opel Manta 400


+4m 42.8s


Ernie Graham/Karen Graham


BMW E30 M3


+4m 43.5s


Guy Trolliet/Sébastien Moulin


Porsche 911 SC


+7m 2.9s


Philippe Mermet/Gerard Clerton


Renault 5 Turbo


+7m 16.9s


Paolo Pasutti/Giovanni Campeis


Porsche 911 Carrera RS


+7m 21.9s


Alois Nothdurfter/Walter Münch


Ford Sierra RS Cosworth


+7m 48.1s


Michael Putz/Elizabeth Putz


Porsche 911 SC


+8m 15.2s


Pascal Eouzan/Pascale Eouzan


BMW E30 M3


+8m 26.8s


Category winners: Cat. 1 Oldrich Kovarik Jr/Oldrich Kovarik Sr (Skoda Octavia Super), Cat. 2 Pasutti/Campeis, Cat. 3 Trolliet/Moulin, 4 Erdi/Kerék



2023 FIA European Historic Rally Championship Calendar


Round 1            71st Rally Motul Costa Brava                Spain                               March 16-18

Round 2            31st Historic Vlatava Rallye                   Czech Republic              April 20-22

Round 3            Rally de Asturias Historico                    Spain                               May 11-13

Round 4            Rallye du Chablais VHC                          Switzerland                   June 1-3

Round 5            Mecsek Rallye                                           Hungary                          June 22-24

Round 6            Rallye Weisz Historic                              Austria                            July 13-15

Round 7            Lahti Historic Rally                                   Finland                                         August 10-12

Round 8            Sanremo Rallye Storico                          Italy                                  October 5-8

Round 9            Historic Acropolis Rally                          Greece                            November 2-4