Rally, FIA ERC | Canaries (2/6)
From May 3rd to 5th, the PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY Team was participating to the 2nd round of the European Rally Championship (FIA ERC) in the Canary Islands (Spain) – with young driver Laurent Pellier and co-driver Geoffrey Combe aboard the PEUGEOT 208 T16. The competition consisted in: 3 days of racing, 602.55km those 202.72km of timed sections through 14 stages. Facing very strong opposition, the 2 Frenchmen made it well on what was their 1st asphalt race in ERC! They ended-up 5th in the overall rankings and 4th in U28, just 1.5'' away from the podium: a very encouraging performance, that bodes well for the rest of the season.

Laurent Pellier, PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY driver
Focused & motivated
''We arrived in Islas Canarias with Geoffrey, my co-driver, 5 days before the rally, to be in the best conditions before tackling the race. We started the week with some testing organized by the PEUGEOT Team on Monday, then we did the official recce and worked on the set-up of the car on Tuesday and Wednesday.''
A bad start
''The serious stuff started on Thursday morning, with the free practice and the qualifying stage. We initially started with the same settings we had for the Sierra Morena Rally in Spain, where we were happy of our 2nd place for my 1st race ever on asphalt with the PEUGEOT 208 T16. I had a good set-up there, and the car was perfect. But for this 2nd race of the FIA ERC in the Canary Islands, we decided to fine-tuned few things, and I was thrown off by that changes. Our result was far away from my ambitions; with a pretty disappointing 22nd position / time. It took us a long debrief with team to understand what went wrong and what to modify for the following days.
There was a lot of things going on when the day came to an end, with autograph sessions, start ceremony, … Sharing good moments with the fans and feeling the local vibes! People there are great hosts, and they like motorsport. It's good to feel supported!’'
1st scratch!  The work finally pays back
''On the 1st stage of Leg 1 on Friday, we started quite carefully because the weather conditions were constantly changing, and same for the grip. Anyway, I had a good feeling in driving the car so I finally ended-up scoring my 1st scratch ever in ERC in the 2nd stage! It was a relief and a fair reward for me and Geoffrey, since we are competing at this high level of competition. I wanted to preserve my tires for the rest of the day, so I slowed the pace in the ES3. I guess I was probably a bit too much into ‘security mode’. At that time, we were 3rd of U28, a pretty good result.''
1st Leg, in halftone
''We started the afternoon stages with a good rhythm. I tried to be as aggressive as I could but our best time was not as good as we thought. It was a very frustrating situation but we did our best. It was difficult to assume it, because I gave everything I had in the car, even more than on the first runs, and it did not pay off. We had to stay focused, and to get to understand why we were slower and finding the solution quickly. I wanted to use the car to its best potential. We ended up 8th overall and 5th in U28, not too bad.’'
Back to the front!
''On Saturday morning I was more confident. It was all about facing completely new stages, for all the competitors, and I had a lot of fun racing. I gave it 100% again, but this time the chrono was more consistent with our feelings. I felt really good in the car. The work done with the team and Geoffrey took all its meaning. We could have made an even better performance in ES11, but our tires were already excessively worn by the end of the special. The loop went pretty well, I came back to 5th overall and 4th in U28. The goal was to stay on that pace or faster.''
P4 and a lot of fun
''I hit the road on Saturday afternoon with the aim of trying my best, not to regret anything. I am very happy with our final result, we had a good pace, scored good times and got some more experience through the race. We ended-up in good position in the U28 ranking, especially when you know the level of the other competitors and when you see their position in the final rankings - some of the good competitors are behind me in the standings. Of course missing a podium for 1 second and a half is disappointing, but we showed our potential and our level of performance aboard the PEUGEOT 208 T16. The PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY Team did a great job. This 4th place is a good reward for everyone in the team. The PEUGEOT car is reliable, I constantly improve my driving skills, so this is very encouraging for the rest of the season. From now on, I'm looking for the next stop of the ERC U28 Championship, in Rome, on July 20, 21 and 22nd.
In the meantime, we will participate to the ‘Rouergue Rally’ back in France, on July 5, 6 and 6th, with the PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY Team. I have good memories from there, as last year I clinched the victory in the 208 Rally Cup Championship. That was a great step in my career. From there, my journey as an official PEUGEOT Sport driver started. I am also excited to meet again the French public, because I will participate to just a few races in France aboard the PEUGEOT 208 T16. See you in Aveyron.''
FIA ERC U28 Rally Islas Canarias result: 4th place (5th in the overall ranking).
Next FIA ERC U28 Round: Rally Di Roma Capital, Italy, July 20-22nd.
PEUGEOT Sport Customer Competition Communication Manager
Etienne Devierre: / +33 6 64 82 27 38
Audrey Zachayus: / +33 6 29 54 75 73