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The history of the European Rally Championship

In international rally after the Wold War II the European Rally Championship was one of the most prestigious series. Famous names like Rauno Aaltonen, Pauli Toivonen or Jean-Claude Andruet were among the winners of the title.

Things started to change, when in 1973 the World Rally Championship was inaugurated – for the first years as a manufacturers’ championship only. Understandably their support went to the new championship and when in 1979 the World Rally Championship became also a drivers’ championship, the interest in the European Rally Championship faded away, although it comprised more than forty events in those days. These events had a coefficient from 1 to 4 with which the points were multiplied. All points were taken into the final result – therefore nobody could really follow the standings. It didn’t change much when the coefficients were changed to 2, 5, 10 and 20. The European Rally Championship was much more a championship of organisers than drivers.

When there was finally taken the decision to reduce the ERC to the events with coefficient 20 and to establish the European Rally Cups with the remaining events keeping their coefficients, a new future for the ERC had begun.

Still this was not yet the success that the organizers, which had formed a loose organisation, had hoped for. After many discussions a system of registration, when only registered drivers would get points, was installed to prevent the local heroes to take away classification points although their interested in the ERC was nil.

Nor the ERC is growing steadily again over the past years. The number of registered drivers is increasing and among them are more every year those who really go for the whole ERC. Hopefully with the new system which divides the events in two periods the number of competing drivers will increase again. The events are fantastic and ready to give a platform for drivers and sponsors.

Hans-Christoph Mehmel

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