French talent heads to ERC in a Toyota Yaris – whatever next?
Victor Cartier will make history in this season’s FIA European Rally Championship when he unleashes a Toyota Yaris Rally2-Kit on the stages of the ERC.
Cartier began his career in a first-generation Yaris in 2015 but his step up to the ERC2 for 2021 marks a major career move, as the 24-year-old from France explained.
‘We have two really beautiful championships in France, both on Tarmac and gravel, with a high level of driving,” said Cartier. “But I chose the ERC because there are several Rally2-Kit cars competing and it’s the best way to compare with the same category of cars. It’s also a great way to progress and to discover something different, different rallies and countries.”
Cartier will make his ERC debut on ORLEN 77th Rally Poland from June 18-20 and is planning to contest all eight ERC rounds in 2021. “It’s a huge challenge for us,” Cartier said. “Our main goal this season is to bring the ERC2 title. It’s very ambitious, but you have to set high goals to progress. We are focusing on ERC2 for this year and we will go higher next season. My dream is to become a professional World Rally Championship driver and I will do what it takes to make it happen.”
As part of his efforts to progress further in the future, Cartier said: “When I’m not driving, I work on my car, make some improvements and prepare for all the ERC events. I also do a lot of sports to develop my physical condition. I analyse my on-board cameras and those of the ERC rallies to progress in driving a 4WD and learn the specific surface for each event. The ERC takes 100 per cent of my time. So far, we have carried out several days of testing with MICHELIN, DONERRE Suspension, or on our own initiative to improve the car and my driving.”
Cartier on ERC-bound Toyota Yaris Rally2-Kit
Victor Cartier’s Yaris Rally2-Kit is a new addition to the ERC ranks in 2021. He explained what attracted him to the car. “My first rally car was a first-generation Toyota Yaris,” Cartier said. “I couldn’t afford to rent or buy a Rally2 to progress. The most credible route open to me was Rally2-Kit. I had just finished my engineering studies in mechanical design, so the idea was to design and build my own car, a unique and original car. The choice of the Toyota Yaris was natural for me.
“The drivability of the car is very pleasant; it is a good car to learn to drive an all-wheel drive. DONERRE Suspension achieved very good shock absorbers for my Toyota Yaris. The effectiveness of MICHELIN tyres allows to harness the potential of the car. Although the operating cost is lower than a Rally2, our motor is a weakness due to the power difference between a Rally2 and a Rally2-Kit. We hope our shock absorbers DONERRE Suspension will make the difference.”
Cartier, who will be co-driven by Fabien Craen, will go up against a trio of Swift R4lly S in the ERC2 category this season. The Audi A1 quattro from Mattias Ekström’s EKS JC team in partnership with South African firm Rally Technic, is also eligible for ERC2 with former ERC Junior champion Emil Bergkvist testing the car.