The 2017 FIA European Rally Championship will begin with a bang following publication of the official entry list for the Azores Airlines Rallye, the opening event of the ERC’s exciting new era, featuring new formats, new drivers and a renewed commitment to unearth world championship stars of the future.


Consisting of 28 top-of-the-range R5 cars, 10 ERC Junior Under 27 entries and nine ERC Junior Under 28 runners, a total of 56 crews will line up on the island of São Miguel in the mid-Atlantic for the spectacular gravel event from 30 March-1 April.


Representing 14 nationalities, the competing crews are an exciting blend of youth and experience all eager to prove their talent on the 16-stage contest, which covers a competitive distance of 210.20 kilometres over truly stunning scenery, and enjoys extensive live online coverage.


The entry list features several highlights, including:

* Peugeot Rally Academy: Returning to the ERC with a two-car official team

* Marijan Griebel: ERC Junior champion chasing overall success in an R5 car

* Alexey Lukyanuk: Spectacular driver and 2016 runner-up aiming to go one better in 2017

* Opel Motorsport: Line-up includes Red Bull-backed woman driver Tamara Molinaro

* ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team: Jari Huttunen stepping up to ERC through prize drive

* ACCR Czech Team: Three-car squad has direct backing from Czech federation

* Sports Racing Technologies: Nicolay Gryazin and Ralfs Sirmacis among future hopes

* Castrol Ford Team Turkey: Embarking on major ERC campaign from Azores onwards

* Ricardo Moura: Home hero will enjoy big following from local fans

* ERC2 contenders: Sergey Remennik and Zelindo Melegari target class title glory


Other drivers entered include Chris Ingram, the ERC Junior runner-up from 2016, ERC Ladies champion Catie Munnings, ex-GT driver Albert von Thurn und Taxis from Germany, former Polish champion Łukasz Habaj, Irish promise Josh Moffett, ERC regular Dávid Botka, ERC Junior U28 contenders Tomasz Kasperczyk and Luis Miguel Rego, plus experienced Italian Max Rendina. Kajetan Kajetanowicz tops the entry list but the ERC champion for the last two seasons has yet to announce his programme for 2017.


The FIA ERC entry list for Azores Airlines Rallye may be accessed here