Winter wonderland in store for Erc heroes

FIA European Rally Championship aces are set for a true winter contest when Austria hosts the 2015 season-opener from 4-6 January.

Weather reports for the Internationale Jännerrallye powered by GaGa Energy are forecasting an ambient temperature range of between minus five and minus 21 degrees centigrade around the event base in Freistadt. Snow has also been falling in recent days with more snow expected.

The Internationale Jännerrallye powered by GaGa Energy features 18 all-asphalt stages over a competitive distance of 237.80 kilometres. Uniquely the event runs from Sunday to Tuesday to accommodate the Austrian Bank Holiday weekend.

Craig Breen is the number one seed for the opening round of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship

The Irishman, a winner and podium finisher in the 2014 ERC, will pilot a Peugeot Rally Academy 208T16 alongside co-driver Scott Martin as part of a season-long European championship title bid.

Stéphane Lefebvre, the inaugural ERC Junior champion, is the number two seed in a Citroën DS3 R5 with Kajetan Kajetanowicz (Ford Fiesta R5) seeded three for the LOTOS Rally Team.

Robert Consani is seeded four, Jaromír Tarabus five and Antonín Tlusťák six. Alexey Lukyanuk is seeded seven, Jean-Michel Raoux eight, Jonathan Hirschi nine and top Austrian Hermann Neubauer 10. Vojtĕch Štajf is the leading ERC2 seed with Kristóf Klausz the highest-ranked ERC3 contender.