Lotus is set to make its debut in the 2012 Czech Sprintrally Championship and Slovak Rally Championship. The manufacturer will enter both series in partnership with well-established Czech team, the Charouz Racing System.
Lotus will compete with Martin Semerad and Igor Drotar at the wheel. Both drivers will race Lotus Exige R-GT cars, which will be hot news on Czech and Slovak stages. It’s a stunning car which has already generated a lot of excitement in the sports and motoring press ahead of its competition launch.
Lotus’ participation in Czech and Slovak rally championships extends the cooperation between the manufacturer and the Charouz Racing System, and its subsidiary Gravity-Charouz Racing which runs the Lotus team in the 2012 World Series by Renault championship.
Charouz Racing System has operated in motorsport for more than twenty years. It has acquired its reputation as a professional team in many racing series. Charouz Racing System-operated teams competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours and Le Mans Series, FIA GT3 European Championship, World Series by Renault, Czech Touring Car Championship and at last but not at least in Czech and international rallying. During the 2012 season, the team will participate on the Lotus’ Formula Renault 3.5 campaign.
Martin Semerad will drive the Lotus Exige R-GT in selected rounds of the 2012 Czech Sprintrally Championship. Despite his young age (*1990) Martin is an experienced driver. For the 2009 season he was handed a big opportunity when he was selected in a project for talented young drivers, the Pirelli Star Driver Team; he completed eight World Rally Championship rounds in a production car. In the following seasons (2010 and 2011) his WRC program was just as interesting – Martin again entered PWRC and fought for the highest positions.
Martin Semerad: “It’s a big challenge for me, because I haven’t driven a rear-wheel-drive car yet. These days rear-wheel-drive cars in rallying are rare, so the Lotus Exige R-GT will be very spectacular on Czech and Slovak stages. We don’t know what to expect, but we would like to fight for the Top 10 in the overall rankings. Opening rounds will be first steps of a learning curve; we will learn about our car and how it works, alongside the development will constantly continue. It won’t be easy, but I hope at the end of the season we will achieve decent results.”
In the Slovak Rally Championship, the Lotus Exige R-GT will be driven by the experienced Igor Drotar, who spent last season at the wheel of World Rally Cars attending both Slovak and Czech rally championships.
Igor Drotar: “I am looking forward to returning to rear-wheel-drive, which was something I raced at the beginning of my career. Our aim is to be first among the two-wheel-drive cars. The Exige is developed by a fantastic manufacturer, Lotus, so it’s sure to be really exciting. I am eagerly looking forward to the first drive.”
The new Lotus Exige R-GT cars will arrive in the Czech Republic at the beginning of June from Great Britain. Following a short testing period the team will make its debut in both championships.
Claudio Berro, Director of Lotus Racing: “Charouz Racing System are an excellent partner, with whom we are already competing in Formula Renault 3.5 this year, and who have a lot of experience of rallying in Eastern Europe. The Czech Sprintrally Championship and Slovak Rally Championship are both very tough and competitive, and the Exige R-GT should be very exciting to watch on these stages.”