Seated next to Pepe LOPEZ in the PEUGEOT 208T16 #6 is a veteran of the rallies: Borja HERNANDEZ ROZADA. Borja has been seasoned by innumerable campaigns, he will continue to offer LOPEZ his experience and wisdom during the 2017 season, which are particularly important in moments of stress.
During his 17 years of racing on four wheels, ROZADA traveled in different cars like the Renault Clio, with which he won the Gijón-Carreño Rally and finished second in the Rías Baixas race. The Fiat Abarth allowed him to climb to the third place in the Rally de la Guardia d’Urgell. He also won the Cristian López Herrero-Sarón race with a Citroën DS3 and the Rally de Ourense with a Ford Fiesta.
“I would like to thank PEUGEOT SPORT and PEUGEOT Spain for their confidence. With their support, two young Spanish drivers officially represent the PEUGEOT brand in a high-level championship, the ERC. We are committed to do whatever it takes to meet their choice.”
Pepe LOPEZ is born in Madrid on August 17, 1995. After taking part in the CAM Rally Festival of Portugal for a couple of years, behind the wheel of a PEUGEOT 206, this Spanish young gun made his debut in the 208 Rally Cup, the rally cup organized by PEUGEOT, and drove attention during the Junior championship, where he climbed on top of the podium, showing his true potential. He was crowned as the younger winner of the 208 Rally Cup History, at the age of 20, and also the first Junior driver who claimed the overall title.
Thanks to that, in 2017, Pepe LOPEZ was awarded of his 208 Rally Cup performance in becoming PEUGEOT SPORT official driver, in the PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY team, racing the European Rally Championship Junior season (ERC – U28) aboard the PEUGEOT 208T16.
“Our goal this year in ERC is simple: to win by giving the best of ourselves. Hand in hand with PEUGEOT SPORT, the PEUGEOT Spain team and Saintéloc, we will strive to be competitive from the start of this championship which is new to us. These last two seasons in 208 Rally Cup have been very positive for us. The first was a year of learning and from the second we were able to aim for victory. We showed what we were capable of. In 2017 we are starting from scratch in another championship and in a new category with a car that is also new to us but I am convinced that the PEUGEOT 208 T16 will allow us to fight at the front.”
José Cándido CARRERA is a young co-driver, but an expert in Spain’s national rallies. Since his debut in the Spanish Rally Championship he has forged a solid career. He has started rallying in 2001 in the Rally do Lacón in Carballino, part of the Aycom Cup, where he claimed the runner-up position. The first victory in his career arrived when he was co-driving for Suso FERRINOS in the Rally of San Froiland, part of the Punto Cup.
After this victory, he joined Alfonso GARCIA to race the Rally de Botafumeiro at the wheel of a PEUGEOT 106. His good performance was a first step for his good reputation as a co-driver. After that he took some more steps up with GARRE, REIRIZ, VILARINO and more, until teaming up with Antonio SUAREZ in 2015.
“With Pepe we want to move forward step by step and we have a fantastic opportunity to showcase ourselves and improve with the PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY team. It’s up to us to make the most of it! “
José Antonio SUAREZ MIRANDA, also named ”Cohete”, is born in Pravia (Asturias, Spain). He is one of the most talented drivers of his age, which granted him a seat in the World Rally Championship inside the WRC2 class with PEUGEOT. In 2017 his plan is to fight for the ERC U28 overall podium, to confirm his great potential and to keep improving steadily aboard the PEUGEOT 208T16.
‘I am aware of the privilege offered to me, having been chosen by PEUGEOT to ensure that the PEUGEOT 208 T16 is as fast as possible in ERC this season. I’m really grateful to PEUGEOT for giving us this opportunity, because there aren’t too many committed manufacturers or vacant seats. I could hardly dream of a better gift for this season and, I hope, for the coming seasons. The atmosphere in the PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY team is very good and there is mutual trust. I hope to be able to reward all those who support me with victories and a professional approach in this championship. I have learnt a lot WRC2 and learnt from the mistakes I made. My goal in ERC this year is to do my job professionally, in this team where I feel very happy, and try to win the title of the U28 category. If I have the slightest chance I won’t miss the title. Our goal is to add up miles at every race and minimize mistakes. “