European Rally Championship leaders are ready to take on the challenge of Rally Liepāja
Rally Liepāja, the second event of the FIA European rally championship (ERC), has received applications from 51 crews in 20 countries. Among those, Poland is the most represented with 10 entries, followed by 8 entries from Latvia and 5 each from the Czech Republic and Russia. The rally will take place from February 6 to 8 on the roads of Liepāja and Kuldīga regions, and will also be the first event of the ERC Junior championship with 15 entrants. Two locally well-known crews – Gryazin/Lebedik and Sirmacis/Šimins – will begin to fight for the Junior title with the most talented young drivers of Europe in their Sports Racing Technologies prepared cars.
As mentioned previously, the most powerful class, consisting of R5 and S2000 group cars, will host a great battle, with Peugeot Academy driver Craig Breen, the winner of this year’s opening ERC round Kajetan Kajetanowitz, and Russian driver Alexey Lukyanuk all taking part. In the last day of registration, Robert Consani (Peugeot 207 S2000), who finished second in the Austrian ERC event, also applied for the rally. Three Czech drivers – Tomas Kurka, Antonin Tlustak and Martin Hudec, who finished second overall in the Production Cup last season, will also be taking part (all of them driving Škoda Fabia S2000 cars). Two more entrants will be driving Ford Fiesta R5 cars – Jaroslav Koltun from Poland and the Estonian driver Raul Jeets, who won Rally Talsi 2014 as well as became the Latvian champion last season.
ERC 2 (which consists of NR4 group cars) has 11 entries, including last year’s Rally Liepāja Production Cup winner Jānis Vorobjovs, who is set to have his hands full this year, having to race against the Czech Vojtech Stajf who won the first ERC round of the season, and Siim Plangi from Estonia, who is the only driver to have won a stage outright in an ERC 2 car in Rally Liepāja (SS7 in 2014). At the very last moment, Mārtiņš Svilis from Latvia also registered for the race, and he will be behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. Meanwhile, Inessa Tushkanova, who is widely known for her photoshoot for Playboy, will be driving a previous generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.
Rally Liepāja will also host the first event in the ERC Junior championship, with 15 entries from 8 countries. Ralfs Sirmacis and Vasily Gryazin will be driving with Latvian Automobile Federation licenses and, representing Sports Racing Technologies in identical Peugeot 208 R2 cars, will begin their battle for the main championship prize – opportunity to drive an R5 class car in multiple 2016 ERC events.
The ERC 3 class, consisting of R3 and R2 cars, will be the most represented in Rally Liepāja. A total of 29 entries have been received, and, with seven different cars - Citroën C2 R2 Max, Citroën DS3 R3, Ford Fiesta R2, Honda Civic Type R R2, Opel Adam R2, Peugeot 208 R2, and Renault Clio R3, there is sure to be a lot of variety on the stages. Some of the most notable entries include the ERC first event winner Slavomir Ogryzek from Poland, as well as 2014 Czech rally champion in class 6 – Ondrey Bisaha. Reinis Nitišs, who was third overall in the 2014 World rallycross championship in Supercar class, will also be taking part in the race in order to further improve his driving skills.
Latvian rally championship rounds two and three will also be taking place during Rally Liepāja, with 20 entries already received and registration still open until January 30.
More news and other information about Rally Liepāja can be found on the official website at www.lvrally.com, and on social media: Twitter @LVRally, Facebook /LVRally and YouTube /RallyLiepāja.
FIA European rally championship event Rally Liepāja is possible because of the support of the Latvian government and the city of Liepāja. We would also like to thank our sponsors Neste Oil, Sporta bārs Optibet and Vivus.lv, as well as our partner – city of Kuldīga, the host of rally center Liepājas Olimpiskais Centrs, rally insurer BTA, and our supporters – Canon ibServiss Liepāja, SweCon, Baltijas Helikopters and Castrol. Media supporters include the official news portal DELFI, rally radio StarFM, as well as Top Gear Latvija, Kurzemes Radio, Ātruma cilts, and Rietumu Radio. Last but not least, thank you for the important contributions to all Rally Liepāja friends: Ramirent, RedBull, Dardedze, Torley, Jānis Pūce, Ecorent, Guard Systems, N&J, Kurši, FN Serviss, Liepājas Datoru Centrs, SignTech, and Sidusnet.