October 4, 2018
A total of 74 crews have registered for Rally Liepāja, a round of both the FIA European Rally Championship and Latvian Rally Championship. Among the entries, we can find the fastest drivers from Europe, motorsports stars from Latvia, as well as representatives from countries as far away as Brazil and Canada.
Nikolay Gryazin ©FIAERC.com
FIA European Rally Championship round will be contested by 35 crews, five of which will be driving with licences given out by the Latvian Automobile Federation. Last year’s winner, Sports Racing Technologies driver Nikolay Gryazin, will be first on road in his Škoda Fabia R5. Among Latvian drivers, the highest start position was given to Jānis Berķis, who will be eighth on road in a Neiksans Rallysport prepared Ford Fiesta R5.
Fabian Kreim ©FIAERC.com
Number two has been given to Gryazin’s closest competitor in the standings, Skoda Auto Deutschland driver Fabian Kreim. Eyvind Brynildsen, who has experience in the World Rally Championship, has also registered for the event, as have Lukasz Habaj from RALLYTECHNOLOGY, last year’s ERC2 and ERC3 champions Tibor Erdi Junior and Chris Ingram (TOKSPORT WRT), as well as 2018 Austrian rally champion Niki Mayr-Melnhof and Brazilian Paulo Nobre (Palmeirinha Rally) who, until 2016, was president of soccer club Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras. The aforementioned competitors will be driving R5 class Škoda Fabia or Ford Fiesta vehicles, bringing the total number of R5 cars to 17, which includes one Peugeot 208 T16 R5, driven by Frenchman Laurent Pellier (Peugeot Rally Academy).
Eyvind Brynildsen ©FIAERC.com
This year’s FIA European Rallycross Champion in Supercar class, Reinis Nitišs, has also registered for the event. The Jēkabpils native will be competing in a Neiksans Rallysport prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. Just like his competitors in ERC2 class – Sergei Remennik (Russian Performance Motorsport) and Vytautas Švedas (KSK Juta), he will also be competing in the Latvian Rally Championship LRČ2 class.
Jānis Berķis ©Reinis Grīnvalds
ERC3 class will be widely represented in Rally Liepāja. There, we will also see this year’s European champion in ERC Junior U27 class, Mārtiņš Sesks. The Liepāja native will be competing in his hometown in an Opel Adam R2, and fighting his ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team teammate Tom Kristensson, as well as Spanish driver Efren Llarena (Rally Team Spain), for victory. Just a month after Petter Solberg’s start in Neste World RX of Latvia, the family will be represented by Petter’s son Oliver. The 17-year-old driver will be competing as part of Sports Racing Technologies.
In addition to the battles in the FIA European Rally Championship, the Kurzeme roads will also host the final two rounds of the Latvian Rally Championship. Ukrainian Valerii Gorban (Eurolamp World Rally Team) will surely thrill the spectators in his BMW-Mini John Cooper Works WRC, doing his best to maintain his championship lead over Estonian Ranno Bundsen (A1M Motorsport).
LRČ1 class will be represented by some of the best local talent – Rallyworkshop team drivers Emīls Blūms, Edijs Bergmanis and Kristaps Sarma, as well as Ronalds Baldiņš (A1M Motorsport) and Elviss Hermanis (Neiksans Rallysport). Ten-time Canadian rally champion Antoine L’Estage has also registered for the event, and he will be driving the recently built Ford Fiesta NRC Prototype.
As part of round six of the Latvian Rally Championship, we will also see the duel between two very different rallysprint competitors – Andris Putniņš / Raimonds Gļauda in a Rover 214 will take on the Subaru Impreza of Jānis Dūcis / Gints Bērziņš, while the second day of the event will have the Historic Sport crews tackling the stages, including the season leaders Māris Egle / Aldis Egle in their Audi 80 Quattro.
Alexander Rzhevkin has made a unique choice for this event – he will be driving two cars for this event. On round six of the Latvian Rally Championship, he will be at the wheel of LRČ6 class Ford Fiesta, while on Sunday he will switch over to a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX and battle in the LRČ1 class.
Rally Liepāja will be contested by drivers from twenty-two countries. After Latvia, the second most represented country is Russia, with nine entries. Estonia is represented by six crews, including Alan Popov in ERC2 class and Georg Linnamae in ERC3. For Lithuania, in addition to the aforementioned Vytautas Švedas, we will also see Vladas Jurkevičus compete in the ERC3 class.
Among typical rally cars, we will also see some less traditional race cars tackling the Liepāja stages. Romanian driver Simone Tempestini will be racing a Fiat 124 Abarth, while Latvian Mārtiņš Jākobsons will be at the wheel of a GAZ 53A.
The full entry list is available on the Latvian Rally Championship website http://autorally.lv/.
FIA European Rally Championship round Rally Liepāja is possible thanks to the support of the Latvian government and the rally city of Liepāja. We would also like to thank our sponsors Neste, Škoda, Ramirent, our partner LDz Cargo, official car rental Sixt and our supporters Liepājas Olimpiskais Centrs, LSEZ, and Swecon. Informative support is provided by news portal DELFI, as well as Kurzemes Radio, JCDecaux, Go4Speed, and Zebra. Rally Liepāja would also not be possible without our rally friends: Dardedze, Esi Draugs, Ezerkauliņi, Flora, FN Serviss, Fristads, Jānis Pūce, Liepājas Datoru Centrs, Red Bull, Rent a Display, SignTech, Sportland, Törley, and Venden. Rally Liepāja is realized with support by the regional councils of Aizpute, Durbe, Kuldīga, Priekule, Skrunda, and Vaiņode. A special thank you goes out to the Latvian Automobile Federation. Rally Liepāja is organized by RA EVENTS and Speed Festival Kurzeme.
Rally Liepāja tickets are available in all Biļešu Serviss locations as well as online HERE. A single ticket costs 18.00 EUR, but on the week of the rally, beginning on October 8, the price will be increased to 25.00 EUR. Children up to 10 years of age and people with disabilities can attend the event free of charge. At the entrance of the stage, you will have to provide a valid document stating the age and/or disability.
Rally Liepāja spectators should remember that, before heading out to the stages, the tickets must be exchanged for wristbands – you will not be able to access the stages without a wristband. Information about the ticket exchange points is available on www.lvrally.com. When exchanging the ticket for a wristband, you will also receive a spectator safety leaflet.