October 5, 2018
From October 12 to 14, Liepāja and its nearby Aizpute, Durbe, Kuldīga, Priekule, Skrunda, and Vaiņode regions will host Rally Liepāja, a round of the FIA European Rally Championship and the final round of the Latvian Rally Championship. There, we will find the fastest local and European crews, as well as determine this season’s champions.
Nikolay Gryazin ©FIAERC.com
This year’s European champion in overall classification has been determined – for the first time in his career, it was won by Alexey Lukyanuk. Meanwhile, the second place will be determined here in Liepāja, considering that Bruno Magalhaes has decided to skip this event. With that, Nikolay Gryazin, who is competing with a Latvian Automobile Federation licence, needs to earn 26 points to overtake Magalhaes. German Fabian Kreim also has a mathematical chance to get to second place, sitting 36 points behind Magalhaes. The maximum number of points a crew can earn in a single event is 39.
The FIA ERC Junior U28 title, and an opportunity to compete in a WRC round with a 2016-spec WRC car, is going to be determined between Sports Racing Technologies driver Gryazin (130 points), the aforementioned Kreim (122 points) and Chris Ingram (123 points). Here, the four best results of the season count towards the overall standings. Both competitors of Gryazin have been on the podium four times, while Gryazin has won three events – Canary Islands, Czech Republic and Poland.
ERC2 championship has already been won by Hungarian Tibor Erdi Jr, who has decided to try a Škoda Fabia R5 in Liepāja. Four victories have given him enough of a lead to guarantee that Sergei Remennik cannot catch him in Liepāja.
Mārtiņš Sesks ©FIAERC.com
FIA ERC Junior U27 class champion has also been determined, with 19-year-old Mārtiņš Sesks taking home the trophy. The young Liepāja native has a chance to add to his trophy cabinet in Rally Liepāja, though. In ERC3 class, Sesks (127 points) is currently leading, with teammate Tom Kristensson (106 points) second and Rally Team Spain driver Efren Llarena (96 points) third.
As a reminder – ERC and ERC3 season standings are calculated by using the six best out of eight rounds, while ERC2 adds up four best results of eight, and FIA ERC Junior championship is calculated with four best results in six rounds.
ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team, who are represented by Mārtiņš Sesks and Tom Kristensson, are the current leaders in the team standings, with 166 points. Sainteloc Junior Team from France is currently in second, 23 points behind. Latvian team Sports Racing Technologies have earned 59 points and are eighth overall.
Ladies class has had extremely close battles throughout the season. Before the final event, both Emma Falcon and Catie Munnings have 275 points, with the winner to be determined in Liepāja.
In addition to the battles in the European championship, Rally Liepāja will also determine the winners of the FIA Baltic Rally Trophy. The championship consists of three rounds – one in each Baltic country. After Rally Estonia and Samsonas Rally Rokiškis, Finnish driver Erik Pietarinen is the current leader with 39 points, but since he has not registered for Rally Liepāja, the battle for the title will take place between multiple drivers.
When looking at the Latvian Rally Championship, the picture is even less clear, as the weekend will contain the final two rounds, with Sunday’s event giving out extra points in the championship. In the first six rounds of the championship, the winner receives 15 points, second place gets 12 and third place takes home 10 points. In the final round, taking place on Sunday, the first place is worth 25 points, second place receives 20 points and third place gets 15 points.
Valerii Gorban ©RA Events - MVFoto
In the overall classification, the joint-leaders are Valerii Gorban in a BMW-Mini John Cooper Works WRC and Ranno Bundsen with a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII. In addition to that, Bundsen is very close to winning the LRČ1 class title, having earned a 39-point lead over Edijs Bergmanis, who has narrow mathematical chance of claiming the title.
Emīls Blūms ©RA Events - MVFoto
LRČ2 title will be determined between Rallyworkshop driver Emīls Blūms and A1M Motorsport driver Alan Popov. Both drivers, in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX’s are separated by 11 points, with Blūms being the current leader.
After a fantastic start to the season, Mārtiņš Sesks had missed the past two rounds of the championship in LRČ3 class, giving his competitors a chance to catch him in the standings. The current leader, Rasmus Uustulnd (52 points), will not compete in Liepāja, so the title battle will come down to Sesks and Oliver Solberg, both of whom have earned 50 points so far. With a bit of luck, Adam Westlund (32 points) can also join the championship battle. These three competitors will also be competing for victoryin LRČ Juniors class. There, the LMT Autosporta Akadēmija driver Mārtiņš Sesks has earned a 3-point lead over Oliver Solberg and Uustulnd.
LRČ6 class has been especially popular this year. There, among eight competitors, the Estonian Karel Tolp will try to finish the season on a high note in his Honda Civic Type R.
LRČ team championship battles are also very close, with Vides Tehnika (97 points) being the current leaders, followed by A1M (86 points) and Sports Racing Technologies (85 points).
FIA European Rally Championship standings are available HERE.
Latvian Rally Championship standings are available HERE.
FIA European Rally Trophy standings are available HERE.
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.