LIEPĀJA, May 21, 2019
Estonian drivers have always managed to showcase their skills on the international stage. Georg Gross plays a significant role in doing that, having won our northern neighbour’s rally championship three times. Latvian racing fans are already familiar with Gross, who has used his Ford Focus WRC to win events in Talsi, Gulbene, Madona and Kurzeme. Now, it is time to demonstrate his skills in Rally Liepāja, doing so in the current generation Ford Fiesta WRC.
Rally Sarma 2019, Ford Fiesta WRC ©Edgars Leonovs
This year’s Rally Liepāja route will begin in Talsi, where Georg Gross first competed all the way back in 2006. “I have fond memories from that time. I remember that we returned here with our WRC car and had some thrilling battles with Ivars Vasaraudzis, who was driving a Mitsubishi Lancer WRC,” says Georg Gross, who has been competing in a WRC car since 2009.
Rally Talsi 2011, Ford Focus WRC ©Motors un Sports
“To be honest, I have not gotten used to the new Ford Fiesta WRC at all. It is taking more time than I expected. Of course, we have done quite a bit of testing before Rally Liepāja, to get a better feel for the car. It is difficult to compare my preparation process with that of R2 and R5 class drivers, as I have only done a few test kilometres in such cars.”
Rally Talsi 2009, Subaru Impreza STI ©Rally Talsi
This will be the second time Gross competes in Latvia this season, with him showing great consistency to finish second in Rally Sarma, standing on the podium together with Oliver Solberg and Nikolay Gryazin. “We will compete in the LRČ category, meaning that we have been assigned start number 62. The road surface will be much different from what European Championship guys will drive through, and you have to keep in mind that they are extremely talented. For me, rallying is a way to have fun and relax. We will drive at our own pace!”
In his career, Gross has competed as both a driver and co-driver, but admits that being at the wheel is more comfortable for him. Asked about differences between competing in Estonia and Latvia, Georg says: “There are lots of people coming out to the stages in Estonia. It is similar in Latvia, but here you have a much larger interest in what is going on in the service park. The atmosphere is fantastic in both countries, though.”
This will be a significant racing weekend for the Latvian Rally Championship (LRČ), with the Rally Liepāja counting as two rounds in the championship. Saturday, as part of round 3 of the championship, the crews will do 100.05 stage kilometres, while the round 4 battles will begin on Sunday with eight more stages, totalling 106.58 km.