LIEPĀJA, May 23, 2019
This year, three Latvian crews have registered for the FIA European Rally Championship classification in Rally Liepāja, with this event being an experiment of some kind for all three – one will return to rallying, while two will head into this adventure in an unfamiliar car. Regardless, all crews are hoping for fan support and will do their best to have a great result.
Nitišs, Sesks, Sirmacis ©RallyLiepaja2019
#11 Mārtiņš Sesks / Krišjānis Caune // Škoda Fabia R5
Mārtiņš Sesks, Rally Liepaja 2019 ©Ronalds Sirba
The largest, and most anticipated, of the experiments will be by Mārtiņš Sesks and Krišjānis Caune. They will use this event to claim their FIA ERC Junior championship prize – a drive in an R5 class car. Mārtiņš has decided to use this prize in his home event, which is a good decision, as then the only unfamiliar part will be the Škoda Fabia R5. We have to add that Mārtiņš has been competing in front-wheel drive cars throughout his five year long rallying career and moving up to all-wheel drive is not always an easy step. Often, drivers need multiple events and a long training programme to fully acclimate, so we can definitely say that this event will serve as an experiment for Mārtiņš Sesks.
#15 Reinis Nitišs / Māris Kulšs // Abarth 124 Rally
Reinis Nitišs, Rally Liepaja 2019 ©Ronalds Sirba
The second crew of experimenters in Rally Liepāja is Reinis Nitišs and Māris Kulšs. Let us begin with the fact that this will be the first event where Reinis is co-driven by Māris. However, considering Māris’ experience as a co-driver, this part of the equation should not pose any problems. On a less serious note, we can almost say that since Reinis is used to be alone in his race cars, any company would be more than welcome. The largest change for Reinis will be the car itself – he is used to competing in 600 horsepower all-wheel drive rallycross Supercars, but in Rally Liepāja will have to switch to a rear-wheel drive Abarth 124 Rally RGT with half the power. Reinis says that his only experience with rear-wheel drive is from competing with buggies, karts and Lada races. The Abarth is significantly more powerful than any of those vehicles, so we can only guess how many “donuts” Reinis will do throughout the racing weekend.
#15 Ralfs Sirmacis / Ralfs Igaveņš // Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Ralfs Sirmacis, Rally Liepaja 2019 ©Ronalds Sirba
The third Latvian crew – Ralfs Sirmacis and Ralfs Igaveņš – will celebrate their return to rallying, as in 2018 they competed in a single event, using a front-wheel drive car. In Rally Liepāja, we will see them competing in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X rally car that should be quick enough to challenge for the top spot in the ERC2 class. Ralfs Sirmacis has prior experience of both Talsi and Liepāja region stages, so the only real question is whether he will be able to be as fast as we remember him to be. If not, we will see how quickly he can get back to that pace.
FIA European Rally Championship round Rally Liepāja will take place this weekend, from May 24 to 26. In addition to that, the rally will host two rounds of the Latvian Rally Championship, and a round of rallysprint, historic car regularity and historic sport class events. On Saturday, from 12:00, the Tirdzniecības canal in Liepāja will host the Speed Festival Kurzeme speedboat competition, while the e-autosport championship EGP Latvia SimRally final will take place in the evening.
FRIDAY, MAY 24
17:00 SS QS FRISTADS / Dunalka (3,00km)
19:30 OPENING CEREMONY at the LOC Manēža (Liepāja)
20:30 CEREMONIAL START at the LOC Manēža (Liepāja)
20:30 DRIVERS PARADE (Liepāja)
SATURDAY, MAY 25
10:00 CARS AND COFFEE historic car event in the city square (Talsi)
11:40 START PODIUM at the city square (Talsi)
12:00 SS 1 TALSI / Ābeļi (14,72km)
12:50 SS 2 SWECON / Mordanga (14,73km)
14:00 SS 3 RAMIRENT / Strazde (28,36km)
15:00 MID-DAY PODIUM in the city square (Talsi)
16:15 SS 4 SC GRUPA / Mundigciems (26,50km)
17:25 SS 5 EGP Latvia / Kaleši (15,15km)
18:00 Festival ZVAIGZNES VIRS TALSIEM in the Sauleskalns bandstand (Talsi)
SUNDAY, MAY 26
08:40 SS 6 Canon Biznesa Centrs-IB Serviss / Dinsdurbe (6,53km)
09:30 SS 7 SIXT Rent a car 1 / Priekule (18,26km)
10:45 SS 8 PORT OF LIEPAJA / Podnieki (10,29km)
11:40 SS 9 SIXT Rent a car 2 / Priekule (18,26km)
15:00 SS 10 NESTE 1 / Kalvene (10,81km)
15:45 SS 11 LIEPĀJA 1 / Vecpils (15,77km)
17:00 SS 12 NESTE 2 / Kalvene (10,81km)
17:45 SS 13 LIEPĀJA 2 / Vecpils (15,77km)
19:00 FINISH PODIUM, ERC competitor awards ceremony (Liepāja)
21:00 LRC competitor awards ceremony at the LOC Manēža (Liepāja)
22:00 Rally official afterparty at RED SUN BUFFET (Liepāja)
More information about the FIA European Rally Championship https://www.fiaerc.com/.
More information about the Latvian Rally Championship http://autorally.lv/.
Stage maps are available on the Rally Liepāja website http://2019.lvrally.com/.
News and other information about Rally Liepāja can be found on the official website at www.lvrally.com, as well as on social media Twitter @LVRally, Facebook /LVRally, draugiem.lv /lvrally, YouTube /RallyLiepāja and Instagram /lvrally.
FIA European Rally Championship round Rally Liepāja is possible thanks to the support of the Latvian government, the rally city of Liepāja, as well as the Talsi region. We would also like to thank our sponsors Neste, Ramirent, and SC Grupa, car rental partner Sixt, and our supporters Canon Business Center – IB Serviss, Liepājas Olimpiskais Centrs, Liepājas Speciālās Ekonomiskās Zonas Pārvalde, Pafbet Score, and Swecon. Informative support is provided by news portal DELFI and media partners Go4Speed, JCDecaux Latvija, Kurzemes Vārds, Talsu Vēstis, and Zebra. Rally Liepāja would also not be possible without our rally friends: adGuru, Baltic Taxi, Dardedze, Flora, FN Serviss, Fristads, Jānis Pūce, Latvijas Pārtikas Ražotājs, Lofbergs, Meža Dārzs, Narvesen, Red Bull, Red Sun Buffet, Scan-Plast, SignTech, Sportland, TN Kurzeme,and Törley. Rally Liepāja is realized with support by the regional councils of Aizpute, Durbe, 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.