Aug 08, 2020
The 2020 FIA European Rally Championship has just got even faster with Rally Liepāja’s high-speed, all-gravel stages next up for some of the sport’s leading drivers and top young talents.
What: 2020 FIA European Rally Championship round 2 of 6*
When: 14-16 August 2020
Where: Liepāja and Talsi, Latvia
Distance: 177.87 kilometres
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 7 (2013-2019)
*Also counting for: FIA ERC2, FIA ERC3, FIA ERC1 Junior, FIA ERC3 Junior, FIA European Rally Championship for Teams, Abarth Rally Cup
2019: Oliver Solberg/Aaron Johnston (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)
2018: Nikolay Gryazin/Yaroslav Fedorov (Škoda Fabia R5)
2017: Nikolay Gryazin/Yaroslav Fedorov (Škoda Fabia R5)
2016: Ralfs Sirmacis/Arturs Šimins (Škoda Fabia R5)
2015: Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Peugeot 208 T16)
Once a winter event, Rally Liepāja has also run in late spring and early autumn but the eighth edition will be held in the sizzling summer sunshine.
A strong entry has been assembled by organiser RA Events, which has worked tirelessly to not only attract a high-calibre line-up, but to manage the numerous restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
With three former winners – Craig Breen, Nikolay Gryazin and Oliver Solberg – on the entry list along with 2018 ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk, the 2019 national title winners from Poland (Miko Marczyk) and Romania (Simone Tempestini), plus ERC3 Junior champion Efrén Llarena, an exciting battle is in store.
Other drivers in the mix are young flying Finns Emil Lindholm and Eerik Pietarinen, Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy member Callum Devine, Hyundai Junior Driver Grégoire Munster, Czech hope Erik Cais, German prospect Dominik Dinkel, Italian ASN-backed Alberto Battistolli, plus American Sean Johnston. Norway’s world championship event winner Mads Østberg is also entered but won’t chase ERC points.
Quotes from FIA ERC1 Junior Championship drivers looking ahead to the second round of the season, Rally Liepāja from 14-16 August, appear below.
Rally Liepāja (Latvia), 14-16 August, FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, Round 2
Alberto Battistolli (ITA) ERC1 Junior
Co-driver: Simone Scattolin (ITA) Team: Delta Rally Car: Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo
“I have taken a small vacation to clean my mind out after what we have achieved in Rome and concentrate for the next race in Latvia. I am trying to visualise myself on the roads there and try to see more videos to understand the roads and the driving technique. With historic cars I had the fortune to take part on the Lahti Historic Rally in Finland, that was very fast gravel, but it was in a Fiat 131 Abarth so another speed with different reflexes so a different challenge.”
Erik Cais (CZE) ERC1 Junior
Co-driver: Jindřiška Žáková (CZE) Entrant: Yacco ACCR Team Car: Ford Fiesta R5 MkII
“For me it will be quite special and quite difficult because of the crashes we had last year. I need to be careful because one mistake there you will go out because the roads are so special so the aim will be not to do a mistake and try to get better and better step by step. We drove the car on gravel in Spain in March and there will be the test before the rally but that is all.”
Callum Devine (IRL) ERC1 Junior
Co-driver: Brian Hoy (IRL) Entrant: Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy Car: Hyundai i20 R5
“I’ve never, ever, definitely have not done anything like this before. At the moment my preparation is about watching onboards and then we have the organiser’s test. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge but we knew from the start of the year it would be the toughest, just because it’s something we are not used to. From what I’ve seen the rally looks really good and the stages look really nice but it’s a place where you wouldn’t want to get it wrong because it’s so high speed. A lot of the guys will be quite used to it having done it before and if you are not on it from the beginning then you can get left behind real quick. But we have to start somewhere, that’s how we are looking at it this year.”
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