Today, in sunny and hot conditions, Rally Liepāja, round two of the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship, concluded with stages in the Liepāja region. In the final six special stages, taking place in Vecpils, Paplaka, Mazilmāja, and Podnieki, yesterday’s leaders Nikolay Gryazin and Konstantin Aleksandrov managed to maintain their position on top of the leaderboard.
Nikolay Gryazin, Rally Liepāja ©Ronalds Sirba
Nikolay Gryazin (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5), competing with a Latvian Automobile Federation issued licence, managed to stay ahead of his competitors, beating Craig Breen (Hyundai i20 R5) by 17.3 seconds. Alexey Lukyanuk (Citroen C3 Rally2) managed to move up to third place, after being fourth at the end of Friday. The Russian driver finished 30.9 seconds behind the leader.
Nikolay Gryazin: “We avoided any risk in the morning stages and were quite satisfied, the grip was much better than yesterday. I think we did a good job of saving the tires. In the afternoon, the surface was a little more slippery, but we drove very safely. A fantastic weekend! We have reached the finish, which was not an easy thing to do, but I was calmer with each kilometer and we managed to get to the end. I am very happy for the whole team – this is like a home event for us, so now it is time to celebrate.”
Craig Breen, Rally Liepāja ©FIAERC.com
Craig Breen: “We did well in the first stages of the day and maintained our position. I remember the second to last stage from when we drove here in winter, but it is completely different now. We are finally on the podium with the MRF team. This was a difficult event, but we made good progress compared to last year.”
Alexey Lukyanuk, Rally Liepāja ©FIAERC.com
Alexey Lukyanuk: “We were happy with our pace and tried to catch Llarena and Breen. The stages were incredible. Thanks to the team, my car was like new for the final three stages. We had to avoid a few rocks, but everything was ok. A fantastic weekend, and a really enjoyable event. Overall, we are happy to have scored some valuable points.
In ERC2, the exciting duel for victory carried over to the final day, with Dmitry Feofanov (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) coming out on top, beating Hungarian Tibor Erdi by 39.8 seconds. Ultimately, the difference was made by the 40 seconds of penalties Erdi received. Latvian crew Ainārs Igaveņš / Ralfs Igaveņš (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) maintained their fourth position, finishing 4 minutes and 31.5 seconds behind Feofanov.
Ainārs Igaveņš, Rally Liepāja ©FIAERC.com
Liepāja natives Mārtiņš Sesks / Renārs Francis (Ford Fiesta Rally4) began day two by slashing into the ERC3 and ERC3 Junior class leader’s Sami Pajari (Ford Fiesta Rally4) advantage, and took over the top spot after the leader crashed on SS9. After that, Sesks avoided significant mistakes and won both the aforementioned classes in his home event.
Mārtiņš Sesks, Rally Liepāja ©RonaldsSirba
Mārtiņš Sesks: “The rally weekend started off terribly, with a crash during testing and lots of work on Friday to complete the items we did not get through during tests. This was the day where we finally showed that we can be the fastest and win on our home stages. The day began with us winning a stage, and we knew that we could fight for a good position in this rally. Then we closed the gap to just 5 seconds. We did make a small error of our own after seeing Pajari’s crash, but everything was fine. After taking the lead in ERC3 class, we drove without any risks but maintained our focus until the finish.”
By winning the overall classification, Nikolay Gryazin / Konstantin Aleksandrov also earned a special prize from Fristads. Liepājas Speciālā Ekonomiskā Zona special prize for winning SS8 Invest in Liepāja! Went to Alexey Lukyanuk. Andreas Mikkelsen earned the Liepāja city special prize for the best combined result in SS9/12 Liepāja. Finally, the Neste prize for the furthest jump in the SS9/12 Liepāja Stroķacs jump among crews with Latvian Automobile Federation licences went to Elviss Hermanis.
Latvian Rally Championship
In addition to the European Rally Championship, Rally Liepāja hosted two rounds of the Latvian Rally Championship, with today’s stages serving as the second round in the champinship. Keeping his incredible pace from yesterday, today’s event was also won by Nikolay Gryazin. For the second day in a row, his closest competitor was Raul Jeets (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo), while Edijs Bergmanis (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) was third overall.
Latvian Rallysprint Cup
The rallysprint classification was comfortably won by Hubert Laskowski (Peugeot 208 Rally4), who beat second placed Miks Ķenavs (Honda Civic Type-R) by 1 minute and 27.3 seconds. After a close battle throughout the day, Arnis Alksnis (Peugeot 208) had to settle for third place.
Kārlis Miķelsons un Normunds Vuguls, Rally Liepāja ©Odrija Heinrihsone
Rally Liepāja regularity rally was, for the first time, included in the North European Zone (NEZ) championship. The NEZ Historic category and Historic car class was won by Kārlis Miķelsons and Normunds Vuguls (Mazda RX-7), while Aigars Kalve and Valts Ceplevičs (Mercedes-Benz 190) came out on top in the Youngtimer class.
*Results are provisional and subject to change.
Provisional results are available on www.autorally.lv.
All results are available on the official website of the Latvian Rally Championship www.autorally.lv.
FIA European Rally Championship event Rally Liepāja is possible thanks to the support provided by the government of Latvia, rally city Liepāja, as well as Talsi region. Thanks to our sponsors Neste, Ramirent, and SC Grupa/Eurovia, as well as supporters Blue Shock Race, Canon Biznesa Centrs Liepāja, Fristads, Liepājas Olimpiskais Centrs, Liepājas Speciālā Ekonomiskā Zona, and Sixt. Informative support is provided by news media DELFI, and media partners Kurzemes Radio, Sporta Avīze, and Talsu Vēstis. We would also like to thank all Rally Liepāja friends: Flora, FN Serviss, Jānis Pūce, Lofbergs, Kokmuiža Celmlauzis, MB Grupa, Red Bull, SignTech, and Törley. Rally Liepāja is organized with the support of Aizpute, Durbe, Grobiņa, and Priekule region councils. A special thank you goes out to the Latvian Automobile Federation.
All news and information about Rally Liepāja is available online at www.lvrally.com, as well as on social media - Twitter @LVRally, Facebook /LVRally, draugiem.lv /lvrally, YouTube /RallyLiepāja, and Instagram /lvrally.