Sep 13

Flashback: Last time out at Latvia RX

World RX’s first visit to Latvia is also remembered for the titanic battle between Petter Solberg and Mattias Ekstrom

DriverThe first FIA World Rallycross Championship round to be held at the Bikernieki National Sports Base in Riga, Latvia last year was regarded as one of the best events of the 2016 season. 

World RX’s first visit to Latvia is also remembered for the titanic battle between title-protagonists Petter Solberg and Mattias Ekstrom, who came together in the qualifying races. Solberg ultimately didn’t make the semi-finals for the first time in his World RX career, as a new winner claimed the top step of the podium.

France’s Sebastien Loeb led the Latvia RX final from start to finish from pole position and won in front of Ekstrom. Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson was TQ (top qualifier) in the Intermediate Classification but finished second to Loeb in semi-final one. He overtook Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud in the final, but was then repassed by the Ford Focus RS RX and Timmy Hansen’s Peugeot 208. Hansen climbed from the back of the grid to finish third ahead of Bakkerud and Kristoffersson. Russia’s Timur Timerzyanov crashed out at the first corner of the final. Both Latvian drivers, Reinis Nitiss and Janis Baumanis qualified for the semi-finals and finished fifth and sixth in semi-final one.

This weekend will also be home to the final round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercar, where in 2016 Euro RX Champion Kevin Hansen spun at the first corner but fought back to finish second. Norway’s Tommy Rustad won the event and Hungary’s Tamas Pal Kiss finished third.

source: fiaworldrallycross.com


Albatec duo primed for Euro RX grand finale in Latvia

Albatec Racing returns to Riga this weekend determined to end the season with another FIA European Rallycross Championship victory at the Latvian track. The team fields a pair of Peugeot 208 RX Supercars for Tommy Rustad and Jere Kalliokoski, with former champion Tommy winner of the inaugural Eastern European event last year.

This year, Tommy heads into the final round in third place, 29 points adrift of leader Anton Marklund, and knows that claiming his second Euro RX crown is out of reach. However, there are just 11 points separating the Norwegian and the second placed driver Thomas Bryntesson, leaving the HTB Racing-backed ace eager to win to move him ahead in the title standings.

Joining Tommy in the Albatec line-up, 20 year-old Jere heads to the Baltic region for his first visit to the 1.295km track, in this his debut season. The reigning Finnish Rallycross Champion is dovetailing his Euro RX campaign with a season in the domestic championship where he’s currently challenging for second overall, and has an eye on a place in the Euro RX Final on Sunday.

The state-of-the-art Bikernieki National Sports Base is located close to the capital city, and features a tight and challenging first corner, three jumps within the gravel section, and the joker positioned at the end of the lap. Last year variable weather conditions added to the challenge, however collectively they allowed Albatec to shine, with overall race victory and the team’s second successive Euro RX runner-up position.

Albatec bids for Euro RX honours for the last time this season on 16&17 September, starting with open practice at 09:00 on Saturday, and the first of four qualifying races from 12:00. Sunday starts with warm-up at 08:30, immediately followed by qualifying three and four from 09:30 before the semi-finals at 13:30 and Final at 15:00. All times CEST. Live timing will be available across the weekend from http://www.fiaworldrallycross.com/times.

Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing:

“We go to Riga as winners of the first event there, so naturally we’re keen to leave Latvia with a second successive victory to our name. That victory last year didn’t come easily, it was a hard-fought race and I don’t expect anything different this weekend but I think we’ve proved at every race that we have the speed and reliability, and two very quick and competent drivers in Tommy and Jere. We’ve had some bad luck along the way so hopefully we can put that right this weekend and come away with a solid result across both cars. We’ve finished second in the drivers’ championship for the last two years; it would be great to win this year, but realistically our aim is to move up to the silver medal-winning position.”

Tommy Rustad, Driver Albatec Racing:

“I’m ready for Riga. I really like the circuit layout, but it’s tight in places with no room for error. The first corner is particularly tight, with many possibilities for incidents! The grip level is very good, even in the rain, but the weather switching between dry and wet adds additional complications, so I’m hoping for dry conditions for a change. The Peugeot 208 and Albatec are much better than our results indicate. The team is constantly developing the car, but this season has been incredibly strong and we’ve suffered some bad luck at the races where we should have won. In that strong entry, there are around eight to ten drivers all capable of race victory and we’re certainly among them, so we just need to pull it all together this weekend.”

Jere Kalliokoski, Driver Albatec Racing:

“I’m feeling excited to go to Riga as I know a lot of Finnish fans will be there. I haven’t raced there before but I did do some practice runs in the summer with my Group N rally car and took on-board videos to try and learn the characteristics of the track. I’m sure there will be a lot of good set up data from the team as they had a good result there last year, which can be applied to our car this weekend. I have to try to avoid errors and get some good starts. It’s vital to lead and win races in order to have good results time wise.”

source: albatecracing.com