3 July 2022
On Saturday, Latvian Rally Championship round two Tet Rally Liepāja concluded on the roads of Talsi region, in which the victory after six stages was won by Mārtiņš Sesks / Renārs Francis crew, who are also competing in the FIA European Rally Championship. Estonian Gregor Jeets finished in second place, while Talsi local Elviss Hermanis took the third spot of the podium. Meanwhile, the battle for victory in the FIA European Rally Championship round five Tet Rally Liepāja concludes on Sunday.
Mārtiņš Sesks, Tet Rally Liepāja ©Rallyemotions
In the overall results of the Latvian Rally Championship, LRC2 class driver Mārtiņš Sesks together with co-driver Renārs Francis (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) was fastest in each of the stages, finishing the day 47 seconds ahead of the other LRC2 crew – the Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo driven by Estonians Gregor Jeets and Timo Taniel. Elviss Hermanis (Škoda Fabia R5) took the third spot, a little more than 3 minutes behind the winner.
“I’m surprised about our speed in morning stages. There were some places, where we could have been driving even better, somewhere I was too cautious. The team did an amazing job on preparing the car. On afternoon I was too careful. We are trying to drive and enjoy the rally,” says the winner of Latvian Rally Championship round Tet Rally Liepāja Mārtiņš Sesks.
Elviss Hermanis and co-driver Gatis Veilands overtook the Estonian Timmu Kõrge (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) by 55,2 seconds for the first place in LRC1 class. Another Estonian Karl Martin Volver (Škoda Fabia Proto) finished third. Volver was fastest in LRC1 class in second and fifth stage, however, the lost time in the other stages, as well as a 20-second penalty for being late in time control, left him only on the lowest step of podium.
“This was my first race with an R5 Škoda car. Of course, the rally was full of many surprises. The car is new, and it’s very fast. Roads of Talsi helped me, for sure, as I know them very well. To go fast, co-driver has a big role, and co-driver worked out perfectly. For the first four stages we drove safely, there was great atmosphere in the car, completely without risk. In the end, we realized that Vorobjovs was closing in on us in the overall results, so we picked up the pace a bit in the remaining stages. We did our plan and left Vorobjovs behind, but there were several risky situations – we drove through the ditch, a few meters through the bushes. I understand that to be in Top6, you have to drive on the limit. We worked perfectly, but the car is still capable of much more. There is room for improvement, but if we will agree with the team about the future, I think the results will be good,” LRC1 winner Elviss Hermanis told after finish.
LRC3 class was won by 16-year-old Pole Hubert Laskowski (Ford Fiesta Rally3), who is competing with a Latvian Automobile federation issued licence. Laskowski beat his fellow countryman Tymoteusz Jocz (Ford Fiesta Rally3) by 25,6 seconds.
In the LRC4 class, nine drivers started in the first stage of Tet Rally Liepāja, however, due to technical problems and errors on the roads, only three crews made it to the finish line. Estonian Jaspar Vaher (Ford Fiesta Rally4) reached the finish line with the best time, finishing 2 minutes and 21,7 seconds ahead of Spaniard Gil Membrado (Ford Fiesta Rally4), who is also driving with Latvian licence. Another Estonian Patrick Enok (Ford Fiesta Rally4), who was in the second position before the start of the last stage, took the third place, losing time on the last stage.
LRC5 class, which is widely represented by Latvians, experienced rally driver Jānis Vorobjovs (Mitsubishi Mirage) was the fastest throughout the day. Lithuanian Vytautas Švedas (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) finished behind the crew piloted by Vorobjovs and Guntars Zicāns, losing 1 minute and 45,8 seconds. Jurģis Meisters (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI) set the third time, finishing 2 minutes and 24 seconds behind Vorobjovs.
Jānis Vorobjovs, who ranked in fourth place in the overall Latvian championship results, said after the rally: “A highly anticipated rally, as always, we are looking forward to Talsi as the first rally of the summer. There was both sunny sunshine and slippery roads from the rain. Everything we wanted worked out perfectly, the car was feeling great. Thanks to the team for very well prepared car. It was a great cooperation with co-driver, the best we have had in five years. Of course, there was not that big competition in LRC5 class. In overall, it was a beautiful event, very well organized, super event!”
In the last LRC7 class, the top steps of the podium were shared by our northern neighbours, Estonian Oskar Männamets (Citroen C2 R2 MAX) beat Keiro Orgus (Honda Civic Type-R) by only 6,20 seconds, while the Latvian crew of Uldis Lepiksons and Ainars Šteinbergs (Ford Puma) took the third place, finishing 39,1 seconds behind the winners. Madars Dīriņš was also very fast in certain stages, but, unfortunately, unsuccessful third stage allowed him to finish only in seventh position.
Uldis Lepiksons says: “It was a tough race, the road conditions were varying all the time. If in the first loop there was a completely dry surface with big amount of dust, then in afternoon there was a lot of rain. I would say that there are only few times in my experience that I have participated in such a rally. I thought we showed more from ourselves in the second loop, in the first one we were trying to get used to it, to understand the conditions. It seemed like we had found the speed, but the results showed the opposite. I still can’t understand where that time was lost, because we thought it should be better, but the results show what they show.”
Participants of the Latvian Rally Championship were also competing for two special prizes from sponsors and supporters of Tet Rally Liepāja. Thus, Mārtiņš Sesks crew received the Flora special award for the best result overall for participants starting with Latvian Automobile federation issued licence. Meanwhile, Elviss Hermanis crew received Fristads award for the fastest time among the competitors that participated only in Latvian Rally Championship classification in Tet Rally Liepāja.
Latvian Rally Championship round two Tet Rally Liepāja results available here:
Round of the 2022 FIA European Rally Championship event Tet Rally Liepāja is possible thanks to the support provided by the Ministry of Education and Science, rally city Liepāja, as well as our partner Talsi region. The event is run thanks to general sponsor Tet, sponsors Ramirent and SC Grupa/Eurovia and in collaboration with Magnetic Latvia. Thanks to our official car rental Sixt and our supporters Canon Biznesa Centrs Liepāja, Fristads, Liepājas Olimpiskais Centrs, and Liepājas Speciālā Ekonomiskā Zona. Informative support is provided by news media DELFI and media partners Kurzemes Radio, MVP, Sporta Avīze, and Talsu Vēstis. We also express our gratitude to our Tet Rally Liepāja friends Baltic Taxi, EL Networks, Flora, FN Serviss, Jānis Pūce, Löfbergs, MB Grupa, Red Bull, SignTech, Sportland, and Törley. Tet Rally Liepāja is organised in association with Dienvidkurzeme region and Latvian Automobile Federation.
Gregor Jeets ©Red Bull Content Pool
Elviss Hermanis, Tet Rally Liepaja ©Ronalds Sirba
Jānis Vorobjovs, Tet Rally Liepaja ©Ronalds Sirba
Uldis Lepiksons, Tet Rally Liepaja ©Ronalds Sirba
Vytautas Švedas, Tet Rally Liepaja ©Ronalds Sirba
Jaspar Vaher, Tet Rally Liepaja ©Ronalds Sirba
Oskar Mannamets, Tet Rally Liepaja ©Ronalds Sirba