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Rally Liepaja-Ventspils (Latvia) - 1-3 Feb 13

Posted: February 13, 2013 11:49 AM - 6099 Hits

Round 2 - 2013 European Rally Championship (ERC)

Ketomaa And DMACK Dominate For Historic European Championship Victory In Latvia

Posted: February 13, 2013 11:49 AM

DMACK powered to its maiden FIA European Rally Championship victory when Finn Jari Ketomaa sealed a commanding win today on the Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils in Latvia – the second round of the championship.

The stunning performance allowed DMACK to win on its first-ever attempt at the European series and sees Ketomaa move into the overall championship lead after collecting maximum bonus points for heading the field at the end of each leg. He dominated the event in the Autotek Fiesta RRC car to win by 31s after clinching fastest times on eight of the rally’s 15 high-speed special stages in frozen winter conditions.

The event was the first competitive outing for DMACK’s all-new DMG-ICE studded gravel tyre which features brand-new studding technology developed in-house in collaboration with Ketomaa and DMACK’s Finnish partners.

Ketomaa himself was key in the development of the new ‘T-bar’ studding system which delivers greater stud retention and enhanced traction on frozen gravel and ice. Each tyre is equipped with 384 metal studs, with a maximum protrusion of 7mm, which bite into frozen surfaces to deliver maximum grip.

The new tyre also features an improved stiffer compound and an updated construction to deliver greater performance and precision on high-speed winter roads.

The dominant performance is extremely encouraging ahead of next weekend’s world championship counter at Rally Sweden which will see Ketomaa pilot his Autotek-prepared Ford Fiesta in WRC specification.

Ketomaa and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom started in fine form on this weekend’s event. They went fastest on Friday’s qualifying stage and chose to run first on the road for the evening action. Ketomaa hadn’t competed since last summer and settled into a comfortable pace on the first three stages – going into the overnight halt in second position behind works Peugeot driver Craig Breen.

However, he stepped things up a gear on Saturday, going 11.7s quicker than Breen on stage six to edge into the rally lead. He then led from the front, scoring fastest times on all but two stages to the finish in Ventspils.

DMACK heads to Rally Sweden next week with a renewed confidence. In addition to Ketomaa, it will also supply tyres to Fiesta WRC driver Martin Prokop and MINI WRC pilot Michal Kosciuszko. Norwegian Eyvind Brynildsen will also kick off his WRC2 campaign for the DMACK Autotek team.

Dick Cormack, DMACK motorsport director, said:
“Jari and Kaj have delivered a fantastic victory in Latvia and it’s demonstrated the much-improved performance of our new snow tyre. We’ve worked tirelessly all year and today’s win marks a huge effort from everyone involved – but we go to Sweden next week in the knowledge that all our drivers will have a very good tyre for the event. This is an historic result for a small tyre manufacturer like DMACK and it’s testament to the hard work, technical development and ongoing learning from our world rally participation. Jari has played a huge part in this win as, along with our Finnish partners, he’s helped develop new studding technology which has certainly given us the edge this weekend.”

Jari Ketomaa said:
“I’m really happy with this result. We didn’t want to take any risks and knew that we would be able to settle into a rhythm after the first day. The feeling with the tyres and the car was really good and it’s such a big step up and improvement from last year. The conditions on the rally were extreme with very high speeds and lots of frozen gravel so this was the perfect test for tyres, car and my new partnership with Kaj.”

Ketomaa Wins His First FIA European Rally Championship Round

Posted: February 13, 2013 11:48 AM

After three days of fierce competition and 15 stages on the Sunday afternoon in Ventspils the 2nd round of the FIA European Rally Championship the Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils came to conclusion.

After the compliance to the convincingly and persistently driving Irish sportsmen Craig Breen/Dave Moynihan (Peugeot 207 S2000) in the first five stages of the Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils on Saturday the race for victory in the FIA European Rally Championship round was started and during the following stages continued by the Finnish duet Jari Ketomaa/Kaj Lindström (Ford Focus RRC). The determined northerners reached their aim with certainty showing the best time in 8 of 15 stages.

In the press conference after the rally finish Ketomaa revealed that initially it was hard to get used to the car, however with each kilometer covered his confidence and driving speed increased that at the end gave him 31.0 seconds in front of Breen and victory in the Finnish sportsman’s first start in the FIA European Rally Championship round.

The third in the Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils was the experienced French sportsman Francois Delecour with his co-driver Dominique Savignoni (Peugeot 207 S2000). After the race Delecour revealed that to great extent he has been deceived by unsuccessful choice of a gearbox — it had short gears unsuitable for the specifics and track configuration of the Courland rally that considerably influenced the Frenchman’s possibility to reach the necessary speed; he managed only 161 km/h, however his rivals speeded along the winding gravel roads with 200 and even more km/h. Anyway, Delecour with the margin of 2 minutes and 47.5 seconds behind Ketomaa’s result managed to remain in the 3rd position.

The 4th place was won by the skilled Czech driver Jan ?erný and his co-driver Pavel Kohout (Škoda Fabia S2000) losing to Delecour only 15.9 seconds, but the 5th place was taken by the fastest Latvian crew of Raimonds Kisiels/Arnis Ronis (MINI Countryman JCW RRC). They covered the stage distance of 243 km in 2 hours 14 minutes and 2 seconds and lost to the leader 5 minutes and 46.3 seconds.

After the conclusion of the Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils ERC General Co-ordinator Jean Pierre Nicolas together with the Eurosport representative Gilbert Roy and Jimmy – the father of the deceased British sportsman Colin McRae — chose the sportsman, whose performance best characterized Colin’s performance once seen in tracks. Initially they chose two sportsmen — the 20-year-old Frenchman Stephane Lefebvre (Peugeot 208 R2) and the Russian Alexey Lukyanuk (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X); Nicolas, Roy and McRae awarded the Colin McRae’s Special Prize to Lukyanuk, which the day before became the winner of the round one of the Latvian Rally Championship.

In the competition between one-axle drive cars the fastest driver in the total valuation of the Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils was the Finn Risto Immonen with his co-driver Mikko Lukka (Citroen C2R2 MAX), Stephane Lefebvre with Thomas Dubois (Peugeot 208 R2) was the second, but the 3rd place was won by the Latvian Ralfs Sirmacis/M?ris Kulšs (Ford Fiesta R2).

Simultaneously with the 2nd round of the FIA ERC along the roads of the Liep?ja, Ventspils and Kuld?ga neighborhood, also the first two rounds of the Latvian Rally Championship were held. In the set-off of the 1st round winners were established in nine stages of the first and the second day, and the fastest was Alexey Lukyanuk from Russia. In the rally total valuation in fierce competition about the highest step on the podium he outpaced the Estonian Siim Plangi and the Latvian M?rti?š Svilis. In the one-axle drive set-off the fastest were three Ford Fiesta R2 pilots — Ralfs Sirmacis, Em?ls Bl?ms and Nauris Bru?inieks.

The results and the winners of the Latvian Rally Championship round two were established in six Sunday stages of the Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils. In these six stages the sportsmen had to cover slightly more than 109 km, and the fastest were J?nis Feldmanis/Anrijs Jesse (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X). With the margin of 17.5 seconds behind them the second in the LRC round two total valuation was Vasily Gryazin with his co-driver Dmitry Chumak (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X) starting with the Latvian LAF licence; M?rti?š Svilis/Ivo P??is (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII) took the 3rd position for the second time in two days time.

In the one-axle drive car set-off in the LRC round two victory was won by Em?ls Bl?ms/Ilm?rs Vecgailis (Ford Fiesta R2); the crew of Ralfs Simracis was only 3.1 seconds behind them, but the third place was taken by the Lithuanians Edvinas Rudaitis/Edvinas Pagirskas (Ford Fiesta R2) with the margin of 2 minutes and 2.6 seconds behind the leader.


Posted: February 13, 2013 11:46 AM

M-Sport’s range of Ford Fiesta rally cars dominated the competitive action last weekend with victories in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) as well as both the Norwegian and Swedish Championships.

Jari Ketomaa made history as he claimed victory on the first ERC event to take place in Latvia. The Finn’s success on Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils followed three days of thrilling high-speed competition on ice and snow-coated roads between the two Baltic cities.

While Ketomaa excelled alongside Kimi Räikkönen’s former co-driver Kaj Lindström in a Ford Fiesta RRC, he had to fend off strong performances too from both the 2011 FIA WRC Academy Champion Craig Breen, who finished second, and François Delecour in third.

“I’m really happy with this result after two years of bad luck,” said Ketomaa, who now moves to the top of the ERC drivers’ standings following his triumph.

“We didn’t want to take any risks and knew that we would settle into a rhythm after the first day. The feeling was really good and the conditions on the rally were extreme with very high speeds and lots of frozen gravel. But we never stopped believing in the work we could do. The Ford Fiesta and DMACK tyres worked very well and the team has done a great job."

Elsewhere, Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson piloted their Ford Fiesta RS WRC to victory at Rally Finnskog in Norway. The victory was hard fought as the Scandinavian pairing found it difficult to keep the WRC tyres within the tracks made by the other competitors’ skinnier winter tyres. But they emerged victorious and are now fully prepared for this week’s FIA World Rally Championship round in Sweden.

Also using last weekend to prepare for Rally Sweden, Pontus Tidemand won the first round of the Swedish Championship – Vinterpokalen – in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. The victory will be a big boost for the young Swede as he makes his WRC debut at his home event.

2nd for Peugeot driver Breen on Maiden FIAERC Event

Posted: February 13, 2013 11:42 AM

Craig Breen driving the Peugeot Rally Academy-Saintéloc Team 207 Super 2000 has finished 2nd overall on Rally Liepaja-Ventspils, round two of the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship. Breen the current Super 2000 world champion was out this weekend for his maiden event as a Peugeot Sport factory driver on the Latvian event. After leading on the opening day (Friday) the Irish driver, partnered by Co. Cork’s David Moynihan suffered on the ultra-fast snow covered stages in the Baltic and was pasted by Finnish driver Jari Ketomaa (Ford Fiesta RRC).

Breen held a solid second position on the final day and at the end of the fifteenth and final stage a delighted Breen said,
“I’m absolutely chuffed, this is exactly what we came here to do, and under difficult conditions. To come and at one stage challenge for the victory, I’m overwhelmed, a perfect start. I want to thank Peugeot Sport again for this opportunity, I also want to thank Sainteloc Racing, the car has been incredible here all weekend.”

In the Championship Craig’s result puts him in fourth place overall after scoring eighteen points for his second place finish and twelve bonus points for being the second quickest driver over the Saturday and Sunday stages.

Craig had an incredible opening day recording fastest time on all of the opening leg’s three stages. As he reached Friday’s overnight halt he had a 6.4 advantage over Finnish driver Jari Ketomaa.

On Friday night Craig said,
“I just can't believe it. This has been a dream for me with such a long time and we have all been work for this day over the last few years. I'm so happy to have this opportunity and lead this rally is superb”

Day-two Saturday entailed a double loop of three stages a Craig at the wheel of the Peugeot 207 S2000 picked up where he left off the previous night setting fastest times on the mornings opening two tests (SS4 and SS5) his lead at this point was up to 10 seconds.

Then on the final stage in the morning loop Ketomaa hit back (SS6, Neste oil1 21.31km) by pulling back 11.7 seconds on the Peugeot Sport Academy driver to hold a single second lead as the crews reach MID-DAY service.

The fight continued over the Saturday afternoon stages but it was here that the 207 began to suffer compared to the Regional Rally Car of Ketomaa. By the end of day two Craig’s deficit was 12.1 seconds.

On Saturday evening Peugeot Rally Academy-Saintéloc Team Manager Vincent Ducher explained why Craig was losing out, “We knew that the Ford is faster on the straight sections, 30kph faster than the 207 in fact, at top end speed the 207 reaches 170kph but the Fiesta can get up to 200kph.”

The team’s fears were confirmed as Sunday’s final leg got underway. Conceding 7.4 over the loop wasn’t too severe, however there was a more serious problem as Craig reached the end of 12. In service it was determined that a cable had become disconnected from the alternator; the mechanics was able to rectify the ailing wire and the car was back to full power and able to continue.

Over the final three stages Craig consolidated his position, he did remark and manifold problem after the penultimate test but he was able to nurse the car through the final stage to record a fantastic result on his first FIAERC outing.

2WD Category
There was hard luck for young French driver Stéphane Lefebvre in the two wheel drive category. Driving the new Peugeot 208 R2 on it’s first competitive outing in the end finish second in the class after initially leading over the Friday and Saturday stages.


Posted: February 13, 2013 11:41 AM

Jari Ketomaa made history today when he won the first FIA European Rally Championship event to take place in Latvia. The Finn’s success on Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils followed three days of thrilling high-speed competition on ice and snow-coated roads between the two Baltic cities.

While Ketomaa excelled alongside Kimi Räikkönen’s former co-driver Kaj Lindström in a Ford Fiesta RRC, there were standout performances too from Peugeot 207 Super 2000-driving Irishman Craig Breen, who finished second, and third-planced François Delecour. The Frenchman secured the final podium place in another Peugeot after a close battle with Russian Alexey Lukyanuk.

Lukyanuk, who was leading the ERC Production Car Cup, was 1.7s behind Delecour with two stages left when a brush with a snowbank damaged his car’s oil cooler and forced him to retire. However, Lukyanuk won’t be leaving Latvia empty-handed after he was chosen as the recipient of the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy, while multiple Baltic and Lithuanian champion Vytautas Švedas inherited the showroom category laurels in a similar Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.

There was also success for Finland in the ERC 2WD Championship with Risto Immonen claiming victory in a Citroën C2 R2 Max after long-term leader Stéphane Lefebvre dropped down to second on the final morning when a gearbox issue slowed his Peugeot 208 R2. Nevertheless it was a hugely impressive showing by the young Frenchman, who had never competed on snow or ice.

Ketomaa had trailed Breen over the opening five stages but moved in front on stage six when the additional top-end speed of his turbocharged engine told on the super-fast roads. Breen remained in contention until stage 12 when a minor electrical glitch cost him precious time and prompted him to settle for a strong second place.

“I’m really happy with this result after two years of bad luck,” said Ketomaa, who moves to the top of the ERC drivers’ standings following his triumph. “We didn’t want to take any risks and knew that we would settle into a rhythm after the first day. The feeling was really good and the conditions on the rally were extreme with very high speeds and lots of frozen gravel. But we never stopped believing in the work we could do and the team has done a great job.”

Despite losing out on top spot, Breen was more than satisfied with second on his first of eight planned ERC appearances with the Peugeot Rally Academy-Saintéloc team. “I’m overwhelmed to even have been in contention for victory,” he said. “I came here to finish on the podium and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I wasn’t pushing over the top, the wins will come this season.”

For rallying legend Delecour, his decision to run with a short-ratio gearbox masked his ultimate pace while there were also a few dramatic moments including a high-speed trip through a field and a scare on Friday night when he completed much of stage three with his door flying open.

Reigning ERC 2WD champion Jan ?erný celebrated his first outright European championship stage win with the fastest time on the closing spectator stage in Ventspils to secure fourth overall in his family-run ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. Raimonds Kisiels charged through the order to claim fifth and the honour of being the top Latvian finisher in his MINI John Cooper Works RRC, which he was using in competition for the first time on the back of a 40-kilometre pre-event test.

Behind Švedas, Aivis Egle finished seventh, Raul Jeets took eighth with Jarsoláv Orsak scoring strong points in the European Rally Championship for Teams for the GPD Mit Metal Racing squad in ninth overall. Vitaliy Pushkar overcame transmission issues to complete the top 10 with Frigyes Turán the leading Subaru Impreza finisher in 11th.

Marco Tempestini headed the Napoca Rally Academy challenge in 20th with Zbyn?k Baller reaching the finish in a Eurosol Honda Civic. However, there was disappointment for ERC 2WD title leader Hannes Danzinger, who retired his Renault Clio R3 with water pump failure on Sunday’s first stage.


Posted: February 13, 2013 11:36 AM

1 Jari Ketomaa (FIN)/Kaj Lindström (FIN) Ford Fiesta RRC 2h08m15.7s
2 Craig Breen (IRL)/David Moynihan (IRL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +31.0s
3 François Delecour (FRA)/Dominique Savignoni (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +2m47.5s
4 Jan ?erný (CZE)/Pavel Kohout (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia S2000 +3m03.4s
5 Raimonds Kisiels (LAT)/Arnis Ronis (EST) MINI John Cooper Works RRC +5m46.3s
6 Vytautas Švedas (LIT)/Zilvinas Sakalauskas (LIT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X +5m55.7s
7 Aivis Egle (LAT)/Andis Dauga (LAT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X +7m39.5s
8 Raul Jeets (EST)/Andrus Toom (EST) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X +8m37.6s
9 Jaroslav Orsák (CZE)/David Šmeidler (CZE) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX +8m48.9s
10 Vitaliy Pushkar (UKR)/Ivan Mishyn (UKR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X +9m50.0s

ERC Rally Radio in Latvia

Posted: February 1, 2013 11:34 AM

There's live broadcast coverage from Latvia on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as ERC Rally Radio presents all the excitement and news from this weekend's ERC Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils.

Greg Strange presents the programme, Julian Porter and Chris Rawes are live at the Stage Ends and in the Service Park: Mark Jones produces.

ERC Rally Radio can be heard through www.rally.ie
On air times: Ireland/UK:
Friday 1 February 1445
Saturday February 2 0800
Sunday February 3 0600

Craig Breen Rallying: FIAERC Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils - Event Preview

Posted: January 28, 2013 7:29 PM

Craig Breen, Peugeot Sport factory driver, now that has a nice ring to it. A road that has taken four years to achieve, two titles within the World Rally Championship and a singular focus by the Irish driver. Next Saturday as Craig celebrates his twenty third birthday, he will receive his ultimate birthday present as he contests FIAERC Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils in Latvia, round two of the 2013 European Rally Challenge and his maiden event as a 'Works Driver', happy birthday Craig.

Last weekend as Craig's basked in the glory of winning the Park Hotel, Supreme Sports Star Award for 2012 in his native Waterford, he also had the delight as the French Lion, Peugeot Sport published details of their new Rally Academy. The announcement stated Craig would join the team as factory driver for 2013, taking on eight rounds in the newly formed FIAERC (European Rally Championship). Added to his championship campaign Craig would also spearhead an intensive test programme with Peugeot's new rallycar, the 208 Type R5.

Craig's reaction to the statement,
"This is incredible and beyond my dreams."

The Irish driver took his initial steps in his new job during the last week in Riboux, south of France as he joined Peugeot Sport for a four-day gravel test programme in the 208 Type R5 but its next weekend when he and his new co driver David Moynihan (Mallow, Co. Cork) get down to competition for the first time.

FIAERC Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils

Craig’s new season begins next weekend in Latvia (Baltic region of Northern Europe). Starting in Liep?ja, Latvia’s Kurzeme region west of the capital Riga, Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils opens with a qualifying stage on Friday morning. Then on Friday evening the rally action begins with three special stages. The event gradually heads north up the Baltic coastline on Saturday with six stages being contested and the event concludes on Sunday in the city of Ventspils with the final five tests.

Craig’s comments as he looks ahead to the rally, “After losing my best friend last year, it’s incredible to now reach one of our ultimate goals. I’m 23 years old next weekend, not long out of karting and now I’m a factory driver with Peugeot and I’m doing eight rounds of the ERC. To be honest I’m speechless.”

ERC aces head to Latvia for snow and ice spectacular

Posted: January 25, 2013 11:39 AM

Going fast on snow is big news – just ask downhill skier Johan Clarey, who became the first person in history to top 100mph (161kph) during a World Cup skiing event in Switzerland recently.

In the FIA European Rally Championship, the drivers go even faster on snow – considerably faster in fact – and will be demonstrating just how fast when the series heads to Latvia for the first time next week for Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils (1-3 February).

Taking place between the cities of Liep?ja (say Leepia) and Ventspils on Latvia’s Baltic coast to the west of the capital Riga, Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils is a brand new event and the first designated pure snow rally to form part of the ERC schedule since the series was restructured in 2004.

And with the bulk of the stages taking place on high-speed country roads coated with snow and ice and littered with sweeping turns, jumps, dips and blind crests, the action will be sensational with extensive coverage available on Eurosport, Eurosport Player and at www.fiaerc.com.

Forty crews will be in action on 15 stages split between three legs over a competitive distance of 243.00 kilometres. However, because the distance covered on leg one does not exceed 25 per cent of the total competitive length, bonus points will only be handed out to the top seven competitors in the overall, Production Car Cup and 2WD classifications after legs two and three.

Qualifying Stage will be crucial
One of several exciting elements of Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils will be the Qualifying Stage, which gets underway at 09:30hrs local time on Friday 1 February on a 5.89-kilometre course. Following a period of Free Practice, 12 priority crews get one run to go as fast as possible. At 13:00hrs local time following the pre-event press conference, the quickest driver in qualifying will select their starting position for later in the day first with the second fastest driver next to choose and so on until all drivers have made their selection. Non-priority drivers will start leg one in seeded order.

Road position can be crucial on loose-surface rallies. On snow events, the preference is to start lower down the order in the event of recent snowfall to benefit from a more compact and stable surface. However, it can also pay to start closer to the front of the field if the stage surface deteriorates with ruts forming and the gravel base beneath becoming exposed. When this occurs, the studded tyres – tyre companies Michelin and Yokohama are official ERC partners – used on winter rallies to carve through the surface snow and bite into the rock-hard ice beneath, are liable to significant damage, which leads to a loss of grip.

Glamorous entry in Latvia
While the battle for outright victory is likely to be between leading seeds Jari Ketomaa, Craig Breen and François Delecour, one driver set to attract significant attention will be Inessa Tushkanova. The 25-year-old glamour model from Ukraine will compete for FIA ERC Production Car Cup honours where her rivals will include top Russian Alexey Lukyanuk, rapid Estonian youngster Siim Plangi and talented Czech Jaroslav Orsák. All four will drive Mitsubishi Lancers. “I don't have any hopes and dreams about big prizes in Latvia, but I find it very important to participate in the rally for my career since the level of ERC is very high and my plans for rally do not stop after one year,” said Tushkanova.

The ERC 2WD Championship will also provide plenty of action with category leader Hannes Danzinger (Renault Clio R3) up against, among others, top Latvian Ralfs Sirmacis (Ford Fiesta R2) and Italian Elwis Chentre (ŠKODA Fabia R2). Stéphane Lefebvre, meanwhile, will be giving Peugeot’s 208 R2 its ERC debut.

As well as Peugeot 207 Super 2000 drivers Breen and Delecour and Ford Fiesta RRC-mounted Ketomaa, Jan ?erný, who will pilot a Fabia S2000, is the reigning ERC 2WD champion and a future prospect, while Antonín Tlus?ák is due to prepare for Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils by contesting the Halls Winter Rally in Lithuania tomorrow (Saturday). Raimonds Kisiels is the highest-seeded local driver in a MINI John Cooper Works S2000.

Q&A: Craig Breen (New Saintéloc Peugeot Rally Academy signing)

You were announced as part of the new Peugeot Rally Academy recently. Has it sunk in?
“It’s incredible. After all the bad times [losing my best friend and co-driver Gareth Roberts] it’s nice to experience some good times. I’m 22 years old, not long out of karting and now I’m a factory driver with Peugeot and I’m doing eight rounds of the ERC. To be honest I’m speechless.”

Why choose the European championship?
“The European championship is the perfect place to be and to be a factory driver with Peugeot is beyond my wildest dreams. I get to compete in a very strong series in a good car and with a good team I know well. This is a big step forward for me.”

You’re already being considered a title contender. What does that mean to you? “I’m not thinking about that. Yes, it would mean a lot, but I still need to learn, I still need to improve by proving I can go flat out for a whole rally and not make mistakes. It’s something I’ve got to do in the ERC because the level will be very high and there will be some serious competition.”

It sounds like you’re in for a busy year?
“As well as the rallies I’m going to be testing and developing the Peugeot 208 Type R5, which is a great opportunity to make this car the best in the R5 class. By doing the rallies I’ll be able to show I’m still competitive.”

What difference will your new co-driver David Moynihan make?
“Paul [Nagle] has some commitments at work so David is coming with me. I actually did one of my first rallies with David. He’s a good guy who I’ve known for quite a long time.”

* Crews on Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils will make history as this is the first time the event has run.
* Liep?ja is Latvia’s third largest city. Its citizens have been described as ‘tough, wise and daring’.
* Ventspils is well known as a capital of flowers and fountains with a number of floral displays decorating the city.
* Latvia is a member of the European Union although you’ll need lats, the local currency, not euros if you want to go shopping.
* Grey peas, ham and rupjmaize, a dark bread made from rye, are all popular among Latvians.


Posted: January 24, 2013 10:33 PM

Inessa Tushkanova’s efforts to secure the funds necessary to contest Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils next month have paid off after the 25-year-old glamour model confirmed her entry on round two of the FIA European Rally Championship.

Tushkanova had feared she wouldn’t be able to start the snow rally in her Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX but now has the backing in place to tackle the Latvian event from 1-3 February, which means she can now focus on her main objective, as she explained.

“I don't have any hopes and dreams about big prizes in Latvia, but I find it very important to participate in the rally for my career since the level of ERC is very high and my plans for rally do not stop after one year.

Tushkanova, from Ukraine, also plans to contest September’s Rally Poland.

Promotional Video

Posted: January 22, 2013 10:19 AM

Glamour comes to the ERC

Posted: January 18, 2013 8:30 AM

There won’t be just Serious Competition Ahead when the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship resumes in Latvia next month: Ukrainian glamour model Inessa Tushkanova is also planning to take part. The 25-year-old has tackled selected rallies since 2008 and made her ERC debut in Poland last season. She now wants to build her experience of the ERC, which enjoys extensive television coverage on Eurosport, by contesting Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils from 1-3 February in an ERC Production Car Cup-specification Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.

“I don’t know yet if I will do the rally or not because, for now, I haven’t been able to find the budget,” said Tushkanova. “We have tried many companies and I hope they wake up soon because there is not much time. I don't have any hopes and dreams about big prizes in Latvia, but I find it very important to participate in the rally for my career since the level of ERC is very high and my plans for rally do not stop after one year.”

Tushkanova also plans to compete on the ERC round in Poland in September.

Entries Received

Posted: January 17, 2013 9:29 PM

Driver/Co-driver (Car) [Group]
Simone Tempestini / Sergiu Itu (Subaru Impreza) [R4]
Marco Tempestini / Dorin Pulpea (Subaru Impreza) [R4]
Vitaliy Pushkar / Ivan Mishyn (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X) [N4]
Gergo Szabo / Karoly Borbely (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X) [R4]
Inessa Tushkanova / Duncan McNiven (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) [N4]
Ralfs Sirmacis / M?ris Kulšs (Ford Fiesta) [R2]
Kristaps Feldmanis / Raivis Poišs (Ford Fiesta) [R2]
Em?ls Bl?ms / Ilm?rs Vecgailis (Ford Fiesta) [R2]
Lukács Kornél / Mesterházi Márk (Citroen C2R2 MAX) [R2]
Turán Frigyes / Zsiros Gábor (Subaru Impreza) [R4]
Vasily Gryazin / Dmitry Chumak (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) [R4]
Siim Plangi / Marek Sarapuu (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X) [R4]
Rokas Kvaraciejus / Mindaugas ?epulis (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X) [N4]
Guntis Lielk?jis / Vilnis Mi?elsons (Ford Fiesta) [R2]
Raul Jeets / Andrus Toom (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X) [N4]
Vytautas Švedas / Žilvinas Sakalauskas (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X) [N4]
Slawek Ogryzek / Grzegorz Dachowski (Citroen C2R2 MAX) [R2]
Rok Turk / Enej Ložnar (Citroen C2 MAX) [R2]
Aljoša Novak / Matej ?ar (Skoda Fabia) [R2]
Risto Immonen / Mikko Lukka (Citroen C2R2 MAX) [R2]
Alexey Lukyanuk / Alexey Arnautov (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X) [N4]
János Puskádi / Barna Gódor (Skoda Fabia) [S2000]
Raimonds Kisiels / Arnis Ronis (Mini JCW RRC) [S2000]
Edvinas Rudaitis / Edvinas Pagirskas (Ford Fiesta) [R2]
Vojtech Stajf / Petra Rihakova (Subaru Impreza WRX STI) [N4]
Ji?í Sojka / Jind?iška Žáková (Suzuki Ignis Sport) [N2]
Jari Ketomaa / Kaj Lindström (Ford Fiesta RRC) [S2000]
Antonin Tlustak / Lukas Vyoral (Skoda Fabia) [S2000]
Jaroslav Orsák / David Šmeidler (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) [N4]
Aivis Egle / Andis Dauga (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X) [N4]
Dmitri Yakimakho / Volha Zakharava (Citroen C2) [R2]
Elwis Chentre / Igor D`Herin (Skoda Fabia) [R2]
Jan ?erný / Pavel Kohout (Skoda Fabia) [S2000]
Tomasz Kasperczyk / Damian Syty (Skoda Fabia) [R2]
Zbyn?k Baller / Martin Trlifaj (Honda Civic VTi) [-]
Ond?ej Bisaha / - (Honda Civic VTi) [-]
Craig Breen / - (Peugeot 207) [S2000]
Francois Delecour / Dominique Savignoni (Peugeot 207) [S2000]
Hannes Danzinger / Katharina Wüstenhagen (Renault Clio) [R3]
Robert Consani / Nicolas Klinger (Renault Clio) [R3]
Jean-Michel Raoux / Laurent Magat (Peugeot) [S2000]

Number of „Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils” applications exceeds thirty

Posted: January 15, 2013 10:43 AM

During the previous week the participants’ list of the 2nd Round of the FIA Rally Championship (ERC) „Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils” has increased significantly and now officially includes the Finn Jari Ketomaa and six other crews.

One of „Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils” participants will be a well-known Finnish pilot in Latvia — Jari Ketomaa. Jari Ketomaa, the winner of „Latvia 2007”, is 33 years old, and during his career has participated in 26 World Rally Championship (WRC) rounds, and his highest achievement was reached in his home round „Neste Oil Rally Finland 2009”, where he finished in the 9th place. Jari Ketomaa with the car Ford Fiesta RRC in „Rally Liep?ja-Ventpils” will start in the group S2000, and his co-pilot will be Kaj Lindström, who previously drove together with the F1 pilot Kimi Räikkönen.

The fourth S2000 group car included in the list of participants in the rally will be piloted by the Czech Antonin Tlusak / Lukas Vyoral — they participated also in the 1st round of the ERC in Austria, where after the first rally day they defaulted from the 20th position. During his career Tlusak has once participated also in the WRC round in France (48th place) and overall has participated in 57 events of the ERC and has won in “Rallye International du Valais 2011”. Besides Tlusak another three Czech crews will start in Latvia — Vojtech Stajf / Petra Rihakova (Subaru Impreza), Ji?í Sojka / Jind?iška Žáková (Suzuki Ignis Sport) and Jaroslav Orsák / David Šmeidler („Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX).

The list of participants has been supplemented also by the former Latvian Champion Aivis Egle with the co-pilot Andis Dauga (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) and the Byelorussian crew Dmitri Yakimakho / Volha Zakharava (Citroen C2).

Currently the number of crews applied for participation in the 2nd round of the ERC “Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils” is 31, which is equal to the number of the Latvian Rally Championship applicants, and in total 12 different countries are represented. The application of the competitors will continue till 15th January 18.00 (EET).


Posted: January 12, 2013 2:14 PM

With Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils, round two of the new-look FIA European Rally Championship, less than one month away, entries for the snow event continue to roll in.

Flying Finn Jari Ketomaa will pilot a Ford Fiesta RRC, Hungary’s János Puskádi will be at the wheel of a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, while local hero Raimonds Kisiels will rely on a MINI John Cooper Works S2000.

Other expected frontrunners include Romania’s Marco Tempestini in a Subaru Impreza R4 STI and Ukraine’s Vitaliy Pushkar (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X), plus numerous drivers from Latvia and neighbouring Lithuania. Meanwhile, model Inessa Tushkanova will provide added intrigue.

portsmen of „Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils” will Share Prize Fund of 10,000 EUR

Posted: January 12, 2013 2:05 PM

„Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils” participants in addition to sportive excitement will receive financial motivation. In order to rouse additional intrigue the JSC „Ventbunkers” has allocated a prize fund at the amount of 10,000 EUR that will be divided among the fastest and most attractive rally participants.

The biggest prize at the amount of 3,000 EUR will be awarded to the fastest four wheel drive crew that will take the first place in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) total valuation. However the fastest FIA ERC crew with the 2WD car will receive the prize at the amount of 2,000 EUR. Prize-money is envisaged also for the participants of the Latvian Rally Championship — the fastest four wheel drive crew and the fastest 2WD crew each will receive 2,000 EUR. A special prize will be awarded to a crew that possibly will not compete for victory in „Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils”, however with its driving style will earn unmixed affinity of the spectators — 1,000 EUR will be awarded to the crew, which will deserve the loudest spectators’ ovation upon passing the launching pad in the last city stage „Ventspils Kalns” (Ventspils Hill).

The JSC “Ventbunkers” highly values the fact that for the first time in Latvia such a high-level rally is organized, that will give possibility to the leading and go-ahead sportsmen to compete side-by-side with the fastest European sportsmen and hence improve their performance and not to stop in their growth. However to spectators “Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils” will allow to sympathize not only with their favorite drivers, but also to get to know new sportsmen and to experience interesting and intense moments during the event. Besides, in relation to this rally the name of Latvia will be heard in Europe, and it will join such traditional rally states as Monaco, Finland and France. It is a great possibility to show unused potential of Latvia and selfless contribution of the arduous organizers in successful course of the FIA European Rally Championship round in Latvia, to ensure unforgettable moments for everybody,” tells the representative of the rally sponsor JSC “Ventbunkers”.

“This is a pleasant stimulus for all drivers — both to those that have already submitted their applications and also to those, that have not yet decided about participation in “Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils”. This stimulus will possibly make the participants to consider their preparation plan and to get ready for the competition even more seriously, however for others it could be a good incentive to apply. Such prize-money is valuable support both to foreign and local sportsmen,” the prize fund allocated by the JSC “Ventbunkers” is appraised by Raimonds Strokšs, the organizer of the “Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils”.

We would like to remind that the second round of the FIA ERC the “Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils” will be held from 1st till 3rd February. Along the snowy roads of Kurzeme both the foreign and the local auto sportsmen within 3 rally days will have to cover 15 stages with the total length of 240 km.

The JSC “Ventbunkers” is one of the leading oil products transshipment terminals in the Ventspils Port with the total loading capacity of 7 million tons per year. The waste-water treatment facilities of the JSC “Ventbunkers” receive and treat the ship ballast waters, as well as the industrial waste water. The JSC “Ventbunkers” has not only allocated the prize-money, but is also one of the sponsors of “Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils”.

Website / Details

Posted: January 12, 2013 2:00 PM

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