ERC 2020: Rally Liepaja refresher

2020-01-16T22:16:39+01:00January 18th, 2020|2020|

Rally Liepāja hosts the second all-gravel round of the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship in late May. A summary of the key details appears below.

When: 29-31 May
Where: Liepāja, Latvia
Surface: Gravel
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 7 (2013-2019)

The rally in 100 words: The brainchild of driver turned promoter Raimonds Strokšs and first run to great acclaim in 2013, Rally Liepāja was originally a winter event but switched to autumn in 2016 for more guaranteed weather. The new date effectively made for an all-new rally as crews adjusted to gravel roads free of snow and ice. Although the time of year had changed, the high-speed stages in western Latvia continued to thrill drivers and spectators alike. Organisers of this forward-thinking event made more changes for 2019 with a late May date and an expanded route taking in popular stages around the Talsi region.

Event eligibility:
FIA European Rally Championship 2020, round 3 of 8
FIA ERC1 Junior Championship 2020, round 3 of 6
FIA ERC3 Junior Championship 2020, round 3 of 6
Abarth Rally Cup 2020, round 2 of 6

Also counting for…
​FIA ERC2, FIA ERC3, FIA European Rally Championship for Teams

Recent winners:
 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)

Five facts:
Rally Liepāja ran for the first time in 2013 with Jari Ketomaa/Kaj Lindström taking victory in a Ford Fiesta RRC. It was the first and only year the really finished in Ventspils, up the Baltic coast from the host city.
2: In recent years, Rally Liepāja has formed part of the Festival of Speed Kurzeme, which brings speedboat racing to the city’s Tirdzniecības canal, plus other motorised attractions to the local area.
3: Two former Liepāja winners, Craig Breen and Esapekka Lappi, have both gone on to secure factory drives in the World Rally Championship.
4: Oliver Solberg is the event’s youngest winner, taking top spot in 2019 aged 17 years, eight months and three days.
5: Liepāja can claim to be the only Latvian city outside the capital Riga to offer air, land and sea transport options, while its city council chairperson, Uldis Sesks, is a former rally driver of note and father of Mārtiņš Sesks, the 2018 FIA ERC3 and ERC3 Junior champion.