ERC Junior champion Gryazin revs up for world debut with Latvia podium
Nikolay Gryazin will make his world championship debut on Rally Sweden on the back of a strong run of practice events, which concluded in Latvia yesterday when the 2018 FIA ERC Junior Under 28 champion finished third on Rallijs Sarma.
Gryazin was actually on course for his third winter win in as many starts having gone fastest on the opening four stages to build a lead of 41s over eventual winner Oliver Solberg. However, a costly moment on stage five ended hopes of a victory hat-trick as Solberg moved into a lead he wouldn’t lose for this second consecutive Latvian championship triumph.
“We lost almost three minutes on SS5 because of too fast approach into one of the turns, hit the snowbank and spin,” Gryazin wrote on Facebook. “We continued but the radiator filled with the snow and the engine began to overheat. We had to stop on the stage to clean the snow out – it was wet and cemented immediately, so we lost a lot of time. We changed the air filter and moved forward.”
Gryazin and co-driver Yaroslav Fedorov are stepping up to the world championship this season in a Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5. Rally Sweden, their first world event, takes place from 14-17 February.
Meanwhile, Tibor Érdi Jr and Mārtiņš Sesks – ERC2 and ERC3/ERC Junior Under 27 champions respectively – were also in action on Rallijs Sarma. Érdi Jr placed P11 overall as Sesks took the LRC3 honours in a fine seventh place. Like Gryazin, Sesks will also be beginning his world championship adventure in Sweden.