ERC Junior champion Sesks to make prize drive R5 debut at home
Mārtiņš Sesks will make his debut in an R5 car on his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship, Rally Liepāja, as the first of two prize drives for winning the ERC3 Junior crown in 2018.
Teen talent Sesks, 19, had been due to take up his first prize drive on Rally Islas Canarias, but submitted a request to ERC promoter Eurosport Events to switch the Spanish asphalt event to his home rally in Latvia, which uses all-gravel stages around the cities of Liepāja and Talsi. The request also required the approval of partner team Motorsport Italia. The second prize drive, planned for July’s Rally di Roma Capitale, is unaffected by the change of events.
“It was a big job to change the schedule from Canarias to Liepāja and big thanks to everyone for allowing this, it means a lot,” said Sesks, who has stepped up to the World Rally Championship’s junior category for 2019. “Our season has started not very good so it will be a big pleasure and very nice to do my home rally in a top-spec car. For sure it’s a different car, but it’s a good opportunity to show our speed again.”
Sesks will test his Pirelli-equipped, Motorsport Italia-run ŠKODA Fabia R5 ahead of Rally Liepāja – the city of his birth – which the Latvian says will be key to his preparations. “After the tests I hope to have good feelings with the car and with my self-confidence,” he said. “They are the main goals for the test because I am a bit apprehensive at the moment.”
With Sesks earning two prize drives for his 2018 ERC3 Junior title triumph, which he claimed in a Pirelli-shod Opel ADAM R2 run by the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team, the youngster is keen not to put too much pressure on himself. “The result is not main thing – we need to get our confidence to drive a top-spec car on these very fast roads. Then we have a second event in Italy when we can learn the car on asphalt.”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Mārtiņš hasn’t enjoyed the start to the season his huge talent deserves. Rather than make his debut in an R5 car at what is a difficult time for him and on an event he has only competed on once before, Mārtiņš made a request to change Rally Islas Canarias to Rally Liepāja, where he is obviously familiar with the stages and terrain. We must thank the FIA and Motorsport Italia for supporting this request. Mārtiņš already had a great opportunity to prove his talent in an R5 car, but to do it for the first time on home soil is extra special. It’s also great news for the Rally Liepāja organisers, who can count on a young driver with massive potential competing in a front-running car.”
Rally Liepāja is the third event of the 2019 ERC season from 24-26 May. Sesks will be eligible for ERC1 Junior points, the category for young stars in R5 cars.