ERC Junior U28 title contender Gryazin takes early Liepāja lead
Nikolay Gryazin kicked off his quest to secure a first FIA ERC Junior Under 28 championship title by taking the lead on Rally Liepāja’s opening loop of stages, with title rival Chris Ingram right behind.
Though Gryazin won all three stages on Saturday’s morning loop, he was kept on his toes by his fellow young stars in R5 cars, with Ingram second fastest through all three stages to reach midday service 10.6s behind the Sports Racing Technologies driver.
Both drivers continued that streak despite each suffering a high-speed, fifth gear spin on stage two, with Ingram even ending up in a bank but continuing without damage.
CA1 Sport driver Fredrik Åhlin completes a lockout of the overall podium places by ERC Junior U28 stars, taking 4.1s out of Fabian Kreim on stage three to move into third and demote the third and final ERC Junior U28 title contender to fourth place.
Łukasz Habaj completes the overall top five aboard his eSky Rally Team ŠKODA Fabia R5, only 1.2s behind Kreim. Eyvind Brynildsen is a further 5s behind Habaj in sixth.
Autoklub of Czech Republic-backed Filip Mareš is fifth in ERC Junior U28 and seventh overall, leapfrogging fellow young talent Laurent Pellier in the flat-out third stage. PEUGEOT Rally Academy prodigy Pellier dropped over 10s through Ramirent (Upītes), falling behind Mareš to sixth in ERC Junior U28.
Rhys Yates is seventh in class and ninth overall, building his confidence on every stage and closing in on Pellier, now only 4.1s in arrears. Ingram’s Toksport WRT team-mate Orhan Avcioğlu rounds out the top 10 overall.