ERC Q&A: Nikolay Gryazin
A two-time Rally Liepāja winner, the 23-year-old former ERC1 Junior champion has what it takes to challenge for a third ERC victory in Latvia, this time in his Movisport Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. This is what he’s had to say.
As a two-time Rally Liepāja winner what does it take to be successful on this event?
“I started my career in Latvia so I have quite a good understanding of the type of gravel there is. I have some knowledge of the roads and also experience of different cars on this rallly. But I am not the only one with such experience so I will need to prove myself and have a good fight on what is an amazing event.”
For a driver new to Rally Liepāja, how would you describe the event, the challenge you face and the nature of the stages?
“The stages are quite fast and you need to be ready not to lift the pedal through the fast and blind corners over the crests because the gravel is quite soft and you can really go flat out. You need to trust the car but you need to be brave and push through the corner with really high speed. You think the corner will not give you the permission to go flat out but the Latvian gravel helps you stay on the road.”
What are the best things and worst things about Rally Liepāja?
“I would say the worst thing is the stage in Talsi where I crashed last year and also in 2017 where one of the other rallies I was competing on had the same stages. I was crashing in the same corner but in the other direction. I hope this year I will go through this corner more safely. The best things are the beach, when the weather is nice, and the fast roads. The people are also really nice in Latvia and it’s really easy to talk to them. I think the organisation is the best in Latvia.”
How frustrating was your Poland retirement and how keen are you on revenge in Latvia?
“The frustration was quite big as you can see from FIA ERC on the YouTube I was really upset. When you are doing your job in a proper way and something goes wrong for sure it’s frusrating but I never blame anyone, it happens in life and it’s a kind of experience. We were there to win, we set some fastest times and it will make us stronger. For sure I am looking for revenge in Latvia when I hope to fight with the other fast drivers. I’m really excited because I feel good in the car so let’s see how it goes.”
What’s your strategy for this event and what do you believe you can achieve?
“I will try to fight for the win and for sure I will try to manage a time gap to try to drive to the finish safely and not risk too much. But we need to fight in the beginning for a good result and after we will try to manage the speed. It’s nice to push all the time but still we need to be smart.”