ERC Rally Liepāja Q&A: Nikolay Gryazin
Nikolay Gryazin is less than 24 hours away from potentially becoming the next FIA ERC Junior Under 28 champion. We speak to the Sports Racing Technologies driver about a late scare on leg one of Rally Liepāja and his chances against title rivals Chris Ingram and Fabian Kreim.
The last stage was a bit of a worry with the puncture but, apart from that, has everything gone to plan today?
“Yeah, it’s okay. I don’t know where we have a puncture, maybe some stone but I didn’t feel it and didn’t run wide. Everything was good. Maybe on the onboard, we will see something but honestly, I didn’t make any big mistakes. Sometimes maybe not fast on this stage but the puncture was unexpected. It was slow, we drove two kilometres flat out and I just started to feel that in right corners the car is slightly low, so it was a big slide and a 180 [-degree spin]. But it was still safe. After, on a right corner –maybe two to three kilometres before the finish – it blew. I think all our time loss on this stage was from that part.”
It’s a very fast rally but how fast have you been driving in terms of a percentage? Is this flat out for you or is there more to come speed-wise tomorrow?
“In some places, I’m trying to go flat out but, in other places using a little bit of sense. Maybe it will be faster, sure, but not everywhere. It’s more about being sensible. Chris [Ingram] and Fabian [Kreim] have been really fast in the past. I really like it because when they are going fast, I go faster too, it trains me. It’s not like driving slowly, slowly, and going to the finish. Here you need to be more strategic – know where to push and where not to push. It feels really good so, I think for tomorrow, we’ll use the same strategy with not too much pushing and try to deserve our result.”
With the lead you have tonight, can you relax now? Can you go to bed tonight and sleep well?
“For sure I will sleep well and we will prepare for tomorrow. It’s not easy. Tomorrow is half of the rally and everything can happen. But we made no big mistakes with the tyres. So, on tyres, we should be OK for tomorrow, compared to Poland where we had no tyres [left over].”