Rally Liepāja 2021 - 01-03/07/2021
Starts: 11h25, Friday July 2, Talsi Airfield
Finishes: 17h30, Saturday July 3
Headquarters: Liepaja Olympic Centre, Brīvības Street 39, Liepaja
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 8 (2013-2020)
Stage distance: 181.74 kilometres
Liaison distance: 650.13 kilometres
Free Practice (for priority drivers): 14h15-17h15, Friday July 1 (4.61kms, Liepaja region, Grobiņa parish)
Qualifying Stage (for priority drivers): 17h30-19h15, Friday July 1 (4.61kms, Liepaja region, Grobiņa parish)
Shakedown (for all drivers): 19h15-20h00, Friday July 1 (4.61kms, Liepaja region, Grobiņa parish)
The rally in 100 words: The brainchild of driver turned promoter Raimonds Strokšs and first run to great acclaim in 2013, Rally Liepāja was originally a winter event but switched to autumn in 2016 for more guaranteed weather. The new date effectively made for an all-new rally as crews adjusted to gravel roads free of snow and ice. Although the time of year had changed, the high-speed stages in western Latvia continued to thrill drivers and spectators alike. Organisers of this forward-thinking event made more changes for 2019 with a late May date and an expanded route taking in popular stages around the Talsi region.
Event eligibility: ERC1, ERC2, ERC3, ERC Junior, ERC3 Junior, European Rally Championship for Teams, Abarth Rally Cup, Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT. ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives available
What’s new for 2021? Taking place in July for the first time, Rally Liepāja enters unchartered territory with a Saturday rather than a Sunday finish. Apart from SS7/SS10, Neste, all stages have been modified since 2020, when the event took place in mid-August. SS3/SS4, Talsi, is a new stage for 2021.
2020: Oliver Solberg/Aaron Johnston (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)
2019: Oliver Solberg/Aaron Johnston (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)
2018: Nikolay Gryazin/Yaroslav Fedorov (Škoda Fabia R5)
2017: Nikolay Gryazin/Yaroslav Fedorov (Škoda Fabia R5)
2016: Ralfs Sirmacis/Arturs Šimins (Škoda Fabia R5)
1: Rally Liepāja ran for the first time in 2013 with Jari Ketomaa/Kaj Lindström taking victory in a Ford Fiesta RRC. It was the first and only year the really finished in Ventspils, up the Baltic coast from the host city.
2: In recent years, Rally Liepāja has formed part of the Festival of Speed Kurzeme, which brings powerboat racing to the city’s Tirdzniecības canal, plus other motorised attractions to the local area.
3: Two former Liepāja winners, Craig Breen and Esapekka Lappi, have both gone on to secure factory drives in the World Rally Championship, while Nikolay Gryazin was part of Hyundai’s WRC2 line-up in 2020.
4: Oliver Solberg is the event’s youngest winner after taking top spot in 2019 aged 17 years, eight months and three days. In fact, the result made him the youngest ERC event winner.
5: Liepāja can claim to be the only Latvian city outside the capital Riga to offer air, land and sea transport options, while its former city council chairperson, Uldis Sesks, is an ex-rally driver of note and father of Mārtiņš Sesks, the 2018 FIA ERC3 and ERC3 Junior champion.