Thu 01 Feb 2024

ERC winners take to the desert to impress

Two FIA European Rally Championship event winners in 2023 will take to the desert-based stages of the Qatar International Rally this week as they go up against the clock for the first time in 2024.

Mads Østberg (above), who completed the 70th-anniversary ERC season with victory on Rally Hungary last October, will team up with Mārtiṇš Sesks, who triumphed in Latvia and Poland earlier in the year, in the three-strong Sports Racing Technologies line-up that also features Pierre-Louis Loubet.  

While Østberg is no stranger to the Losail event having finished runner-up in 2023 following his debut the previous year, Sesks is a newcomer to the FIA Middle East Rally Championship season opener. However, both drivers are familiar faces at Sports Racing Technologies (SRT).

Sesks (pictured above and below) has competed for the Latvian squad since partway through 2022, finishing runner-up in last season’s ERC – one place ahead of Østberg – under the Team MRF Tyres banner. Østberg’s twin appearances in Qatar were with SRT, an outfit with considerable ERC pedigree.  

Twenty-four-year-old Sesks, from Latvia, wrote on Facebook: “We’re thrilled to showcase our skills behind the wheel of Sports Racing Technologies’ Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 along with Pierre-Louis Loubet and Mads Østberg”.

Nasser Al-Attiyah, a two-time ERC event winner, is the top seed for the Qatar International Rally, which includes co-driver Ross Whittock, the 2019 European champion, on the entry.  

The first of the event’s 13 stages is due to get under way at 20:00 local time today (Thursday).  

Meanwhile, V Rally Hungary opens the 2024 ERC season from 12- 14 April.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM