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Rally Liepāja – the only rally in Latvia this year


Because of the uncharacteristically warm winter months, which were the cause of cancellation for the two Latvian Rally Championship rounds, Rally Alūksne and Rally Sarma, the only national championship round taking place in Latvia will be the FIA European Rally Championship round Rally Liepāja, taking place from May 29 to 31, with the route going from Talsi to Liepāja.

Rally Liepāja 2019 ©

A total of seven events were planned for this year’s Latvian Rally Championship (LRČ) – two in the winter, two as part of Rally Liepāja, and three more in the neighbouring countries – Estonia and Lithuania. After cancellation of the winter events, the Latvian rally champions will be determined over five events, with Rally Liepāja serving as the lone rally taking place in Latvia.

In addition to the Latvian Rally Championship, Rally Liepāja will host a few other series as well. The Kurzeme region event will host a round of the FIA European Rally Championship, which will also be joined by the talented youngsters competing in the ERC Junior championship. In addition to that, we will also see the exciting rear-wheel drive Abarth Rally Cup cars tackling the Talsi and Liepāja region stages for the second year in a row, while the list of international events will be concluded with the opening round of the FIA ERT Baltic Rally Trophy.

Moving back to national level events, Rally Liepāja will also be part of the Latvian rallysprint cup and host the Historic class, made for rally cars manufactured no later than in 1997. Historic car regularity rally Youngtimer Rally Liepāja is also an integral part of Rally Liepāja, and will again be the longest challenge in the regularity rally season calendar.

It is already known that multiple talented crews in top specification R5 class cars will be tackling the stages in Rally Liepāja. In an unexpected, but welcome return to the FIA European Rally Championship, the 2015 Rally Liepāja winner and FIA World Rally Championship driver Craig Breen (Hyundai i20 R5) will try to capture another victory on the fast Latvian roads. He is sure to be tested by two-time Norwegian rally champion Eyvind Brynildsen (Škoda Fabia R5 evo), the 2017 European vice-champion Bruno Magalhaes (Hyundai i20 R5) and Irish International Driver of the Year for 2019, Callum Devine (Hyundai i20 R5).

It would not be an exciting race with some familiar local names taking part as well. In a radio interview, Liepāja native Mārtiņš Sesks (front-wheel drive Ford Fiesta R2) has confirmed that he will be competing in the event, after recently beginning his second season in the FIA Junior WRC championship with a second-place finish in Sweden. He will be challenged by Reinis Nitišs (Ford Fiesta R2) who has recently switched over to rallying, and Swedish driver Denis Radstrom (Ford Fiesta R2), who has spent the past three seasons competing in FIA Junior WRC.

FIA European Rally Championship 2020 calendar:

  1. AZORES RALLY                       PORTUGAL               March 26-28     (ERC Junior)
  2. RALLY ISLAS CANARIAS          SPAIN                       May 7-9            (ERC Junior) (Abarth)
  3. RALLY LIEPĀJA                   LATVIA                   May 29-31      (ERC Junior) (Abarth)
  4. 77. RALLY POLAND                  POLAND                   June 26-28       (ERC Junior) (Abarth)
  5. RALLY DI ROMA CAPITALE      ITALY                        July 24-26         (ERC Junior) (Abarth)
  6. BARUM CZECH RALLY ZLIN     CZECH REPUBLIC    August 28-30    (ERC Junior) (Abarth)
  7. CYPRUS RALLY                       CYPRUS                   October 9-11    (-)
  8. RALLY HUNGARY                     HUNGARY                November 6-8   (Abarth)


Latvian Rally Championship 2020 calendar:

  1. RALLY SARMA (cancelled)              GULBENE                  February 7-8
  2. RALLY ALŪKSNE (cancelled)          ALŪKSNE                  February 21-22
  3. RALLY LIEPĀJA (Round 3)        TALSI, LIEPĀJA     May 29-31
  4. RALLY LIEPĀJA (Round 4)        TALSI, LIEPĀJA     May 29-31
  5. RALLY ESTONIA                             ESTONIA                   July 24-26     
  6. RALLY ROKIŠKIS                            LITHUANIA                 August 14-15
  7. LÕUNA-EESTI RALLI                      ESTONIA                   August 28-29


Rally Liepāja 2019 ©

Rally Liepāja 2019 ©

Craig Breen, Rally Liepāja 2015 ©

Eyvind Brynildsen, Rally Liepāja 2019 ©

Bruno Magalhaes, Rally Liepāja 2017 ©

Mārtiņš Sesks, Rally Sweden 2020 ©MSport

Reinis Nitišs, SM Vaakuna-Ralli Mikkeli 2020 ©