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Europe’s rally masters getting ready for Rally Liepāja

The organisers of Rally Liepāja, the second event of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), have received official applications from 21 crew, including two from Peugeot Rally Academy, which will be represented by Craig Breen from Ireland and Diogu Gagu from Portugal. Lotos Rally Team driver Kajetan Kajetanowicz, who claimed a dominant victory in the first FIA ERC event of the year, will also start in Liepaja. Multiple notable local drivers will also be taking part, including the 2014 Latvian rally champion Jānis Vorobjovs. Registration for Rally Liepaja is open until January 22, while the race itself will take place on the roads near Liepaja and Kuldiga between February 6 and 8.

- Kajetan Kajetanowicz / Jarosław Baran, Internationale Jännerrallye powered by GaGa Energy (©FIAERC.COM)

In the most prestigious all-wheel drive class, containing both R5 and S2000 cars, there are currently four entries. Two of those have been from last years’ top drivers – Kajetanowicz (Ford Fiesta R5) who was fourth overall in the ERC, and Breen (Peugeot 208 T16 R5), who was third, finishing just behind the two Škoda Motorsport drivers – Esapekka Lappi and Sepp Wiegand. Another Peugeot 208 T16 R5 will be driven by Jonathan Hirschi, the Swiss driver who is better known as a successful circuit racer. The Italian driver, Giacomo Costenaro, will be trying to match the pace of these three with a Peugeot 207 S2000. As a reminder – the legendary French driver François Delecour managed to finish third overall in a similar car two years ago here.

NR4 class, which is among the favorites for the local fans and drivers, already has five applications. The aforementioned Vorobjovs and Alexander Gorelov (Russia) will be driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, while Dávid Botka (Hungary) will be at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. The remaining two entries are from Subaru Impreza drivers – Tomasz Kasperczyk from Poland and Vojtech Stajf (Czech Republic), who clinched the 2013 Czech Republic rally championship title in Class 3.

Two more Latvian drivers have already registered – Emīls Blūms, who will be representing LMT Autosporta Akademija, and Danila Belokons. Both of them will be driving Ford Fiesta R2 cars.

Rally Liepaja will also be the first event in the ERC Junior championship, for which there are currently five entries - Steve Røkland (Norway), Diogo Gagu (Portugal), Jon Armstrong (Great Britain), Julius Tannert (Germany), and Marijan Griebel (Germany). While their official entries have not yet been sent, it is already known that ERC Junior will have at least two more contestants this season – Ralfs Sirmacis and Vasily Gryazin, both of whom will be driving identical Peugeot 208 R2 carsprepared by Latvian rally team Sports Racing Technologies.

As always, the two-wheel drive classes of R2 and R3 have attracted a lot of interest, with 12 entries already and having drivers and co-drivers from 12 different counties. These crews also have a very varied list of cars – Ford Fiesta, Opel Adam, Peugeot 208, Renault Clio, and Škoda Fabia.

Rally Liepāja entry list (as of January 9, 2015) available HERE.