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Young Rally stars eye the prize on ERC Junior U28 finale in Liepaja

Young Rally stars eye the prize on ERC Junior U28 finale in Liepaja

05.10.2018: ERC RALLY LIEPĀJA, 12-14 OCTOBER FIA European Rally Championship round 8/8 FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship round 6/6 FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship round 6/6

ERC RALLY LIEPĀJA, 12-14 OCTOBER
 
FIA European Rally Championship round 8/8
FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship round 6/6
FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship round 6/6




*It’s Gryazin versus Ingram versus Kriem in epic Rally Liepāja title showdown


*World Rally Car prize drive up for grabs for second ERC Junior U28 champion


*Home hero Sesks plans ultimate lap of honour after winning ERC Junior U27 crown*


*ERC2 champion* Érdi Jr steps up to R5 power on high-speed gravel event
 




Three of Europe’s most promising young driving talents – Nikolay Gryazin, Chris Ingram and Fabian Kreim – will face-off for one of the biggest prizes in rallying when the 2018 FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship concludes in Latvia next week (12-14 October).
 



As well as bidding to win the ERC Junior U28 title on Rally Liepāja, the talented trio will battle for a prize drive in a World Rally Car on a European round of the world championship in 2019**, which goes to the eventual champion. Inaugural title-winner Marijan Griebel used his prize to score overall points on ADAC Rallye Deutschland last August driving a Citroën DS3 WRC.
 


Russian Gryazin, who lives in the Latvian capital Riga and competes under a Latvian licence, is in a strong position to land ERC Junior U28 gold. The 20-year-old, who won Rally Liepāja outright in 2017, has three class wins to his name this season.



With regulations allowing drivers to count their best four scores only, a fourth victory would ensure the Sports Racing Technologies’ driver becomes champion, regardless of what Ingram and Kreim can achieve in their similar ŠKODA Fabia R5s.
 


“We hope to win the ERC Junior U28 title and the event itself,” said Gryazin. “We will push for the title but not to the absolute max because I have to be careful as this is the last chance to score points.”
 


Brit Ingram (Toksport WRT) and ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland’s double German champion Kreim have both taken a win apiece this year. With one round remaining, Ingram is seven points down on Gryazin with Kreim one point further back.
 


Ingram, who graduated to the category for young stars in R5 cars as the Pirelli-supported ERC Junior U27 champion from 2017, said: “We have to win this event. We need to just go flat out although that’s going to be an incredibly difficult thing to do. But we learned a lot in Poland and improved a lot so you never know.”
 



Third-placed Kreim said
: “I don’t think we hold the best cards in the fight for the championship. We are in third position and have a lot less experience on gravel than Nikolay and Chris. But we promise to fight to the very end. Hopefully we can find a good rhythm and then learn as much as we can.”
 



As well as the three title chasers, Swede Fredrik Åhlin is a known quantity on gravel, as is Briton Rhys Yates, who will be competing in Latvia one week after contesting his country’s round of the world championship.



Yates is back in a Fabia R5 for Roman Kresta’s eponymous squad, which also oversees the ACCR Czech Rally Team entry of Filip Mareš. Backed by his national federation, Mareš made his gravel debut in an R5 car on last month’s PZM Rally Poland and was able to build his experience throughout the event, as did PEUGEOT Rally Academy’s rapid Frenchman Laurent Pellier.
 



*Subject to confirmation of the final results by the FIA


**In order to serve the best interests of the eventual ERC Junior U28 champion, FIA European Rally Championship promoter Eurosport Events will offer a financial grant of €100,000 for a programme of ERC events in 2019 in an R5 car as an alternative to the World Rally Car prize drive.



 There is no restriction on team or car choice but the grant has to cover two ERC rallies will paid in two instalments: €50,000 after the first and €50,000 after the second.



Richard Rodgers, photos FIA ERC

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/young-rally-stars-prize-erc-junior-u28-finale-liepaja---181602.html

05.10.2018 / MaP

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