Joosep Ralf Nõgene is gearing up for the first big adventure of this short rallying career when he makes his debut in the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship on Rally Liepāja later today (Thursday).
The 18-year-old from Estonia has tackled two rallies to date following a successful career in crosskarts, which included winning several titles in his homeland.

He will drive a Ford Fiesta Rally4 on Pirelli tyres for the CKR Estonia team with compatriot Simo Koskinen co-driving.

“We don’t have much experience on fast roads and we just want to gather kilometres but I’m already thinking to do more ERC rallies next year,” said Nõgene, who is also planning to contest his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship later this month. “I have only done two rallies so far so Rally Liepāja will be my third event.”

Nõgene, who is one of 13 drivers registered for ERC3 Junior points on Rally Liepāja, started competing in crosskart as a 12-year-old and took part on his first rally last year.

“I’m slowly getting to grips with it because I have driven with crosskarts for five years now so it’s a big switch to driving front-wheel-drive rally cars. I would say it’s comfortable driving with pacenotes but it’s hard to prepare and write them, that’s what I’m still learning.”

With his rallying experience still in its infancy, Nõgene has made completing Rally Liepāja’s competitive route of 179.02 kilometres his priority.

“Our goal is just to get to the finish, drive every stage and improve our overall times,” he said. “Maybe to do some top 10 times would be nice but mainly we are here just to finish. I’m already thinking to do more ERC rallies next year but I’m only 18 for two months now and I’m still at school so there is time for this.”
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