Nikolay Gryazin is returning to the FIA European Rally Championship, the series where he forged his reputation as one of international rallying’s biggest young talents, for some high-speed practice this summer.
The 23-year-old Russian, who competes under a Latvian licence, is contesting the ERC-counting ORLEN 77th Rally Poland (June 18-20) and Rally Liepāja (July 1-3) and is considering adding additional rounds of the all-action championship to his schedule.

Gryazin won the ERC1 Junior title in 2018 and claimed three outright victories before he stepped up to the FIA World Rally Championship for the 2019 season as the ERC runner-up.

He’s since become an established frontrunner in the WRC2 category and is using his ERC appearances to keep ‘rally fit’, while he awaits the resumption of his world championship programme on Rally Estonia, which takes place from July 15-18.

“I came back to the ERC because of the high level of organisation and the high level of competition,” said Gryazin, whose Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 will be co-driven by compatriot Konstantin Aleksandrov. “It’s really good training for me to drive against fast drivers and meet my ‘old’ friends. For sure I won’t do all [the ERC rounds], because we can’t bring a car immediately after some races, so we will do races which will be easier for everyone to come to.”

Poland return brings back happy memories
Nikolay Gryazin is unbeaten on Rally Poland having won the event on his only start to date in 2018. He’s more than aware of the challenges he’ll face when the gravel rally gets underway with the first of 14 special stages on Friday evening.

“The main challenges are the competitors and the tyre management,” Gryazin said. “I remember from the last time it was not easy to bring fresh tyres all through the weekend, so it’s good training for the WRC2, too. The jumps, fast corners and big sideways [driving] are the best in Rally Poland, it’s so exciting. I will try to show good speed and get the best result. And also enjoy it a lot.”

Photo:Josef Petru
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