Latvian hero Reinis Nitišs, the rallycross star turned emerging rallying talent, has registered for the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship ahead of next week’s Rally Liepāja.
The 24-year-old, a double FIA European Rallycross champion, has switched his focus to rallying for 2020. He will benchmark his potential against a host of rivals from the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior category on an event he knows better than all of them, having made four Rally Liepāja starts in the past.
Nitišs, a winner in FIA World RX, said: “Rally Liepāja is very special to me. Firstly, because it was also my first ever rally – back then run at the winter season. Secondly, because of the poor winter weather and global pandemic this will be the only rally we race in Latvia this season.”
After making his Rally Liepāja debut back in 2015 driving a Ford Fiesta R2, Nitišs used a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX in 2017 when he won ERC2 in sixth overall. He upgraded to a Lancer Evolution X for 2018, before getting behind the wheel of an Abarth 124 rally for last year’s event.
So far in 2020, Nitišs has started four rallies, including the all-gravel Samsonas Rally Rokiškis in Lithuania on 1 August, where he drove a Ford Fiesta Rally4 to third in class behind ERC3 Junior rivals, the 2018 champion Mārtiņš Sesks from Latvia, and Estonian Gregor Jeets.
“Changing my focus from rallycross to rally is an ongoing process and step-by-step we have increased our pace,” said Nitišs. “Rally Liepāja is a very challenging and demanding rally. Over the course of two days we need to cover around 180 kilometres of racing distance, thus we will prepare for it with a special care, by doing more driving, pacenote practice, as well as physical training.”
Nitišs has been working with the experienced co-driver Andris Mālnieks this season. The Latvian has a clear strategy in place. “The Rally Liepāja stages are very special and difficult,” Mālnieks said. “It takes precision in pacenotes preparation, reading and execution. The key of a good result is to have a good teamwork in the car and to keep a consistent pace throughout the rally.”
Rally Liepāja runs around the cities of Liepāja and Talsi from 14-16 August. Meanwhile, Kaspersky, Circle-K, Ginalas.LV, Ošukalns, Citadele, Latvijas Gāze, Pafbet, Rimi, Vizionette, the City of Jēkabpils, Gefa Latvija, If apdrošināšana, Dynami:t, Zebra, DELFI and RA Events are supporting Nitišs in 2020.
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