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Latvians Sirmacis / Šimins lead Rally Liepāja after leg one

Liepāja, September 18, 2016

FIA European Rally Championship event Rally Liepāja began with the first seven special stages on Saturday, September 17. After Leg one, Latvian crew of Ralfs Sirmacis and Artūrs Šimins (Škoda Fabia R5) are the leaders by 30.7 seconds. ERC Junior championship has had some extremely close battles, with the current leaders, Marijan Griebel and Chris Ingram, separated by only 0.7 seconds, while the top seven crews are all within 15 seconds.

- Ralfs Sirmacis / Artūrs Šimins ©GO4SPEED.LV

Today’s stages took place on Kuldīga region roads and the city of Liepāja in sunny autumn weather. Sirmacis got into the lead starting from the very first special stage, and concluded the first day with five fastest stage times (SS1/5 Kuldīga, SS2 Castrol Edge Supercar, SS3/4 Neste). Meanwhile, the main competitors of Sirmacis – Alexey Lukyanuk and Kajetan Kajetanowicz – ran into some issues during the day, which cost them time.

“Everything is going according to plan. Being at home definitely helps, but we have known since the beginning of the season that Rally Liepāja is the one event where we have to do our best and come away with a win. The main objective for tomorrow is to increase the lead and finish on the top step of the podium!” says Ralfs Sirmacis.

Main event of the evening was definitely the spectacular city stage SSS6/7 Great Amber, which gave the competitors a chance to compete on Liepāja city streets, right next to the newly built Great Amber concert hall. Both of the super special stages were won by Lukyanuk, who beat out Kajetanowicz by just 0.1 second each time.

“Beginning of the day was not easy as the roads were dustier than expected, so I was very cautious. Afterwards, everything went well and I had some solid stage times. The city super special stage in Liepaja was quite difficult, and there were a lot of spectators watching! I believe that it is important to keep making stages like this in rallies!” comments Norwegian driver Frank Tore Larsen, who is sixth overall after day one.

- Frank Tore Larsen / Torstein Erikssen ©FIAERC.COM

ERC Junior championship had its share of close battles today, with Rally Liepāja being the last event of their season. After day one, the two title contenders, Marijan Griebel and Chris Ingram, are separated by just 0.7 seconds, and the winner, as well as the new champion, will be determined on Sunday’s six special stages. To make things more interesting, other drivers are not far behind – Liepāja native Mārtiņš Sesks is currently sixth, just 14.9 behind Griebel.

“I made some mistakes in the city stage, but, overall, I feel better on asphalt than on gravel. On the first half of day, I was not focused on the best possible result, instead choosing to save my tires. Today was very interesting and fast!” adds Griebel.

“Today, I tried to be cautious with the brakes, and I am happy with the result. I slightly damaged the front of the car, but it is nothing serious. Everything is still in play tomorrow!”says ERC Junior championship leader Chris Ingram.

- Chris Ingram / Elliott Edmondson ©FIAERC.COM

Winners of the sixth round of the Latvian Rally Championship were also determined today – LRC1 class was won by Sirmacis / Šimins, followed by Jānis Vorobjovs / Andris Mālnieks and Raimonds Kisiels / Arnis Ronis. LRC2 class was won by Māris Neikšāns / Anrijs Jesse, while Estonians Miko-Ove Niinemae / Martin Valter were the fastest in LRC3.

Rally Liepāja winners will be determined tomorrow, when the last six special stages will take place. All news and other information about Rally Liepāja is available on the official website at, as well as on social media: Twitter @LVRally, Facebook /LVRally, YouTube /RallyLiepāja and Instagram /lvrally. Results are available at!

FIA European Rally Championship round Rally Liepāja is possible thanks to the support of the Latvian government and the rally city of Liepāja. We would also like to thank our sponsors Neste, NPK Expert,, our partner Kuldīga city, the provider of official cars Autobrava, as well as supporters Baltijas Helikopters, Blue Shock Race, Canon ibServiss Rīga, Castrol, Fontaine Royal Hotel, Liepājas Olimpiskais Centrs, and SweCon. Informative support is provided by the official news portal DELFI and media partners StarFM, FHM, Go4Speed, JCDecaux, Kurzemes Radio and Zebra. Rally Liepāja would also not be possible without our rally friends: Dardedze,, FN Serviss, Grandeg, Guard Systems, Holography, Jānis Pūce, N&J, Liepājas Datoru Centrs, Ramirent, Red Bull, SidusNet, SignTech, Skrīveru Saldumi, Venden, Veselīgas Uzkodas, and Törley. A special thank you goes out to the Latvian Automobile Federation.


Rally Liepāja programme:

Sunday, September 18

08:15   First rally car starts from Liepāja

09:30   SS 8 VIVUS.LV 1


10:30   SS 10 NPK EXPERT

13:30   SS 11 VIVUS.LV 2



16:00   Rally Liepāja finish at Great Amber concert hall

20:00   Rally Liepāja awards ceremony at Great Amber concert hall