FIVE TALKING POINTS AHEAD OF LATVIA RX
Friday 13th of September 2019
The FIA World Rallycross Championship heads to the Baltics this week for the ninth and penultimate round, the Neste World RX of Latvia in Riga.
Here’s five talking points ahead of Latvia RX.
Epic Title Fight
The fight to become the 2019 FIA World RX Drivers’ Champion could hardly be closer. With Andreas Bakkerud’s victory in Canada, then Timmy Hansen’s success at Loheac just over a week ago, the tables continue to turn, but as it stands, Bakkerud leads the Drivers’ standings by two points, with the Hansen brothers, Timmy and Kevin, tied in second. It’s therefore all to play for in the final two rounds of the season in Latvia and South Africa.
Baumanis and Nitiss Darlings of the Crowd
Team STARD’s Janis Baumanis and GRX wildcard Reinis Nitiss will be the darlings of the Latvia crowd in Riga. With a population of just 2 million people, Latvia is a small country with a big passion for rallycross. Baumanis and Nitiss are at the centre of that. Both will feature on national television channels this week and will be the most popular drivers in the paddock on race weekend. Both Latvians have finished on the podium in World RX this year, and Nitiss secured the Euro RX title at home last season. A home World RX podium is more possible than ever.
Larsson Steps Up
Sweden’s Robin Larsson cannot be beaten to the 2019 FIA European Rallycross Championship after he won his fourth race from five rounds at Loheac. With no need to race in the final round, 2015 World RX of Argentina winner Larsson has switched to racing in World RX in Latvia and will pitch himself against the regular teams and drivers with the JC Raceteknik run Audi S1 Supercar. Larsson’s championship winning Audi is the car that Mattias Ekstrom used to win the 2016 World RX title, and Larsson has set times this season that compare favourably to the World RX drivers. He could be one to watch in Riga.
Projekt E Launch
Before the Latvia RX race weekend gets underway, on Friday evening at the famous Riga Motor Museum, located next to the Bikernieki National Sports Base circuit, the racecar which will feature in the electric development series in 2020, codenamed Projekt E, will be officially unveiled. Projekt E will showcase electric-powered cars on the same event schedule as traditional World RX Supercars at selected European rounds of the championship in 2020.
Euro RX Finale
Robin Larsson might have won the Euro RX Supercar Drivers’ Championship already, but the fight to be runner up in the series between France’s Jean-Baptiste Dubourg and Norway’s Thomas Bryntesson will go down to the wire in Riga, where a wide range of drivers will want to finish the Euro RX season in style, and Latvia driver Janis Vegeris will race a Citroen DS3.
In Euro RX Super1600, if Russia’s Aydar Nuriev qualifies for the semi-finals in the final round then he will be Champion, but the front-wheel-drive category is red hot with competitive cars and drivers, so the battle to take the best results possible in the last round of the season will rage until the final chequered flag falls.
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