Tue 29 Aug 2023

Baumanis promises to ‘keep fighting’ as he hails RX Team Latvia effort

Jānis Baumanis has vowed to ‘keep fighting’ after finishing as runner-up in Euro RX1 for the second consecutive campaign, joking that organising events on his family members’ birthdays’ could be the key to the crown...

Jānis Baumanis has vowed to ‘keep fighting’ after finishing as runner-up in the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top-tier Euro RX1 for the second consecutive campaign, joking that organising events on his family members’ birthdays’ could be the key to the crown...


Baumanis bookended his 2023 challenge with victories in the Nyirád curtain-raiser in Hungary back in April and the finale at Germany’s Estering earlier this month, but he was denied a shot at title glory after penalties cost him a semi-final spot in both Norway and Belgium.


Ultimately, the Latvian fell just six points short of adding a second European trophy to his résumé – having lifted the Super1600 (now Euro RX3) laurels in 2015 – which is 23 points closer than he got in 2022. While pleased to sign off with an eighth career triumph at European level, he was unable to hide his disappointment at what might have been.

“We started the season with a win and ended with a win,” he mused, “and we had some fun battles along the way – I think all of us have had to change a lot of bumpers this year! Sometimes it’s been fair, sometimes maybe not so fair, but that’s rallycross. It’s a contact sport, and I enjoyed the racing in the main.


“Being the only driver to win two rounds in Euro RX1 is a very nice way to look back at the season and the fantastic people we have at RX Team Latvia did an amazing job throughout, but the two events that were not so lucky for me removed the fight for the championship, which is very frustrating. Without that, it would for sure have been a more interesting fight with Anton [Marklund], but that’s life and we can’t turn back the clock or change anything now.”


After setting the pace in free practice at the Estering, Baumanis won his opening heat race to place third overall, and then opportunistically exploited a squabble between champion-elect Marklund and Patrick O’Donovan to secure the second-fastest time in heat two.


The Peugeot driver replicated that result in the remaining two heats the next day, before artfully controlling proceedings in both his semi-final and the all-important final – fending off a first corner attack by Peter Hedström in the last race of the weekend – to ascend the highest step of the podium.

“I went to Germany to have fun and to enjoy the racing, and with the first corner at Buxtehude, all the uphill sections and the joker lap, I certainly had a smile on my face every time I was behind the wheel,” the 31-year-old revealed.


“Next season, we have to hope for a better middle phase, and while we don’t yet know what we will be doing, one thing is for sure – we’ll keep fighting!”


Baumanis’ Estering success fell on the same day as his daughter’s fourth birthday, while his mother’s birthday similarly coincided with his Nyirád triumph – which has given the Mārupe native an idea.


“I gave a present to my mother with the win in Hungary, and now this one was for my daughter,” he reflected. “Maybe we need to plan the calendar next year where somehow every date is a birthday for one of my family members...”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM