As the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship came to an end this weekend with four titles being decided, it was Kajetan Kajetanowicz, Chris Ingram and Tibor Érdi Jr who ultimately came out on top in their retrospective championships.
Each class had its own story with twists and turns across the weekend in the final round of the championship and the event in Latvia summed up the twists and turns of the 2017 season.
On the event itself, it was two young drivers who led the way with Nikolay Gryazin wining the event ahead of ERC debutant Kalle Rovanperä and Łukasz Habaj who rounded out the top three.
ERC Overall: Kajetanowicz Earns A Record Third Successive Title
Coming into this weekend, Kajetan Kajetanowicz led the overall European Rally Championship ahead of title rival Bruno Magalhães and the pair continued their battle in Latvia.
However, Magalhães was caught out by a large build-up of water on stage six and crashed his Skoda Fabia R5 into a tree, forcing him to retire and as a result handed championship leader Kajetanowicz a third successive ERC championship. The now triple champion did however retire from the event before the start of stage 12 when the title was secured with ‘personal reasons’.
The Pole has proven with his third successive title this season that consistency is key; he only won one out of the eight championship events this season and had previously finished the first seven rounds in 2017.
ERC Under 27: Ingram Takes The Prize In Incredible Fashion
The ERC Junior Under 27 class had four potential champions ahead of the deciding round and it was Britain’s Chris Ingram who came out on top with the Opel factory driver taking the critical final round win ahead of Mārtiņš Sesks and Aleks Zawada.
At the end of day one, it looked like it was going to be Ingram’s Opel teammate Jari Huttunen who was going to take the title and the 100,000 euro prize to put towards a 2018 R5 drive, but the Finn crashed on stage eight causing two punctures on his Adam R2. And with only one spare on board, the new Hyundai development driver was forced to drive the remainder of the morning stages with three inflated tyres, giving second placed Ingram the lead and the Brit went on to win.
Throughout 2017, Huttunen and Ingram have battled at the front of the class, with both drivers having up and down points throughout the season. The Finn’s season couldn’t have started in a worse way with two DNF’s in the first two rounds, with Ingram being able to full capitalise on his mechanical issues and took the first two wins of the year.
However Ingram also had his share of bad luck and by the beginning of the final round in Latvia, any one of four drivers could have still mathematically won the title with the Opel pair being joined by Zawada and Filip Mareš.
ERC2: Érdi Jr Victorious Ahead Of Melegari
Tibor Érdi Jr took the ERC2 title ahead of Zelingo Melegari in another close championship battle, with the pair coming into the event separated by just four points. Érdi Jr finished second in Austria behind World Rallycross driver Reinis Nitišs and this was enough for him to claim the win. Three wins in 2017 proves that the Hungarian was the man to beat in ERC2
Also in Austira, the ERC Teams championship was decided, with Castrol Ford Team Turkey beating ACCR Czech Team and Opel Rallye Junior Team to the series win.