Two-time FIA European Rallycross Champion in Super1600 and Supercar, Reinis Nitišs from Latvia will step out of the rallycross scene to take on a new journey in to the world of rallying. Now with a brand new Ford Fiesta R2T bought from M-Sport, he and co-driver Andris Mālnieks will take part in various rallies around the Baltic region.
Nitišs started his career in rallycross with driving in the Super1600 class in a Peugeot 206, in 2013 he was selected by the Finnish team Set Promotion, run by the rallycross legend Jussi Pinomäki, where he claimed his first title in rallycross.
In 2014 the introduction of FIA World Rallycross Championship saw him move to Olsbergs MSE for two full-seasons driving in a Ford Fiesta supercar. In 2016 he moved to All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport driving the all-new Seat Ibiza supercar, he didn’t stay with the team for the full-season and moved back to OMSE for last rounds. 2017 would be his final full-season career in World RX as he joined EKS in an Audi S1 supercar.
After four full-seasons in World RX he was left without a seat in 2018 but now he moved back to his championship-winning team Set Promotion to take part in a full-season in Euro RX supercar. He used a specially M-Sport built Ford Fiesta supercar, which he won the championship title with at his home track in Riga. In 2019 he only took part in three wildcard appearances in World RX for the GRX Taneco Team in a Hyundai i20 supercar.
During his rallycross career, he has stepped on eight World RX podiums, finished third in overall standings in 2014, and is still the youngest ever winner of a World RX event. Besides that, throughout the years, as part of his training program, Nitišs has competed in several rallies and despite the lack of experience, shown some good performances and potential.
“Last few months have been very busy. Decision making process, planning, assembling the team, buying the car and training – all that has resulted in the biggest change in my career.” Nitišs said.
“I am sure that for many this will seem a very unexpected move. Rallycross is very action-packed sport and, despite the fact that last season showed my potential to be amongst the very best, the financial side of the rallycross cuts my chances of making it to any top team for the full season run,”
“This is why I take on this new challenge, where we can drive a full season, set targets and fight for them.”
The plan is to gain as much experience as possible in 2020 by participating in almost every rally in the Baltic region and fighting for the class titles in Latvian and Estonian Championships. Depending on opportunities and possibilities Nitišs might also start in other regional rallies in Europe.
“I know that I am starting on the back foot comparing to other young rally pilots, who have been in this sport for several years. This is why we chose 2020 as a practice year – learning the specifics of the sport, improving my skills and doing lots of training. That still does not change the fact that we will fight for the titles in the Baltics,” Nitišs added.
The goal with this year is to use the gained experience to take on the JWRC season in 2021. Throughout both years experienced coaches and mentors like Mattias Ekström and Māris Neikšāns will help with the development process and training for Nitišs.
“In the last few years Reinis has proven himself in rallycross. He has speed and talent. I also believe that he has intelligence and understanding of the sport to become a great rally driver,” Mattias Ekström said, EKS Team Owner.
“We have done several rallies and training sessions with Reinis and our cooperation has always been pleasant and professional. We have set high targets for ourselves and we know that achieving those will not be an easy task, but we are prepared to work hard for it,” Andris Mālnieks said.
“In rallycross a big part of performance sits on the shoulders of the driver, but in rally result also depends on cooperation with the co-driver. Making the pacenotes and hearing the them will be a crucial part of the training and one of the biggest challenges for the 2020. This is also a part that I can help Reinis to develop with my vast co-driving experience.”
“I am grateful to my supporters and team around me that are backing up my new challenge, and I am full of motivation to achieve the set targets. 2021 will be the next step up the ladder, when we will race against the best juniors of the rally world,” Nitišs added.