European Rally Championship

2020 Rally Liepāja: Solberg Seals Second Successive Liepāja Win

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Solberg sealed his second win on the Latvian win on Sunday afternoon. Photo Credit: Thomas Fenetre / DPPI

Oliver Solberg won Rally Liepāja on Sunday afternoon by 20.1 seconds ahead of Mads Østberg, securing back-to-back wins on the Latvian event.  

Solberg, who won the same event last season at the age of just 17-years-old, won four out of the six stages on the final day of action to seal a dominating win ahead of Citroen WRC2 regular Østberg. 

After Nikolay Gryazin’s dramatic crash on the final stage of Saturday, this gave the young Swede a 10.0 seconds lead going into Sunday and he made no mistakes on his way to more than doubling the margin to 20.1 seconds by the end of the final test.  

A delighted Solberg said on his win: “This has been a really good weekend. I was able to control the speed and the pace a little bit – I wasn’t going super-crazy all the time.”

“I was really happy with Rome a few weeks ago. There I took third on my first full Tarmac rally, but coming back to the gravel I really felt at home and I was able to really enjoy myself on these roads.”

He continued: “It was a great job from Aaron (Johnston) and the whole team. Coming back here has been so cool with the memory of that first big win last year. To do it again and now to lead both ERC and ERC1 Junior is fantastic.”

Third overall and the second driver registered ERC driver was round one winner Alexey Lukyanuk, who admitted having setup problems on day two, while Eerik Pietarinin taking a fine fourth overall in his first appearance on the Latvian event.  

Lukyanuk secured third and was the second quickest ERC registered points scorer. Photo Credit: Gregory Lenormand / DPPI

He finished ahead of the recovering Craig Breen, who suffered a puncture on stage seven that cost him over a minute in lost time. The Irishman moved back up to fifth on stage nine and managed to hold off teammate Emil Lindholm for the position by just 1.8 seconds.  

Earlier stage six had set the scene for two large accidents for both Callum Devine and ERC3 Junior driver Amaury Molle. Unsually both drivers went off at the same spot at high speed and both rolled their cars out of the event. A video of Molle’s accident can be seen below:  

The top 10 overall were completed by Grégoire MunsterMikko Heikkilä, Spainard Efren Llarena and American driver Sean Johnston as he continued his transition to R5 machinery.  

The battle in ERC3 Junior took another turn on Sunday, with overnight leader Mārtiņš Sesks suffering a broken radiator at the end of the first stage following midday service.  

Drama for class leader Sesks gave Ken Torn the ERC3 Junior win.  Photo Credit: Gregory Lenormand / DPPI

The home hero was forced to retire from the lead as a result, giving Ken Torn an eventual 49.8 seconds win ahead of Dennis Rådström. Double FIA European Rallycross champion Reinis Nitišs claimed third on his home event, almost two minutes behind class winner Torn.  

Tibor Érdi Jnr secured a dominating ERC2 victory on his return to the championship in a Mitsubishi Evo X. He completed his win by 58.0 seconds ahead of Ainārs Igavenš while Abarth Rally Cup honors went to Martin Rada as the only classified finisher.  

Round three of the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship, Barum Czech Rally Zlín, takes place between August 28-30. 

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