NITIŠS, BAUMANIS REACH SEMI OF NESTE WORLD RX OF LATVIA, VEĢERIS PROGRESSES IN EACH HEAT
On Sunday, Neste World RX of Latvia, the penultimate round of the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship, concluded in CSDD Biķernieki Circuit. There, Latvia was represented by Reinis Nitišs and Jānis Baumanis, both of whom reached the semi-finals. Meanwhile, Jānis Veģeris finished fifteenth in the European Rallycross Championship classification.
After an unlucky day one, Timmy Hansen used all his opportunities on the wet second day of the event. Winning Q3 and Q4 moved him into second place overall after qualifying, behind Andreas Bakkerud. Nobody could stop Hansen in the remaining races either – the Swedish driver was fastest in both the semi-final and the final as well. He was joined on the podium by Niclas Gronholm and Andreas Bakkerud. Timur Timerzyanov tried an incredible move round the outside of turn one, but it did not turn out as well as hoped and he had to settle for fifth place, finishing between Kevin Hansen and Liam Doran.
Timmy Hansen: “After yesterday, we understood that anything could still happen if we have a perfect day. We did what we had to do. This is an incredible victory for the whole team. To be where we are now after such a bad Saturday is amazing. This just shows how good our team is and how strong we are at the moment. I am very proud of my team. Hopefully we can win the championship as well, but I would want all three of us to have a successful weekend in South Africa where we can be proud of our results, and the best one gets to stand on the top step of the podium.”
Reinis Nitišs showed his talent in Q3, moving into the lead from the start and leading all the way, setting the second quickest time in the process. In Q4, Nitišs had to fight to stay on the track, and set the eighth fastest time. With sixth place in the Intermediate Classification, he moved on to the semi-final, where an early Joker did not pay off due to losing time behind a competitor, and the Latvian having to settle for fourth place behind Timerzyanov.
Reinis Nitišs: “A fantastic day up to the end of lap 3 in the semi-final. Second place in Q3, but a bad start in Q4, followed by a good run, which gave me sixth place in the Intermediate Classification – something that seemed impossible after day one. I then set the fastest lap time of my semi-final, which shows that we had a chance to fight for a final spot, but I got stuck behind a slower driver, which cost me that opportunity. We had good pace in the dry as well, but rain turned everything on its head. We knew that our cars are great and that we are good drivers. Knew what to do to be fast in the rain and accomplished that.”
Jānis Baumanis managed to hold on to fifth place in the championship standings. Rain has always been more suitable to both Jānis’ driving style and the Team STARD car. This clearly showed in Q3, where Baumanis set the sixth quickest time. Twelfth fastest time in Q4 put him into the semi-final, but there he lacked pace to fight for a spot in the final. Baumanis finished his semi-final in sixth place.
Jānis Baumanis: “We could say that this was one of the longest races I have been in. These six laps seemed to last forever, as my windscreen fogged up and I could not see anything. I saw Reinis in my mirror around lap four, and immediately went for the Joker lap to let him by. Even though this was not a great event for me, I would like to thank everyone who supported me at the circuit and by their TV screens! We still have an event in South Africa, let us try and conclude the season on a high note!”
In the European Rallycross Championship Supercar class, Latvian Jānis Veģeris continued gathering experience. After an exciting battle with Aleš Fucik in Q3, Jānis set the twelfth quickest time. In Q4, he had a controlled drive without any contact and was eleventh quickest. In his Euro RX debut, that put him fifteenth overall.
Jānis Veģeris: “Q3 was relatively good, but I was a bit too cautious. I enjoy driving in the rain as the car slides around a bit more. Contact with other cars is a significant part of rallycross and I got to see that up close. My goal was to reach the semi-final. Despite not meeting that goal, I really enjoyed the event, although my driving could have been better. You can always improve, but it will not this past result. I did not miss the start, but the car spun its wheels for quite some time. If events like this return to Latvia, I will definitely take part, but there are no plans to visit any rounds abroad – home events are always better!”
FIA World Rallycross Championship event Neste World RX of Latvia 2019 is possible thanks to the title sponsor Neste, as well as the Latvian Ministry of Science and Education, our partner Road Traffic Safety Directorate (CSDD), and our sponsors Ferratum and Live Riga.
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