REINIS NITIŠS: THIS IS A MARATHON FOR THE TEAMS
Next weekend, at Neste World RX of Rīga, which hosts rounds five and six of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, we will see Latvian driver Reinis Nitišs get back on the World RX stage as part of Lithuanian team ESmotorsport, competing against the best World RX drivers.
“Honestly, I cannot really tell you how I got to this collaboration with ESmotorsport. Slowly, we began talking. I then went to a few tests in Finland and Lithuania, which was followed by a little break in our discussions. We returned to talks a bit later, as I was really hoping to drive in Rīga. And now, here we are!” notes Reinis Nitišs.
Last year, ESmotorsport took part in the full World RX season, with the best results being two fourth-place finished by Kevin Abbring, achieving that in Norway and Sweden. “Before signing the contract, I had a discussion with Abbring as I wanted to understand the atmosphere within the team. He gave a glowing review, so I was now sure that this would be a good fit.”
Before heading to the event in his home country, Nitišs tested Škoda Fabia WRX EVO Supercar in Kouvola, Finland. “I spent two days testing in Finland. While you are alone on the circuit, everything seems great, but we will see the actual pace on Saturday morning practice. Only then will we know where we stand. Lately, there has been so much work that I have not really come to grips with the fact that the event is next week. By the end of the testing, I felt really good in the car, the handling is great. I have gotten used to the car, and the team is doing a fantastic job. Of course, more time would be needed to improve my starts, driving technique and some smaller nuances that only come with more experience. However, the time spent testing was still a large step in the right direction.”
This time, spectators will have a unique opportunity to see two World Championship events in a single weekend. To make it happen, significant changes to the daily regime of drivers and teams have been made. “While we do get to drive a bit more, any larger mistake is also more costly. Talking with other teams, I have heard that there is lots of stress throughout these double-header weekends, as there is very little time to prepare, clean, and check everything for the next race,” says Nitišs. “In Finland, the mechanics of some teams did not go to sleep until everything was finished, which was at five in the morning. This is serious work that people on the outside do not always appreciate. The preparation and planning done is significantly more involved than it seems when watching the event on TV. Any such race weekend is a real marathon for the teams.”
This year, the number of people working on a single car is very limited. Reinis thinks that this is an additional benefit for the larger teams: “Teams that work with three cars have it a lot easier, as the mechanic of one car can switch over to another one, while we do not have that luxury and have to follow the limited number of people, who have to cover working on the car, working on the engine, improving suspensions setup, changing tires, and being a spotter. At some point, you begin thinking about which of these roles you can live without in order to meet the requirements.”
CSDD Biķernieki circuit was the place where Reinis Nitišs became the 2018 European Rallycross Champion. “The Biķernieki circuit is exciting, with a harder surface than other tracks, and is lined with barriers on the sides of the track. It is impossible to see the next corner. This is very similar to a touring car circuit, but with two jumps, which makes it that more difficult to set up the cars. Corner four and the left turn after the large jump are the two most difficult parts of the track, as there are multiple racing lines through both, which can significantly impact the outcome of any race.”
Even though Latvian fans are more used to seeing Reinis on a rallycross circuit, this year he has made an effort to get much more involved with rallying. Last month in Rally Liepāja, round two of the FIA European Rally Championship, Nitišs finished third in the ERC3 Junior class. After competing in Neste World RX of Rīga, his focus will turn back to rally. “I will only be contesting the Rīga event this year. Last month I said that my rallycross career is over, but I have now decided to compete in front of the Latvian fans. For all the other events, my current answer is a definite ‘no’, but things can always change.”
“Competing in rallying definitely helps my rallycross skills as well. Last week, competing in a buggy, I used some of the skills earned in rally, including the ability to drive in deep ruts. Rally teaches you the basics of absolutely everything – you have to think fast, as there are no two identical roads. We will see how everything shakes out next weekend.”
This year, the CSDD Biķernieki circuit will host two rounds of the FIA World Rallycross Championship as part of Neste World RX of Rīga. Round five will take place on Saturday, September 19, while on Sunday, September 20, the spectators will be able to see all the action from round six. In addition to that, this weekend will host a round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercar category, as well as the electric rallycross series Projekt E, where Latvian driver Jānis Baumanis will also be taking part.
We would like to remind spectators that Neste World RX of Rīga tickets are back on sale, and are available in all Biļešu Serviss locations as well as online HERE.
FIA World Rallycross Championship event Neste World RX of Riga 2020 is possible thanks to the support provided by the Rīga city council, event title sponsor Neste, and our partner Road Traffic Safety Directorate (CSDD) and supporter Pafbet.
News about the FIA World Rallycross Championship event Neste World RX of Riga are available on social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. When communicating on social media, we suggest using the hashtag #NesteRigaRX, which would make it possible to gather all rallycross related posts in one place.