October 3, 2017
This weekend, in Liepāja and its nearby Durbe, Aizpute, and Priekule regions, the final round of the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), Rally Liepāja, is set to take place. Even though the crews will tackle the special stages on the weekend, the European championship related activities will take over nearly the whole week, with the first ones beginning today, and concluding on Monday after the event.
Tuesday and Wednesday, October 3 and 4
Some of the FIA European Rally Championship competitors have already arrived in Liepāja, the city of wind, in order to better prepare for the rally. Peugeot Rally Academy, ACCR Czech Team, LMT Autosporta Akadēmija, and Sports Racing Technologies will have a test day today. On Wednesday, the same will be done by Opel Rallye Junior Team, TGS Worldwide, LOTOS Rally Team crew of Kajetan Kajetanowicz, as well as Kalle Rovanpera, who will be racing in an M-Sport prepared Ford Fiesta R5 for the first time.
In addition to that, the fourth FIA ERC Junior Experience will also begin in the afternoon of Tuesday, with the first three experiences having been in the Canary Islands, Czech Republic, and Italy. The programme, created by FIA ERC organizer Eurosport Events,is led by All In Motion, and will be visiting Latvia for the first time. There, the young rally drivers have the opportunity to learn about writing pacenotes, proper diet, physical preparation, tire changes, attracting sponsors, as well as driving techniques on both asphalt and gravel.
Baltic specialists will be involved in the training programme – today’s physical training in Liepājas Olimpiskais Centrs will be led by three time world sidecar motocross champion Kaspars Stupelis from Latvia. On Wednesday, the practical driving lessons will be overseen by Estonian specialist Urmo Aava.
“Last year, this programme consisted of three events, and you could learn something new from the invited lecturers, drivers, and engineers in each one. For example, in Estonia I had a brief conversation with the legendary French rally driver Jean-Pierre Nicolas. New contacts that you establish during the programme are also a huge benefit. I remember taking part in the Belgium meet and greet event with WRC driver Kevin Abbring. On the following day, Abbring visited our service area for a brief chat – asked how I am doing in the programme, and concluded by saying that I can call him in case I have any questions! You do not get contacts like that any day!” says ERC Junior Experience participant Mārtiņš Sesks, who will compete in the ERC3 and FIA ERC Junior U27 classes in Rally Liepāja, representing LMT Autosporta Akadēmija.
Thursday, October 5
If today and tomorrow will be preparation for the rally, Thursday will mark the beginning of the official rally programme – the Rally Liepāja rally centre, located in Liepājas Olimpiskais Centrs, will be opened at 7:00, and the competitor Administrative checks will begin, with the crews receiving the necessary documentation for reconnaissance before the rally. Team manager briefing will take place in the evening, where the Rally Liepāja Clerk of the Course will inform competitor representatives about rally specific nuances and most important news.
Friday, October 6
Reconnaissance will continue on Friday morning, and, while the crews are on the stages, their mechanics will bring the cars in for scrutineering, which will take place in Scantest technical scrutineering building.
The first timed events will also take place on Friday. Free practice will begin at 13:00, followed by the priority crew Qualifying stage at 15:30 – a short but important test, as the fastest crews will choose their start position for Saturday, with the winner of Qualifying stage choosing first. A shakedown will take place right after the Qualifying stage, and will be the last chance to test the car before heading out to the rally start.
On Friday evening, at 19:00, the opening ceremony of Speed Festival Kurzeme and Rally Liepāja will take place next to the Great Amber concert hall. During the ceremony, crews will choose their start positions, there will be interviews with participants of the various events taking place over the weekend, an autograph session will take place, and there will be speeches from the officials and performances from various artists. At 20:30, the ceremonial start will be given to the first rally car.
Saturday, October 7
Saturday will be full of various driving activities. Rally Liepāja will begin with the first stage at 10:00, with seven stages in total – five on gravel, and two city stages, SS6/7 Liepāja City Special (starting from 18:25). Historic Rally Liepāja regularity event competitors will tackle the stages around 1 hour and 40 minutes before the rally cars. In addition to that, the Speed Festival Kurzeme will also begin in Liepāja – UPB Energy Kauss powerboat competition will begin at 10:00 on the Tirdzniecības canal, while Lada RX Kurzeme participants will begin their event on the city special stage at 12:00.
To conclude the day, the awards ceremony for Saturday’s best will take place next to the Great Amber concert hall at around 20:00.
Sunday, October 8
Rally Liepāja will conclude on Sunday, with the first stage set to begin at 9:00, with a total of six stages throughout the day before competitors reach the finish of both the rally and the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship season. The finish podium will be located next to the service park in Liepāja, on Pulvera street, with the first crew arriving at 16:10, followed by the awards ceremony at 17:00.
Monday, October 9
In contrast with past years, the crews will not rush to leave Liepāja after the conclusion of the rally. FIA ERC organizer Eurosport Events has chosen Liepāja as the host for this year’s FIA European Rally Championship season awards ceremony, organizing a spectacular awards ceremony in the newly built concert hall Great Amber, to recognize crews who reached the top spots in the championship just a day earlier.
“I am truly proud that in just four years, since we welcomed the FIA European Rally Championship for the first time, the hard work and hospitality of Liepāja has helped to gain trust from Eurosport Events, without which it would not be possible to organize such significant activities outside the rally as the FIA Junior Experience and the 2017 season awards ceremony, which will take place in the architecture award winning Great Amber concert hall. I am also thrilled about the competitors, who will have time to get away from their busy schedules on Monday to enjoy Liepāja and experience what we have seen in the Eurosport broadcasts about the city,” says RA Events director Raimonds Strokšs.
We would like to remind you that a ticket to all stages costs 25.00 EUR and is available in all Biļešu Serviss locations. Children up to 10 years of age, as well as people with disabilities, can attend the rally free of charge, if they can show a document stating their age and/or a valid disability certificate to the ticket controller at the stage entrance. Those who attended Neste World RX of Latvia can also get a Rally Liepāja ticket for a decreased price of 15.00 EUR, by entering the code listed on the rallycross ticket in the Biļešu Serviss system. During Rally Liepāja, at the stage entrances it will only be possible to buy single stage tickets, at a price of 12.00 EUR per ticket.
Rally Liepāja spectators should remember that tickets bought in Biļešu Serviss must be exchanged for wristbands before heading out to the rally – it will not be possible to get into the stages without a wristband. All information about ticket exchange locations can be found on the rally website at www.lvrally.com. When exchanging you ticket for a wristband, you will also receive a spectator safety information leaflet.
All information and news about Rally Liepāja are available on the official website at www.lvrally.com, as well as on social media - Twitter @LVRally, Facebook /LVRally, draugiem.lv /lvrally, YouTube /RallyLiepāja, and Instagram /lvrally.
FIA European Rally Championship round Rally Liepāja is possible thanks to the support of the Latvian government and the rally city of Liepāja. We would also like to thank our sponsors Neste and Optibet Sporta Bārs, and our partner LDz Cargo. Thanks to the provider of official cars Autobrava, as well as supporters Baltijas Helikopters, Castrol, Canon ibServiss Rīga, Liepājas Olimpiskais Centrs, Liepājas SEZ, NPK Expert, Ramirent, and SweCon. Informative support is provided by news portal DELFI, rally radio Kurzemes Radio, as well as Go4Speed and Zebra. Rally Liepāja would also not be possible without our rally friends: Dardedze, Esi Draugs, FN Serviss, Jānis Pūce, Liepājas Datoru Centrs, Maksikoms, N&J, Red Bull, SidusNet, SignTech, Sixt, Sportland, Törley, and Venden. A special thank you goes out to the Latvian Automobile Federation. Rally Liepāja is organized by RA EVENTS and Speed Festival Kurzeme, with support by the regional councils of Durbe, Aizpute, and Priekule.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6*
15:30 Qualifying stage LATVIA CELEBRATES 100 YEARS (Dunalka)
16:40 Test stage (Dunalka)
19:00 Speed Festival Kurzeme and Rally Liepāja opening ceremony next to Great Amber concert hall
20:30 Rally Liepāja ceremonial start at the Great Amber concert hall
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7*
9:00 Start of first rally car from Liepāja (from the service park on Pulvera street)
10:00 SS 1 OPTIBET 1 (Kalvene)
10:00-18:00 UPB ENERGY Kauss – Seventh round of the Latvian powerboat championship (Liepāja)
10:40 SS 2 LDZ CARGO 1 (Laidi)
11:25 SS 3 RAMIRENT (Snēpele)
12:00-16:30 LADA RX Kurzeme (Liepāja)
15:00 SS 4 OPTIBET 2 (Kalvene)
15:40 SS 5 LDZ CARGO 2 (Laidi)
18:25 SS 6 LIEPĀJA CITY STAGE 1 (Liepāja)
18:38 SS 7 LIEPĀJA CITY STAGE 2 (Liepāja)
20:00 UPB ENERGY Kauss, LADA RX Kurzeme, Sixth round of the Latvian Rally Championship, and Historic Rally Liepāja awards ceremony (next to Great Amber concert hall)
!! On Saturday, the Historic Rally Latvia crews, competing in a regularity rally, will tackle the Rally Liepāja stages 1h40min before the rally cars.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8*
7:55 Start of first rally car from Liepāja (from the service park on Pulvera street)
9:00 SS 8 CASTROL EDGE SUPERCAR 1 (Priekule)
10:00 SS 9 CANON BIZNESA CENTRS-IB SERVISS 1 (Podnieki)
10:30 SS 10 NESTE 1 (Vecpils)
13:10 SS 11 CASTROL EDGE SUPERCAR 2 (Priekule)
14:10 SS 12 CANON BIZNESA CENTRS-IB SERVISS 2 (Podnieki)
14:45 SS 13 NESTE 2 (Vecpils)
16:10 Rally Liepāja finish podium (next to the service park on Pulvera street)
17:00 Eighth round of the FIA European Rally Championship, Sixth round of the FIA ERC Junior Championship, Seventh round of the Latvian Rally Championship awards ceremony on the Rally Liepāja finish podium (next to the service park on Pulvera street)
* all times are preliminary and subject to change