ERC Junior Under 27 pre-rally Liepaja quotes | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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ERC Junior Under 27 pre-rally Liepaja quotes

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Round 6 of 6: Rally Liepaja, 6-8 October

BUǦRA BANAZ (TUR) Championship position: Sixth
Co-driver: Burak Erdener (TUR) Car: Ford Fiesta R2

“Of course I want to win this class but I also know it is going to be very difficult. I respect my fellow competitors and I am very happy to see that I am getting closer to their pace day after day. I also feel slightly better as my team-mate Ümitcan Özdemir is also competing to support our Castrol Ford Team Turkey’s effort to win the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams. May the best one win!”

DOMINIK BROŽ (CZE) Championship position: Eighth
Co-driver: Petr Těšínský (CZE) Car: Peugeot 208 R2

“The first target is to finish because we had a crash on this event last year and we don’t want to crash again! We look forward to driving again on gravel because this year it has been mainly asphalt. We must improve a lot on gravel because we don’t have much experience and we want to be in a better position. We have repaired the car after the problems we had in Rome and hopefully everything will be okay.”

ALEX FORSSTRÖM (FIN) Championship position: N/A (first appearance of 2017)
Co-driver: Eetu-Pekka Hellsten (FIN) Car: Opel ADAM R2

“I’m going to try to win and improve on the second place I took last year. It’s a nice rally with nice roads, we just need to be better. I have only done five rallies this year, which is not so much and the first two were in an R5 car before we had problems with the budget. I’m going to do my best to compete in all ERC Junior events next year.”

JARI HUTTUNEN (FIN) Championship position: Third
Co-driver: Antti Linnaketo (FIN) Car: Opel ADAM R2

“Thanks to the dropped-scores regulation in FIA ERC Junior U27 we are still in a very good position to fight for the championship, even if we had two bad results at Azores and Barum. In fact, Antti and I can capture the title of our own accord in Liepāja in our ADAM R2 pocket rocket, so the task formulation is quite easy: We want to go for maximum points in Latvia, and if we are good and lucky enough to make it to the end with no mistakes, we will be in good shape. But anything can happen in the highly competitive Juniors so we will see.”

CHRIS INGRAM (GBR) Championship position: Second
Co-driver: Ross Whittock (GBR) Car: Opel ADAM R2

“Going to Latvia with the chance of winning the FIA ERC Junior U27 Championship knowing it’s in our own hands is a great feeling. After driving the first rally with Ross Whittock by my side in Rome I know we will be in good shape at the final round of the season. At the Azores myself and the ADAM R2 have shown we have the potential to win on gravel. So that’s the goal for Liepāja. The competition will be tough as always in ERC Junior, so we are facing a heck of a task. But I am confident we can do the job. My Opel Rallye Junior Team will provide a perfect car and the best possible support as they did the whole year.”

KRISTÓF KLAUSZ (HUN) Championship position: Twelfth
Co-driver: Botond Csányi (HUN) Car: Peugeot 208 R2

“I really like gravel rallies but the rally in Latvia is completely different to what I have experienced in Hungary and Austria, for example, because the stages are really fast and you are in fifth gear almost every time. I like this rally but it’s hard to be fast on the stages without so much experience. You have to know the roads and you also need really good pacenotes.”

KAREL KUPEC (CZE) Championship position: Fifth
Co-driver: Vladimír Osička (CZE) Car: Peugeot 208 R2

“I was driving autocrosss for 15 years so I love driving on gravel but I don’t think my experience from autocross will help me so much because it’s more slow and Latvia is a very high-speed rally. We have a test on Tuesday to help me find the feeling [of driving on gravel] and getting comfortable in the car. I hope we can be fast on the rally but I don’t need to push like the four guys in front fighting for the championship. The championship is over for me, fifth position is not what I wanted at the start of the year but it’s what I’ll be aiming for.”

FILIP MAREŠ (CZE) Championship position: First
Co-driver: Jan Hloušek (CZE) Car: Peugeot 208 R2

“It’s going to be a really important rally because we are now leading but I have to keep my feet firmly on the ground because I don’t have so much experience on gravel. It will be really tough especially against Jari, who won Rally Finland in WRC2. And of course Chris and Aleks are incredibly fast everywhere. But I am determined to work hard and be successful and I definitely won’t give up without fighting. It’s been a crazy year for me and I’m really happy I’ve shown good progression during the season. It’s really fantastic to be in the lead and I’m excited about it. I don’t feel any pressure at this moment because it’s a really unexpected situation for me. I will do one small rally in Latvia this weekend and a small test on Tuesday with Mārtiņš Sesks, plus of course the last round of the ERC Junior Experience will be on Wednesday with gravel training from Urmo Aava. The preparation will be good and I hope I will be competitive.”

TAMARA MOLINARO (ITA) Championship position: Seventh
Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) Car: Opel ADAM R2

“Clinching the title the ERC Ladies’ Trophy title in Rome gave me a big blast for the upcoming adventures. Rally Liepāja is such an adventure which I am very much looking for. I love driving on gravel and am confident we can be competitive in Latvia, especially after a very good gravel test with my Opel Rallye Junior Team the week after Rome in the Lausitz region in Germany. It was just awesome! At Latvia my new co-driver and I will especially work on proper pacenotes. I definitely have to improve in that matter.”

MĀRTIŅŠ SESKS (LVA) Championship position: N/A (first appearance of 2017)
Co-driver: Andris Mālnieks (LVA) Car: Peugeot 208 R2

“This rally is very important for me, I’m the only Latvian in ERC Junior. Last year I won the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy for finishing fourth in my class on this rally but I obviously hope to do better than last year. I have been doing the ERC Junior Experience this year and that has helped me a lot because I’ve been improving my skills all year. There are some changes to the route this year but the stages in this region are all very fast and nice, the roads I like, so I have no problems to try new stages. With four drivers going for the title it’s going to be really good for me to try to be fast like them. We have a test on Tuesday about 50 kilometres from Liepāja.”

ALEKS ZAWADA (POL) Championship position: Fourth
Co-driver: Grzegorz Dachowski (POL) Car: Opel ADAM R2

“My chances are not as good as they were after I retired in Italy but we’re still there and the driver who wins in Latvia has the best chance of winning the championship. But winning outright won’t be easy against three drivers who are all very strong and Jari, especially on gravel, has an advantage over us. We’ll attack as hard as we can but rallying is very unpredictable and anything can happen to anyone. We’ve got to push as hard as we possibly can but be there to capitalise on any mistakes. It’s that kind of game between risk and speed. I’m no slouch on gravel but my personal feeling is not as great as it is on asphalt. But at this point in the year when it’s all or nothing it’s really not something I’m thinking about.”