ERC: A look back at round 2 – Rally Liepāja



Craig Breen has won the second round of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship, Rally Liepāja in Latvia, after a faultless drive in his Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16.

Co-driven by Great Britain’s Scott Martin, the 25-year old Irishman mastered the most difficult of winter conditions, with thawing ice and slippery wet snow on day one and heavy blizzards of snow and freezing fog on day two. Breen’s last ERC win was on last March’s Acropolis Rally in Greece, when he went on to give the 208 T16 a famous victory on its ERC debut.

“It was really a rally of attrition in tough conditions, but when we were pushing we were only beaten on one stage by 0.7s so we always had the speed,” said Breen, who triumphed by 1m 40.7s. “Things changed very quickly but we stuck to our pace and this is an awesome result. You have to go back through the history books, to the 1960s, for the last time an Irishman won on snow. It’s a big boost for me and after winning on gravel and Tarmac in Greece last year I’ve now won on snow so that makes me a bit of an all-rounder. Hopefully this will be the first of many this year and the championship challenge is very much back on. Who can forget the next rally of the year is the Circuit of Ireland and we’ll be coming back there with a win under our belts just like last year.”


Twenty-two-year old Estonian Siim Plangi led from start to finish, and set fastest class time on all but one stage, to win the FIA ERC2 Championship category on Rally Liepāja by 3m47.7s in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.

There was a tremendously close battle for second, with Jānis Vorobjovs (Mitsubishi) and Dominykas Butvilas (Subaru Poland Rally Team Impreza WRX STI) tied for position after SS9. However, Vorobjovs lost 90s on the final stage when he hit a snow-covered ditch and picked up a puncture. He dropped to fourth, leaving Butvilas in second and Latvian Mārtinš Svilis – who had received a 30s penalty for leaving service late at the end of day one – third in his Mitsubishi.


Emil Bergkvist doubled his overnight lead to win the opening round of the FIA ERC Junior Championship by 30.1s in his ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team Adam R2.

The 20-year old Swede also finished an extraordinary sixth overall on Rally Liepāja. Steve Røkland had a great run to second in his Peugeot, while Ralfs Sirmacis completed the ERC Junior podium for Sports Racing Technologies – despite running fourth on the road on day one and finishing SS8 with two chicane marker tyres stuck underneath his 208’s sump guard. The Latvian also earned the prestigious Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy following his battling performance.

big2_485_SIRMACISColin McRae Trophy

Latvian ERC Junior driver Ralfs Sirmacis has been awarded the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy on Rally Liepāja.

He lost 90 seconds to his ERC Junior rivals after running fourth on the road on day one, yet he fought back in his Sports Racing Technologies Peugeot 208 R2 to finish third ERC Junior and ninth overall

“Since one year ago, when Alexey Lukyanuk won the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy at Rally Liepāja, I have always dreamed about winning it myself. Now I get it, and I am delighted and very surprised!


Kajetan ‘Kajto’ Kajetanowicz has maintained his lead in the FIA European Rally Championship, thanks to the day points he scored on Rally Liepāja.

Kajto became ERC Ice Master in Latvia, and his performance on the snowy stages in his LOTOS Rally Team Fiesta R5 sees him leave Liepāja with 45 points – and a five point ERC lead.

Craig Breen (Peugeot 208 T16) and Robert Consani are tied on 40 points, with Alexey Lukyanuk next up with 32 points.

All photos and text courtesy of the FIA European Rally Championship