*Young duo sign up for ERC Junior Under 27 return
*High-speed Rally Liepāja stages await promising pair
*Sesks: “ERC Junior Experience has helped me a lot”
The appeal of the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship to drivers aiming to build their knowledge of international events in a highly competitive environment has been underlined with the addition of Alex Forsström and Mārtiņš Sesks to the entry for this week’s Rally Liepāja season finale.
Finn Forsström, 21, will drive an Opel ADAM R2 on the high-speed gravel event from 6-8 October with 18-year-old Latvian Sesks competing in a Peugeot 208 R2.
Both tried ERC Junior for size in 2016 but other commitments have ruled out further appearances until now. And with the a four-way title battle in prospect, Forsström and Sesks have gilt-edged opportunities to make further progress and prove their talent as the ERC Junior season builds to an exciting climax.
“I’m going to try to win and improve on the second place I took last year,” said Forsström, whose Rally Liepāja appearance last season followed his debut on auto24 Rally Estonia earlier in the 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.”
Sesks, who is enrolled in the ERC Junior Experience training programme, makes his ERC Junior comeback on his home event having finished fourth in class on his debut last season. His father Uldis, the Chairman of Liepāja City Council, is credited with bringing rallying to the region after helping to organise events at the city’s milk factory back in 1965.
“This rally is very important for me, I’m the only Latvian in ERC Junior,” said Sesks Jr. “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.”
ERC Junior U27 is for drivers born on or after 1 January 1990 competing in R2 cars on Pirelli tyres. Competitors count their best four scores from a possible six with the eventual champion receiving 100,000 euros to use for an ERC Junior U28 campaign in 2018 when they will step up to R5 machinery. Stéphane Lefebvre, Emil Bergkvist and Marijan Griebel are among the notable ERC Junior graduates.