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15 OCTOBER 2018

FIA ERC JUNIOR UNDER 28 CHAMPIONSHIP POST-EVENT QUOTES

Round 6 of 6: Rally Liepāja, 12-14 October
 
FREDRIK ÅHLIN (SWE) Position: Third
Co-driver: Joakim Sjöberg (SWE) Team: CA1 Sport Car: ŠKODA Fabia R5
 
“For sure the pace became better and better step by step. We just need to scrub away some mistakes. It was such a long time ago that I was driving on gravel and it’s hard like this. On the first morning I was braking too early so I was trying to brake a little later and then of course you overshoot some junctions. The last stage was when I actually felt I was on the limit throughout the whole stage and I’m really happy with that and to finish on the podium for the first time in the ERC. It was a really intense battle with Fabian [Kreim for third place]. Like you say, it was really close going into the last loop and I knew from Saturday we were struggling quite a lot on the second pass, so I was a little bit nervous about what was going to happen. But myself and Joakim worked really well together and found some small things to improve. The last three stages were good. We made a small mistake in stage 11, where we went wide in a junction, so dropped some time. It was actually quite good because I knew that going to the last one we had to win or not win, there was no margin to play it safe. I went really, really hard. It was a good stage for sure, so really happy. Like I said the whole week, the last time I was on gravel was in May. I'm unfortunately not doing much rallying this year and it took some time to get back into it. Both Nikolay and Chris are really fast and it showed, especially as we couldn't keep up with them. But still, I'm really happy with third.”
 
NIKOLAY GRYAZIN (RUS) Position: First
Co-driver: Yaroslav Fedorov (RUS) Team: Sports Racing Technologies Car: ŠKODA Fabia R5
 
“It’s incredible, we are happy and we are really satisfied. I really enjoyed this fight and season, so I want to say thank you to the team, for the organisation, co-driver and everybody who helps. It was an unbelievable journey. Also, a big thanks to the competitors who are very fast in the stages. It's almost improving everyone in this battle. In these stages, I know this type of gravel and in some places I just drive comfortably. But it's very fast stages here and the gaps are not a big difference because it's a high average speed. You need to be really brave here to drive fast. It's not so much technical but really brave to go flat out in some corners and believe in the grip. On the second stage on Saturday I just lost the entry point going faster. I was late on the corner, I go wide too much, lost the speed and the car started going inside in the ditch. We stopped, reversed and go again but after there was 700 metres of straight so it was a big [time] loss. I was worried but then I was calm. I don't know where we have a puncture [on SS6], maybe some stone but I didn't feel it and didn't run wide. It was a slow puncture, we drove two kilometres flat out and I just started to feel that in right corners the car is slightly low, so it was a big slide and a 180 [-degree spin]. But it was still safe. After, on a right corner –maybe two to three kilometres before the finish – it blew. I think all our time loss on this stage was from that part. In some places, I was trying to go flat out but, in other places using a little bit of sense. It's not like driving slowly, slowly, and going to the finish. Here you need to be more strategic – know where to push and where not to push. I think we deserve our result."
 
CHRIS INGRAM (GBR) Position: Second
Co-driver: Ross Whittock (GBR) Team: Toksport WRT Car: ŠKODA Fabia R5
 
“It was good, we did what we needed to do because we couldn’t catch Nikolay. It’s been a good performance all year really. I’m really happy how we’ve developed in our first season in an R5 but it’s just disappointing that we get nothing for it. Nikolay has been an incredible benchmark with incredible pace on every rally, so thanks to him for pushing me and massive congratulations again for winning the championship. For us it's been a massive learning curve with lots of highs and lows. Ross [Whittock, co-driver] has done an amazing job, the whole team's done an incredible job and really helped me. Hopefully, we can carry on because it's been very difficult with the budget. This year has been about learning, next year we have to go and win.”
 
FABIAN KREIM (DEU) Position: Fourth
Co-driver: Frank Christian (DEU) Team: ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland Car: ŠKODA Fabia R5
 
“We got so much experience and I really enjoyed it, this rally is so beautiful and fast, it makes it so much fun. The battle [for third place] was really epic of course and the gap was almost zero. The first two stages [on Sunday] were not perfect for us with some mistakes but but the third one was quite good. There were some corners where I was always a little too fast, going too wide and losing the speed on the exit of the corner and that was the problem. I don’t have the experience but I tried to improve and not do the mistakes. I pushed so hard and we had a big moment [in a ditch] on the final stage. Fourth place is the first loser and I’m not sure if I should be happy or disappointed because I have lost the ERC Junior Under 28 title, I have lost the podium. But I have to be happy with the pace, I get a lot of experience so of course we’re really happy with this weekend. It was quite difficult for me but I did the best job I could.”
 
FILIP MAREŠ (CZE) Position: Fifth
Co-driver: Jan Hloušek (CZE) Team: ACCR Czech Rally Team Car: ŠKODA Fabia R5
 
“It was a really nice weekend for us and we are really happy with the result, especially with the target to the fastest guys because the gap was getting lower and lower, we were improving, doing changes to our driving style, our pacenotes and so on. In terms of these things we are really satisfied. It was still just the second race for us on gravel in an R5 car so I was also learning and trying to understand. My confidence was improving but I need to improve my driving to be closer to the faster guys. But that will happen.”
 
LAURENT PELLIER (FRA) Position: DNF (mechanical)
Co-driver: Geoffrey Combe (FRA) Team: PEUGEOT Rally Academy Car: PEUGEOT 208 T16
 
“It was maybe two kilometres before the end we had one alarm of water pressure. Just after the end [of the stage] I stopped the engine but we can’t restart [it]. The stages are very fun and I took lots of pleasure, but if the engine is damaged it will be impossible [to restart]. We would like to finish in another way but we did the best with the team. We regularly have a good rhythm with the PEUGEOT 208 T16 and we are often close to the best. For sure when all is working we know what we can do with this car. This year in FIA ERC we progressed a lot and I hope to use this progress for next year when I hope to come back with the new Citroën C3 R5. That could be very fun and I cross my fingers.”
 
RHYS YATES (GBR) Position: Sixth
Co-driver: Elliott Edmondson (GBR) Team: Kresta Racing Car: ŠKODA Fabia R5
 
“We got a finish but it’s been a tough rally. The stages are so fast and so committed and it was a shame about [stage seven on Sunday morning] because it knocked our confidence. The first half of the stage was good then we had a massive, massive moment when we went up the banking on the left hand side and missed the biggest tree I’ve seen in Latvia and bounced back on. Maybe the line was off and we just got caught out but we were lucky to get away with it, it was fifth gear, flat out. But it was better in the afternoon and each stage I felt more comfortable. The biggest thing I’ve learned this weekend is how important the Qualifying Stage is. It feels like we’ve been plying catch up from the start, qualifying ninth and being third on the road and then today we were third and then second. I’m not saying we would have been on pace but you are never going to be on pace from where we were, sweeping the road. But I’ve enjoyed the stages and the fast, flowing roads. It was a brand new experience for us, these stages are nothing like I’ve driven on before so I have to be pleased with what I’ve done and what I’ve learned.”
 
ENDS

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Photos

Chris Ingram-jpg
Chris Ingram-jpg

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Nikolay Gryazin-jpg

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Fabian Kreim-jpg

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