*Teenager on top in Pirelli-supported category for young stars
*ERC Junior Experience graduate set for Rally Liepāja homecoming
*ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team driver shows pace on asphalt and gravel
Teenager Mārtiņš Sesks is the winner of the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship* in his first season of international competition.
A graduate of the ERC Junior Experience training programme, 19-year-old Sesks secured the Pirelli-supported title with a round to spare, next month’s Rally Liepāja.
As well as the kudos attached to winning one of junior rallying’s most important titles, it will make this home round of the European championship in Latvia from 12-14 October a celebratory run at the wheel of the Pirelli-equipped Opel ADAM R2 he shares with co-driver and compatriot Renārs Francis.
“It feels unbelievable,” said Sesks following his capture of the ERC Junior Under 27 crown* on PZM Rally Poland last weekend. “It was two crazy days. On the first day, we had the confidence and were driving as we needed. It was just a mistake [when we crashed]. On the second day we were pushing and we pushed into a tree. Standing there looking at the results and just waiting was even harder than driving!”
Sesks graduated to ERC Junior U27 on the back of success on rallies in his native Latvia and other Baltic States. After landing podiums on the first two rounds, including on his asphalt debut in Gran Canaria, he then took back-to-back asphalt wins in Italy and Czech Republic, which proved decisive in his title triumph.
“Starting this season, I thought Azores would be hard, then I thought Canarias would be hard, then Italy and then Czech Republic, which was actually the most extreme rally I have ever done,” Sesks said. “That was the weekend when I really understood how hard it is to drive at this [international] level. But it has been a fantastic season and, in the end, it's a good feeling. I'm just happy.”
Sesks credits his success to his pre-event preparations and the Holzer Motorsport-run ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team. “We have a tight programme and way of working and our coach is pushing us to work hard. We have been working on our driving style and pacenotes a lot because everything needs to be perfect. Our hardest job is before the rally. The Opel team is fantastic and I’m very proud I am part of it. Everything works great and everybody is doing their job in the correct way. Without the team there is no result.”
Sesks will now switch his focus to the ERC season finale in Latvia, which takes place in his home town of Liepāja. “We are the champions but next up is our home event so we have to keep the pace because it's good to be a champion but it's even better to win the home rally.”
ERC Junior has been helping young drivers in R2 cars on Pirelli tyres to learn, shine and climb since 2014 with graduates including Fabio Andolfi, Emil Bergkvist, Jan Černý, Marijan Griebel, Nikolay Gryazin, Jari Huttunen, Chris Ingram and Stéphane Lefebvre. Details of Sesks’ prize drive for winning ERC Junior U27, which is provided by championship promoter Eurosport Events, will be announced in due course.
*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA
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