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SIX REASONS TO WATCH RIGA RX THIS WEEKEND

Friday 18th of September 2020

The fifth and sixth rounds of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship will be held this weekend on the outskirts of Latvia’s capital city, Riga, at the Bikernieki circuit. The NESTE World RX of Riga-Latvia is also the second round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercar, and the Projekt E series. Here’s six reasons to watch this weekend. 

Title fights continue

KYB Team JC announced yesterday that Mattias Ekstrom will again race an Audi S1 for the team for the third World RX weekend of 2020. Ekrstrom has finished on the podium in all but one round of World RX this season, and won round two. He is the closest driver to Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson in the Drivers’ Championship. Finland’s Niclas Gronholm and Sweden’s Timmy and Kevin Hansen are a bit further behind, but not out of the title race yet either, and all could change with a double helping of points on offer this weekend. In the Teams’ Championship, KYB Team JC leads the way, but Team Hansen closed the gap in Finland, and GRX Taneco Team are still in the hunt as well. The Riga circuit is very different to Holjes and Kouvola, and the Hansen and GRX teams could bring themselves back into play in Latvia.

Nitiss returns for home round

2014 World RX of Norway winner Reinis Nitiss, the 2013 Euro RX Super1600 Champion, is back in a World RX Supercar for his home race in Riga. Last year he finished on the podium at Holjes in a Hyundai i20, and he will now race an ESmotorsports Skoda Fabia for his World RX return. Nitiss has tested the car in Finland, and this week in Latvia, and is happy with the performance, so he will be pushing hard to give the home fans, who are able to attend the race in Riga, something to cheer about.

Szabo’s second GRX start

Nitiss finished on the podium in the third GRX Hyundai i20 in Sweden last year, and Hungary’s Krisztian Szabo also impressed at the same track this season, on his debut with the same car with the GRX SET team. Szabo missed rounds three and four in Finland, but he will climb back into the Hyundai i20 Supercar this week and can battle for the top positions. Szabo climbed up to Supercar from back-to-back Euro RX Super1600 titles in 2018, and was immediately fast in France and Latvia in an EKS Audi S1. He knows and likes the track in Riga, which could make all the difference.

Euro RX round two

The second round of Euro RX Supercar joins World RX in Latvia, with Sweden’s Oliver Eriksson top of the standings thanks to victory in round one at Holjes-Sweden. 2019 Euro RX title contender Jean-Baptiste Dubourg is second in the Euro RX points and he won at the Latvia-Riga round last season. Norway’s Ben-Philip Gundersen will also be a victory contender, together with Norway’s Thomas Bryntesson, France’s Andrea Dubourg and Norway’s Sondre Evjen.

Raymond, Baumanis and new Citroen in Projekt E

France’s Cyril Raymond and Latvia’s Janis Baumanis will race in the second ever event of the first international rallycross series for electric cars, Projekt E, in Riga. Double RX2 International Series Champion Raymond will race a brand-new Citroen C3 ERX fitted with the three-motor, 450kW, four-wheel-drive Projekt E electric kit, and Baumanis will race a Ford Fiesta ERX at his home round of the championship. Great Britain’s Natalie Barratt and Norway’s Svein Bjarte Holten will also take to the grid.

Live all weekend 

Racing from Riga will begin from 1030 Saturday and 0950 Sunday (EEST), and will be broadcast live, on the World RX livestream and on TV. You can see all of the qualifying on the World RX Facebook and YouTube channels, and kep an eye on the social media channels for more details on livestream and broadcast.

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