Thursday 12 September 2019

Niclas Grönholm: 'I hope to get up to speed quicker than last year in Latvia'

GRX Taneco is heading to Latvia for the ninth round of the FIA World RX season with an aim to carry through speed from Lohéac to Riga.

The Finnish squad will field a three car entry with GRX Taneco regulars: Niclas Grönholm and Timur Timerzyanov at the wheel, and the team’s development driver Reinis Nitišs in the third car.

In France, Niclas Grönholm showed an impressive turn of speed making it up to P4 in the Intermediate standings before the Semi-final. The final saw the Finn leap ahead of Andreas Bakkerud who started on pole position, but the pair made contact and both ran wide at turn one, thus resulting in the pair dropping to the tail end of the field, which is where Niclas ended the race.

"Once again, we showed a great pace in Lohéac, especially on Sunday we were really up there, but the Final didn’t go our way," said Grönholm. 

Grönholm claimed a fourth-place finish in Latvia in 2018 and hopes to get a stronger result this year. "For Riga, I hope to get up to speed quicker than last time out, last year was already really good, my best race of the year actually, so I think we can expect a good race for us," he said.

The Biķernieku Latvia RX track is 1,295 km long with a 60-40 split between tarmac and gravel sections, although the unsealed surface is concrete-like producing very high grip in any weather conditions.

"The track is very smooth with a high grip gravel section, so it requires precision driving to chase a good lap-time," said Timerzyanov who claimed an 11th place finish in 2018. "We have seen some sudden weather changes there, and that always mixes up the cards."

Reinis Nitišs will make a return in the GRX Set Hyundai i20 Supercar at his home round. The Latvian has had an eventful outing in Abu Dhabi after launching over a kerb and onto the back of Anton Marklund damaging both drivers cars. In Sweden, Nitišs recovered from rolling his Hyundai to claim a third-place finish. 

This weekend will be a very special race for Nitišs who returns to the venture where he claimed his Euro RX title last year.

"Home events are always more challenging – you have all your friends and fans in grandstands cheering for you, so naturally the pressure grows," he said. "But I am here to help my team and to fight for the best possible result for myself, so my main focus will be on that."

"Biķernieki is quite tricky track - you need to be very smooth to top the time charts, but very aggressive if you need to overtake somebody."

Written By Junaid Samodien

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