Former Euro RX Super1600 champion Jānis Baumanis to make rallycross return in the Euro RX1 series at Höljes next weekend, after joining forces with ESMotorsport to drive the team's Škoda Fabia.
PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World RX Media
Baumanis has been a familiar name on the international rallycross scene since 2014, when he contested the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s Super1600 category, claiming three wins in a SET Promotion Renault Twingo on his way to third in the championship.
The following year, he added two more victories and the Super1600 title, while simultaneously making his debut at Supercar level in Norway, in a Peugeot 208 running under the Hansen Talent Development banner – impressively reaching the podium at the first time of asking.
Additional World Championship outings the same season were highlighted by a fourth-place finish in the last round in Argentina, behind the wheel of a World RX Team Austria Ford Fiesta.
The Latvian remained with the squad in 2016, regularly progressing through to the semi-final stage and advancing to his second career final in Barcelona en route to a top ten championship ranking. He continued to score consistently over the subsequent two campaigns with STARD, before breaking through in 2019 as he ascended the podium in both Norway and Canada – going on to clinch the sixth spot in the end-of-season standings.
Following a year’s absence – as a result of budgetary issues. The Latvian finally returns to rallycross after making a one-off appearance in Projekt Eon's home soil last September.
But you can't keep a quick racer away too long, as Baumanis returns in just a week’s time in place of Ramunas Capkauskas, and he has immediately set his expectations high.
"I’m very happy to be back on the grid," Baumanis said. "It’s been a while since I last competed in a rallycross event and it will be nice to see some old faces again and catch up with good friends. I’ve been in the World RX family since the beginning back in 2014, so last year felt very odd for me."
"It’s brilliant to be starting the season at Höljes because racing there is always special. Normally there are around 50,000 spectators cheering us on and the emotion they generate is amazing, and whilst numbers are limited this year, there will still be great competition in Euro RX1, which looks stronger than ever with a lot of very good names in the field, some of whom have shown their speed in the World Championship too.
The other circuits coming up are also amongst the best rallycross tracks in the world and I’ve scored quite good results at all of them in the past. My goal is to reach at least the final in every event and to fight for the title. That clearly won’t be easy, but I will do everything in my power and I know ESMotorsport will give me the tools to do the job."
Robertas Maneikis, Team Manager of ESMotorsport admits that he is looking forward to working with Baumanis for a long team, as they focus on the switch to electric power in 2022.
“Not only will we do our best to compete at the top level with our fellow competitors in Euro RX1 this season, but Jānis is the driver we expect to be working with longer-term. He has considerable experience of electric technology from driving the Projekt E car, and he brings feedback that will be essential to our development plans for next year’s transition into RX1e," he said