The HRT Racing Team has arrived for the second round of the six-race ERC Junior Championship, this time with two pairs in the ranks! In addition to Norbert Maior and Jörgen Jönsson, the team also welcomed a Swedish driver pair in Simon Andersson and Jörgen Jönsson.  The venue was Latvia, the city of Liepaja, which hosted the European Championship for the tenth time. The fact that the race will be on the World Championship calendar next year is a sign of the seriousness and history of the event. The area is characterised by high quality gravel and incredibly high average speeds, with a total of ten of them awaiting the drivers on Saturday and Sunday.

The weekend’s schedule of duties included a technical check, course briefing, shakedown and a starting ceremony on Thursday and Friday. Norbert and Francesca’s participation was in doubt for a long time, but finally everything was arranged. They started with an excellent Junior 2nd place in Poland, while Simon Andersson (21) and his experienced navigator Jörgen Jönsson were unable to finish the first race due to a technical problem. The ERC Junior entry list this time included 17 pairs.

On Saturday, six races were scheduled, but one had to be cancelled due to limited visibility caused by dust. The first day was therefore shortened to five stages, with a short urban superspec at the end. Norbi and Francesca finished the day in an ultimately encouraging 4th place and commented. We lost a lot of time and dropped back to 10th. The rest of the stages we picked up and came up nicely, and that’s our plan for tomorrow, even higher!”  For our Swedish pair, this could definitely be a learning year as they have not been to the European Championships before, so for them, gaining experience and track knowledge could be the primary objective. They finished the first day in 13th place in the ERC Junior out of the 15 pairs that entered. Saturday also had a big part-success, as the two HRT cars set the fastest time in the city rapid, Andersson, Maior in a row!

The final day featured four more tough stages. After the first two quick ones, Norbi and his team kept the iron hot, just 2.6 seconds behind 3rd place, which meant they would definitely be going for another podium finish in the last two. So well did they finish that they celebrated a stage win on the penultimate stage and then finished second in the Power Stage with extra points in the bag. In the end, an ERC Junior 3rd place was their weekend performance, which could have been even brighter if not for the technical failure on day one. “Sometimes a result isn’t measured by the ranking, it’s simply the story behind it that makes it what it is. Well that’s how it is for us with this 3rd place from Latvia. It was a lot of work before, it was hard to come back, but every step was worth it with the people around us. Thank you very much for everything. And special thanks to HRT Racing for everything, especially for pushing us to get here.”

Simon Andersson and Jörgen Jönsson occupied the rear section throughout the race and soaked up plenty of useful race kilometres to finish 12th in the ERC Junior category, which could have been one place higher, but for an early arrival at one of the time checkpoints for which they were given a two-minute penalty.

The race was won again by Norwegian Nore Ola Jr. in the Renault Clio Rally 4.

Tet Rally Liepaja, ERC Junior final result:

1. Nore Ola Jr. – Eriksen Torstein
Renault Clio Rally4 1:35:10.3
2. Hansen Victor – Johansson Victor
Peugeot 208 Rally4 1:35:34.2
3. Maior Norbert – Maior Francesca
Peugeot 208 Rally4 1:35:40.8

ERC Junior jelenlegi állása két futam után:

1.  Nore Ola Jr.                       60 pont
2.  Norbert Maior                  45 pont
2.  Hansen Victor                   45 pont

Current ERC Junior standings after two races:

 1st BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia 7-8 July 2023