On 12th and 13th May in the Talsi region of Latvia, the Rally of Champions will be held, which for the fourth year will gather rally champions from different countries to compete against each other on a single event. This year, six champions have confirmed their entry, from five different countries – Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia and Norway. As usual, fierce competition is anticipated in Talsi, as the champions will compete on equal terms for the victory and the Champions’ Challenge Cup.
The Norwegian Rally Champion and FIA World Rally Championship regular, Mads Ostberg has confirmed his participation in this year’s Rally of Champions, partnered by co-driver Jonas Andersson, In the recent Rally de Portugal, they took their first WRC victory and are currently third in the overall standings. In the Rally of Champions, Ostberg will represent the MML Sports – ASRT team and to even out the competition with other drivers, will compete in the Group N Mitsubishi Lancer EvoX. This will be built in Latvia by Auto Stils Rally Technica (ASRT) and during the rally, the car will be maintained by the UK-based former Mitsubishi Rally Factory Team, MML Sports.
The List of Champions is complemented by the double Latvian Rally Champion Andis Neiksans with co-driver Peteris Dzirkals. This year they are taking part in the Rally Class series, as part of the WRC and in Portugal they took second place in the N4 group. Also this year the winners of the 2011 Rally of Champions, Vytautas Svedas and Zilvinas Sakalauskas from Lithuania, will return to defend their honour, as well as their Lithuanian, Baltic and NEZ champion titles.
Participation in the Rally of Champions has also been confirmed by the 2011 Estonian Group N champions Kaspar Koitla/Andres Ots and the overall champions Janis Vorobjovs/Guntars Zicans. The Champions’ List is concluded by last year’s overall Russian Rally Champion Dmitry Tagirov with Anna Zavershinskaya.
“I am glad to announce to rally fans and participants the Rally of Champions 2012, and I am proud that this Rally has attracted such a strong World Rally Championship crew. This will be a great possibility both for local and foreign drivers to compete with one of the leading WRC crews. Competitors and spectators can look forward to an exciting weekend in May,” said the Rally organizer, Raimonds Strokss.
The Rally of Champions was created in Latvia in 2009 within the framework of the Rally Talsi, and this year it will be held for the fourth time. The total Rally distance is approximately 120 km and at least 90 % of it is on gravel roads. In the previous three years, the Rally of Champions has attracted such world-renowned drivers as Andreas Mikkelsen, Guy Wilks, Juha Salo and Ott Tanak.
More information about the event is available at www.rallyofchampions.com.
– Credit: Jim Blackstock Communications.