Double FIA European Rallycross Champion Reinis Nitišs has taken up a new challenge in his motorsports career and will do full season of the Latvian Rally Championship and Estonian Rally Championship in 2020 in order to prepare for the 2021 ambition – making a debut at the FIA Junior World Rally Championship.
For almost a decade Reinis Nitišs has been involved in rallycross and during this time he has claimed two FIA European Rallycross titles (2013 Super1600 category; 2018 Supercar category), has stepped on eight FIA World Rallycross Championship podiums, finished third in overall standings in 2014, and is still the youngest ever winner of the World RX event. Besides all that, throughout these years, as part of his training program, Nitišs has done several rallies, and, despite the lack of experience, shown some good performance and potential.
“Last few months have been very busy. Decision making process, planning, assembling the team, buying the car and training – all that has resulted in the biggest change in my career. And I am sure that for many this will seem a very unexpected move. Rallycross is very action-packed sport and, despite the fact that last season showed my potential to be amongst the very best, the financial side of the rallycross cuts my chances of making it to any top team for the full season run,” says Reinis Nitišs. “This is why I take on this new challenge, where we can drive a full season, set targets and fight for them.”
Nitišs will team up with well experienced co-driver Andris Mālnieks in a front-wheel drive Ford Fiesta R2 car. The plan is to gain as much experience as possible in 2020 by participating in almost every rally in the Baltics and fighting for the class titles in Latvian and Estonian Championships. Depending on opportunities and possibilities Nitišs / Mālnieks might also start in other regional rallies in Europe.
“I know that I am starting on the back foot comparing to other young rally pilots, who have been in this sport for several years. This is why we chose 2020 as a practice year – learning the specifics of the sport, improving my skills and doing lots of training. That still does not change the fact that we will fight for the titles in the Baltics,” adds Nitišs.
The ambition is to use the gained experience of 2020 to take on the FIA JWRC season in 2021. Throughout the both years experienced coaches and mentors like Mattias Ekström and Māris Neikšāns will help with the development process and training.
“In the last few years Reinis has proven himself in rallycross. He has speed and talent. I also believe that he has intelligence and understanding of the sport to become a great rally driver,” says Mattias Ekström, FIA World RX champion, double DTM champion.
“We have done several rallies and training sessions with Reinis and our cooperation has always been pleasant and professional. We have set high targets for ourselves and we know that achieving those will not be an easy task, but we are prepared to work hard for it,” says Andris Mālnieks. “In rallycross a big part of performance sits on the shoulders of the driver, but in rally result also depends on cooperation with the co-driver. Making the pacenotes and hearing the them will be a crucial part of the training and one of the biggest challenges for the 2020. This is also a part that I can help Reinis to develop with my vast co-driving experience.”
“I am grateful to my supporters and team around me that are backing up my new challenge, and I am full of motivation to achieve the set targets. 2021 will be the next step up the ladder, when we will race against the best juniors of the rally world,” concludes Nitišs.
Reinis Nitišs participation in rallies is possible thanks to the support by Circle-K, Ginalas, Ošukalns, Citadele, Latvijas Gāze, Pafbet, Vizionette, Rīgas Brīvosta, the city of Jēkabpils, Gefa Latvija, If apdrošināšana, Dynami:t, Rimi, Zebra, DELFI, and RA Events.
Provisional 2020 calendar of rally events:
7-8 February Rallijs Sarma Latvia LRC ERC
21-22 February Rally Alūksne Latvia LRC ERC
15-16 May Rapla Ralli Estonia ERC
29-31 May Rally Liepāja Latvia LRC / BRT
19-20 June Viru Ralli Estonia ERC
24-26 July Rally Estonia Estonia LRC / ERC / BRT
14-15 August Rally Rokiškis Lithuania LRC / BRT
28-29 August Lõuna-Eesti Ralli Estonia LRC / ERC
9-10 October Saaremaa Ralli Estonia ERC
* LRC – Latvian Rally Championship
* ERC – Estonian Rally Championship
* BRT – FIA European Rally Trophy Baltic Rally Trophy