PUNE: Geographical closeness of the Baltic region to Finland--home to the iconic World Rally Championship round--no wonder attracts a host of champions from around the world and no wonder this year two Indian champions for the first time will line up for the Saturday start to Rally Talsi in Latvia.
After having successfully finished Rally Tallinn in Estonia last week, Latvia will be Pune’s international rally driver Sanjay Takale’s second outing in the Baltic before he firms up his plans for the impending World Rally Championship debut.
“A lot of things are happening in this region on the rally front. I am extensively working with my coach and mentor Graham Middleton to finalise the plans to compete in the WRC,” said Takale after reaching Riga, the Latvian capital.
“WRC could happen as early as July at Rally Finland in Jyvaskyla, famous for the fast gravel rally with huge jumps through the pristine forests,” he added.
Both Takale and the London-based Kolkatan Ghosh will be driving Ford Fiesta R2 prepared by Baltic Motorsprots Promotion headed by Martins Dzenitis.
Friday will see ceremonial flag-off before recce and test drive through the stages spread across the Latvian hinterlands that have become famous grounds for European or World rally training.
“It was a conscious decision to come to the Baltic region because Graham thought I needed to put in more miles on these terrains before actually entering the WRC, which no doubt is very tough given that the world’s best rally drivers take part in it,” explained Takale.
Takale will continue with Edgars Svencis as his co-driver, while Ghosh will have another accomplished Latvian navigator, Mikelis Mezaks, by his side.
The Rally Talsi will be full day of extensive driving comprising 10 Special Stages adding to 98.94 kilometres with transport section stretching up to 202.65-km making the total distance to be 301.59-km.
The two rallies in the Baltic region were planned at a short notice on Middleton’s advice.