After a five-year break, one of the fastest Estonian rally drivers – Egon Kaur – returns to the Lithuanian special stages. On the other hand, he is definitely no stranger to Lithuanian gravel roads, Lithuania itself and Lithuanians. Egon is probably the foreign coach who has taught the most Lithuanian drivers. However, the official starts in Lithuania are only three out of almost 200 competitions in which Egon has started. One more can be added, because at the “Žemaitija Rally” 2016 Egon took the co-driver duties for Linas Vaškys. However, the first time the Lithuanians saw Egon Kaur behind the wheel was in the winter of 2007, when the “Sampo Winter Rally” was held. There the Estonian finished 6th overall and fourth in class with the Subaru Impreza N11 of group N4, although it was his first official start with 4WD equipment. This was followed by an 11-year break, during which Egon participated in the World Rally Championship in addition to the Estonian Rally Championship. In 2018 he returned to Lithuania, where he attended two events at once with his Ford Fiesta KMS Proto – Rally Elektrėnai and Samsonas Rally Rokiškis. In both events, Egon stood on the podium – in Elektrėnai on the third and in Rokiškis on the second podium step. Five years have passed, and now the Estonian is coming back to us with his Ford Fiesta KMS Proto. Next to Egon will sit Allan Birjukov, for whom this will be a new level of experience. For Allan, it is the sixth season in the co-driver chair, but mostly he has read the pacenotes in the legendary GAZ 51 trucks, of which there are many in Estonia.
Few facts about Egon Kaur carrer:
- Samsonas Rally Utena 2023 will be the 199th start of his career.
- Egon has participated in competitions three times as a co-driver – one of them in 2016 “Rally Žemaitija”. There he read the pacenots to Lithuanian Linas Vaškys.
- In 2004 Egon started his career with Honda Civic, Lada Samara and Renault Clio Ragnotti cars.
- in 2007 “Sampo Winter Rally” in Lithuania was his first competition with AWD – in Lithuania, he started with a “Subaru Impreza N11 Spec C”. In the next four years, Egon drove with Subaru.
- in 2011 Egon Kaur competed in the World Rally Championship in the category “WRC Academy” with a Ford Fiesta R2. In the six-round championship, Egon scored 111 points – exactly as many as the famous Irishman Craig Breen. However, due to the rules, the WRC Academy was won by an Irishman.
- Egon Kaur then drove with AWD cars in Estonia for five years and became national champion in 2016.
- After successes in the championship with a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Egon switched to a Ford Fiesta Proto, which he drove for four years.
- In 2020, Egon returned to the World Rally Championship after a long break. At the WRC Rally Estonia, the Estonian started with the Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo and immediately finished third in the WRC3 class.
- After a successful 2020, Egon has had two extremely active seasons. In 2021, he took part in the World Rally Championship in the WRC3 category with the VW Polo GTI R5 and finished 10th.
- In 2022, he competed in three rounds of the World Rally Championship and also drove in the Finnish Rally Championship, where he finished third in class.
- This year, Egon returned behind the wheel of Škoda and competed in the WRC at the rallies in Sweden and Estonia.
Egon Kaur himself shares his thoughts:
It will not be the first start in Lithuania, but it will be the first in Utena. What do you expect from the rally itself and what goals do you have for yourself?
With Utena being the hometown of Samsonas Motorsport, I expect the rally to offer very good organization and some great stages. Our aim is to enjoy ourselves and get some good experience for my co-driver.
Can you tell us something about your Ford Fiesta KMS Proto? The idea behind it and some statistics?
The car was built from scratch by Kaur Motorsport in 2019, and before my move to WRC2, I had some very good competitive rallies in it with much smaller costs compared to Rally2. Though it not being the most powerful with its 1.6L Ecoboost engine, the whole package works very well and it is great to get it back to competition after a longer break.
How much did your Fiesta Proto help you to successfully switch to R5 technology as a driver?
I think it was the biggest factor. We pushed and learned the limits of our Proto in 2020 and this experience really showed in WRC Estonia 2020, where we were immediately fighting for the win in R5/Rally2 class.
Which Lithuanian racers have you worked with as a coach? Are you often on the road in Lithuania?
I have found myself in Lithuania quite many times over the years working with the local drivers. From memory, I would say most trainings have been done with V.Žala and L.Vaškys.
What is easier – learning rally lessons yourself or teaching them to other drivers?
Both are difficult, neither is easy. But the good part is that these support each other – learning new things myself helps me to pass these on to others and on the other hand, seeing some different approaches gives me new ideas to learn myself. So keeping myself behind the wheel helps with training and vice versa.
20 years of racing and almost 200 starts in Estonia, Finland, European and World Rally Championships – is there anything else you would like to learn in the rally discipline?
There is always room to improve, learn, and develop new things. I am now developing more pacenotes tools which hopefully already next year can be used by all drivers around the world to write better pacenotes. And Samsonas Rally Utena is a very good place to develop and test these ideas further.
You can buy your Rally Pass to “Samsonas Rally Utena 2023” here