The last round of the Lithuanian automobile rally championship “Samsonas Rally Utena” will take place in Utena next weekend. After this competition new Lithuanian rally champions and prize winners will be announced. 110 crews from nine countries have applied to start here. After reviewing the list of participants the eye falls on the duet of Giedrius Firantas and Matas Valiulis. They indicated that they will start here not with their well-known Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, but with a Ford Fiesta car. The organisers of “Samsonas Rally Utena” decided to find out what motives lie behind such change.
After five events of the Lithuanian automobile rally championship crews of Giedrius Firantas with Matas Valiulis and Giedrius Notkus with Dalius Strižanas have collected the same number of points in the so-called absolute AWD standings. With 85 points each the duos now share the third and fourth places.
It is interesting that crew of Giedrius Firantas and Matas Valiulis, who drove a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO car until now , indicated in the application that they will participate in Utena with a Ford Fiesta car. Does this mean that Giedrius Firantas and Matas Valiulis will try to win third place in the annual ranking with this technique? However, the pilot of the crew Giedrius Firantas assured that such change did not happen because of some strategies for the last stage. It’s just that their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO had an incident during the last competition in Elektrėnai and was significantly damaged and team simply won’t have enough time to rehabilitate it before the “Samsonas Rally Utena” competition.
“Our car was badly damaged – all corners except the roof. We decided that going overboard and doing something in a hurry was not a good option, so we looked for other solutions. Therefore, we decided that we need to rent a car for the last competition and found this model”, said Giedrius Firantas.
This Ford Fiesta is not in the R5 category. It is a Proto model and it has a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO engine and other components under the body of a Ford Fiesta. According to Giedrius Firantas, who had only one test session with this car, it is still difficult to understand its pros and cons and compare it to the previous EVO. However, the racer hopes that he will be able to maintain the positions he has now driving this car in Utena .
“Maybe I’m looking more at how to maintain the leading positions in my class rather than the third place in the absolute standings. We could survive in the absolute standings only if fate gave us gifts and one of the leaders was not succeed. It would be extremely difficult for us to stay in that third place on our own. Things are a little better in the class – maybe it would be enough to finish the competition in at least fifth place and we would retain the championship title”, said Giedrius Firantas.
More information about the competition taking place September 30 – October 1 can be found at www.samsonasrally.com and on organisers’ page on „Facebook“