In “Samsonas Rally Utena” 2023 we will have the opportunity to see the fight of Emils Blūms and Timmu Kõrge. What is so special about it? Emils and Timmu are currently the fastest Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution drivers in the Baltic States. Popularly, they are the best “boat rowers” in the surrounding countries, as Lithuanians like to say. Latvian Emils Blūms, who has already secured the LARČ3 titlle in his ninth-generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and has every chance of finishing on the podium in the AWD classification, has proven to us since the Žemaitija Rally that this somewhat ageing technology is still extremely fast. If there is no one in Lithuania who can keep up with Emils with a similar technique, the Latvian has found a competitor in Estonia. Timmu Kõrge drives a somewhat newer tenth-generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and both participate in the Latvian and Estonian rally championships, so their duel this year is what keeps spectators in awe. The result of these duels is that despite the old cars, the drivers not only make it to the podium of the overall rally standings, but even win when surrounded by much more modern cars.
It all started in the middle of winter, when Emils and Timmu fought for fractions of a second in the Otepaeae talveralli, Rallijs Sarma and Rally Alūksne competitions. In Estonia, Emils won by a margin of 7.1 seconds, then Timmu won the “Sarma” rally by 1.36 seconds and in Alūksne Emils won by almost 15 seconds. When the weather warmed up, things went better for the Latvian – in the “Rapla” rally in Estonia, Timmu lost a lot of time, so the victory went to Emils, and in Cēsis the Latvian was 12 seconds faster. It looked like Emils would triumph in this duel, but at the Paide rally an engine problem forced the Latvian to stop and retire. The disqualification he received in the winter did not help either.
When autumn came, the situation was like this – there was only one event left in the championships of Latvia and Estonia. As you know, “Samsonas Rally Utena” 2023 will be the last stage of the Latvian championship. Timmu took the lead there with 34 points, so Emils will have to fight hard for the LRČ5 title. On the other hand, it is already the fifth rally in Lithuania this year for the Latvian. Meanwhile, the last and only time Timmu Korge was in Lithuania was 10 years ago – in 2013 at the “300 Lakes” rally.
Both Emils and Timmu have a few words to say:
You both race with Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution cars and it seems that you both squeeze everything out of these a bit aged cars. Why are you still in them?
Emils: Only it depends on our budget. As I said previously, better if we try to do more rallies and get some new experience. Not only some rally on year with new and powerfully car.
Timmu: The answer is simple – money! Of course, we would like to drive with professional cars but it takes a big investment and so embarrassing as it is – it has been difficult to figure out so far
What does it mean to you to have a rival that pushes you to go as fast as you can?
Emils: That’s very nice. Because we both get faster and smarter. Good competition makes better, faster, stronger.
Timmu:Competition is always good for the sport and for the participants. It makes you work and try harder and makes the sport interesting for spectators.
This rally will be new for both you and your opponent. What do you expect from yourself in this rally, from the rally itself and your opponent?
Emils: I expect a good fight and try to enjoy the roads like always.
Timmu: I have been to Lithuania once, ten years ago, then we had a massive crash but still, we have good memories from the rally and the roads. I’ve heard only good about Lithuanian rallies and that’s what I am expecting also. We have a home rally the week after the Utena so we have to stay calm and do our job there.
How are you preparing for the last round of the Lithuanian and Latvian Rally Championship?
Emils: I hope, we can finally do some pre-rally tests. Because all summer we just drive without tests.
Timmu: Nothing special – just working with our mindset I have to say that we rather prepare for our home round at the Utena rally.
What would you wish for Timmu in the Samsonas Rally Utena?
Emils: Good fight with other rivals
Timmu: As always – good luck and let’s make fun for ourselves, the spectators, and the competitors.
You can buy your Rally Pass to “Samsonas Rally Utena 2023” here