On Friday evening the organisers of “Samsonas Rally Utena” closed the registration of participants, so the preliminary number of crews that will race in the last round of the Lithuanian automobile rally championship September 30 – October 1 is already clear.

The last stage of the Lithuanian automobile rally championship “Samsonas Rally Utena” was incredibly popular among the participants. As many as 112 crews from 9 countries appeared on the entry list after the registration of participants ended on Friday evening. The flags of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Finland, Ukraine, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands will be seen in Utena. No other Lithuanian rally had such a large number of participants this year.

“The number of participants is really pleasing because the entry list is practically filled to the maximum. For us this is a sign that sportsmen of rally really miss competing in this region. Except winter rallies the last time rally competitions were held in this region was in 2015. We have found really interesting Special Stages that will leave an impression on both our country’s sportsmen and guests from other countries. We hope that the competition will be intriguing and its winner will be determined after such a tough fight as it was last year, when we returned with a new name of “Rally Aukštaitija”. We invite all rally fans to finish this year’s Lithuanian automobile rally championship together and watch dramatic battles on the autumn gravel roads of the Utena region”, said Arvydas Petkevičius, organiser of “Samsonas Rally Utena”.

Among the large group of participants and the flags of nine countries one crew from the Netherlands can be found. They are the family duo of Edwin Abbring and Kevin Abbring. This year these guests chose to start in the role of zero crew but in the past Edwin Abbring has also flown at a sporty pace on the gravel roads of the Utena district. He competed in this rally in 2015. The pilot agreed to share his memories and told more about his really solid experience in motor sports.

“At that time, we competed in a BMW car in Utena, and if I remember correctly, it was my first rally on gravel. Anyway, I’ve been rallying since 1983 so next year will be my 40th anniversary in the sport. I raced more actively until 2007 and I started my career with such cars as Opel Ascona, Opel Manta, N and A groups Opel Kadett GSI, A group Opel Astra. Later, I moved on to the fourth, fifth and sixth generation Mitsubishi Lancer EVO. After these cars there was also Toyota Celica. Kevin and I have won quite a few titles in the Dutch National Championship over the years, but all of them have been on tarmac rallies. Later, I devoted more time not to driving, but to working with the team. As Kevin started to drive in the Junior WRC, participated in the ERC season with the Peugeot team and then the WRC with Hyundai, the time to race became less and less for myself. But I still have a Ford Escort MK2 and sometimes we take it out to races with my daughter as a co-driver for me.

I’m really looking forward to the race in Utena, because I really want to remember riding on gravel. Of course, our functions here will be different. We won’t be racing but we’ll also be driving these great Special Stages. I can’t wait to meet the organisers and old friends in Lithuania”, said Edwin Abbring a week before the rally.

By the way, the Abbring family crew will come to Utena with one big surprise for the rally spectators, which will allow them to feel the emotion of the rally in the first person. The organizers of “Samsonas Rally Utena” will announce this a little later. You can find more information about the “Samsonas Rally Utena” competition partnered together with the Utena district municipality at  www.samsonasrally.com or organiser’s „Facebook“ page.