The 2021 Lithuanian Motor Rally season officially started this weekend with a race held in Kelmė surroundings – Žemaitija Rally. On July 9-10, Mažeikiai ASK invites all speed lovers to the second stage of the Lithuanian Championship. The club is organizing a rally named after ORLEN Lietuva, with a starting place in Akmenė and finish in Viekšniai.
Outgrew the regional level races
Vitalijus Plastininas, head of Mažeikiai ASK, admits that they had the ambitions to invite all strongest rally crews of the country to the races organized before. For many years, car races held in Viekšniai surroundings were included in the schedules of Lithuanian and Latvian rally sprint championships, and many famous rally teams from both countries took part in these competitions. ‘This year we are feeling stronger and have a serious name partner, so we hope that this event will please everyone coming to the northern part of Lithuania. We know that for objective reasons the first planned stages of the country's rally championship did not take place this year, so both racers and rally fans are eagerly waiting for such events. We are looking forward to all of them and promise interesting race tracks and a top-level event," says the main organizer of the rally.
Michal Rudnicki, General Director of AB ORLEN Lietuva, a company operating the only crude oil refinery in the Baltic States, a network of crude and petroleum product pipelines and an offshore terminal in Būtingė, also agrees that the event must become one of the most interesting summer sports events in the country. ‘We are happy to support the sport, its various forms,’ says the head of the company. ‘An ambitious initiative to bring rally enthusiasts to our country after a long break – an idea that immediately interested me. We are attracted to this sport not just because of the fuel that we produce. Tremendous competition, maximum agility, energy and fast teams are the driving force both on the rally track and in our business’.
New and already familiar tracks
Race manager Edvinas Vašteris, who knows ORLEN Lietuva Rally 2021 tracks best, admits that those who participated in car racings in Akmenė, Mažeikiai or Viekšniai surroundings as guests in previous years will have a certain advantage – some special stages will be familiar to them. However, organizers have found some gravel roads that have never been used for racings so they will be new to all teams. ‘Racers will need to overcome 14 special stages with a total length of more than 100 km. If 50-60 kilometers were enough for rally sprints previously held in this region, this time we found interesting tracks for this event. The teams will have to complete seven special stages 2 times. The race will start in Akmenė, and the fourth stage will be very similar to the first stage – only the starting point will be different. For example, stages 7 and 9 are new, they have never been used for racing. The configurations of other stages will be familiar, but we have also found opportunities to connect some road sections, so the old pacenotes will probably not help the teams,’ says E. Vašteris.
Six special stages will be completed in the first part of the rally followed by a service break and the regrouping of participants. After driving another four stages, the racers will have a service break again, and after the last four stages they will finish in Viekšniai.
According to one of the strategists of the competition, the road surfaces in this region are diverse, so they will require maximum concentration from teams up to the very last meters.
Best car racers expected
ORLEN Lietuva Rally 2021 is a motor rally championship stage that takes place in Lithuania only. It is difficult to predict how many participants will start out in Akmenė. About 60 racing teams from our country registered for Žemaitija Rally, so a similar group of participants is expected in ORLEN Lietuva Rally 2021. Of course, good racers from other states are expected in the rally as well. There was quite a big number of them in Žemaitija Rally. The organizers have already submitted a special invitation to Martynas Samsonas and Ervinas Snitkas team that won the pre-season racing in Ignalina in May. The teams of Vaidotas Žala, Giedrius Notkus, Dominykas Butvilas and Vladas Jurkevičius should also fight for the Lithuanian championship points (all of them should drive R5 cars). Several dozen teams driving lower class cars are expected as well.
ORLEN Lietuva Rally 2021 is exceptional in that the event will be free of charge. Therefore, the organizers of the rally hope that many rally fans will come to watch the racing in Mažeikiai, Akmenė and Viekšniai surroundings.
ORLEN Lietuva inf.