Mon 25 Jul 2022

Virves: Estonia performance should help with backing

FIA Junior WRC frontrunner Robert Virves is hoping his Rally Estonia performance will bolster his funding search ahead of the series’ final round.

The 22-year-old put on a dominant display at his home event and even broke a Junior WRC record for the most stage wins in a single rally. 

He set the pace on 17 of the 24 superfast gravel speed tests, bettering Sébastien Ogier’s previous record of 16 fastest times at Rally Jordan 2008, but amazingly still finished second to Sami Pajari after dropping time on Friday with damaged suspension. 

Virves faced financial struggles earlier in the year and while he still doesn’t have the required budget to round off the season in Greece, he told WRC.com his result in Estonia should help. 

Virves has been taking advantage of additional outings with M-Sport Poland in the FIA European Rally Champions in a Ford Fiesta Rally3.

“It’s true that I haven’t been thinking too much about the Acropolis [budget] yet,” Virves admitted. “I have been concentrating rally by rally, but soon I will be starting to work on it and I hope that my performance helps. 

“The [ERC] drives are really good and I am extremely grateful to Maciej for that. Rally Poland was the only test I had before Estonia and I think I used it really well.

“It’s also great for my sponsors as well,” he continued. “It’s good that they can see something positive from me and that I am getting some chances.”

Virves contested Rally di Roma Capitale last weekend and won the ERC3 category as well as finishing 19th overall. It was another valuable learning experience for the Estonian, although he admitted there was room for improvement.

“Our result in the class was really good, but I was not really satisfied with myself,” he told WRC.com. “Of course, I was really happy with the car and to have the opportunity from M-Sport Poland. 

“I don’t have much experience of Italian roads and I was struggling with my pace notes and getting the correct lines. I wanted to be a bit faster, but it wasn’t too bad in the end.” 

The final round of the FIA Junior takes place at EKO Acropolis Rally Greece (8 - 11) September. Double points will be awarded, with Virves and several other drivers still in contention for the title. 

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM