On Friday evening, the organizers of “Samsonas Rally Utena” completed the registration of participants, so the preliminary number of crews that will race in the last round of the Lithuanian car rally championship from September 30 to October 1 is already clear.
The last stage of the Lithuanian car rally championship “Samsonas Rally Utena” was incredibly popular among the participants. As many as 111 crews from 9 countries were on the list at the end of the registration of participants on Friday evening. The flags of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Finland, Ukraine, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands will fly in Utena. No other Lithuanian rally had such a large number of participants this year.
“The number of participants is really pleasing, because the list is practically filled to the maximum. For us, this is a sign that rally racers really miss competing in this country. Apart from winter rallies, the last rally competition was held in this region in 2015. We have found really interesting speed tracks that will leave an impression on both our country’s racers 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 “Rally Aukštaitija” as the name of the competition. We invite all rally fans to finish this year’s Lithuanian car rally championship together and watch the dramatic battles on the autumn gravel roads of the Utena region”, said the organizer of “Samsonas Rally Utena”. Arvydas Petkevičius.
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.
Autosport | Photo by Vytautas Pilkauskas.
“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 have been participating in rally competitions since 1983, so next year will be my 40th anniversary in this 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 asphalt 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 himself became less and less. But I still have a Ford Escort MK2 and sometimes we take it out to races with my daughter driving it 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 speedways. I can’t wait to meet the organizers 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 sponsored by the Utena district municipality at www.rallyutena.lt and on the Facebook page of the organizers.