Last weekend, the Latvian driver Valters Zviedris participated in the prestigious “NEZ Porsche Sprint Challenge” series at the Biķernieki track as part of the Baltic Touring Car Championship. He won second place in the first race, while in the second race, starting from the pits after a collision, he made an impressive breakthrough and finished in the same group as the leaders. The second representative of Jūrmala in the competition – Ričards Šubeckis – demonstrated good speed, however, an unsuccessful contact in the first race made him finish the stage in eighth place in the BMW 325 CUP class.
Valters Zviedris is driving his first season with the impressive Porsche 911 GT3 CUP this year, and the second stage of the Baltic Touring Car Championship held in Riga was only the second race at the wheel of this vehicle. In his first race with this car in May 2023, Valters debuted with an absolute second place, but in the second race finished in the fifth position. In the junior competition, the success was even higher – victory and third position.
The competition in Riga began with training sessions on Friday, which were held in a good mood. “I still got used to the car in Finland, but on the well-known Biķernieki track, I felt comfortable and confident from the first training sessions. This was also reflected in the times of the practice laps, because in the first one, I was absolutely the fastest, and in the second one, driving on old tires, I was third. Next came the qualification, in which the second place was also a good result, finishing only 0.3 seconds behind Matias Salonen, who set a new Biķernieki circuit record for saloon cars,” said Valters Zviedris about the first day of the competition, adding that “considering that I have the fastest laps with Legend Cars and BMW 325 CUP, so I wanted to get that record as well. I know where I could have been faster, so we will try to do it if not this year, then next year”.
On Saturday, the race weekend continued with the main races, where the goals were the highest. “The start was good, I stayed in second place and at some moments I had the idea of attacking the first position, however, on the Biķernieki track, it is very difficult to make overtaking manoeuvres with these fast Porsche GT3 CUP cars. That’s why I drove steadily until the end and finished in second place,” comments Valters on the first race. It should be noted that during the first race, Valters was initially given a penalty for not following the boundaries of the track, however, it was cancelled during the competition.
Driving behind the leader, he, unfortunately, failed to set a faster lap time, so in the second race, where the starting positions are determined by the fastest laps of the first race, Valters had to start from fifth place. “Despite that, the mood before the second race was combative because we wanted to show an excellent result in the second race as well. We went into the race with a lot of fighting spirit, which I showed at the very start when I managed to rise to the third position. Next, we fought with the Finnish pilot for the second place, which allowed us to get closer to the followers and we had to start thinking about hiding. We passed many turns side by side, but at the Motor Museum turn, unfortunately, we had contact with the Estonian pilot Kangro. I knew he was an aggressive driver and that I should always give him space, which I did. Maybe it didn’t look like that from the outside, but the “onboard” shows that I was in front and also made a change of manoeuvre to leave room for him, but it wasn’t enough for him,” Valters explains about the collision of the second race.
After the collision, both cars skidded off the track and stopped on the rocks on the side, resulting in the suspension of the race. The Estonian pilot was able to return to the track, however, Valter’s Porsche was too deeply stuck in the rocks to leave on its own. After being pulled out of there, the Latvian pilot returned to the pits and after quick repairs was able to participate in the restart. Taking into account that the help of the track staff was needed to get out of the rocks, Valters had to start from the pits (last positions).
“Starting from the pits, we managed to overtake five athletes quite quickly and even managed to catch the leading four. Due to this fast pursuit, the tires were so overheated that I could no longer attack the leaders with them. I finished in fifth place, but I’m glad that I set the fastest lap time in the race. Overall the speed was definitely good and without the contact, I could have fought for the first place, however, luck was not on our side this time. But it’s alright, the contacts are happening, this is motorsport, let’s fight on,” said Valters in a positive and determined mood after the race in Riga.
When asked about further plans, the leading representative of the Latvian highways admits that “we will definitely drive one of the next stages in Pärnu. For now, the budget for a full season in the “NEZ Porsche Sprint Challenge” series is still a little short, but in any case, we will try to participate in as many races as possible.” One of the next ones will be the prestigious Palanga 1006 km endurance race, in which Valters, together with the Lithuanians Ramūnas Čapkauskas and Nemūnas Dagilis, will fight for victory in the absolute classification with the same Porsche 911 GT3 CUP car.
Valters and the team would like to say a big thanks to the supporters, as with their help it is possible to represent and promote Latvia in the world and to compete with the highest level of equipment: Optibet Latvija, Jūrmala, Visit Jūrmala, Blue Shock Race, NPK Expert, Joker club, Energolukss, I-Con and Dārta SIA. Follow the starts and progress of Valters on social networks – Facebook and Instagram.
For the representatives of Jurmala, the competition in the BMW 325 CUP class did not turn out the way both pilots would have liked. Ricards Subeckis, who was the overall leader after the first stage, had to retire in the first race after the collision. In the second race, however, Subeckis demonstrated his usual excellent speed and after several beautiful overtaking maneuvers managed to finish in third position. Atis Veismanis was involved in intense battles in the first race and finished in third place in the “Gentlemen” competition. In the chaos of the start of the second race, last year’s BTC2 class Baltic champion was very unlucky, because completely through no fault of his own, one of the competitors accidentally hit his car, which ended with a heavy impact on the concrete curb of the Biķernieki track. We wish Atis strength and endurance to repair the vehicle and return to the track as soon as possible!
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