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Q&A: Vasily Gryazin

How excited are you and what does it mean to you to be competing on Rally Liepāja, which is effectively your ‘home’ round of the ERC?
“I am very happy to start in Latvia. It will be my home rally and I think we can fight for top five on this race.”

How will you prepare for the event?
“We will have two days of tests. We want to find good settings and learn something new. I wanted to have more tests, but the weather brought some snow just a few days ago in Latvia and I still have examination time at my university.”

What are the main challenges you face driving on ice and snow?
“Last year I was good on snow-covered surfaces. This year I will try to improve my results. I hope that this year the special stages will be not so fast like last year because my Ford Fiesta S2000 does not have the same top speed of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4 I drove last year.”

Can you explain how you set up your car for ice and snow and how important are the tyres?
“I’m sure that choosing the tyres will be easier than in Austria where the grip was changing. The most important thing is to find good a set-up for the suspension. We have a good set-up from Rally Sweden in 2013 and I hope that we will find better set-ups during the coming tests.”

What's your target for Rally Liepāja and what's your strategy going to be?
“I will try to push! I will try to drive to the maximum of my capabilities and the limits of my car.” 

Who do you expect to be your biggest rivals?
“A lot of fast drivers are going to be participating in this rally. I cannot pick one in particular. I think it will be an interesting race.”

Why do you fly the Latvian flag on your car when you are Russian born and bred?
“Everyone is asking me this question. I am Russian and I live in Russia, but I have a Latvian competition licence. That's why I have the Latvian flag on my car. I started my training in Latvia, got my first licence there and took part in my first rally in Latvia.”