Reinis Nitišs is a young and talented motorsports driver from Jēkabpils in Latvia. While making his debut in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, the likeable, now 20 -year-old Reinis immediately won a third place in the overall standings. For Ford’s Social Media Team the 2014-2015 Ford Olsbergs MSE team driver answered a couple of questions.
Reinis, please briefly introduce yourself to our audience.
Hi, my name is Reinis Nitišs and I am 20-year-old rallycross driver from Latvia – up north by European standards, just a bit more to south than the neighbouring Estonia. I started my motorsports career at the age of six, and step-by-step found my place in rallycross–sport, where I have been competing for the last six years now.
2010 was my first year in rallycross, when I started to compete in national championships. Since then, I won the 2013 FIA European Rallycross Championship in Super 1600 category. That was a pivotal year, as I have gained the necessary skills, experience, and resources to make the final push to the highest level possible – FIA World Rallycross Championship. The past two seasons I have spent with Ford Olsbergs MSE team driving in the most prestigious all-wheel-drive Supercar category, finishing my debut season in third place overall – just behind the champ Petter Solberg and runner-up Toomas Heikkinen.
When it comes to Rallycross, you’re driving a Ford Fiesta ST Supercar. What’s the difference to a stock Fiesta ST?
To be honest, I have driven stock Ford Fiesta ST just for a couple of short outings, but what I have learned during that time – except the visual similarities, the two cars are completely different. The Supercar is meant to compete against extreme forces found in rallycross not seen in everyday life. Though, stock Fiesta ST brings the best knowledge of the sport and makes it applicable to street use for day-to-day drivers. What is the most important, the best of both – they are of utmost quality when it comes to performance.
What do you like most about your Supercar?
Power. If there is a chance to have a drive in the car, never let it go. As far as I am able to compare, that should be one of the most incredible things to experience. Another great aspect is how precise the steering is, and how well the car handles around the corners of the circuit. To make it three, the final aspect I would mention is adrenaline overdose that you receive when sitting at the steering wheel and competing against the other drivers. That is what makes Supercar the real supercar!
What does it feel like when you start the engine of your Ford Fiesta ST?
This is one of the best feelings in the world that makes me smile. That sound when the engine comes alive is not comparable to anything in the world and makes my blood stream faster. I just could wish for my Ford Fiesta ST Supercar being my everyday car! ☺
Do you have a nickname for your Fiesta ST?
Rarely might I call the car “My Buddy”, but no, there is no real nickname to my car!
What are you thinking about when you’re standing at the starting line and waiting for the green light?
This is very essential to give undivided attention to the start, as it plays a crucial role in every race. To achieve that, a lot of work is done well before the start – race plan, tactics, objectives, opponent analysis, etc. is all done prior to the race. Thus, when standing at the starting line my only focus is on the start itself, and how I will turn-in in the first corner. Anything else that will happen after the first turn – you know, rallycross is action filled racing, so I have to get there first, and then analyse the race from there one. Spotter helps a lot from that point on.
At the moment, Rallycross is not as popular as many other motorsports. Why did you go for Rallycross?
It just felt right! ☺ I started my career in moto racing, but went to racing after the first year, as my family thought it to be a safer option. I have driven karting for a couple of years, but circuit racing never got to my heart. Besides, my father Aigars was competing in autocross, so I tried both – autocross and rallycross, and the latter one just felt right. I am very happy to have made the right choice – the sport is growing tremendously, and I have no interest to change anything right now.
When you made your debut in the FIA World RX Supercar class, you finished third. How would you sum up 2015’s racing season?
The season has not turned-out as good as we would love to, but this is motorsports. The level of competition has increased dramatically over the last offseason, and I enjoy it a lot as it helps me as a driver to master my skillset to keep up with the pack. It is tough, and I know the next year will be even harder, but that does not mean we will stop fighting, stop looking for improvements, and stop going for the gap. We compete to win, and you win only at the finish. Not a second before.
Aside from Rallycross is there another passions you pursuit?
I love being in rallycross and at this point it is my job, hobby, and passion in one. It takes up the most part of my life, I got 13 races in the World RX, as well as test sessions, media days, sponsorship meetings, and other commitments. Also, my racing experience is not as rich as I would love to; thus, I take each and every opportunity to compete in as much events as possible, to try and tests different cars. One week here, one week there, but throughout the year it adds up pretty quickly!
When I am off the racing duties, I have studies to take care of and love to spend time in my hometown Jēkabpils with my family. Jēkabpils is like shelter to me, where I can clear my head and take the much needed rest between the races.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with all the German Ford Fans?
Come visit rallycross races and keep your fingers crossed for my success in the future!
All images © fiaworldrallycross.com