Relaa Racing Junior Matias Salonen continued in Bikernieki where he left off in Alastaro
The Kauhajoki-based team, Relaa Racing, continued their victorious streak in the Porsche Sprint Challenge NEZ in Latvia’s Bikernieki circuit. The team’s young talent, Matias Salonen, secured his second win of the season.
On Saturday, June 10th, the Porsche Sprint Challenge NEZ series resumed at Latvia’s Bikernieki circuit with Relaa Racing fielding two cars at the event.
During qualifying, the fastest pace was set by Matias Salonen of Relaa Racing’s Junior Program. The upcoming talent from Lempäälä clinched pole position at the high-speed Bikernieki circuit by a 0.2 second margin whilst breaking the Bikernieki lap record. Relaa team owner, experienced Raimo Niemi finished the qualifying in 10th position.
In the opening race, Salonen refused to give an inch to his competitors, maintaining his lead as the pack approached the second turn and first proper breaking zone of the Bikernieki circuit. From there on, Salonen impressively controlled the race, crossing the finish line with a comfortable 2.3-second lead. Niemi, on the other hand, made a good start, climbing up to ninth place.
For the second race, Salonen started from the front row in second position. However, he found himself on the outside going into the second turn, which caused him to lose some ground but still hold onto second place. Unfortunately, the race was halted after the first lap due to a car stranded in a gravel trap. During the restart, Salonen once again started from the second place, but this time he had to surrender his position during the braking into turn two hairpin and the young Finn had to settle for third step on the podium.
”I’m extremely pleased with the results from this weekend. I had to push hard on both races and keep mistakes to a minimum. The Bikernieki track was an absolute joy to drive on, easily one of the finest circuits this season. I want to express my gratitude to the team for their trust in my work; everything worked flawlessly throughout the entire weekend. Now, it’s time to carry this momentum to Pärnu,” Salonen summarized after the race.
Unfortunately, Raimo Niemi’s second race was cut short due to an electrical issue. Nevertheless, the veteran driver enjoyed the Bikernieki track, and the weekend went according to plan.
”Everything went as planned. Matias had a great weekend, and we managed to bring home some valuable points for the team as well. Although the second race was cut short due to an electrical issue, I truly enjoyed racing here. The track is fantastic, the fastest in the series, with average speed exceeding 160 kilometers per hour. I want to extend my thanks to the team and our partners for the weekend,” Niemi commented on the race weekend.
The Porsche Sprint Challenge NEZ will continue at the Porsche Festival in Estonia on June 30th to July 1st.
Dewalt GP Bikernieki Results:
1. Matias Salonen 16 laps FIN
2. Henri Tuomaala +2.348 FIN
3. Thomas Kangro +6.399 EST
4. Valters Zviedris +6.486 LVA
5. Jani Käkelä +7.690 FIN
9. Raimo Niemi +58.573 FIN
1. Jani Käkelä 16 laps FIN
2. Thomas Kangro +0.806 EST
3. Matias Salonen +2.545 FIN
4. Henri Tuomaala +3.332 FIN
5. Valters Zviedris +3.850 LVA
11. Raimo Niemi DNF FIN
Porsche Sprint Challenge NEZ Point Standings after 4/12 rounds:
1. Matias Salonen 81 FIN
2. Henri Tuomaala 71 FIN
3. Thomas Kangro 66 EST
4. Valters Zviedris 58 LAT
5. Jani Käkelä 57 FIN