The races in the FIA World Rallycross Championship are held in eleven countries and on three continents. The round in Riga is a very special one for Reinis Nitišs. It’s the one on home soil for the Latvian.

Nitišs travels some 100,000 kilometers around the world for professional reasons – per year! Training camps, tests, sponsoring commitments and, of course, the twelve races in the World RX. As a race driver you live out of a suitcase during large parts of the year. That’s routine for the 21-year-old Latvian, so he’s particularly pleased about the opportunity to spend some time at home. For Nitišs, who is close to his family, home is Jēkabpils, where he was born, and the capital city of Riga – where Latvia’s cultural and economic heart beats.

In Jēkabpils, a town with a population of 25,000, Nitišs lived until his 15th year of age when he moved out of his parents’ home to Riga, about a two hours’ drive away, to be trained as a car mechanic. At that time, Nitišs was already a successful race driver. He started his career in karting at the age of 6 and went on to celebrate his first title at merely 13. Even at that early stage, it was foreseeable that Reinis would someday follow in the footsteps of his father, Aigars, who in 2005 became the Latvian champion in Autotrek – a type of speedway racing with cars.  

Reinis continued to write his success story. Following a brief foray into motocross, he switched to rallycross in 2011. In 2013, the avid cross country skier and endurance athlete became European champion in the Super1600 class. A year later, at the age of 18 years and 181 days, he was – and still is – the youngest driver ever to have won a world championship round in the top category of the supercars, finished the World RX in third place overall and was voted Latvia’s most popular sportsman. At the beginning of 2017, Nitišs switched to the world championship winning EKS team and intends to pay back the trust placed in him by scoring further top results in the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro.

The driver who’s a celebrated star at home is regularly in the news off the race tracks as well – for instance due to his intensive involvement in the development and construction of the rallycross track at the Biķernieki Sports Complex. Since last year, Nitišs has also been ambassador of the “Road Traffic Safety Directorate” campaign which aims to help sensitize aggressive drivers to conscientious behavior in traffic. The Latvian is in great demand in other respects as well. For instance, he regularly appears on national television sports shows and most recently was a guest on “Es mīlu tevi, Latvija!” a prime-time evening entertainment show.  

In spite of his tight schedule, Nitišs prefers spending his free time at his parents’ home in Jēkabpils where he can take a break from everyday stress. This is where he enjoys gardening, doing sports or relaxing over a good dinner with his family. Most of his countless trophies are displayed in his father’s office. But Jēkabpils and Riga are not the only places in Latvia that Nitišs enthuses over. Sigulda, Liepāja or Cēsis – there are many places not to be missed on a visit to this country, says the declared fan of Latvia.  

No matter where Nitišs spends time in his native land, he describes it as being tranquil, clean, green and simply peaceful and picturesque, just the way he likes it. In spite of his popularity, he can move around in public practically anywhere without being surrounded by fans. For Riga, this is just partly true, particularly when the World RX campaign stops there and the motorsport-loving Latvians flock to the circuit. For Nitišs, the drive from his apartment to the Biķernieki Sports Complex is just a short hop. It takes him about ten minutes to get to the track in his Audi A5, so this trip doesn’t add too many kilometers to the 100,000 he travels per year.