The first of two asphalt legs of Rally de España, round twelve of the World Rally Championship, is underway. Last night at the service zone the cars were converted into suitable asphalt specification, in order to compete on sealed surface. Although Kajetan Kajetanowicz takes part in this event for the first time, he is able to maintain excellent pace. Over the course of two special stages he closed his gap to fifth position in the WRC2 standings and trails his nearest rival by just 8.2 seconds.
Another player has joined the game – overnight rain changed the road conditions from dry to wet. It did not stop raining until morning so the opening loop was contested in rainy conditions. The first of today’s stages, SS8 Savallà (14.12 kms) was cancelled due to safety reasons. Further two tests brought fifth- (SS9) and ninth-fastest (SS10) stage times for the LOTOS Rally Team crew. After ten special stages Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak hold sixth position in the WRC2 standings, just 8.2 seconds behind the 2003 World Rally Champion and double (2014, 2015) Rallycross World Champion, Petter Solberg.
– We have covered almost 200 competitive kilometres on unknown roads and we are only 59 seconds behind the leaders. I think this is quite good. The road conditions are very hard, there is much water and also mud in some places. Some sections are very slippery. This is a big journey for me, I am still learning this rally. However, we are fighting with Petter Solberg, former world champion in overall classification. We are just a few seconds behind him. I still think that we should focus on our goal – which is to drive our own rally, in the best possible way. I think that achieving this target would be good but I am aware that plenty of traps and surprises await us in every corner
– said Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the LOTOS Rally Team driver.
On the second loop the crews compete on the same three special stages: Savallà (14.12 kms, at 13:28 CET), Querol (21.26 kms, at 14:10 CET) and El Montmell (24.40 kms, at 15:08 CET). This day comes to an end with a 2.24-kms city stage on the seaside in Salou (at 17:00 CET).
The rally takes place on 25-28 October, with its base in the seaside city of Salou. This is the first outing in this rally for Kajetanowicz. No less than 15 of his WRC2 opponents have at least one start here under their belts. This certainly does not make it easier to achieve the goal of finishing the rally in the highest possible position. The opening leg on Friday consists of gravel stages while on Saturday and Sunday the fight takes place on asphalt.
Starts of Kajetan Kajetanowicz are supported by strategic partner of LOTOS Rally Team – LOTOS Group – as well as Delphi Technologies and Driving Experience. More info about Kajetan Kajetanowicz and the team available at: www.lotosrallyteam.pl and www.kajto.pl, as well as at: www.fb.com/EmocjeDoPelna, www.fb.com/KajetanKajetanowicz, www.twitter.com/Kajto_pl and www.youtube.com/Kajtopl.
Rally de España 2018, unofficial WRC-2 standings after SS10 (top 10):
1. Rovanperä / Halttunen (Finland, Skoda Fabia R5) 2:04:44.8
2. Camilli / Veillas (France, VW Polo GTI R5) +3.1 s
3. Kopecký / Dresler (Czech Republic, Skoda Fabia R5) +3.5 s
4. Solans / Martí (Spain, Ford Fiesta R5) +25.3 s
5. P. Solberg / Gulbæk (Norway, VW Polo GTI R5) +50.8 s
6. Kajetanowicz / Szczepaniak (Poland, Ford Fiesta R5) +59.0 s
7. Tempestini / Itu (Romania, Citroen C3 R5) +1:37.6 s
8. H. Solberg / Minor-Petrasko (Norway, Skoda Fabia R5) +2:08.8 s
9. Huttunen / Linnaketo (Finland, Hyundai i20 R5) +3:04.1 s
10. Loubet / Landais (France, Hyundai i20 R5) +4:02.5 s