- Kajetanowicz and Baran – the FIA European Rally Champions – begin their title defence with Rally Islas Canarias (10-12 March);
- First outing for Kajetanowicz on smooth, very grippy and extremely twisty asphalt roads on Gran Canaria;
- Up and down on the Atlantic Ocean: elevation changes in the opening FIA ERC round are greater than in Rally Monte Carlo;
- 195 days between Rally Islas Canarias and the previous outing of Kajetan and Jarek in a Tarmac round of the FIA ERC;
- Record-breaking field in the strongest category: no less than 17 crews in R5 cars – the largest number in the FIA ERC history;
- The LOTOS Rally Team crew face 12 special stages and 213 kilometres of fierce competition on the roads conquered by the World Champions in the past.
The opening round of the 2016 FIA European Rally Championship could not be more spectacular and exciting: the season starts on spectacular and challenging roads of Gran Canaria, with defending champions from LOTOS Rally Team. For Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran, Rally Islas Canarias which takes place on 10-12 March, is the first step on difficult road to the successful defence of their FIA European Rally Championship title, clinched last year. Kajetanowicz will do his best in his first outing in the Spanish FIA ERC counter, extracting maximum potential from his Ford Fiesta R5 Evo equipped with Pirelli tyres.
This rally was run for the first time in 1977 and just five years later it joined the European Championship calendar. Twenty-two of the 39 editions enjoyed the status of the ERC counter and there are two World Rally Champions on the winners’ list: Carlos Sainz and Didier Auriol. The event is famous for passionate, spontaneous Spanish fans who gather in large numbers along the special stages every year. This year they are going to witness an extremely exciting contest, as the entry list features 55 crews representing 14 countries, including 17 competitors in the fastest and most powerful R5 cars – a new record in the FIA ERC history. The field of R5 drivers includes Mads Ostberg – M-Sport factory driver who has 95 WRC rallies under his belt and finished fourth in last year’s World Rally Championship – and Alexey Lukyanuk from Russia, third-placed in FIA ERC 2015 season.
The twisty stages on abrasive Tarmac roads of Gran Canaria offer a lot of grip but at the same time require the utmost precision and perfect driving lines around the corners. Another difficulty is the changeable weather on the mountain roads which climb to over 1850 metres above sea level. The elevation changes are greater than in the legendary Rally Monte Carlo and it means that even on a single special stage the weather conditions could change a few times. The fight for victory in the 40th edition of Rally Islas Canarias will take place on 12 special stages and the best European rally crews face 213 competitive kilometres. The opening round of the 2016 FIA ERC season finishes on 12 March around 4:30 pm CET.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz Title defence in the FIA European Rally Championship is a thrilling challenge which we can tackle only as a team – with support of LOTOS Group, Cube.ITG and Driving Experience. It is amazing because we will face this task with an unchanged line-up, together with our longstanding partners – and together with the titles we won side by side, this is a spectacular proof of a beautiful and fruitful cooperation. Right at the beginning of this year’s adventure with FIA ERC, for the first time we will drive on the roads which, if you want to reach the maximum grip limit, require audacity, precision and great humility at the same time. Almost 200 days have passed since our previous outing in a Tarmac round of the European Championship, so you can imagine how big my hunger for competition is and how much our LOTOS Rally Team is thirsty of competition with the best European teams. For sure we will face a lot of strong opponents in the Canary Islands. Seventeen crews in top R5 cars – the largest field in the whole FIA ERC history – already raises my heartbeat 🙂
Rally Islas Canarias in numbers:
40th edition of this event takes place in 2016;
1st round of 10 in the FIA European Rally Championship 2016;
1st outing of Kajetanowicz in this event;
12 special stages with total length of 213 kms in this year’s Rally Islas Canarias;
24.73 kms – the longest special stage of the rally, Moya test – run on Friday, 11 March;
1 – start number of the LOTOS Rally team crew;
4028 kms – straight line distance from Warsaw, capital city of Poland, to the rally base in Las Palmas;
5 times in a row Rally Islas Canarias was won by record holder Carlos Sainz, double World Rally Champion;
In 1982 Rally Islas Canarias was included in the European Rally Championship calendar for the first time;
1858 metres above sea level – the highest elevation along the route which means that the crews competing in Rally Islas Canarias climb higher than the crews in this year’s Rally Monte Carlo;
Two World Champions (Sainz and Auriol) and four European Champions (Kopecky, Liatti, Hanninen, Tabaton) on the winners’ list;
22 times Rally Islas Canarias was a round of the European Rally Championship, three times it was a part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge;
195 days separate Rally Islas Canarias and the previous outing of the LOTOS Rally Team crew in a Tarmac round of the FIA ERC;
1152 metres – the elevation change on Ingenio special stage;
55 crews from 14 countries have entered round 1 of the 2016 FIA European Rally Championship, including 17 crews in the fastest R5 cars. This a new record of the FIA ERC.
Starts of Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran are supported by strategic partner of LOTOS Rally Team – LOTOS Group – as well as CUBE.ITG and Driving Experience. More info about Kajetan Kajetanowicz and the team available at: www.lotosrallyteam.pl, www.kajto.pl, www.facebook.com/EmocjeDoPelna, www.facebook.com/KajetanKajetanowicz and www.twitter.com/Kajto_pl.