- Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran finished Barum Czech Rally Zlín in fifth position;
- The LOTOS Rally Team crew defeated their main championship rivals and extended the lead;
- Polish duo, supported by huge crowds from their country, gained three positions today;
- There are two more rounds to go this season – Kajto is virtually one step away from record-breaking third consecutive championship title!
Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran finished Barum Czech Rally Zlín in fifth position, scoring plenty of valuable points in the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship standings! The conditions were very hot and sunny, good for huge crowds of spectators who gathered on the stages. The LOTOS Rally Team crew, fuelled by vigorous support of many Polish fans, gained three positions today. Assured and consistent pace enabled them to increase their advantage over second-placed Portuguese duo Bruno Magalhães and Hugo Magalhães. The Poles fulfil their pre-season target – to fight for their third consecutive championship title.
Extremely tight competition was won (for seventh time in his career!) by Jan Kopecký, factory Skoda driver and World Rally Championship regular. The Czech driver was fastest on 13 out of 15 very difficult special stages, defeating by almost one minute his Russian rival Alexey Lukyanuk (+55.5 seconds, Ford Fiesta R5). The final podium spot was claimed on the last special stage by another local driver, Roman Kresta, who competed in this event for twentieth time (+1.22,8 seconds, Skoda Fabia R5).
Kajetanowicz raised his championship tally to 120 points. Second-placed Portuguese driver Bruno Magalhães scored just two points in the Czech counter (he has 97 points). Alexey Lukyanuk moved into third position (73) and top five is completed by German driver Marijan Griebel (62) and Frenchman Bryan Bouffier (46).
There are just two rounds to go in the FIA European Rally Championship. Kajetanowicz has a chance to achieve a great success: to win his third title. No driver has ever won three consecutive titles in the history of the oldest rally series in the world. However, in order to claim the title he has to fight two fierce battles in the final rounds of the season. To begin with, a new round in the calendar, all-asphalt Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy, 15-17 September), awaits the evenly matched championship field and afterwards the season will conclude with “festival of speed”: gravel Rally Liepāja (Latvia, 6-8 October).
– It was a good rally – not perfect but really good and mentally demanding. I am happy that we came here and got involved in a fight, avoiding taking any crazy risk. Just like after each rally, now we will analyse and check what we could improve. Good job of the whole LOTOS Rally Team allowed us to extend our advantage over Bruno Magalhães and thanks to that we will go to Italy with positive mindset. I know it will not be easy there – it is a new rally for me and another huge challenge.
– Barum is one of the most difficult asphalt rallies in Europe. The classic special stages run for many years are very well known by the local drivers and therefore they are very tough rivals every year. We scored precious European Rally Championship points in Zlín. Now we are facing another difficult rally and competition against Italian asphalt specialists.
Starts of Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran are supported by strategic partner of LOTOS Rally Team – LOTOS Group – as well as CUBE.ITG, Delphi 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
The 2017 FIA European Rally Championship standings after round 6 of 8:
1. Kajetan Kajetanowicz (Poland) 120 points
2. Bruno Magalhães (Portugal) 97 points
3. Alexey Lukyanuk (Russia) 73 points
4. Marijan Griebel (Germany) 62 points
5. Bryan Bouffier (France) 46 points
6. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) 45 points
7. Grzegorz Grzyb (Poland) 41 points
8. Jan Kopecký (Czech Republic) 39 points
9. José Maria López (Spain) 27 points
10. Alexandros Tsouloftas (Cyprus) 26 points
-. Panikos Polykarpou (Cyprus) 26 points
Unofficial classification of the 2017 Barum Czech Rally Zlín:
1. Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler (Czech Republic, Skoda Fabia R5) 1:56:15.2
2. Alexey Lukyanuk / Alexey Arnautov (Russia, Ford Fiesta R5) +55.5 s
3. Roman Kresta / Petr Starý (Czech Republic, Skoda Fabia R5) +1:22.8 s
4. Tomáš Kostka / Ladislav Kučera (Czech Republic, Skoda Fabia R5) +1:25.8 s
5. Kajetan Kajetanowicz / Jarosław Baran (Poland, Ford Fiesta R5) +2:06.4 s
6. Marijan Griebel / Stefan Kopczyk (Germany, Skoda Fabia R5) +2:08.3 s
7. Martin Koči / Flilip Schovánek (Czech Rep./Slovakia, Skoda Fabia R5) +2:31.4 s
8. Pavel Valoušek / Veronika Havelková (Czech Rep., Skoda Fabia R5) +2:51.6 s
9. Bruno Magalhães / Hugo Magalhães (Portugal, Skoda Fabia R5) +3:24.5 s
10. Bryan Bouffier / Xavier Panseri (France, Ford Fiesta R5) +3:30.8 s