55th edition of Rally de Portugal, round four of the 2022 World Rally Championship, gets underway on Thursday evening, in Coimbra. Following their excellent second place in Croatia Rally (in the WRC2 category), Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak begin another challenge for top positions. This task will not be easy, as they face no less than 40 competitors in their category!
The LOTOS Rally Team duo have successfully completed two days of testing on Portuguese gravel roads, adding one run of the official shakedown today. Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak are prepared and motivated ahead of what looks like a very exciting competition. The opening stage starts on Thursday evening, at 20:03 CET. SS Coimbra, with just 2.83 kilometres, is a mere warm-up ahead of Friday.
– We have completed two days of demanding tests in Portugal but this is nothing in comparison with the rally itself. There is no room for error on these special stages, we have to stay fully focused and careful, although it will not be easy. The roads are really slippery, with high temperatures and grip changes on every stage. In addition, there is plenty of dust and dirt behind the cars which run ahead of us. It is a challenge not only for us, the crew, but also for the car. However, I feel that we can do a great job, everything works perfectly and I think we are ready for competition!
– says Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the LOTOS Rally Team driver.
On Friday the crews will complete two runs of Lousã (12.03 kms), Góis (19.33 kms) and Arganil (18.72 kms), with single passes of Mortágua (18.16 kms) and the final test on Friday, Lousada (3.36 kms). There will be no service break between the stages. Another two legs are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
The WRC2 field in Portugal will be even stronger than in Croatia, with forty-one crews on the entry list – and the likes of Andreas Mikkelsen or Teemu Suninen, with much experience in the top WRC category. Oliver Solberg, son of the 2003 world champion, also runs a factory programme with Hyundai in Rally1 category. There are also Croatia Rally winner Yohan Rossel, former WRC drivers Eric Camilli and Stéphane Lefebvre, European champion Chris Ingram or young and always quick Marco Bulacia.
Starts of Kajetan Kajetanowicz are supported by strategic partner of the LOTOS Rally Team – Grupa LOTOS, technical partner Delphi Technologies, as well as Pirelli, SJS Driving Experience and Grupa Sikora.