The ORLEN Rally Team crew – Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak – have completed their preparations ahead of Rally New Zealand. Pre-event testing programme consisted of two days of intense work on local roads, which allowed them to discover the characteristics of these unique gravel special stages. The competition starts on Thursday morning (European time) with 1.78-kms long superspecial stage Pukekawa Auckland Domain.
Rally New Zealand, round eleven of the 2022 season, returns to the World Rally Championship calendar after ten years’ break. Kajetan Kajetanowicz, with three rallies remaining in his schedule of seven rounds permitted in the regulation, is classified in fourth position in the WRC2 standings. However, the gaps are narrow and all top-three drivers have competed in more rallies than Kajto – so a lot depends on this round. The pressure is high and competition against local drivers – including Hayden Paddon, former driver of Hyundai factory team – will not be easy.
– We have completed two days of testing ahead of Rally New Zealand. Especially on the second day we could taste the challenge we might face during the competition – which will take place on twisty, possibly very muddy stages. This is a beautiful country, so it is quite difficult to focus on our recce duties, ignoring spectacular views along the road. Some sections on the stages are quite fast but there are more technical, bad-cambered corners. I’ve never seen so many places like this. For sure this raises the bar for us, as we cannot mark everything in our pace notes and we compete against the drivers who perfectly know these roads. It is a huge logistic challenge for me and our team – but at the same time it’s a lifetime adventure. I want to take advantage of my time here, to enjoy driving and competition, to do my best on the stages. Stay with us
– says Kajetan Kajetanowicz, triple European Rally Champion.
The rally starts on 29 September with almost 2-kms long Pukekawa Auckland Domain stage, which begins at 7:08 CET. Friday’s leg consists of six special stages without a routine service break. This is the longest day of the rally, with 158.56 competitive kilometres on two loops of Whaanga Coast (29.27 kms), Te Akau South (31.48 kms) and Te Akau North (18.53) stages. Saturday begins with Kaipara Hills (15.83 kms) test, followed by Puhoi (22.50 kms) and Komokoriki (5.81 kms). Afterwards the crews will repeat the same set of three stages. The final day brings two runs of Whitford Fores-Te Maraunga Waiho (8.82 kms) and Jacks Ridge (6.77) tests – with additional points awarded to top crews on the last one, run as Power Stage. The rally ends on Sunday, at around 6:00 CET.
Starts of Kajetan Kajetanowicz are supported by strategic partner of the ORLEN Rally Team – PKN ORLEN, as well as technical partner Delphi Technologies, Pirelli, Grupa Sikora and SJS Driving Experience.