Round eleven of the 2022 World Rally Championship, Rally New Zealand, started with a short, less than 2-kms long special stage Pukekawa Auckland Domain. Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak struggled with a technical problem but unlucky beginning of the competition did not prevent them from achieving a good result in the WRC2 standings!
– This is a beautiful place and I’d like to compete here more often. It’s an amazing experience for me and I am happy to be here. We face some terribly fast but also technically demanding special stages. The angles of corners change a lot. It seems that we could enter a corner at much higher speed but it gets completely different at the exit. Getting used to this is quite difficult and on top of that we must mark it in our pace notes. That’s why the local drivers enjoy some handicap here
– the ORLEN Rally Team driver said ahead of the start.
Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak started the opening special stage as second car in the order. The tarmac was still wet, so the crowds along the stage could enjoy the spectacle on gravel suspension and tyres. The Polish duo showed strong pace on the opening part, exciting the fans with their performance, but midway through the stage a halfshaft broke and they finished the test with a damaged car. They lost just 6.5 second to local heroes, Paddon and Kennard, who set the fastest time. The team changed the broken part during a short, 15-minutes service break. Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak are ready to continue their fight.
– A halfshaft broke on the opening stage, so we had to continue basically with rear-drive only. At least we managed to finish the stage with minimal time loss. Our mechanics have already changed the broken halfshaft. We packed the car with two spare wheels and all equipment necessary to complete the longest stage of the rally – almost 160 kilometres long. We start the fight in the morning. These things just happen, we cannot control everything. We have to do our job and for sure we will give our best
– triple European Rally Champion commented after the service break.
The competition continues on Friday, with two runs of three special stages – contested without any service break until the evening. The day starts at 21:33 CET with SS2 Whaanga Coast (29.27 kms), followed by SS3 Te Akau South (31.48 kms, at 23:10 CET) and SS4 Te Akau North (18.53 kms, at 00:14 CET) stages. Second runs of these stages begin at 03:22, 05:00 and 06:03 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.
Rally New Zealand 2022, unofficial WRC2 standings after SS1:
- Paddon/Kennard (New Zealand, Hyundai i20 N Rally2) 1:52.4
- van Gisbergen/Weston (New Zealand, Škoda Fabia R5) +1.8 s
- Bates/McCarthy (Australia, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +5.1 s
- Anear/Sarandis (Australia, Ford Fiesta Rally2) +5.5 s
- Kremer/Kremer (Germany, Citroën C3 Rally2) +6.2 s
- Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (Poland, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +6.5 s
- Díaz-Aboitiz/Hereu (Spain, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +6.6 s
- Horan/Connor (New Zealand, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +9.7 s
- Hunt/Rawstorn (New Zealand, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +10.7 s
- Martin/Hayward (New Zealand, VW Polo GTI R5) +13.5 s