Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak have started Rally New Zealand, round eleven of the 2022 World Rally Championship, in a very good style. Friday’s leg was contested difficult and changeable weather conditions, with heavy rain changing some parts of the road into muddy ordeal. The ORLEN Rally Team crew won two stages in WRC2, setting top-three times on the remaining tests. They hold second position in their category!
The crews competed on two loops of three special stages, contested overnight on Thursday, European time. Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak showed a very good and consistent pace right from the beginning, winning on their way both runs of 18.53-kms long Te Akau North stage. Top-three results on all stages of the day give them a lot of reasons for joy. The Polish duo impress in their fight against local stars: long-time factory crew of Hyundai WRC team, Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, lead the rally with just over one minute in hand. Another crew from New Zealand, Shane van Gisbergen and Glen Weston, complete the top three – trailing the ORLEN Rally Team competitors by 35 seconds.
– It has been a very long day – quite successful in my opinion. We are in second position in our category, ahead of good drivers with better knowledge of these special stages. We have completed some really beautiful stages, with lots of fun and adrenaline – almost 160 kilometres of competition without any service break but with plenty of mud and grip changes. I am happy to be at the finish and although I spent over 14 hours in the car, feeling tired and soaked, I think that my job is the best in the world. The whole ORLEN Rally Team perform really well, everybody wants us to drive fast and to finish the rally on top. It is a huge boost for me and I approach every kilometre of this fight with a broad smile on my face
– Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the ORLEN Rally Team driver, summed up the Friday’s competition.
The second leg of Rally New Zealand begins with SS8 Kaipara Hills (15.83 kms) test, starting on Friday at 21:08 CET. Afterwards the crews will contest another two stages: SS9 Puhoi (22.50 kms, at 22:06 CET) and SS10 Komokoriki (5.71 kms, at 23:14 CET). The second loop , after service break, consists of the same set of three stages – at 3:08, 4:06 and 5:24 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 SS7:
- Paddon/Kennard (New Zealand, Hyundai i20 N Rally2) 1:41:55.6
- Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (Poland, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +1:01.5 s
- van Gisbergen/Weston (New Zealand, Škoda Fabia R5) +1:37.0 s
- Bates/McCarthy (Australia, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +4:40.6 s
- Kremer/Kremer (Germany, Citroën C3 Rally2) +6:21.6 s
- Bawden/Burborough (New Zealand, Ford Fiesta Rally2) +7:41.3 s
- Kingsley/Jones (New Zealand, Škoda Fabia R5) +8:35.3 s
- Anear/Sarandis (Australia, Ford Fiesta Rally2) +9:23.8 s
- Martin/Hayward (New Zealand, VW Polo GTI R5) +11:34.1 s
- Hunt/Rawstorn (New Zealand, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +13:38.6 s