Kajetanowicz has achieved a tremendous success in his first start in Rally New Zealand! The ORLEN Rally Team driver, co-driven by Maciej Szczepaniak, claimed second position in round eleven of the World Rally Championship, defeating many experienced local competitors. Crucially, the Polish crew scored plenty of points and moved into second place in the WRC2 classification. With two rallies to go, they are in a very good position to fight for the title!
Rally New Zealand was yet another debut outing for Kajetanowicz this season – after Safari Rally Kenya, which he won back in June. The Polish driver had been aware that this 17,600-kms trip to Auckland would require patience, solid performance and ability to take the best decisions. Meticulous preparations brought very good effects – Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak showed great pace on gravel roads. Only Hayden Paddon and John Kennard – very experienced reigning champions of New Zealand, with five seasons of competition in Hyundai factory team in WRC – were faster than the Polish duo. The final podium position went to Shane van Gisbergen and Glen Weston – the driver is a true racing legend on the other side of the world: double and defending champion of iconic Supercars series, chasing his third title this year.
– It was a very successful weekend for us! From the other side of the world, from New Zealand, we bring runners-up spot and very important points. I feel a bit relieved. The journey here – over 17 thousand kilometres from home – was a fantastic rally adventure but also the biggest logistic challenge in my whole career. I felt an enormous pressure right from the beginning, particularly as I competed here for the first time, against excellent and experienced drivers who basically grew up on these stages. However, everything worked fine, with priceless commitment and will to fight of Maciek and the whole ORLEN Rally Team. Big thanks also to my partners – without them we would not be able to compete here – and to our fans who kept their fingers crossed and supported us until early hours in Poland, watching the live stream like my dad. With you I can go to the other side of the world or even further! Now it’s time for a long journey back home. I’d love to have more time for a break with my family, I miss them a lot and I am grateful for their patience and understanding. In two weeks’ time we move on to Spain, for the next World Rally Championship round – we are in the title hunt!
– Kajetan Kajetanowicz, triple European Rally Champion, summed up the day.
The ORLEN Rally Team crew scored 20 points, moving into second position in the WRC2 championship standings. Six results out of seven rallies count towards the final classification. Andreas Mikkelsen leads the title race, with 109 points to his name and full quota of seven starts. Kajetanowicz trails him by 13 points but he can still score in two rounds. Emil Lindholm holds third position (89 points and five starts).
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:
- Paddon/Kennard (New Zealand, Hyundai i20 N Rally2) 2:58:05.1
- Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (Poland, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +2:33.1 s
- van Gisbergen/Weston (New Zealand, Škoda Fabia R5) +3:25.1 s
- Bates/McCarthy (Australia, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +6:47.9 s
- Kremer/Kremer (Germany, Citroën C3 Rally2) +10:58.1 s
- Bawden/Burborough (New Zealand, Ford Fiesta Rally2) +12:05.6 s
- Anear/Sarandis (Australia, Ford Fiesta Rally2) +14:34.6 s
- Hunt/Rawstorn (New Zealand, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) +16:21.3 s
- Martin/Hayward (New Zealand, VW Polo GTI R5) +21:23.6 s
- Díaz-Aboitiz/Hereu (Spain, Škoda Fabia R5) +32:11.0 s