The 2022 Rally Japan started on Thursday evening, with 2.75-kms Kuragaike Park stage. This test, run after dusk, was a teaser of difficult and tight competition which we are facing in the following days. Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak, fighting for the World Rally Championship title, set third-fastest time in the WRC2 category, finishing the stage with narrow gap to their main rivals.
– We have completed the opening stage of Rally Japan – it was short but we competed after dusk, so with additional difficulties. We decided to take a less safe option regarding the tyre choice for this stage but I hope it puts us in a better situation for the following days – considering the conditions which we could face. Tyres and tyre choice might be crucial here. This is definitely the toughest asphalt rally in my whole career. For me the most important thing is that everything works well and my feeling is good. As it usually happens in rallies, a lot of things can happen but I remain optimistic, trying to enjoy every kilometre of the competition
– Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the ORLEN Rally Team driver, said after the first stage.
Friday brings the longest leg of the whole rally, with two runs of Isegami’s Tunnel (23.29 kms), Inabu Dam (19.38 kms) and Shitara Town R (22.44 kms) stages. The first test runs through a unique tunnel, over one kilometre long – regarded as a haunted home of ghosts. For sure it will be a very exciting experience!
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 Japan 2022, unofficial WRC2 standings after SS1:
1. Lindholm/Hämäläinen (Finland, Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) 2:11.0
=. Pajari/Mälkönen (Finland, Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +0.0
3. Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (Poland, Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +2.8
4. Suninen/Markkula (Finland, Hyundai i20 N Rally2) +4.6
5. Kovalainen/Kitagawa (Finland/Japan, Škoda Fabia R5) +5.7
6. Johnston/Kihurani (USA, Citroën C3 Rally2) +5.9
7. Zaldivar/Der Ohannesian (Paraguay/Italy, Hyundai i20 N Rally2) +6.0
8. Bulacia/Morales (Bolivia/Brazil, Škoda Fabia R5) +7.0
9. Munster/Louka (Luxembourg/Belgium, Hyundai i20 N Rally2) +9.0
=. Miele/Beltrame (Italy, Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +9.0