Extremely difficult weather conditions during the second loop of Saturday’s stages raised the bar for the competitors, taking part in Rally Italia Sardegna. Heavy rain turned some sections of the route into muddy ordeal. Drivers had to cope with aquaplaning in deep ruts, filled with water. Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak managed to avoid major time losses – they lead the WRC2 Challenger standings and hold fourth position in the WRC2 classification ahead of the final day!
The ORLEN Rally Team crew tried to maintain their focus and gather experience in tough conditions – never experienced so far in their new car. Eight-time world champion Sébastien Ogier was one of those drivers who discovered the difficulties of the Italian WRC counter the hard way – going off the road on a slippery part of special stage number fourteen and retiring from the day. Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak lead the WRC2 Challenger classification and fight for a podium position in the WRC2 standings.
– We have completed a successful Saturday, in mixed, dry and wet conditions. The weather was very tricky. We were prepared in terms of tyres but I need to work more on car setup for wet surface – and also a bit for dry conditions. For sure I will do my best to make a good use of Sunday. We are leading the Challenger category, among the top crews on the stages and in the WRC2 classification, so it’s OK. We are not able to put everything in our pace notes when it’s very muddy because the grip could change behind each crest. Even without those additional pieces of information my pace notes are quite rich. Sometimes Maciek struggles to read them and I have problems with processing every call – there could be as many as seven instructions for a single corner. Tomorrow I will try to drive as fast as I can
– Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the ORLEN Rally Team driver, said ahead of the final day.
Sunday’s leg of Rally Italia Sardegna is just over 46 kilometres long. The crews will tackle two stages, each of them run twice: SS16/18 Arzachena-Braniatogghiu (15.22 kms) and SS17/19 Sardegna (7.79 kms) – also as the Power Stage on the final pass.
Starts of Kajetan Kajetanowicz are supported by titular partner of the ORLEN Rally Team – PKN ORLEN, as well as technical partner Delphi Technologies, Pirelli, ATC CARGO S.A., PLATINUM ORLEN OIL brand, QUAZAR LOTOS OIL brand and SJS S.A.
Rally Italia Sardegna 2023, WRC2 standings after SS15:
- Fourmaux/Coria (Ford Fiesta Rally2) 3:18:48.6
- Mikkelsen/Eriksen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +25.7 s
- Suninen/Markkula (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) +2:34.7 s
- Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +3:28.8 s
- Rossel/Dunand (Citroën C3 Rally2) +3:39.6 s
- Marczyk/Gospodarczyk (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +5:21.1 s
- Cais/Těšínský (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +6:18.0 s
- Munster/Louka (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +8:13.2 s
- Joona/Shemeikka (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +8:35.5 s
- Prokop/Ernst (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +8:39.6 s