Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak started the Friday’s leg of Safari Rally Kenya in style, winning two special stages and extending their lead to over sixteen seconds over second-placed rivals. Unfortunately, on the following test they joined a long list of unlucky crews who suffered punctures on rough and rocky roads. The ORLEN Rally Team duo lost some time, dropping to second position in the WRC2 standings.
The ORLEN Rally Team crew set great pace from the word go, setting fastest times on two special stages. However, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak, last year’s winners in Kenya, are aware that this event is very unpredictable. On the following Kedong test, over 30 kilometres long, they punctured their right front tyre and reached the finish line on a rim. The stage was full of stones, with ruts in many places – also factory drivers, such as Ott Tänak or Esapekka Lappi, damaged their tyres.
– We won two opening stages in the WRC2 standings. On the third test, the most difficult one when it comes to road surface, we had an incident, suffering a puncture. We continued for almost ten kilometres with a damage to our front tyre. There was plenty of sand, some ruts and, towards the end, unfortunately huge rocks as well. In a very fast section, at 140-150 kph, the damaged tyre flew off and we drove on a bare wheel rim. It was difficult to avoid losing the tyre – I did my best to keep it as long as possible, to absorb heavy hits on big stones. We did not lose a lot of time, however we dropped to second position. This is a long rally, now we have to regroup and continue
– Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the ORLEN Rally Team driver, comments after the opening loop on Friday.
After four special stages Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak hold second position, trailing the leaders – Munster and Louka – by 21.2 seconds. Prokop and Jůrka are in third place (+1:20.3). In the afternoon the crews will complete another runs of the same three tests: Loldia (19,17 km), Geothermal (13,12 km) oraz Kedong (30,62 km). Heavy clouds gather over the stages and the rain might arrive during the second loop.
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.
Safari Rally Kenya 2023, unofficial WRC2 standings after SS4:
- Munster/Louka (Ford Fiesta Rally2) 43:43.1
- Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +21.2 s
- Prokop/Jůrka (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +1:20.3 s
- Kremer/Gottschalk (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +1:22.4 s
- Tundo/Jessop (Škoda Fabia R5) +2:45.7 s
- Chwist/Heller (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +2:47.2 s
- Virani/Bhatti (Škoda Fabia R5) +6:22.3 s
- Díaz-Aboitiz/Sanjuan de Eusebio (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +7:14.3 s
- Patel/Khan (Ford Fiesta R5) +7:15.1 s
- Vassilakis/Krawszik (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +10:32.5 s