Huge crowds of Polish fans, cheering for their countrymen during the Central European Rally, have many reasons for joy. Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak are doing a great job in challenging conditions, driving their new car for the first time on tarmac. The ORLEN Rally Team crew hold third position among non-factory crews and fight for podium in the WRC2 standings!
The rain eased off during the second loop – however, the road conditions were actually worse than in the morning, with mud and dirt thrown on the stages by almost 70 passing cars. The opening stage was cancelled due to safety reasons, Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak set fourth- and seventh-fastest times on the following tests. Thanks to consistent pace they end the day in fourth position in the WRC2 classification and in third place in the WRC2 Challenger standings. However, the gaps are quite narrow and rally order can easily change over the next couple of days.
– We can say that the Czech Friday is already behind us. We have completed the first real day of competition during the Central European Rally. Knowing the characteristics of these stages, I had not expected the conditions to be so tough. Huge, deep cuts combined with heavy rain meant that the surface was very slippery. It was really difficult to drive through the stages. We hold third position in the WRC2 Challenger classification, fourth in the WRC2 standings. The gaps are not big and it looks very good, given my lack of experience in this car on tarmac. I am happy with my feeling in the car but I am still missing some confidence, due to setup. Tomorrow we face different special stages, in another countries. Probably there will be less dirt but who knows… Keep your fingers crossed
– says Kajetan Kajetanowicz, triple European Rally Champion.
On Saturday the crews face three stages in Austria and Germany, each of them run twice: SS9/12 Schärdinger Innviertel (15.72 kms, starts at 8:15 and 15:15), SS10/13 Mühltal (27.15 kms, at 10:01 and 17:01) and SS11/14 Knaus Tabbert Bayerischer Wald (11.88 kms, at 11:05 and 18:05).
Starts of Kajetan Kajetanowicz are supported by the title 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.
Central European Rally 2023, unofficial WRC2 standings after SS8:
- Lindholm/Hämäläinen (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) 1:18:41.4
- Cais/Trunkát (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +14.9
- Ciamin/Roche (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +24.1
- Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +38.8
- Gryazin/Aleksandrov (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +40.6
- Marczyk/Dymurski (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +1:02.6
- McErlean/Fulton (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) +1:26.1
- Greensmith/Andersson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +1:31.5
- Březík/Krajča (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +2:08.1
- Wagner/Winter (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +2:47.4