Just as predicted, weather plays main role in the Central European Rally. Heavy rain made it really difficult on the stages. Roads are covered with water and mud, so it’s extremely slippery. Two top drivers in the WRC2 championship, Andreas Mikkelsen and Yohan Rossel, left the road during the opening loop. Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak are doing very well, holding third position in their category and second among non-factory crews (WRC2 Challenger) after five special stages.
The opening loop on Friday consisted of three special stages. On the first one – SS3 Vlachovo Březí 1 (13.66 kms) – Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak set sixth-fastest time, repeating this result on SS4 Zvotoky 1 (23.81 kms). Afterwards the Polish crew went fourth-quickest on the final test. With steady, good pace they hold third place in the WRC2 standings and second in the WRC2 Challenger!
– We knew it would be slippery, that it would rain – however, I had not expected this amount of mud. There are plenty of corners with anti-cut cones but in many places you can cut very deep and mud get thrown on the road. It is really difficult to stay on the road but our pace is good. Some places surprise me but I have to take risks, keeping our top-three position in the WRC2 standings. I did not expect this ahead of the rally, as this is my first time in this car on tarmac. It’s good, I will do my best to stay focused
– says Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the ORLEN Rally Team driver.
The second loop consists of the same set of three stages: SS6 Vlachovo Březí (13.66 kms, starts at 14:32), SS7 Zvotoky (23.81 kms, at 15:24) and SS8 Šumavské Hoštice (23.43 kms, at 16:57).
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 SS5:
- Lindholm/Hämäläinen (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) 42:28.7
- Cais/Trunkát (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +17.9
- Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +22.2
- Ciamin/Roche (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +23.4
- Marczyk/Dymurski (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +32.8
- Linnamäe/Morgan (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +42.6
- Gryazin/Aleksandrov (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +53.5
- McErlean/Fulton (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) +55.0
- Greensmith/Andersson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +1:26.0
- Skála/Skořepa (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) +1:36.4