Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak hold third position in the WRC2 Challenger classification after day one of Rally Japan. The Polish duo consistently execute their plan, which is to win the championship titles in the final standings. Friday’s leg was made more difficult due to heavy rain. It is extremely challenging to fight for fractions of seconds in such conditions – sometimes it became really dangerous, so the organisers had to step in and red-flagged one of the stages, cancelling another one.
Adverse weather conditions made the opening Friday’s loop of Rally Japan really difficult. First stage, Isegami’s Tunnel, was red-flagged after crashes of Dani Sordo and Adrien Fourmaux. Fortunately, the competitors did not suffer any injuries, as damage was limited to their cars. The following stage ran according to plan and the ORLEN Rally Team crew set fifth-fastest time in the WRC2 Challenger standings. Third stage was cancelled due to safety reasons: it would not be possible to use rescue helicopter, if needed.
After service break rally crews returned to action on the same set of stages. The Polish duo set fourth-fastest results, finishing the day with third-fastest time on second pass of spectacular superspecial inside the Toyota Stadium.
– Wrapping up Friday’s leg of Rally Japan, I think that we should be happy. We continue to execute our plan, which is to claim the championship title in the WRC2 Challenger category. This is not easy. Although the competition is not as strong as during some rounds in Europe, the conditions on the roads make it extremely difficult – plenty of water, aquaplaning and lottery. Our task was a bit easier, as we don’t have to push so much. Right now we are third in the WRC2 Challenger category and this position would guarantee us the title, but there are still two long days to go. Everything can happen. I have to maintain concentration and try to enjoy my driving. Not everything is working perfectly but it does happen in rallies. It is good at the moment – Kajetan Kajetanowicz, triple European Rally Champion commented after Friday.
The second leg of the rally starts after midnight European time. SS9 Nukata Forest 1 (20.32 kms) begins at 00:04 CET, afterwards the crews will tackle SS10 Lake Mikawako 1 (14.78 kms, at 01:05 CET), SS11/12 Okazaki City SSS (2.84 kms, at 03:15 and 3:26 CET). There is no service between the loops, just tyre fitting zone, where the competitors may perform only basic repairs, without assistance of their mechanics. After mid-day break Nukata Forest and Lake Mikawako tests will be repeated (at 05:04 and 06:05 CET respectively), before finishing the leg with SS15 Shinshiro City (6.70 kms, at 07:11 CET) and third run of Toyota Stadium SSS (2.10 kms, at 11:35 CET).
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.