Kajetan Kajetanowicz is a Polish rally driver. He was born on March 5, 1979 in Cieszyn and currently lives in nearby Ustroń, a city situated in the Silesian Voivodeship in southern Poland. He won the FIA European Rally Championship three times in a row (2015-2017) and scored four consecutive Polish Rally Championship titles (2010-2013).
Career-best season of Kajetanowicz. This is how the Polish driver clinched his runner-up spot in the World Rally Championship
Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak have enjoyed a spectacular season, impressing not only with excellent pace but also with great success rate. The Polish crew wrapped up six podium places in seven events, scoring runner-up spots in Estonia and Spain, third position in Rally Monza and victories in Croatia, Portugal and Greece. After second place in 2019 (WRC-2 category) and third last year (WRC-3 category), the LOTOS Rally Team duo added another top-three position to their tally. Kajetanowicz finished the championship in second position and Szczepaniak won the title (as their main rival Yohan Rossel changed his co-driver).
Intense preparation ahead of the 2021 season had lasted for a few months. The Polish crew decided to continue with a Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo run by the Spanish team RaceSeven. Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak have started their campaign with Croatia Rally. This tarmac event was included in the World Rally Championship calendar for the first time and only a few competitors had some past experience with the roads. It was not only speed that mattered – the crews had to adapt quickly and learn with every kilometre as well. Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak managed to achieve it flawlessly, winning four special stages and recording seventeen top-three finishes. They outperformed many factory crews (WRC-2) and set the pace among WRC-3 competitors, starting their championship quest with a great victory.
Second outing, second unknown rally and second win for Kajetan Kajetanowicz – the LOTOS Rally Team driver, paired with Maciej Szczepaniak, won Rally de Portugal in excellent style. The Polish duo recorded top-three times on the majority of the special stages, winning seven tests during one of the toughest and longest rounds of the World Rally Championship. After their fourth WRC victory, they moved up into second position in the standings.
The next round of the championship took place in Sardegna. Right from the beginning of the competition everything went as planned – Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak set top-three times on seven stages, winning two of them. However, less than two kilometres before the finish line of the final test of the day, their fight for another stage win unfortunately ended off the road. Their Skoda was not damaged but there were no spectators around and the crew did not manage to bring the car back on the road.
They returned to competition on Saturday, notching up six top-three results on seven special stages – including one win – and recording an excellent seventh-fastest time in the overall classification. On Sunday Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak gained one more position on the opening stage, with a fantastic performance on the following test. They won SS18 Aglientu-Santa Teresa 1 (7.79 kms) in the WRC-3 category, defeated all factory crews competing in WRC-2 and set an excellent sixth-fastest time in the overall classification. On the final test – Power Stage, with bonus points – they recorded second-fastest time, scoring more precious points and finishing the rally in eighth position.
In July Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak returned to Estonia. This event enjoys a well-deserved reputation of the festival of speed. The average speed on most of the stages exceeds 100 kph, reaching 120 kph on the fastest tests. Kajetan and Maciej maintained good and consistent pace, finishing 15 stages in top three. They finished this round in second position, scoring 18 points.
Two months later Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak contested the iconic Acropolis Rally, which returned to the World Rally Championship after eight years. In the meantime this event formed a part of the European Rally Championship and Kajetan won it twice.
In 2021 Kajto recorded six stage wins and eleven top-three times, claiming second position in the WRC-3 standings. The LOTOS Rally Team added another five points to their tally, winning the Power Stage Tarzan. On Sunday evening the stewards excluded the WRC-3 winners, Rossel and Coria. Parts of suspension in their car did not comply with homologation, just like in Rally Sardegna. Ultimately, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak were awarded with maximum amount of points for rally win.
The LOTOS Rally Team crew scored their fifth podium position in six outings thanks to another runner-up spot, this time in Spain. With additional points for the Power Stage win, they took the lead in the championship standings. The Polish duo, supported by huge crowd of rally fans, showed brilliant and solid pace, finishing thirteen special stages in top three.
The fantastic 2021 season came to an end at Rally Monza – only Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Yohan Rossel remained in the title fight. Over the course of the rally they exchanged blows, setting excellent times on very demanding and treacherous special stages. Kajetanowicz led ahead of the final test but Rossel managed to overtake him on the Power Stage – so Kajetanowicz finished the year in second position and his co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak won the world championship title among the co-drivers.
Time for the icing on the cake and a special thank-you for the fans came in December, during the 59th edition of the iconic Rally Barbórka in Poland. Kajetanowicz set the pace on all six stages and won this blue-riband event for eighth time, adding his ninth victory in "Aces’ Competition" – a spectacular city stage on Karowa Street in downtown Warsaw.
In 2020 Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak competed in the WRC-3 category. Although the COVID-19 pandemic affected the LOTOS Rally Team plans, Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak recorded another success, scoring a podium position in the championship standings for the second time in a row.
They started their World Rally Championship campaign in March, during Rally México. It was the first outing of Kajetanowicz in this event and he did not avoid some classic rally adventures. Right from the beginning the team struggled with car failure which was impossible to fix during service breaks. Nevertheless Kajto did not give up and battled against his rivals on every special stage, scoring some top times in his category. Ultimately the LOTOS Rally Team crew finished Rally México in fourth position, scoring solid points in the championship classification.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the enforced break before the next rally lasted six months. The crews returned to competition during extremely fast Rally Estonia – a newcomer in the World Rally Championship calendar. Kajto impressed with his performance, winning special stages and defeating factory WRC-2 rivals. However, in a cruel twist of motorsport face the Polish crew left the road and had to retire while battling for second position.
They did not have to wait long for a chance to make up for that disappointment, which came during Rally Turkey – where they had won in previous year. It was more or less the same this time out – nobody could catch them again. Kajto was the fastest driver and after flawless performance won the WRC-3 category, scoring a sensational seventh position in the overall classification. The LOTOS Rally Team left Turkey in excellent mood and with huge amount of points.
After Turkey the championship contenders moved to Sardinia, where conditions were cooler than usual. On the Italian island Kajto battled for another victory. His main rival was Jari Huttunen and both drivers fought for single seconds right at the top. Great pace of Kajetanowicz delighted the fans and troubled his competitors – but the fight was cut short by a puncture on penultimate stage. Therefore Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak had to settle for second.
The 2020 season came to an end in December, on famous Formula 1 circuit in Monza. The crews had to tackle not only muddy stages on the classic track but also mountain stages, where real winter conditions made life difficult even for the WRC frontrunners. Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak finished the rally in fifth position, scoring enough points to be classified in third place in the overall 2020 WRC-3 standings.
At the beginning of 2021 Kajetanowicz claimed another phenomenal award. The LOTOS Rally Team driver was honoured with fourth position in 86th Polish Sports Personality of the Year contest, for his achievements in 2020.
At the end of October 2019 Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak completed their first full season in the FIA World Rally Championship, scoring a podium position in Rally Catalunya de España. For the LOTOS Rally Team crew it was their fifth top-three finish in the WRC-2 championship – more than any other competitor that year. Consistency and solid performance combined with abilities to adapt quickly in changing conditions helped them to finish the season in excellent second position!
Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak started their season with Tour de Corse, at the end of March. They finished the famous tarmac event in third position, in their first outing in a Volkswagen Polo GTI. South America was the next stop on their way – unfortunately, Rally Argentina did not go according to plans. The Polish duo seized the lead but they had to retire, following a suspension failure. By mid-June the World Rally Championship circus moved to Sardinia. Kajto and Maciek swapped the car for a Skoda Fabia R5 – the rules allow such moves – and scored another excellent result in their first rally in this car, finishing Rally Italia Sardegna in second place.
After short break the Polish duo returned to action during Rallye Deutschland. Again, they did a great job on tarmac stages and received trophies for third position. The LOTOS Rally Team crew maintained their excellent pace and just two weeks later they took up a fight on extremely demanding and difficult stages of Rally Turkey. Result? The first victory of Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak in the WRC-2!
At the beginning of October the Polish crew faced another challenge, in Rally Wales GB. Kajetanowicz started this event for the first time in his career and although his fight for another top position was over with a car failure, he was able to gain plenty of valuable experience. The season finished in sunny Catalunya, where the LOTOS Rally Team scored another podium – their fifth that year. Big haul of points for third position meant that Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak moved into second place in the standings. It was the last point-scoring event for them, as the crews can score in seven rallies, as per WRC-2 rules.
The LOTOS Rally Team finished their 2019 World Rally Championship season with five podiums and one victory in seven rallies. Over 1840 competitive kilometres divided into 89 special stages – with 20 stage wins and 52 stage podiums. 28 days spent in rally cars – and almost 40 with testing included. Almost 21 hours of intensive, extremely fast driving against the clock, with end results often decided by fractions of seconds.
The 2018 season was a debut year for Kajetanowicz in the World Rally Championship (WRC-2). He took part in four rallies: Italia Sardegna, Deutschland, Turkey and Catalunya de España. He formed a crew with Maciej Szczepaniak – a very experienced co-driver who has over 100 World Rally Championship outings under his belt. The LOTOS Rally Team driver gathered experience in new rallies and recorded nine stage wins, finishing the events in seventh, fifth and fourth (twice) positions. He ended the season with fourth place in Catalunya, defeated only by Skoda and Volkswagen factory crews.
In 2017 he won his third European Rally Championship title. The whole LOTOS Rally Team had to prepare a perfect strategy in order to score the record-breaking third consecutive championship victory. The FIA ERC season consisted of eight rounds and lasted for eight months. The rallies took place in eight different European countries. The competition started in spring, on the volcanic São Miguel Island in the archipelago of the Azores – almost 4.000 kilometres from Poland. Kajetan won four special stages and despite some bad luck – he went off the road during the first leg – he scored his first points of the season for second place in the classification of day two. The next battle took place on tarmac roads of the Rally Islas Canarias, where the LOTOS Rally Team driver won more stages and finished half of the stages with top-three times. More points scored in this event moved him to a top-three position in the overall standings.
At the beginning of June the LOTOS Rally Team enjoyed their great success: Kajetan and Jarek Baran won the legendary Acropolis Rally – round three of the 2017 FIA ERC – for the second time. They recorded fastest times on seven out of 12 special stages and this result meant that they moved into second position in the championship. The next event – Cyprus Rally, run on gravel – confirmed their excellent pace. The Polish duo won three tests, finishing ten stages in top three.
After demanding round all over Europe, the team returned to Poland for round six of the championship: Rajd Rzeszowski. Kajto, supported by massive crowds, finished the rally in magnificent style, scoring another second place and defeating his main championship rival, Bruno Magalhães. He took the championship lead and never looked back, extending his advantage in Barum Rally Zlín and Rally di Roma Capitale. On his debut in the Italian event, he scored an excellent second place, losing just 0.3 seconds to Bryan Bouffier.
The championship battle ended in Latvia, where Kajetanowicz and Baran secured the title already after day one of the Rally Liepāja – as their main rival Bruno Magalhães had to retire. Kajetanowicz finished the year with his fifth consecutive victory in Rajd Barbórka and sixth career win in Aces’ Competition in the centre of Warsaw.
In 2016, Kajetanowicz repeated his success from the previous year, winning the European Rally Championship title for the second time in a row. Kajetanowicz’s team - LOTOS Rally Team also triumphed in the Teams' Championships. The Polish driver had his eyes set on the title from the first round of the season - Rally Islas Canarias, where he outperformed World Rally Championship regular Mads Ostberg, who had completed over a hundred WRC rallies.
In his second outing that season - in Circuit of Ireland - the Pole finished second for the second time in a row. Over the course of the rally, Kajetanowicz turned out to be faster than British Rally Championship regulars and fought with local ace Craig Breen for the win. Kajetanowicz’s fightback to the points’s scoring position was the standout performance of the extremely difficult Acropolis Rally. His fight paid off - he managed to make up 26 positions and remained the leader of the FIA ERC.
During the exotic Rally Acores, Kajetanowicz took the lead from the beginning and despite being hampered by transmission problems later on; he managed to finish on the podium for the second time in a row. Thanks to a streak of solid results in the first half of the season, Kajetanowicz accumulated 92 points, 15 points ahead of his nearest rival.
Kajetanowicz's debut in the WRC came halfway through the season during his home round of series - Rally Poland. This time the three-time winner came in fourth in the highly competitive WRC2 category.
Following his WRC one-off, Kajetanowicz successfully returned to the competition in the FIA ERC, finishing in second place on stunningly quick gravel stages of Rally Estonia. At the beginning of August, the LOTOS Rally Team driver dominated his home round of the championship - Rajd Rzeszowski. Nearly 1100 days since his last race in the event, ‘Kajto’ was in a class of his own, beating both Polish front-runners as well as the four-time rally winner Bryan Bouffier. The championship leader took a commanding win in the Subcarpathia region, winning eight out of 13 special races and scoring 39 out of 39 possible points. During Barum Rally Zlín, Kajetanowicz was set to repeat his brilliant result achieved in the 2015 edition of the event and despite suffering some engine problems, he managed to finish a brilliant second.
Over the course of the season, the Polish driver showed an impressive combination of pace and consistency, winning 29 out of 103 (28%) special stages he started this year. Even more impressively, he finished 71 special stages in top three (69%).
The same year Kajetanowicz was awarded the Fair-Play award by the Polish Olympic Committee for the sportsmanship he presented during Barum Rally Zlín. The Pole noticed that a fellow competitor suffered a serious looking accident that was overlooked by others who passed by. Kajetanowicz sacrificed his stage time and stopped by the crashed car to check if the driver and co-driver were all right.
In 2015, Kajetanowicz won the FIA ERC crown for the first time. He started his route with a commanding win in the Janner Rally where he crushed the opposition. He also showed good pace a month later, during - held in the wintertime - Rally Liepāja-Ventspils in Latvia. In his debut in Circuit of Ireland, he finished second, only behind local ace Craig Breen. In May, the Polish driver secured a podium finish in Rally Acores. An important point in the season was Kajetanowicz’s impressive debut on fast gravel stages of Rally Estonia.
Kajetanowicz started the second part of the season on a high rise, with third place in the Barum Rally Zlín, an event that traditionally has the strongest entry list of the season. The last two rallies of the season turned out to be a triumphant knockout - first on the twisty routes of Cyprus and then at the iconic Acropolis Rally - that sealed the FIA ERC title for Kajetanowicz and his co-driver Jarek Baran. The LOTOS Rally Team duo secured the biggest success of their career, showing style and pace that left spectators worldwide highly impressed.
Kajetanowicz and Baran impressed especially with efficiency - the Poles won valuable points in every single rally. Moreover, they have finished as many as seven of eight rounds of the Championships on the podium, three of which - Janner Rally, Cyprus Rally and Acropolis Rally - have won.
Kajetanowicz and Baran are only the third Poles to win the FIA ERC. Kajetanowicz’s success is a link to other historic triumphs of great Polish rally drivers, that is Sobieslaw Zasada’s three titles in the 60s and 70s as well as the sole title won by Krzysztof Hołowczyc in 1997. At the end of 2015, Kajetanowicz reached his third career triumph in the prestigious Warsaw Barbórka Rally and won the legendary Criterion of Aces (Kryterium Asów) held on Karowa Street in the heart of the Polish capital.
In 2014, Kajetanowicz competed in the FIA ERC for the first time with a broader program, having competed in eight rounds of the series. The LOTOS Rally Team driver collected 100 points and finished fourth in the overall standings. Seven of eight rounds of the series were new to Kajetanowicz, who proved his skills, winning 13 special stages, finishing in the top three of 41 stages, and standing on the podium on three occasions. Thanks to his impressive performance in Cyprus Rally Kajetanowicz landed the Colin McRae Flat Out Trophy - an award given for speed and determined display. In addition, Kajetanowicz won the FIA ERC Gravel Masters title for the best driver in rallies held on loose road surfaces.
Between 2010 and 2013, Kajetanowicz won the Polish Rally Championship title four times in a row. In 2013, the LOTOS Rally Team driver won all the rounds he competed in, including: Rajd Świdnicki, Rajd Karkonoski, Rajd Wisły, Rajd Rzeszowski, Ralis Kauno Ruduo in Lithuania and finally Rally Poland, with the latter one being also a round of the FIA ERC. Kajetanowicz finished 2013 on a high with a triumph in the Warsaw Barbórka Rally and the prestigious Criterion of Aces. Twice in a row - in the 2010 and 2011- he won Rally Poland, which has not been done in almost 90 years. He managed to repeat this success in 2013, winning the most prestigious rally in his homeland for the third time in this career in an impressive style that earned him his first Colin McRae Flat Out Trophy.
As early as in 2008, Kajetanowicz secured his first major success, becoming vice-champion in the Polish Rally Championship and a champion in group N. Only two years later, he won his first, out of four, Polish Championship titles. The achievements in the domestic championship, plus his two European Rally Championship titles, speak for themselves, making Kajetanowicz the most successful Polish rally driver of current generation.
Kajetanowicz also worked as an instructor in a driving school for several years, promoting safety and successfully encouraging people to improve their driving skills.