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).
Last October 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.