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Updated: 52 min 27 sec ago

ERC Junior U28: Title contenders locked in mega Poland battle

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 18:22

Nikolay Gryazin has streaked into the lead of the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 category on PZM Rally Poland, though all eyes are on a mammoth scrap between fellow title contenders Chris Ingram and Fabian Kreim.

While Sports Racing Technologies racer Gryazin showed his senior counterparts the way by leading overall, thus leading ERC Junior U28 in the process, Toksport WRT’s Ingram and ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland young talent Kreim spent all day trading a handful of seconds from stage to stage.

Ingram spent much of the morning loop fending off Kreim and, despite a mid-afternoon resurgence from the ERC Junior U28 championship leader, Kreim’s brief return to second place wouldn’t last, Ingram retaking the place on Saturday’s penultimate stage and finishing leg one with 1.7s in hand.

Like Ingram, Łukasz Pieniążek graduated to R5s from ERC Junior Under 27, so unsurprisingly looked set to mix in with Ingram and Kreim’s podium battle. His rally ended before it had even truly kicked off, however, planting his Fabia into a tree only 400 metres into Świętajno.

Not only was Printsport driver Pieniążek forced to retire but the damage sustained was severe enough to rule out a return on Sunday under Rally2 regulations, curtailing his home rally early.

Instead, the role of best home runner fell to ŠKODA Polska Motorsport’s Miko Marczyk, whose combined gravel experience before this event amounts to less than the competitive distance of PZM Rally Poland itself.

Despite his inexperience – starting his rallying a little over two years ago – Marczyk remains within touching distance of a podium, 24.5s behind Kreim in fourth.

Filip Mareš also overcame an experience deficit to end leg one in fifth, despite never competing on gravel in an R5 car before this weekend. He demoted Tomasz Kasperczyk to sixth, who had lost over half a minute by hitting a tree on Świętajno. This allowed the Czech federation-backed Mareš to swoop in one stage later, ending Saturday with a 3.3s advantage over Kasperczyk.

PEUGEOT Rally Academy protégé Laurent Pellier had been fighting with Marczyk and Kasperczyk for fourth place during the morning loop, until a collision with a hay bale on stage six broke his radiator and forced him to retire.

The post ERC Junior U28: Title contenders locked in mega Poland battle appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Day report: ERC Junior star Gryazin on top, Huttunen closing

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 17:58

Nikolay Gryazin continued to demonstrate the talent of the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 field by leading the overall European championship order on PZM Rally Poland after leg one, though former ERC Junior Jari Huttunen has begun to close in.

Twenty-year-old Gryazin, in a Pirelli-equipped Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5, has led since stage two this morning but two stage wins at the end of leg one allowed Huttunen (BRC Racing Team Hyundai i20 R5) to recoup 3.1s, the pair now separated by only 11.0s with six stages still remaining on Sunday.

“It was difficult and on the last stages we couldn't push because I'm focused on winning ERC Junior U28,” said Gryazin. “Maybe our pace will be enough but I'm not sure. Maybe Jari Huttunen will try to push but for us, we need to have a good position in this rally and Rally Liepāja for the championship.”

Huttunen’s speed, despite not taking part in any pre-event testing, is not a great surprise, using his experience as a title contender in ERC Junior Under 27 last year to great effect.

His former ERC Junior U27 team-mate Chris Ingram is third overall and locked in a tight battle with ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland’s Fabian Kreim. Though he briefly fell behind mid-afternoon, Ingram swiftly regained second in ERC Junior U28 from Kreim on the rerun of Stare Juchy. The pair are separated by a mere 1.7s.

Miko Marczyk continued the ERC Junior U28 dominance on PZM Rally Poland, making it four ERC Juniors in the overall top five and also finishing leg one fourth in ERC Junior U28 and leading the Polish championship.

Despite having less gravel experience under his belt than the competitive distance of this event alone, Marczyk held his own, ending leg one ahead of past Polish champions Grzegorz Grzyb (Rufa Sport) and Łukasz Habaj (eSky Rally Team) in sixth and seventh respectively.

The Polish trio had been swapping places all afternoon, though ŠKODA Polska Motorsport driver Marczyk can take comfort from all of Grzyb’s attentions being on securing his Polish crown.

Autoklub of Czech Republic-backed Filip Mareš moved into eighth place overall and fifth in ERC Junior U28 late on, taking advantage of a mistake by Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team’s Tomasz Kasperczyk. The Pole glanced a tree on stage eight, dropping half a minute and allowing Mareš to swoop in, demoting him to ninth.

Despite a quick trip off-road in the opening stage Norbert Herczig completes the top 10, driving his MOL Racing Team ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Aside from a wide moment in the opening test which damaged his rear bumper, Marcin Słobodzian had a successful day aboard his Subaru Poland Rally Team-prepared Impreza STi, and leading the ERC2 production category.

Leg one recap: Juniors thrill as Lukyanuk spills
PZM 75th Rally Poland kicked off under the low dusk lighting of Mikołajki on Friday night with plenty of sensational sideways action. Qualifying Stage winner Lukyanuk took the initiative by winning the opening superspecial. That lead didn’t last long, as ERC Junior Under 28 frontrunner Gryazin moved straight into the lead first thing on Saturday morning with victory on stage two. Nobert Herczig meanwhile showed it wasn’t just his car that featured flashes of green but his fingers too, having a venture off-road and losing a few seconds with a trip through someone’s garden.

Stage three reminded the field how narrow the margins on PZM Rally Poland’s ultra-fast roads can be, with two leading contenders both striking trees and ending their respective days early.

Oversteering entering a fast left, ERC champion-elect Alexey Lukyanuk ended up off-line over the following jump, landing wide and whacking the right rear of his Russian Performance Motorsport Ford Fiesta off a tree and retiring. That came only moments after another podium contender fell by the wayside, as ERC Junior U27 graduate Łukasz Pieniążek struck an entirely different tree 400 metres into the Świętajno test. Unfortunately for Pieniążek, his car was so badly damaged by the impact he won’t be returning under Rally2 for leg two.

The subsequent shakeup was immediate. Jari Huttunen moved to a second place he would hold for the rest of leg one, while Chris Ingram’s successful overhauling of ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland junior Fabian Kreim took him from sixth straight to third. Fellow ERC Junior U28 Miko Marczyk showed pace beyond his experience, jumping straight from eighth to fifth despite having less than 200 kilometres of gravel running under his belt before this weekend.

Stare Juchy’s first pass was the beginning of the end for Dariusz Poloński, a regular in ERC3 last season. A fuel pump failure stopped him for nearly four minutes and, though he would manage to crawl through the next test and reach midday service, he would go no further on Saturday.

Ingram was in awe of the breakneck speeds PZM Rally Poland offers its competitors. He needed equally fast reactions on stage five, a deer spectacularly leaping over the bonnet of his Toksport WRT Fabia while pushing to keep ERC Junior U28 championship rival Kreim behind him.

After midday service one of Ingram and Kreim’s rivals was eliminated by a foreign object, though thankfully an inanimate one this time. Getting tail-happy on Paprotki’s Tarmac section and striking a hay bale, PEUGEOT Rally Academy’s Laurent Pellier irreparably damaged the radiator on his 208 T16, bowing out of ninth place overall.

Świętajno’s afternoon run took no scalps this time around but still gave ERC crews plenty of near misses. Ingram’s Toksport WRT team-mate Orhan Avcioğlu skated wide at a tight right hander, then moments later brushed one of Świętajno’s now infamous trees. Polish ERC Junior U28 contender Tomasz Kasperczyk meanwhile went one step further, going nose first into a tree with his Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team Fiesta and losing half a minute.

With Lukyanuk out of the picture, Gryazin had gone on a stage-winning spree, remaining unbeaten all the way until stage eight. Huttunen had tied the ERC Junior U28 star for fastest time on stage five but finally took centre stage himself, eating 1.5s into the younger Russian rocket’s lead with a stage victory of his own.

Huttunen repeated the feat again to finish the day, winning the leg-closing Mikolajki MAX test 1.6s up on Gryazin, while behind Grzyb snatched away sixth place Habaj at the very end.

With Pirelli-supported ERC Junior Under 27 Championship leader Mārtiņš Sesks crashing out, it's his fellow ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team driver Tom Kristensson who leads the category, 20.2.s up on Rally Team Spain's Efrén Llarena.

The post Day report: ERC Junior star Gryazin on top, Huttunen closing appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior graduate Huttunen takes first outright stage win in Poland

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 16:18

FIA ERC Junior Under 27 graduate Jari Huttunen has scooped his first outright overall stage victory in the FIA European Rally Championship, winning stage eight of PZM Rally Poland.

Hyundai factory development driver Huttunen, who was a title contender in ERC Junior U27 last year, shared a stage win with current rally leader Nikolay Gryazin on stage five earlier this morning.

On the 13.31 kilometres of Stare Juchy’s afternoon pass, Huttunen went a step further, setting the outright fastest time by 1.5s from Gryazin.

Huttunen’s performance was all the more astounding given he did not take part in any pre-event testing like most of his rivals.

Thanks to his first standalone stage victory Huttunen has finally made inroads on the Sports Racing Technology driver, reducing the lead gap to 12.5s.

The post ERC Junior graduate Huttunen takes first outright stage win in Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior U28 prodigy Pellier retires after Poland smash

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 14:06

PEUGEOT Rally Academy talent Laurent Pellier is the latest FIA European Rally Championship contender to be caught out by PZM Rally Poland’s tricky roads, a crash on stage six forcing his retirement.

Pellier had been in the the thick of a fight for fourth place in ERC Junior Under 28 with Polish rivals Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport) and Tomasz Kasperczyk (Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team) but hit a hay bale midway through Paprotki.

“On the tarmac section I lost the rear and we hit a straw bale. The radiator couldn't resist the impact with the bale, so we had to stay on the stage to try and repair it. But it's not sufficient to continue,” explained Pellier.

“I'm sorry for the team but I don't know what happened really. If I had not hit this straw bale it would have been OK for us.”

His retirement promotes Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) to sixth place in ERC Junior U28, who is undertaking his first gravel rally with an R5-specification car this weekend.

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Kristensson and Llarena duel for ERC Junior U28 lead in Poland

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:50

Tom Kristensson and Efrén Llarena are duelling for first place in FIA ERC Junior Under 27 on PZM Rally Poland, after championship leader Mārtiņš Sesks rolled out of the lead this morning.

ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team star Sesks began his march towards a potential debut ERC Junior U27 championship title by establishing a 6.1 second lead but found his lead charge derailed on stage four.

Hitting one of the deep ruts which line the soft gravel stages, Sesks rolled his car over, eventually resuming and dropping over 17 minutes by the finish line of Stare Juchy. Sesks drove straight back to service and retired afterwards, such was the extent of damage sustained. He will restart tomorrow.

Team-mate Kristensson has since set the pace, winning stages three, four and five to establish a 15.2s advantage at the head of the field over Rally Team Spain prodigy Llarena.

Miika Hokkanen turned in a solid performance to complete the podium places, 32.4s behind Kristensson in third.

Stage five was halted due to a crash for debutatnt Kacper Wróblewski, who had earlier moved into fourth when nearest rival Sebastian Johansson crashed out in the same stage as Sesks.

His retirement hands Mattia Vita fourth place, despite hitting a tree midway through Świętajno – the same stage which had caught out ERC championship leader Alexey Lukyanuk. Saintéloc junior Catie Munnings moves into the top five, while also securing her lead in the ERC Ladies’ Trophy.

Dominik Brož is back in action after his stage one retirement on Friday, well behind after a 10 minute penalty but still safely in sixth position.

The post Kristensson and Llarena duel for ERC Junior U28 lead in Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Gryazin leads dominant ERC Juniors in Poland

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:22

Nikolay Gryazin leads RZM Rally Poland both in the overall FIA European Rally Championship order and in FIA ERC Junior Under 28, with a swathe of young stars in R5 cars dominating the top 10.

Taking four stage wins out of four this morning – the last of which was shared with ERC Junior Under 27 graduate Jari Huttunen – Gryazin had stolen first place away from championship leader Alexey Lukyanyk after the opening Paprotki text.

However, Lukyanuk then crashed out on the next stage, getting his line wrong over a crest and crashing into a tree at high speed. Both Lukyanuk and co-driver Alexey Arnautov were unharmed but his Russian Performance Motorsport Ford Fiesta took heavy right rear damage, forcing him to retire.

Huttunen is now second, 11.1s behind Gryazin. 58.4s in arrears to Huttunen, former team-mate Chris Ingram completes the overall podium and holds second in ERC Junior U28.

Ingram moved to third after fellow ERC Junior U27 graduate Łukasz Pieniążek crashed his Printsport ŠKODA Fabia R5 into a different tree on the same stage as Lukyanuk.

Despite being compromised by an early road order position and the gravel sweeping it entailed, ERC Junior U28 points leader Fabian Kreim surged to third place in his class, only 2.6s behind Ingram in fourth overall.

A tight four-way fight amongst local experts emerged for fifth, with former Polish national champion Grzegorz Grzyb currently winning that battle for Rufa Sport.

Though briefly dropping behind two of his compatriots on stage three, Grzyb is still 4.5s ahead of ERC Junior U28 hotshot Miko Marczyk in sixth overall, making his ERC debut with ŠKODA Polska Motorsport. That also gives him fourth in ERC Junior U28.

eSky Rally Team’s Łukasz Habaj is only 1.7s behind Marczyk in seventh, with Tomasz Kasperczyk a further 7.2s behind in eighth.

Laurent Pellier had a dramatic nose-heavy jump mid-morning but survived to tell the tale, bringing his PEUGEOT Rally Academy 208 T16 to midday service 9.3s behind Kasperczyk in ninth, good enough for fifth in ERC Junior U28.

On his gravel debut in R5 machinery, ACCR Czech Rally Team driver Filip Mareš is tenth overall and sixth in ERC Junior U28, still within touching distance of Pellier.

Dariusz Poloński’s switch from R2 to R5s in ERC did not go to plan, a fuel pressure problem costing him nearly four minutes on Stare Juchy and sending him outside the top 20.

The post Gryazin leads dominant ERC Juniors in Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Lukyanuk explains Poland ERC crash

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 11:23

Alexey Lukyanuk has spoken about the crash that put him out of PZM Rally Poland this morning, while co-driver Alexey Arnautov has confirmed they will not be restarting the FIA European Rally Championship counter due to damage sustained to their Ford Fiesta R5.

Lukyanuk was second overall, 0.6s behind Nikolay Gryazin, when he hit trouble on stage three, striking a tree and damaging the right-rear corner of his Russian Performance Motorsport entry.

He said: “Something went wrong before the jump, the speed was not too high but before the jump the car reacted too good to my steering input and we had too much slide. I understood I could touch the inside of the corner so I had to straighten up the car a bit and we jumped straight on this crest and unfortunately we landed too far from the proper line. It’s more like driving mistake than speed.

“The feeling is not so good, probably I did not get used to the car so well and probably I did not expect it to react so sharp to my steering input or maybe it was some bad sand in the road what made us slide too much before. It was some unexpected thing, too bad but we are fine, what can we do?”

Click here to watch the helicopter footage of the crash.

The post Lukyanuk explains Poland ERC crash appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC Junior U27 wide open in Poland after Sesks rollover

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 11:21

FIA ERC Junior Under 27 championship leader Mārtiņš Sesks has dropped from first to last on RZM Rally Poland after rolling over, while Sebastian Johansson is also out.

ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team talent Sesks held a narrow 6.1 second lead over team-mate Tom Kristensson but crashed on the Saturday morning pass of Stare Juchy, only 1.5 kilometres shy of the finish.

Sesks hit the ruts which feature heavily in Poland’s gravel stages, causing him to roll. His Opel ADAM R2 partially blocked the road for those behind and, despite looking like he’d be forced to retire on the spot, arrived at stage end after a delay of over 17 minutes.

However, his car is heavily damaged, throwing his ability to continue on to the next stage into question. There is one stage remaining of Saturday's morning loop before midday service, and should Sesks be unable to reach it under his own power, will be forced to retire.

This presents a golden opportunity to both Kristensson and Rally Team Spain’s Efren Llarena, both of whom are looking for their first Junior U27 victory. They currently hold first and second place respectively, separated by 16.1s.

Fellow Opel runner Sebastian Johansson also crashed in the same stage, with both he and co-driver Jesper Elfver escaping unharmed. They had been holding off ERC Junior U27 debutant Kacper Wróblewski for fifth place before crashing out.

The post ERC Junior U27 wide open in Poland after Sesks rollover appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC drama as Lukyanuk crashes out of PZM Rally Poland!

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 09:52

PZM Rally Poland has taken an early dramatic turn, as FIA European Rally Championship points leader Alexey Lukyanuk has crashed out on the Świętajno stage.

Russian Performance Motorsport driver Lukyanuk suffered severe right rear contact damage to his Ford Fiesta R5 only 2.18 kilometres into the third stage of the rally.

His high-impact crash has caused severe damage to his suspension and right rear wheel, though both Lukyanuk and co-driver Alexey Arnautov escape their accident unscathed.

Lukyanuk had been battling for first with FIA ERC Junior Under 28 leader Nikolay Gryazin, who now holds a 9.7s lead over ERC Junior Under 27 graduate Jari Huttunen in second place.

Combined with Printsport’s Łukasz Pieniążek crashing out of fourth place in the same stage – hitting a tree at a hairpin after only 400 metres – ERC Junior U28s are now locking out the rest of the top five places.

Chris Ingram is now third, 36.5s behind Gryazin. He has Junior U28 championship leader Fabian Kreim close behind in fourth, 3.9s behind, while ŠKODA Polska Motorsport young talent Miko Marczyk is fifth.

The post ERC drama as Lukyanuk crashes out of PZM Rally Poland! appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Pieniążek prang eliminates ERC Junior home hero in Poland

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 09:24

Łukasz Pieniążek’s return to the FIA European Rally Championship has come to an abrupt halt on stage three of PZM Rally Poland, crashing into a tree and retiring.

FIA ERC Junior Under 28 competitor Pieniążek crashed his Printsport-run ŠKODA Fabia R5 only 400 metres into Saturday’s second stage, striking a tree on the inside of a slow left hairpin.

Pieniążek had started his home ERC event strongly, the Polish driver running fourth after stage two despite a less than favourable road order position.

The ERC Junior Under 27 graduate had hoped to compete for overall honours on his third Rally Poland appearance, having finished sixth and P11 in class during the previous two years as a world championship event.

He has tasted ERC success in the past, winning the Circuit of Ireland and finishing second on Barum Czech Rally Zlín in the ERC Junior category during his 2016 campaign.

The post Pieniążek prang eliminates ERC Junior home hero in Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Poloński goes from R2 to R5 in the ERC

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 09:00

Dariusz Poloński is using experience gained competing in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 division in 2017 for his step up to R5 power for this season.

Poloński is contesting the Polish championship in a Rallytechnology-run Ford Fiesta R5. But with PZM Rally Poland doubling as a round of the ERC, Poloński has the opportunity to compare his progress against international competition.

“We had a very difficult start of the season because we had some technical problems and then we didn’t finish another rally because of a crash,” Poloński explained.

“This is only our second gravel rally in this car but we are two weeks after the last Polish round on gravel so we feel the gravel I hope and we have great fun with the car. There is still a lot to do with the pace but once we catch the point we start to speed up and it’s much better now.”

He continued: “This is the last rally of the Polish championship, we still can catch the third place in the championship and for sure we go as fast as possible. We have some great lessons [to learn] because there are a lot of fast drivers [on this rally].”

Poloński reached the overnight halt in Mikołajki last night languishing in P27 after front-left driveshaft failure left his Fiesta in rear-wheel drive only. He has vowed to fight back on day two.

The post Poloński goes from R2 to R5 in the ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

ERC stars support FIA Action for Road Safety campaign

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 08:00

Leading drivers from the FIA European Rally Championship have leant their support to the FIA Action for Road Safety campaign.

Ahead of PZM Rally Poland getting underway on Friday, they gathered in Mikołajki’s town square for a photocall.

Click here for more information on FIA Action for Road Safety.

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New car makes for a happy Habaj in ERC

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 07:00

Łukasz Habaj is relishing life as a ŠKODA Fabia R5 driver in the FIA European Rally Championship.

Habaj, a former Polish champion, switched from his familiar Ford Fiesta R5 earlier this month with his home round of the ERC – PZM Rally Poland – marking his second appearance in the Czech machine, which is being run by Sports Racing Technologies from Latvia.

“Every time I’m getting in to this car it makes me very happy,” said Habaj, who is running sixth on the road on leg one.

The post New car makes for a happy Habaj in ERC appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Listen to PZM Rally Poland live on ERC Radio

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 06:00

ERC Radio’s live coverage of PZM Rally Poland, the penultimate event of the FIA European Rally Championship season, continues today.

On-air from 07h15 local time, ERC Radio’s coverage includes live reporting by Julian Porter and Chris Rawes from all stage stop lines, plus all the action and reaction.

ERC Radio is available at FIAERC.com or via the ERC app.

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ERC Q&A: Krzysztof Hołowczyc

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 21:00

He claimed the coveted FIA European Rally Championship 21 years ago and is on duty as the course-opening zero car this weekend. The Polish legend shares some of his memories and gives his views on all things Rally Poland, an event he has won three times in the past.

What do you make of Rally Poland as it is today? It's a very different rally to the one you used to compete on…
“Since day one Rally Poland has had high ambitions. For years it had functioned well in Lower Silesia. When we moved the rally to Mikołajki, safety became a factor. Everyone is aware that special stages in Lower Silesia are very difficult and very dangerous, the idea was to move the rally and teach us, Poles, how to drive on gravel. There was not many gravel [rallies back then]. All of a sudden it turned out that we can go really far and a chance that this kind of rally is needed for World Rally Championship. For every one that was something unbelievable. One-two rallied, then we were a pretender and then it turned out that we got it and that was a crazy time.

“In terms of organisation, I think this rally has evolved a lot, step by step. You'll never make a rally 100 per cent safe, we're all aware of that, but I can say that our organisers do everything they can to do so. Unfortunately, the budget is one of the elements. The greater it is, the more you can do. I can assure you, as far as organisation, logistics are concerned, it's a splendid rally. A massive hotel that provides room for everyone, greatly prepared and maintained special stages. I'm convinced that this rally is unique. You have to ask the big ones in rallying... Ogier, Loeb, they all say "well done, Hołek". I was heavily involved in that. When they came for the first time, it turned out that we're in a great place and that we're in Europe.”

Tell us some of your best memories both from the Rally Poland here in the Masurian Lake District, and the one held in the Lower Silesia?
“Well... I managed to win both. I have great fondness for Lower Silesia because the emotions were great and that was the beginning for me. Here, I feel more at home, on my home soil. When I touch it, I have this feeling that l I know how much grip it will give me. Here I had an advantage from the beginning. My heart is here at Mikołajki, I really like this city, and it’s a very special place. It's very tourist-oriented but at the same time, you drive out of it a little and you're in the middle of nowhere, something that we need for special stages.

“Speaking of great memories... there were moments, like when none of us [Polish drivers] could even reach the podium of the rally for 20 years and then we won it [in 1996], fighting with [Dieter] Depping with for life till the last special stage, on the verge of madness. That win was a milestone. After we won the European Rally Championship title and everything became easier. The interest in rallying was at national level in Poland, as marketing people would call it. Everyone was into it, following us and wondering if "Hołek" and "Wiślak" will clinch the title.  It's an unforgettable moment for me when we won the title that's also linked to Rally Poland.”

What was the best rivalry you had on Rally Poland? Was it with Depping?
“That one was a beautiful fight. After that, here we had a great fight with [Oscar] Svedlund [in 2007]. It was another fight for life when we left everyone else far behind. Unfortunately, we lost, we had the win in our pocket, we congratulated each other with my co-driver and all of a sudden we had a puncture. We finished the stage with only a disc break left of the wheel and till we set second-best time.”

 

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ERC King Kajto will be watching on Eurosport

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 19:04

Kajetan Kajetanowicz will be watching on Eurosport when the FIA European Rally Championship visits his native Poland this week.

The record-breaking three-time ERC champion won Rally Poland in 2013, the first victory for an R5 car in the all-action championship.

Having graduated to the world championship for 2018, the LOTOS Rally Team star is preparing for a weekend off following his points-scoring run on Rally Turkey last week, the fifth anniversary of his debut in a Ford Fiesta R5.

“We had the pleasure to win Rally Poland [in 2013], but also to feel the power, hardships and prestige of the FIA European Rally Championship. I always say it, I love this championship. It’s about the people who create the atmosphere, but it’s also a great spectacle.

“Rally Poland is one of the best events to be included in the calendar. It has beautiful, picturesque and bloody fast special stages. They provide a lot of emotions, not only to the competitors but also to the fans. The way they are shown by Eurosport is a quintessence of perfection. I'm going to follow the action there myself.”

Eurosport will broadcast daily highlights of the event from Saturday. Check local listings for details.

Kajetan Kajetanowicz's Rally Poland results:
2006: 9
2007: 36
2008: 5
2010: 1
2011: 1
2012: 4
2013: 1

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Lukyanuk leads ERC in Poland, Pieniążek pips Gryazin in U28

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 18:23

Alexey Lukyanuk followed up his FIA European Rally Championship Qualifying Stage win on PZM Rally Poland with the fastest time on stage one.

Russian Performance Motorsport pilot Lukyanuk was paired with MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig as the final ERC cars through the Mikołajki Arena superspecial, putting on a grandstand finish by going first and second. Herczig was only 0.8s off championship leader Lukyanuk’s lightning pace.

A further 0.2s behind, Łukasz Pieniążek edged out Nikolay Gryazin for first in FIA ERC Junior Under 28 by less than half a second, also going third fastest amongst the R5 contingent. Splitting the pair overall, FIA ERC Junior Under 27 graduate and Hyundai development driver Jari Huttunen was fourth, 1.1s behind Lukyanuk.

Grzegorz Grzyb grabbed sixth with his Rufa Sport-prepared ŠKODA Fabia R5, ahead of another young star in an R5 car, ERC Junior U28 championship leader Fabian Kreim.

ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland driver Kreim led a ERC Junior star lock-out of the remaining top 10 positions overall, with Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport), Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) and Laurent Pellier (PEUGEOT Rally Academy) taking eighth, ninth and P10 respectively being Kreim in seventh.

ERC Junior Under 27 is led by Rally Team Spain’s Efren Llarena, beating ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team pairing Mārtiņš Sesks and Tom Kristensson to fastest time on Friday afternoon. ERC debutant Kacper Wróblewski is fourth, with Mattia Vita completing the top five.

The post Lukyanuk leads ERC in Poland, Pieniążek pips Gryazin in U28 appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Birthday boy Norbi happy with ERC gravel pace in Poland

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 18:00

Norbert Herczig completed the opening day of PZM Rally Poland – his 43rd birthday no less – in second overall following this evening’s Mikołajki Arena stage.

The four-time Hungarian champion was 0.6s adrift of stage winner Alexey Lukyanuk, who is on the verge of claiming his first FIA European Rally Championship crown.

“Today I have my birthday and now after checking the time it’s an even better day,” said the MOL Racing Team driver.

PZM Rally Poland is Herczig’s final scheduled appearance in this debut ERC season. He’s currently a fine third in the standings following podiums in Greece and Cyprus.

“Every rally is an absolutely new challenge but a good one for us,” said Herczig. “It's a beautiful area and the stages are perfect for us. Earlier, in our country, I rallied more routinely on asphalt. Our country has more rallies on Tarmac but, independently of this, I prefer gravel. This year, we've done more mileage driving on gravel and I hope next year we'll be able to drive faster.”

The post Birthday boy Norbi happy with ERC gravel pace in Poland appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Double trouble for ERC Junior Brož after Poland retirement

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 17:36

Autoklub of Czech Republic-backed FIA ERC Junior Under 27 talent Dominik Brož suffered a devastating start to PZM Rally Poland, retiring on the opening stage for a second consecutive ERC rally.

Brož retired from the opening test on Barum Czech Rally Zlín after crashing out but this time was halted by a technical problem, grinding to a standstill only one kilometre into the Mikołajki Arena superspecial.

As Saturday’s eight stages are a continuation of leg one, which began with Friday afternoon’s superspecial, Brož will not be able to resume his rally until Sunday, should he return to action under Rally2 rules.

ERC Junior Under 27 is led by Rally Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena after stage one, establishing a 0.7s advantage over Mārtiņš Sesks aboard his PEUGEOT 208 R2.

“I was a bit safe with tyres and made a few mistakes with shifting gears. The real fight starts tomorrow anyway,” said Sesks.

Sesks’ ADAC Opel Rallye Junior team-mate Tom Kristensson is third, 1.9s behind Llarena.

The post Double trouble for ERC Junior Brož after Poland retirement appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Nobre picks first place for Poland’s Saturday ERC stages

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 15:14

Brazilian driver Paulo Nobre will lead the FIA European Rally Championship field into Saturday’s stages on PZM Rally Poland, starting first on the road aboard his Palmeirinha Rally ŠKODA Fabia R5.

Friday morning’s Qualifying  Stage set the selection order for road picking, with the top 15 fastest drivers effectively running in reverse due to their choices.

Alexey Lukyanuk, therefore, starts P15, earning the right to choose first as winner of today’s Qualifying Stage.

“On these gravel roads we need to go as far from the start as possible, so we’ve picked P15,” explained Lukyanuk.

PZM Rally Poland’s roads are covered in a layer of loose gravel before ERC crews descend upon them, meaning those starting out front effectively sweep gravel away and create more grip for those running behind them.

This effect may present a problem for three FIA ERC Junior Under 28 contenders in particular. Championship points leader Fabian Kreim will be fourth car on the road, the ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland driver running wide and losing time during his Qualifying run.

Kreim splits Junior U28 rivals Łukasz Pieniążek (Printsport) and Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team), who will start third and fifth on the road respectively. All three start behind Nobre and Rallytechnology’s Dariusz Poloński.

This hands an advantage to fellow young stars in R5 cars Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport) and Nikolay Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies), who will start P12 and P14 on the road with less loose gravel to clean.

Wedged in between Marczyk and Gryazin is FIA ERC Junior Under 27 graduate Jari Huttunen, the Hyundai development driver choosing P13 as third fastest driver in Qualifying.

The post Nobre picks first place for Poland’s Saturday ERC stages appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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PZM 75. Rajd Polski / PZM 75th Rally Poland

PZM 75. Rajd Polski

Kalendarz 2018

22-24 marca:

Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugalia)

03-05 maja:

Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)

01-03 czerwca:

Acropolis Rally (Grecja)

15-17 czerwca:

Cyprus Rally (Cypr)

20-22 lipca:

Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)

24-26 sierpnia:

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)

21-23 września:

Rajd Polski

12-14 października:

Rally Liepaja (Łotwa)