(26.06.2024) Thursday sees the start of competition in the seventh round of this year’s World Rally Championship, the ORLEN 80th Rally Poland. The world’s best rally crews will compete on 19 fast, gravel stages in the Masuria region. The winners of the 80th edition of the legendary rally will be known on Sunday afternoon.

Rally Poland – the second oldest rally in the world – has returned to the calendar of the most important series in the discipline after a seven-year break. Previously, the competition was part of the World Rally Championship in the 1973, 2009 and 2014-2017 seasons. This year, for the first time, Rally1 cars – the highest category of rally cars in the world, which has replaced WRC cars – will be seen on the stages around Mikolajki. Rally1 are purpose-built rally cars with a hybrid powertrain that enables zero-emission driving in open traffic and, when competing on special stages, allows the rally car’s power to be temporarily boosted up to 530 hp.

Contenders ready for fight

Nine crews with Rally1 cars showed up in Mikolajki, where the rally base and service park are located. Hyundai Motorsport has prepared three i20 N Rally1 Hybrids. The first will be driven by Belgians Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe (#11), the current WRC standings leaders. Neuville triumphed in Rally Poland in 2017. The Korean brand is also represented by Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja of Estonia (#8), the world champions of the 2019 season. The third Hyundai will be driven by another winner of the Polish WRC round, Andreas Mikkelsen (co-driver: Torstein Eriksen). The Norwegian (#9) was fastest in Poland in 2016.

After all, the Toyota team has no Rally Poland winners in this year’s lineup. Sebastien Ogier had to withdraw from the fight for a third victory in this event. The eight-time world champion and his co-driver Vincent Landais had a minor accident during the recce, after which the driver was taken to hospital for examination and observation, resulting in resignation from competing in the ORLEN 80th Rally Poland.

The French duo will be replaced by two-time world champions Kalle Rovanpera and Jonne Halttunen (#69). They will debut on the Masurian gravel roads. The GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid Toyotas will also be represented by Brits Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin (#33) and Japanese-Irish duo Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (#18).

The M-Sport team has brought a Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid for the Adrien Formaux/Alexandre Coria (#16) and Gregoire Munster/Luis Louka (#13), while Martins Sesks/Renars Francis (#22) will drive a unique example of the rally Puma without the extra power from the hybrid system. For the Latvians, this will be their debut in a Rally1 class car.

Ten Polish crews

Polish national colours at the ORLEN 80th Rally of Poland will be represented by ten crews, including competitors who have already collected the trophy for victory in Mikołajki. The 26th starting number was given to Kajetan Kajetanowicz, a three-time triumpher of the event. Driver from Ustroń, with co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak, will compete in a Skoda Fabia RS Rally2, a car that can be entered in the WRC2 and WRC2 Challenger categories. An identical rally car was selected by Miko Marczyk and Szymon Gospodarczyk (#38), winners of the 2022 Rally Poland, as well as Michał Solowow and Maciej Baran (#35), a duo that has stood on the podium of this rally three times.

There is a large representation of Polish crews in the RC3 class, designed for competitors in rally cars of the Rally3 category. Among others, Jakub Matulka and Daniel Dymurski (#51, Ford Fiesta Rally3) and Hubert Kowalczyk with Jarosław Hryniuk (#56, Renault Clio Rally3) will compete in this class. A total of ten crews will drive Rally3 rally cars.

The entry list for the ORLEN 80th Rally of Poland features 42 crews from 23 countries, including even countries as distant from Poland as Bolivia, Argentina and Peru.

19 stages, 303 competitive kilometres and 70 fan zones

Competition in the ORLEN 80th Rally Poland starts on Thursday, 27 June. On the opening day of the event, the competitors will drive only one, but a very spectacular stage – the parallel race on the Mikolajki Arena circuit (2.5 km). In addition to the duels between the best crews, fans will be excited to see if the section record – 1:43.9s set in 2015 by Sebastien Ogier – will be broken.

The schedule for Friday features three stages east of Mikolajki. Each of them – Stańczyki (29.4 km), Wieliczki (12.9 km) and Olecko (13.2 km) – will be covered twice. There is no service between the loops, only a tyre-fitting zone in Olecko. The day will end with another visit to the Mikolajki Arena.

On Saturday (29 June), the crews will head north-east again to tackle the stages of Świętajno (18.5 km), Gołdap (19.9 km) and Czarne (22.4 km) twice. Before the service in Mikolajki after first loop, one more battle at the Mikołajki Arena is planned.

In the final day of the ORLEN 80th Rally Poland the competition will move to the west and north of the event base, where two stages will be located – Gmina Mrągowo (20.8 km) and Mikolajki (10.73 km) with the finish at the Mikolajki Arena circuit, next to the service park nearby the Gołębiewski Hotel. The winners of the rally will be known at approximately 14:30 on Sunday, 30 June.

There are 70 fan zones with parking lots and sanitary facilities along the stages, most of them with catering kiosks and screens broadcasting live action. Access to the entire rally route is ticketed, and passes and parking stickers are already on sale. Mikołajki Arena track with stands for 5,000 spectators and new standing zones, as well as the nearby Rally Fan Park, the Finish Area and the Service Park will be the heart of the event. This is also where, from Thursday to Sunday Meet the Crew Q&A sessions with the top drivers will take place.

The leaders from Belgium

Belgians Neuville and Wydaeghe defend the lead in WRC driver and co-driver categories. They have 122 points so far. 18 points back are Tanak and Jarveoja (104 points) and Evans and Martin (104 points). The top five is complemented by Ogier and Landais (92 points) and Formaux and Coria (74 points).

In the ORLEN 80th Rally Poland, as in the other WRC rounds, the crews can score up to 35 points – 18 points for a first place after Saturday’s leg, 7 points for first place in Sunday’s leg and 5 points for the best time on the Wolf Power Stage – the final stage of the rally.

WRC2 points leaders Rossel and Dunand, as well as second-placed Solans and San Juan, chose not to start in Mikolajki. In their absence, Solberg/Edmondson (43 points, Skoda Fabia RS Rally2), Pajari/Malkonen (43 points, Toyota GR Yaris Rally2) and Gryazin/Aleksandrov (40 points, Citroen C3 Rally2) have a chance to take the lead.

Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak are seventh in the WRC2 Challenger classification ahead of the Polish WRC round. The Poles have completed in two rallies this year and have scored 37 points. They are 19 points behind the class leaders.



10:00 Lubiewo/Shakedown
16:20 Autograph session
17:00 Ceremonial Start Main Square
18:05 Meet the Crews
19:05 Super SS-1 Mikołajki Arena

FRIDAY 28.06

08:45 SS-2 Stańczyki 1
10:20 SS-3 Wieliczki 1
11:10 SS-4 Olecko 1
14:05 SS-5 Stańczyki 2
15:40 SS-6 Wieliczki 2
16:30 SS-7 Olecko 2
19:00 Super SS-8 Mikołajki Arena 2
19:30 Service Park Mikołajki
20:00 Meet the Crews
20:00 Rally Party Rally Fan Park Mikołajki Arena


08:30 SS-9 Świętajno 1
09:45 SS-10 Gołdap 1
10:35 SS-11 Czarne 1
13:25 Super SS-12 Mikołajki Arena 3
14:00 Service Park Mikołajki
16:00 SS-13 Świętajno 2
17:15 SS-14 Gołdap 2
18:05 SS-15 Czarne 2
19:00 Rally Party Rally Fan Park Mikołajki Arena
20:55 Service Park Mikołajki
21:15 Meet the Crews

SUNDAY 30.06

09:00 SS-16 Gmina Mrągowo 1
10:05 SS-17 Mikołajki 1
10:30 Regrouping Rally Fan Park Mikołajki Arena
12:20 SS-18 Gmina Mrągowo 2
14:15 SS-19 Mikołajki 2 (Wolf Power Stage)
15:15 Rally finish