(28.06.2024) Benefiting from a good road position, Andreas Mikkelsen and Torstein Eriksen (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid) made the best start to the ORLEN 80th Rally Poland, the seventh round of the world championship, and have already built up a lead of 7,4 seconds.

Three special stages were scheduled for Friday morning – Stańczyki (29.4 km), as well as the Wieliczki (12.9 km) and Olecko (13.2 km) tests. However, only two of the three scheduled stages were held. The Wieliczki special stage was interrupted and then cancelled due to the failure of unruly fans to comply with safety rules.

It were Mikkelsen and Eriksen who shone during opening loop. The Hyundai crew were eighth on the road, so the roads had already been ‘swept’ of loose gravel and sand by the competitors who run before them. This gave them better grip, which they used effectively. Before the midday tyre fitting zone, they already have a 7.4s lead over the duo of Martins Sesks and Renars Francis (Ford Puma Rally1).

The Latvians, who are the only ones driving a Rally1 car without a hybrid system, were the biggest sensation of the morning loop. Making their maiden outing in Rally1 machinery, they clocked second fastest time on the Stańczyki special stage, just 0.3 s behind the winners. Kalle Rovanpera and Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid) finished third on the Stanczyki stage. The Finns lost 7.6 s to the first place.

On the longest stage of the ORLEN 80th Rally Poland, drama ensued for Tanak and Martin Jarveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid). The contenders for victory collided with a deer, severely damaging the front of the car. They had to withdraw from today’s competition.

Mikkelsen and Eriksen also won the Olecko special stage. Gregoire Munster and Louis Louka (Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid) were second on that test, driving 3.1s slower than Norwegians. Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid) took third place, losing 4.1 s to the stage winners.

After morning loop of stages Mikkelsen leads the rally, followed by Sesks (+7.4 s), Evans (+11.9 s), Rovanpera (14.2 s) and Formaux (+15.1 s).

In the Rally2 category it is the Finnish duo Sami Pajari/Enni Malkonen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2) who top the leaderboard. They are chased by Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak (Skoda Fabia RS Rally2), who hold second place (+4.7s). Nikolay Gryazin and Konstantin Aleksandrov (Citroen C3 Rally2, +11.3 s) are third.

In the Rally3 category, Jakub Matulka and Daniel Dymurski (Ford Fiesta Rally3) lead with a healthy margin (18,2 s).

ORLEN 80th Rally Poland – standings after SS4:

1. Mikkelsen/Eriksen (NOR/NOR, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid) +30:03,2 s
2. Sesks/Renars (LVA/LVA, Ford Puma Rally1) +7,4 s
3. Evans/Martin (GBR/GBR, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid) +11,9 s
4. Rovanpera/Halttunen (FIN/FIN, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid) +14,2 s
5. Formaux/Coria (FRA/FRA, Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid) +15,1 s
6. Munster/Louka (LUX/BEL, Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid) +15,9 s
7. Neuville/Wydaeghe (BEL/BEL, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid) +32,2 s
8. Katsuta/Johnston (JPN/IRL, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid) +38 s
9. Pajari/Malkonen (FIN/FIN, Toyota GR Yaris Rally2) +1:17,3 s
10. Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (POL/POL, Skoda Fabia RS Rally2) +1:22,0 s
16. Marczyk/Gospodarczyk (POL/POL, Skoda Fabia RS Rally2) +1:39,5 s
25. Kołtun/Pleskot (POL/POL, Skoda Fabia RS Rally2) +3:03,5 s
27. Matulka/Dymurski (POL/POL, Ford Fiesta Rally3) +3:18,9 s

ORLEN 80th Rally Poland – leg one itinerary

Friday, 28th of June 2024 (7 special stages, 113,5 km in total):

  • 8:45 SS 2 – Stańczyki 1 (29,4 km)
  • 10:20 SS 3 – Wieliczki 1 (12,9 km)
  • 11:10 SS 4 – Olecko 1 (13,2 km)
  • 12:40 Tyre fitting zone – 15 mins. (Olecko)
  • 14:05 SS 5 – Stańczyki 2 (29,4 km)
  • 15:40 SS 6 – Wieliczki 2 (12,9 km)
  • 16:30 SS 7 – Olecko 2 (13,2 km)
  • 19:00 SS 8 – Mikołajki Arena 2 (2,5 km)
  • 19:30 Service A – 45 mins. (Mikołajki, Hotel Gołębiewski)
  • 20:00 Meet the Crews (service park, Mikołajki, Hotel Gołębiewski)
  • 20:00 Rally Party (Rally Fan Park, Mikołajki Arena)