*Polish ace aims to become first driver to win three consecutive European crowns
*Long-term alliance with Grupa LOTOS announced
*Full-season campaign in Fiesta R5 co-driven by Jarek Baran
Kajetan Kajetanowicz will aim to go from pacemaker to history-maker when the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship fires up on the Azores Airlines Rallye this week (30 March-1 April).
Co-driven by Jarek Baran, Kajetanowicz has set the pace in the ERC for the last two years and has now signed up to bid for an historic third consecutive European title in his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 on the eve of the 2017 season.
Since the first running of the ERC in 1953, no driver has ever won the prestigious FIA crown more than twice in succession but Kajetanowicz is aiming to do just that by making it three in a row in 2017 with the continued support of Grupa LOTOS, CUBE.ITG and Driving Experience, plus new partner Delphi.
“It will never change,” said Kajetanowicz. “Just the thought of the forthcoming battle makes my heart beat faster. When I was a kid, I loved the scent of petrol, floating in the air during a stopover at a gas station. However, I did not think at that time that many years later I would be able to compete in the European Rally Championship with support of a Polish oil company. Today, fuelled by our partners – led by Grupa LOTOS – we stand up to fight for another title.
“Last season showed that even the fastest ones cannot afford resting on their laurels and they have to work hard in order to maintain their winning streak. This is why I am very proud that I can work with such great partners as Grupa LOTOS, CUBE.ITG and Driving Experience. The fantastic news is that we have a new partner, Delphi. Together we commence a battle for record-breaking triumph and this means a unique challenge for me.
“There are greater demands from some people and this is a huge motivation boost. I am happy that Jarek Baran again will sit alongside me in the rally car. It is great because together we have achieved our biggest career successes. I would like to thank every single member of my team, as they are the biggest part of every success.”
Marcin Jastrzębski, CEO of Grupa LOTOS S.A, said: “I am happy that Grupa LOTOS supplies the best rally crew in Europe with the best fuel, even more so because it is a Polish crew, flying LOTOS colours. I will support our brand ambassadors with much interest, as successful title defence undoubtedly will not be an easy task. Among many different sports, rallying and car racing are the most related to our products, so excellent achievements of LOTOS Rally Team have direct impact on sales of our fuel – but also on road safety, as Kajetan Kajetanowicz is an ambassador of our "Safety Belt Champions” campaign. Who knows how many people have changed their bad habits and how many lives have been saved thanks to his influence.”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “It’s great to welcome Kajto and Grupa LOTOS back to the ERC for what could be a history-making season. Of course Kajto knows only too well that he’ll face some serious competition, particularly from his year-long rival from 2016, Alexey Lukyanuk, but also from the exciting crop of ERC Junior Under 28 drivers. But he also knows he has the talent and can prove it. We can’t wait for the season to start now because it’s going to be one to remember for years to come.”
Kajetanowicz, Baran and the LOTOS Rally Team are set to contest all eight rounds of the ERC in a Ford Fiesta R5.