FIA European Rally Championship 2017: Round 5 of 8
Rally Rzeszow, 3-5 August
Luca Rossetti, Toyota Motorsport GmbH
Mads Østberg, Adapta Motorsport
Kajetan Kajetanowicz, LOTOS Rally Team
Grzegorz Grzyb, RUFA Sport
Aleks Zawada, MSZ Racing
Turning to Luca Rossetti and a man who knows all about winning European championship titles with three to his name. Luca, you’ve spent some time developing the Toyota GT86 CS-R3. How is the project going and what’s the objective for this event?
I’m here driving a Toyota GT86. It’s a two-wheel-drive car but it’s a rear-wheel-drive car. It’s really fun to drive. The car has a strong performance and is really enjoyable. Our target is to fight for the first position in two-wheel drive. The car has the potential to be on the front.
Your car is prepared by what was previously Toyota Team Europe but is now Toyota Motorsport GmbH?
That’s correct. The plate number is amazing, KAM, and just this start to make me dream of the past when I was young and following the World Rally Championship. For sure they are a well known and huge team and know how to build a car and in R3 category we see just how good. I feel absolutely confident with the car and them and the work the team is doing. For me to say I am back as an official driver with Toyota is amazing.
Based on what you discovered on the recce, how do the stages fit your car?
I think the stages fit perfectly the car, the problem is the driver because it’s the first time I am here. They are stages I like a lot. They are narrow and fast with a lot of jumps. But you don’t see the corner so it makes a big difference. I am able to use as best as possible my car and as you saw in the qualifying we are quite fast. But the stages are really nice, really amazing.
Turning next to Mads Østberg. Welcome back to the ERC Mads but what brings you to Poland?
Well first of all thank you for the welcome, it’s really nice to be back in the ERC championship. I had my debut last year in Gran Canaria and had a really good experience with the championship, not only as a driver but the principle of the championship with really good PR, really good type of rallies. They are long and very professional but not as heavy and expensive as WRC. I really appreciate this and it’s really great to be back. Also I’m here now in Poland it’s because I like Poland so much. I was here three or four weeks ago for the World Rally Championship and it’s nice to be back. It’s a different rally, a different surface and a different co-driver but I really enjoy to be back here and I am looking forward to the race.
It’s great to have you competing on Rally Rzeszow – any chance of more ERC appearances this year?
Yes, there is always a chance you will see me on a rally because I really enjoy to do rallies. Of course my main focus is always on the world championship but this season is not the full championship for me in the WRC and I also have priorities to other events. For sure I am looking to other Tarmac rallies. This will be the first Tarmac rally I do this year and I am looking to do more as well. I heard there is a rally in Italy, in Rome and I am also hoping to do that rally but it’s not clear yet. I like to look one day ahead so tomorrow it’s race day and that’s all I am thinking now. I hope to be back in the ERC on a later occasion this year.
A private question and I hope you will forgive me. I know you are a family man so how is your son?
He is fine, he’s actually with me on this event. As I said these rallies are a bit smaller and a bit easier for me and I can also give some priority to my family even when I am here competing. That’s why I really enjoy to be here and to have my family here and Mons is doing really well.
Turning to Kajetan Kajetanowicz, your home round of the ERC and with a third title in mind how important is this event for you?
We have just returned from the Qualifying Stage. Plenty of very fast drivers take part in this rally, the temperatures are really high. Up to now I have thought that it was hot in Cyprus but it is a real scorcher here. I am happy that we have a chance to compete in front of the Polish fans. Many quick drivers make this competition even more interesting not only for the spectators but also for us, the competitors. I will do my best to maintain good pace, to enjoy driving like I do it now and to close the gap – at the very least – to the leader.
Turning to the reigning Polish champion Grzegorz Grzyb. How is your first season in the ERC going?
This year we had with Kajetan a big pleasure to compete on Rally Islas Canarias. Kajto was second there as I remember. I haven’t finished unfortunately. We know that it will be very hard to fight for a good position. because of the great teams, super cars and competitors will compete with us. You can say we know the roads and we are from here can be our advantage but it isn’t true. The route is new and for our competitors that is not so important where they are driving – they are very good everywhere. They are professionals. All Polish competitors will fight and do their best. I am very happy I can start with elite of racing drivers. I hope to finish with as good result as I can. Rally Rzeszow is very hard for me because all fans count on me. We don’t like to disappoint them.
Coming finally to Aleks Zawada, just explain the thinking behind the ERC Junior Under 27 catrogry?
I would like to win this rally in my classification. This year I am driving ERC Junior 27. There is the big prize 100,000 euros at the end of the year. Now I am second. I have a great motivation to win! I am the boss of my team, coordinator and the driver at the same time. It shows me rallies at different sides. Kuba Wysocki is my manager. He does a lot when I am on the rallies and not only. He helps me a lot.