Kajetan Kajetanowicz, co-driven by Jarek Baran, made history as the first driver in the 64-year history of the FIA European Rally Championship to win the title three seasons in succession. Starting Rally Liepāja with a 24-point advantage over Bruno Magalhães, Kajetanowicz’s championship hat-trick was rubber-stamped when his Portuguese rival unfortunately crashed on the opening leg of the Latvian event.
Can you explain the enormity of your achievement?
“When I started my rally career, 17 years ago, I did not expect how much you can achieve in this sport. Winning the most important titles, flying white and red colours, brings me plenty of joy and satisfaction. Together with our partners – Grupa LOTOS, Delphi, Driving Experience and CUBE.ITG – we have won the European Rally Championship title for the third time in a row.”
How would you summarise the 2017 ERC season?
“It is tough to sum up this season shortly. For sure it was full of emotions and difficult decisions, also dynamic and interesting but with many unexpected moments. Now I know that our initial strategy, aimed at winning the championship, was the best decision of the whole season. We have achieved what our fans were waiting for.”
The season didn’t get off to the best start when you crashed in the Azores, 4000 kilometres from your native Poland of course?
“I won three special stages but then we had an unlucky incident. I returned to the competition the next day and scored some points for second place in leg two. We then got more stage wins on Rally Islas Canarias and finished in the top three.”
And it would get better on the Acropolis Rally in Greece?
“We recorded fastest times on seven out of 12 stages and we moved into second position in the championship. We also won more stages in Cyprus but unfortunately we crashed on the first leg.”
Rally Rzeszow gave you the opportunity to compete in Poland in front of your home fans. How good was that experience?
“We were second supported by a huge home crowd. Second place there gave us the championship lead, which we never relinquished after solid points finishes in Czech Republic and Italy, where we finished in second place, just 0.3s behind Bryan Bouffier.”
What do you put your success this season down to?
“This success is a result of hard work of our incredible LOTOS Rally Team, consisting of over 20 people, together with M-Sport – you are the best in Europe. It’s a very emotional moment for me, in which I am thinking about my family, my nearest and dearest, my friends, fans, partners. Personally or in thoughts – I know that you are with me and I want to thank you very much for that.”
And just how tough is the ERC?
“It’s a unique series. We compete in different countries, on different surfaces and in different conditions. We fight against challenging competitors who demand considerable effort from our side. We have won our third consecutive European Rally Championship title – as the first crew in 64-years history of this series.”