The ERC Co-ordinator looks ahead to the penultimate round of the FIA European Rally Championship, the PZM 75th Rally Poland, which takes place in Mikołajki from 21-23 September.
How pleased are you that Rally Poland or Rajd Polski is returning to the ERC schedule after a gap of five years?
“Very pleased because it’s a great event – the second oldest in the world of course – and it takes place on spectacular stages in a very picturesque part of the country. But we’re also pleased to to be renewing our partnership with the Polski Związek Motorowy and working with new Clerk of the Course Krzysztof Maciejewski for the first time.”
What is the significance of Poland in the ERC?
“The two are very closely linked. Sobiesław Zasada was one of our early champions in the 1960s, while Krzysztof Hołowczyc, a driver and a man that needs no introduction of course, was European champion 21 years ago. We must not forget Kajetan Kajetanowicz, our record-breaking three-time champion and Robert Kubica, whose first FIA international rally was in the ERC in 2013. Finally, Esapekka Lappi scored his breakthrough international victory when he won Rally Poland in 2012, two years before he became ERC champion. Just look at what he has gone on to achieve in the world championship with Toyota.”
Kajetanowicz has now made the step up to the world championship but it’s good to see a number of other Polish drivers still competing regularly in the ERC?
“That’s right, it’s very good to see. Grzegorz Grzyb and Łukasz Habaj are former Polish champions, ERC regulars and podium finishers. We’ve also enjoyed watching Hubert Ptaszek, Tomasz Kasperczyk and Aleks Zawada make good progress in ERC Junior U28.”
What can we expect from the ERC regulars on this year’s PZM Rally Poland?
“We have lots of really exciting young drivers in the two ERC Junior championships all eager to prove their talent, plus benchmarks like Alexey Lukyanuk and national champions such as Norbert Herczig. We should also mention Jari Huttunen and Łukasz Pieniazek, two regulars in the world championship who will be facing strong competition from ERC Junior Under 28 winners like Nikolay Gryazin, Fabian Kreim and Chris Ingram, last year’s ERC Junior U27 champion.”
Apart from the quality stages and organisation, what else are you looking forward to on the 75th Rally Poland?
“I’m very excited to see Miko Marczyk competing for ŠKODA Polska Motorsport. He’s only 22 but recently won his first Polish championship rally and what was his first proper event on gravel. It’s also good to see yet another ŠKODA importer following the examples of Germany and Slovakia by supporting a driver in the ERC. As well as many other drivers, I’ll also be following Marcin Slobodzian, who will be competing in ERC2 with the Subaru Poland Rally Team, which has a strong record in the ERC over the years.”
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