*Title-winning outfit makes European championship comeback
*Słobodzian to follow Butvilas, Chuchała with ERC2 glory chase
*Having secured national title, young Pole plans even bigger push
The Subaru Poland Rally Team will return to the FIA European Rally Championship on its home event, the PZM 75th Rally Poland, from 21-23 September.
After guiding Dominykas Butvilas to third place in ERC2 in 2015, Wojciech Chuchała went two places better in 2016 with the production championship crown.
Subaru Poland Rally Team then made a one-off ERC appearance with Marcin Słobodzian on Rally Rzeszow last season and will be back in the championship next week with a single-car entry for Słobodzian and co-driver Grzegorz Dachowski.
“Rally Poland for me is the most important rally this season,” said 26-year-old Słobodzian. “I've never been there as a competitor but the stages are well known for many years. I can't wait to try my best on those iconic and very fast roads. We have already won our title in the Polish championship so now we can try to push a little more and have good fun.”
Despite his limited experience on gravel, Słobodzian won his class on the previous Polish championship round – Rally Elektrėnai in Lithuania, which he hopes will give him an edge on Poland’s ERC qualifier.
“I have done only about 600-700 kilometres on gravel in my whole life so most of my rivals are more experienced,” said Słobodzian. “But I feel very good on loose surfaces and, in preparation for Rally Poland, we won our class on Rally Elektrėnai in Lithuania. I hope our pace will be good on the Polish stages too.”
Słobodzian has enjoyed a rapid – and diverse – rise since embarking on his competition career. He won two Polish hillclimb titles before switching to the Renault Clio Central Europe Cup circuit racing series. He started rallying in 2016, competing in a Polish regional cup aboard a Subaru Impreza N14, before joining Subaru Poland Rally Team for 2017 as part of the outfit’s mission to help young drivers.
The battle for this season’s ERC2 title was settled in Tibor Érdi Jr’s favour on the last event, Barum Czech Rally Zlín, after the Hungarian was able to move out of reach of his closest challenger and fellow Mitsubishi Lancer driver, Sergei Remennik from Russia.
Based in Mikołajki in the Mazurian lake district, Rally Poland is back on the ERC schedule for the first time in five years. This season’s event features 15 stages over a competitive distance of 214.29 kilometres.
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