Poland’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz enters his first auto24 Rally Estonia in second place in the ERC, having scored an impressive 103 points from his first four starts. With his sights firmly set on winning the title, fiaerc.com caught up with the LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 driver ahead of this crucial event.
You are one of only four of the top 20 seeded drivers who have never done Rally Estonia before. What do you do to prepare for this event and how do you feel before it?
“The decision to compete in Estonia was made not so long before the event, so we had a lot of work to do. Before you go to the rally you have to believe in your abilities, you need to feel that you are well prepared. Hard work is the only way to build such a confidence. I have done many rallies before, but I feel that Rally Estonia is one of my greatest challenges.”
Will the very fast gravel roads suit your driving style and your Ford Fiesta R5?
“I’ll be in Estonia for the first time, so it will be very difficult to keep the pace I am used to without taking huge risks. Thanks to the organisers we will do a one day test before the event, so I hope we are going to be a bit wiser after that. In Estonia, courage and self-confidence must come together with experience to go flat-out between the trees on some of the fastest stages in the world. It is going to be an exciting event for me!”
How do you maintain concentration and keep pushing to the maximum on such a long stage like the 34.91 kilometre Ristimäe test?
“We had a great test of concentration on the Sete Cidades stage in the Azores. We did almost 30 kilometres in high temperatures, with grip changing from corner to corner and amazing views outside the car. This is a challenge – to focus in such conditions. Many weeks before Azores I have been training hard to keep myself physically fitted, although I know that you can always do more. All this training effort is done to keep my mind used to making instant and accurate decisions, even if it is extremely hot in the car and we are about to push on a 35 kilometre stage.”
How physically demanding will it be to do the Ristimäe twice in two hours?
“I do not know. I have never done it before! Ask me after the first run! Rally drivers work mentally and physically at the same time, so there are many things which affect our fatigue and current form. Anyway our job is to handle this better than our rivals do. That’s just a part of competition.”
Who do you think will be our main rivals in Estonia?
“The entry list and the numbers of our rivals look impressive, I must admit. Beginning with Finnish rally legend Juha Salo. Than we have Karl Kruuda who is experienced in WRC2 and always fast Martin Kangur. ERC regulars Craig Breen and Robert Consani have already competed in Estonia. There are also talented youngsters like Sander Pärn. This rally is so fast that we can’t forget about the drivers in the very fast ERC2 cars, I mean Dominykas Butvilas and Siim Plangi. Alexey Lukyanuk comes back to ERC and we all remember how competitive he was last year. For sure he will be the one to watch. I could give you even more names, but I don’t want to make the pressure I feel even greater!”
Having missed, as planned, the Kenotek by CID LINES Ypres Rally, what were your feelings when your main ERC rival Craig Breen retired, having only scored seven points in Belgium?
“It is a shame that Craig did not make it to the finish. His performance and speed was great and he was on his way to win this demanding event. Such situations are extremely disappointing, but I think Craig has already forgotten about it. I met him during Rally Poland and he was in a pretty good mood. Before Estonia we focus on our job. We want to keep the concentration and the pedal to the metal until the very end of the weekend. I feel that the greatest strength of my team comes straight from the heart of people who work with me. I love them for being so determined. Therefore I want to do what seems impossible on Rally Estonia by doing my best in this event.”