Reigning European rally champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz has scored his first win of the season – on home territory – in order to extend his advantage in the European title race.
Kajetanowicz, equipped by Pirelli, can now see a second consecutive European title almost within his grasp, with only three round of the championship remaining.
This weekend’s all-asphalt Rally Rzeszow, held in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, was making its first appearance on the ERC, as well as counting for the Polish and Slovakian championships.
Kajetanowicz defeated former Monte Carlo and Corsica winner Bryan Bouffier to seal an emotional victory in front of his home fans, having claimed eight out of 16 stage wins. Conditions proved to be extremely variable on the stages, ranging from bright sunshine and high temperatures to intermittent rain. While the event was all-asphalt, the varied nature of the stages meant that the crews also had to contend with a short section of gravel, a watersplash, and a tricky spectator superspecial in the host city of Rzeszow, to the south of Poland.
“I was very happy with the car and the tyres,” said Kajetanowicz. “My main focus is of course the championship but it feels fantastic to win a rally, especially at home. Bryan was pushing me very hard, so this makes the satisfaction even bigger.”
Pirelli also clinched the ERC2 category, with Wojciech Chuchala making it five category wins from five rallies for the Pole aboard his P Zero-equipped Subaru Poland Impreza. As a result, Pirelli continues to lead the two main championship categories in the European Rally Championship.
The Pirelli drivers were able to rely on the P Zero RK family of tyres – which have already proved their worth on the World Rally Championship – in a range of compounds from hard to soft, depending on the conditions. A maximum of 18 tyres were allowed in Poland, with the renowned performance of the P Zero meaning that every competitor could push to the maximum. Kajetanowicz used the P Zero RK7B medium compound on his way to victory.
Pirelli’s rally activity manager Terenzio Testoni commented: “Congratulations to Kajto for a win on his home territory, which of course means a lot to him and his team. The P Zero RK performed extremely strongly from start to finish, which allowed us to dominate all the classes and reinforce our lead of the championship standings.”
The next round of the European Rally Championship takes place on asphalt once more: the Barum Czech Rally Zlin from August 26-28.
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