Kajetanowicz: My heart beats faster
Cypriot heat, punishing special stages which destroy even professional rally cars, numerous corners, omnipresent dust – Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran will have to tackle all these challenges in Cyprus, where on 25-27th September they face the best European crews. The FIA European Rally Championship leaders will fight for the precious points on twisty roads of Aphrodite’s island, driving Ford Fiesta R5 prepared for LOTOS Rally Team by M-Sport division based in Cracow.
Just like last year, Cyprus Rally is a round of FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC). However, this time different regulations mean that there will be two separate classifications: for FIA ERC and FIA MERC crews. Competitors in FIA MERC, including three-time Cyprus Rally winner and two-time Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, have a bit easier task because they can use unlimited amount of tyres. On the other hand each of FIA ERC crews has to stay within the limit of 18 tyres for 16 special stages, with extremely high wear rate.
In the forthcoming rally Kajetanowicz has a chance to claim the FIA ERC Gravel Master title for the second time in a row, with one round to go. In order to defend it, Kajto needs 51 points in this classification. The points in surface specialists’ classification are awarded to the best five drivers on each special stage, on 10-6-4-2-1 basis.
This year the organisers of the event, which used to be one of the most difficult rounds of World Rally Championship (WRC) eight times, prepared 16 special stages with total length of 204.5 kms. Interestingly, fourteen of them have mixed surface: Tarmac and gravel. 38% of stages are run on Tarmac. The longest test of the rally, Lythrodontas, will be especially challenging for the drivers and for the soft gravel tyres, because it runs in 86% (18.92 kms of 22 kms) over Tarmac roads. The results of Cyprus Rally will be known on Sunday 27th of September, around 3:45 pm CET.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz: – My heart beats faster not only when I hold the steering wheel in my hands and fight for fractions of second, but also long time before each rally. I feel the responsibility of leading FIA European Rally Championship standings, especially because we will defend our hard-won advantage on very demanding gravel stages of Cyprus, in extreme heat and on roads which punish not only the tyres but also the crew. When I was a boy, I always had bold dreams, but even then I could not have imagined that I would be able to do what I love, at such high level. This is why today I am so happy and I am looking forward to competing in the rally which was won so many times by world champions. I appreciate the chance that I was given to me, so I want to fight for victory in the next FIA ERC round. Each of them is like reading another chapter of a great, never-ending story. I do not know the conclusion but I can already say that this fascinating season is a huge success for LOTOS Rally Team.