PZM 76th Rally Poland - Talking points

PZM 76th Rally Poland - Talking points

26.06.2019: PZM 76th Rally Poland FIA European Rally Championship round 4 of 8* 28-30 June 2019 *Home hero Łukasz Habaj heads the bulging entry but admits to being torn between bidding for a second ERC win of the season and focusing on preserving his


PZM 76th Rally Poland
FIA European Rally Championship round 4 of 8*
28-30 June 2019




*Home hero Łukasz Habaj heads the bulging entry but admits to being torn between bidding for a second ERC win of the season and focusing on preserving his ERC title lead, which stands at one point over ERC1 Junior leader Chris Ingram after three rounds. Ingram took his first international podium in Poland last year with a strong third place.




*Alexey Lukyanuk secured his maiden FIA European Rally Championship in Mikołajki last season, despite his high-speed crash on the opening leg. Having landed his first finish of 2019 in Latvia in late May, the Russian will be keen to continue that momentum as he aims to defend his crown.



*Miko Marczyk, the Polish championship (RMSP) leader, is bidding to improve on his fifth place overall from 2018, while R5 category newcomers and fellow Polish rising talents, Marcin Słobodzian and Kacper Wrȯblewski will also be eager to impress, as will Tomasz Kasperczyk, second to Marczyk in the RMSP.



*Kasperczyk, a former ERC Junior regular, and Marczyk have taken a win apiece in the RMSP this year.



*ACCR Czech Rally Team’s Filip Mareš returns to Poland – where he made his first start on gravel in an R5 car – on a high following his breakthrough Czech championship victory recently.



*Double ERC Junior champion and fourth seed Marijan Griebel is a Rally Poland newcomer. The German will be hoping for change of fortune after a luckless start to his season.


*Other event newcomers include ERC1 Junior contenders Mattias Adielsson and Hiroki Arai, plus Lithuanian talent Vaidotas Žala, who was rapid on his ERC debut in Latvia last month.



*Albert von Thurn und Taxis is also new to the high-speed stages in Masuria after a back injury kept him on the sidelines in 2018. The German will be armed with a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, which is the car of choice for multiple Hungarian champion, MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig.


*With a strong pedigree in production-based machinery, Lithuania’s Vytautas Švedas is set to make his first ERC start in a Polo, which he recently acquired.



*After missing the last two ERC rounds, Aloísio Monteiro returns to partner ERC3 Junior Pedro Antunes in the two-strong FPAK Portugal Team ERC line-up. Like Monteiro, Brazilian Paulo Nobre will rely on ŠKODA Fabia R5 power.



*Having co-driven Kajetan Kajetanowicz to a record three consecutive European championship titles, Jarek Baran is set for his first ERC start since 2017 when he links up with former world championship regular turned cross-country star Aron Domżała. It will be their second event together after they finished second on a practice event in Lithuania earlier this month with Toni Gardemeister’s TGS Worldwide team.



*In a late change to the entry, Mikko Lukka will take over from Antti Linnaketo as Jari Huttunen’s co-driver as Huttunen returns for a second crack at winning Rally Poland having come within 8.3s in 2018.



*Juan Carlos Alonso is back to fight for ERC2 points and will face opposition from Zelindo Melegari, Kuwaiti Mshari Althefiri – second on his ERC2 debut in Latvia – and Russian Dmitry Fefanov.



*Abarth Rally Cup contenders Dariusz Poloński and Andrea Nucita will also chase ERC2 points.


*As on Rally Liepāja, the popularity of the ERC3 category is once again demonstrated with a 19-strong entry, including 16 in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior division.


*Florian Bernardi will make his gravel debut bidding for his second ERC3 win of 2019 following his Rally Islas Canarias triumph last month.


*Like Bernardi, American ex-sportscar racer Sean Johnston – who made his ERC debut in Poland last September – and Pole Tomasz Zbroja aren’t eligible for ERC3 Junior points.



*But of the 16 that are, Rally Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena heads the category from Sindre Furuseth and FPAK Portugal Team ERC’s Pedro Antunes.



*Llarena came close to winning the class in Poland last September, just losing out in a thrilling battle with Tom Kristensson, now a contender in the Junior world championship.




*Estonian Ken Torn, who won on his ERC3 Junior debut on Rally Liepāja last month in a Ford Fiesta R2T, and Norwegian Steve Røkland will be in the thick of the victory battle, with Røkland finishing third behind Torn and Furuseth in Latvia. A full ERC Junior preview highlighting all the contenders will be issued separately.







- Richard Rodgers, photos FIA ERC


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26.06.2019 / MaP

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