Video: Kajetanowicz pre-event test ahead of Circuit of Ireland Rally

You sit back as you fire up this video, expecting the usual mix of closeups and hairpin passes, like in so many other pre-event test videos out there. Sure enough, it all starts with some atmosphere shots, then the car slowly rolls away, but then… Then you realize why Kajetan Kajetanowicz is one of the most respected European rally drivers. This guy is fast! Yes, this is a pre-event test, run on a short and easy to memorize stretch of the road, but that really does not take away anything from the fact that Kajetan should be one of the favourites as European Rally Champioship heads to Ireland. However…

It’s one thing to be fast in testing and a whole different thing to be equally effective on the proper stages. Add to that the fact that Kajetanowicz never competed in Circuit of Ireland Rally – an event which demands experience and massive respect. Yes, it’s easy to say “dude is fast, no wonder he is leading the ERC”, but Circuit of Ireland is a tough one. The story of Kajetan’s Irish debut is an interesting one, as the excerpt from the official release reveals.

Thank you to Michał Hyży for the PET video.

This year the rally takes place on 2-4 of April and runs through extremely demanding but also picturesque asphalt roads south of Belfast: capital city of Northern Ireland, where the event is based. The crews will fight on nine different special stages (tackled twice) with total length of just over 215 kilometres. Three out of nine special stages are new. The rest of the stages stays exactly the same as in last year’s rally.

Four-time Polish rally champion prepared a special surprise for Polish and Irish supporters and for his sister. Kajetanowicz will wear a helmet with unique livery, designed especially for this event. The helmet of FIA ERC leader will feature Polish and Irish national colours, combined with symbols of these two nations: eagle and leprechaun – little old man who, according to Irish folklore, inhabits the island. There will be a portrait of Kajetan’s sister on the backside of the helmet – she has been living in Ireland for couple of years.

Kajetan Kajetanowicz: “Already before heading to Ireland, during our tests in Poland, all LOTOS Rally Team focused on optimum preparation of ourselves and our Fiesta to competition in Circuit of Ireland Rally. Six months have passed since Tour de Corse, the previous tarmac round of European Rally Championship, so I miss driving on asphalt. I know that we have to stay extremely focused and prepare ourselves well before fight on very complicated stages around Belfast. From what I heard you can not imagine a more beautiful and demanding rally for the driver. The stages are narrow, extremely fast and bumpy, full of jumps – so we will spend a lot of time in the air :-) These jumps mean that the rally reality for the crew changes a lot. This rally is also a huge challenge for our Fiesta R5. On long straights the power of the cars is extremely important and bumpy surface is a big test for suspension. We will do our best to extract everything from our car and use our strengths to build up confidence on stages which are completely new to us. We will fight because I love rallies and I have additional motivation, as my relatives and a lot of Polish people live in United Kingdom.”

Circuit of Ireland Rally in numbers:

73rd edition of this event
3rd round of FIA European Rally Championship 2015
18 special stages
215.55 kms – total length of special stages
2 – starting number of LOTOS Rally Team crew
26.02 kms – length of the longest stage, McGaffins Corner
1st start of Kajetanowicz and Baran in this event
53 crews including 3 from Poland on entry list for 3rd round of FIA ERC
1931 – in this year first Circuit of Ireland Rally took place

FIA ERC standings before Circuit of Ireland Rally:

1. Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL) 45
2. Craig Breen (IRL) 40
3. Robert Consani (FRA) 40
4. Alexey Lukyanuk (BLR) 32
5. Siim Plangi (EST) 28
6. Dominykas Butvilas (LTU) 23
7. Jaromir Tarabus (CZE) 22
8. Martins Svilis (LVA) 15
9. Martin Fischeriehner (AUT) 14
10. Emil Bergkvist (SWE) 12