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Poland - 2-5 Jul 15

Posted: July 5, 2015 1:42 AM - 3634 Hits

Round 7 - 2015 World Rally Championship

Live Results (Poland 2015) Also available at: rally-base results
Radio: WRC All Live Audio Stream
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Rally Poland (Rajd Polski)

First stage each day - Irish/UK Times
SS1 Thu - 18:00 (Superspecial)
SS2 Fri - 07:00
SS10 Sat - 07:25
SS18 Sun - 08:10

LOTOS 72ND RALLY POLAND GETS UNDERWAY WITH SUPER SPECIAL STAGE ON THURSDAY EVENING

Posted: July 1, 2015 8:37 AM

Months of hard work and meticulous planning will be put to the test when LOTOS 72nd Rally Poland gets underway with a timed super special stage at the Mikolajki Arena from 7pm on Thursday evening.

Ahead of an impressive field of 14 Priority 1 drivers, 30 WRC 2 teams, 13 WRC 3 crews, 12 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy entrants and five additional local crews lie a further 16 timed special stages. These will be held over three days and across high-speed tracks through the Warmia and Mazury areas of northeast Poland. The event finishes in Mikolajki on Sunday afternoon.

The French duo of Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are chasing third successive FIA World Rally Championship titles and start as favourites to repeat the Polish win they earned last season. The Volkswagen Polo R WRC driver currently holds a commanding 66-point advantage over Norwegian Mads Ostberg in the points? standings and has led his German team to the brink of another Manufacturers? triumph.

Sixty-four points separate the Volkswagen team from the Citro?n Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team after six rallies. The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team is a further two points behind and a record four drivers - Hayden Paddon, Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Kevin Abbring (JWRC winner in Poland in 2009) - will drive works-supported i20 WRCs for the two registered teams in Poland. Interestingly, neither the Citro?n nor M-Sport teams have carried out any official pre-Poland testing.

Ogier is ranked third in the all-time "hall of fame" for the most number of WRC wins (28) and victory in Mazury would push him to within one win of second-placed Finn Marcus Gronholm. Frenchman Sebastien Loeb is way out in front with 78 WRC successes.

While Volkswagen start as favourites to win the event for a second year, Ogier's team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala will be hoping for better luck on his 150th WRC start. The Finn suffered the ignominy of retiring on the final stage when the event visited Poland back in 2009 and Latvala needs points quickly if he is to boost his challenge through the second half of the season. He finished fifth last year after early suspension problems, but won five of the last seven special stages.

Thirty teams will do battle for WRC 2 supremacy behind the 14 Priority 1 drivers. Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah holds a three-point championship lead over fellow countryman Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari after six rallies, but his rival is absent from Poland. Al-Attiyah has taken two wins from three starts, but faces a fierce challenge from third-placed Finn Jari Ketomaa and the likes of Stephane Lefebvre, Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Pontus Tidemand.

Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby and Frenchman Quentin Gilbert are tied at the top of the WRC 3 standings, but Veiby is absent from the Polish event and that leaves the door open for Gilbert, driving a Citroen DS3 RST, to move into the outright series lead and extend his advantage in JWRC as well. Fierce rivalry is expected from the Italian duo of Andrea Crugnola and Simone Tempestini.

Polish hopes rest on several sets of impressive shoulders. Leading the home challenge is Robert Kubica at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta WRC. The former F1 driver-turned rally star is more than capable of achieving outright stage wins and is sure to attract a strong following from the thousands of spectators expected to follow the event this weekend.

Veteran Krzysztof Holowczyc will be starting Rally Poland for the 23rd time, this time at the wheel of a Lotto Team Ford Fiesta R5. A podium finisher in the Dakar Rally this year, 'Holek' will be aiming to entertain the fans on the way to a finish, but realises that his lack of recent experience at the top level of the WRC will prevent him from challenging for top honours.

Other local drivers to watch in the WRC 2 category include Jaroslaw Koltun, Zbigniew Staniszewski, Hubert Ptaszek and Radoslaw Raczkowski. Maciej Oleksowicz is the only regular Polish Rally Championship driver to compete in the event. He drives a Ford Fiesta R5 and is seeded at 84.

A dozen cars are entered at the rear of the field in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. Finland's Max Vatanen leads the six-round series after the opening round in Portugal. The son of Ari - the 1981 World Rally Champion and four-time Dakar Rally winner - has a 10-point lead over Norway?s Marius Aasen heading into what promises to be an action-packed weekend for the youngsters in Ford Fiesta R2s.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is a hectic day for teams in LOTOS 72nd Rally Poland. Crews are permitted to carry out runs through a shakedown stage in the morning and several drivers will then attend the official FIA pre-event press conference in the media centre.

The ceremonial start then takes centre stage in Mikolajki Main Square from 4pm. Teams then tackle the first Mikolajki 2.5km super special stage from 7pm.

QUENTIN GILBERT CAN PULL CLEAR!

Posted: June 26, 2015 7:42 AM

Citroen Racing and the FIA have been working together since the start of 2014 to identify talented young drivers. Of the eighteen under-28 year-old drivers registered for the championship this season, nine are expected to take part in Rally Poland, the third event on the FIA Junior WRC calendar.

All of them will be driving strictly identical DS 3 R3-MAXs and therefore have the same chance to shine on the stages of the World Rally Championship. In 2016, the winner will be able to move up a level and compete in a four-wheel drive DS 3 R5.

Like in Monte-Carlo and Portugal, the crews are set to experience new roads in Poland. The itinerary has been very significantly changed in comparison with the 2014 edition, leaving less than forty kilometres in common with last year's rally.

Category winner in Monte-Carlo and Portugal, Quentin Gilbert has made the perfect start to the season. The Frenchman, certain to remain the championship leader after Poland regardless of the outcome, could take a major step towards the title in July if he were to win again.

Second in the championship standings, the Norwegian Ole-Christian Veiby has opted to miss this round. Each driver can only score points at six of the seven events on the calendar.

This round therefore offers Simone Tempestini a great opportunity. The Italian, who lives in Romania, was the best performer in Portugal and lies third in the championship. Competitive since Monte-Carlo, he is aiming to convert his speed into a strong result on the Polish gravel.

Just behind, Pierre-Louis Loubet, Henri Haapamaki and Jean-Ren' Perry will be determined to reproduce the performance level they enjoyed at Rally de Portugal. For Haapamaki, it will also be an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming Rally Finland, his home event.

Along with Simone Tempestini, Federico Della Casa is the only driver to have taken part in last year's Rally Poland in the FIA Junior WRC. The Swiss driver finished in the top 10. His recent performance on the very demanding Portuguese roads ' where he finished seventh overall ' augurs well for this, the third event of the season.

For the Emirati Mohammed Al Mutawaa, the Briton Osian Pryce and the Frenchman Matthieu Margaillan, who all failed to score points after retiring in Portugal, Rally Poland provides them with a chance to open their account.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

Simone Tempestini:
'This will be my third appearance at Rally Poland. I really like the style of the roads on this event. The stages are very quick and the surface is fairly smooth. There are always a lot of fans and a great atmosphere. We are going to prepare for this event by taking part in a round of the Romanian Rally Championship in the DS 3 R3-MAX. It will be a good opportunity to work on the set-up. I have felt very comfortable in the car since the start of the year and my co-driver has done an excellent job, but our results have been a bit disappointing. We have shown we can be competitive with some stage wins at the first two races. In spite of that, a puncture in Monte-Carlo and a mechanical problem in Portugal prevented us from scoring heavily. I'll be aiming to win in Poland. I know it won't be easy, but that's my goal!'

Jean-Ren' Perry:
'The FIA Junior WRC is the feeder category to the WRC, a real springboard to the top level. I'm really pleased to get my first experience of the World Championship in these conditions. As we are all driving the same car, it feels a bit like a promotional formula. The programme is also interesting for my partners. For us, Portugal was our first experience in this environment and I feel like I learned a lot of things. Fourth place was a good result. Obviously, I always want to win, but you have to realistic. We have less experience than most of our rivals. You have to make progress cleverly in order to keep learning. Another top five finish in Poland would be an excellent result. The road surface will be very different. We'll have to find the right set-up quickly; if we do that, the rest will follow. This season is about getting to grips with everything. I'm also thinking about next year. In 2016, we'll have to use the experience that we're accumulating now to get among the frontrunners.'

THE NINE CREWS ENTERED

    52 ' Simone Tempestini (ITA) / Matteo Chiarcossi (ROU)
    Date of birth: 12 August 1994
    Team: Napoca Rally Team / Keane Motorsport
    2015 results: Monte-Carlo, 4th, Portugal, 6th.

    55 ' Mohammed Al Mutawaa (ARE) / Stephen McAuley (GBR)
    Date of birth: 2 December 1992
    Team: Abu Dhabi Racing
    2015 results: Portugal, retired.

    60 ' Quentin Gilbert (FRA) / Renaud Jamoul (BEL)
    Date of birth: 29 May 1989
    Team: DG Sport
    2015 results: Monte-Carlo, 1st, Portugal, 1st.

    62 ' Henri Haapam'ki (FIN) / Marko Salminen (FIN)
    Date of birth: 6 January 1989
    Team: Hannu's Rally Team
    2015 results: Portugal, 3rd.

    63 ' Federico Della Casa (CHE) / Domenico Pozzi (ITA)
    Date of birth: 11 July 1991
    Team: Delta Rally
    2015 results: Portugal, 7th.

    64 ' Osian Pryce (GBR) / Dale Furniss (GBR)
    Date of birth: 24 February 1993
    Team: Autosport Technology
    2015 results: Portugal, retired.

    65 ' Pierre-Louis Loubet (FRA) / Victor Belloto (FRA)
    Date of birth: 18 February 1997
    Team: PH Sport
    2015 results: Portugal, 2nd.

    66 ' Jean-Ren' Perry (FRA) / Joshua Reibel (FRA)
    Date of birth: 25 December 1992
    Team: MY Racing / Allsports Management
    2015 results: Portugal, 4th.

    68 ' Matthieu Margaillan (FRA) / Mathilde Margaillan (FRA)
    Date of birth: 14 October 1986
    Team: AFC Racing
    2015 results: Portugal, retired.
FIA JUNIOR WRC STANDINGS
    1. Quentin Gilbert 50 points
    2. Ole Christian Veiby 25 points
    3. Simone Tempestini 20 points
    4. Christian Riedemann and Pierre-Louis Loubet 18 points
    6. Henri Haapamaki 15 points
    7. Jean-Ren' Perry 12 points
    8. Yohan Rossel 10 points
    9. Alessandro Re and Kornel Lukacs 8 points
    11. Federico Della Casa 6 points
    12. Charlotte Dalmasso 5 points
    13. Daniel McKenna 4 points
NATIONS TROPHY
    1. France 50 points
    2. Norway 30 points
    3. Italy 24 points
    4. Germany and Finland 18 points
    6. Hungary 14 points
    7. Switzerland 10 points
    8. Ireland 8 points
2015 CALENDAR
    22-25 January Rallye Monte-Carlo
    21-24 May Rally de Portugal
    2-7 July Rally Poland
    30 July - 2 August Rally Finland
    1-4 October Rallye de France
    22-25 October Rally de Espana
    12-15 November Wales GB Rally

ALL ABOARD FOR A HIGH-SPEED SUMMER!

Posted: June 26, 2015 6:51 AM

After Argentina, Portugal and Italy, three rallies that once again lived up to their reputation as rough, demanding events, the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team arrives in Poland to start the summer at a difference pace.

Average speeds on the stages around Mikolajki were close to 120kph in 2014! Rally Poland serves up a unique route on the calendar, with some very fast sections. More so than anywhere else, performance is dictated here by the commitment of the driver and the set-up of the WRCs.

For the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, the aim is therefore to find solutions that will give the crews plenty of confidence. The DS 3 WRCs have been prepared to absorb vertical loads as much as possible at very high speeds.

The revised itinerary is not expected to change the character of the event dramatically: the roads will be very smooth and flowing on the opening pass, with deeper lines on the second runs. As the aerodynamics of the cars cannot be altered, it is necessary to work on the chassis and suspension to help the drivers go fast.

On such a quick surface, the work of the tyres is also very different. The versatility of the soft compound Michelin LTX Force S4 tyres will help optimise the grip levels on these roads. The upgrade delivered in the second half of the 2014 season has already proven successful and is expected to be especially competitive in Poland.

Currently lying second in the World Rally Championship, Mads 'stberg and Jonas Andersson are the only crew to have score points on every round so far this year. In fact, they are on a run of nine consecutive points-finishes in the DS 3 WRC. Meanwhile, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle are seventh in the standings and could therefore enjoy a cleaned racing line during the first two days of the rally.

Entered in the FIA WRC2 Championship, St'phane Lefebvre and Stephane Prevot will once again be competing in a DS 3 RRC. This event, won by Stephane Lefebvre last year on his way to the FIA Junior WRC title, is part of the learning programme of the young French driver. He will continue his season in this category in Finland, before tackling Rallye Deutschland in August in a DS 3 WRC.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

Yves Matton (Citroen Racing Team Principal):
'The Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team is able to count on its experience as we go into Rally Poland. Although 90% of the route has been changed, we know how to deal with the specific features of the road surface. It will be an interesting event from a sporting point of view, with fast, technical and demanding roads. Our drivers like the stages. Mads showed his speed last year and Kris is getting to know the region very well after making his first appearance here in 2006. We have prepared for this round with the hope of coming away with a good result. It will be vital to collect a large haul of points for the Manufacturers' standings to consolidate our second position in the World Championship.'

Mads 'stberg:
'The itinerary is probably closer now to that of Rally Finland. The speeds are very high and you can push without worrying too much about tyre wear. After contesting several rough rallies in a row, we'll be able to drive differently here. I have some excellent memories from our last few outings in Poland, because we have always been quick on this surface. We'll have to make the most of the conditions and be as competitive as we were in Sardinia to try and secure a good result again. We will be relying upon our experience when working on the set-up, but it is difficult to know where we will be. We'll have to start at a good pace and, if everything goes well, we should be able to fight for a place on the podium.'

Kris Meeke:
'Before leaving for Poland, I'm going to be taking part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It's a big event for all motorsports fans and I have to say it's something quite special for the drivers too. There are people from all forms of motorsport together in one place and we're removed from the pressures of pure racing. I'm very happy to be putting on a demo of the DS 3 WRC there. After that, obviously we'll be focusing 100% on Rally Poland. Following three rough gravel events, I'm pleased to be back on a fast course. Even though 90% of the roads are new or altered this year, the character won't have changed and I like this type of stage. We were competitive in the earlier rounds, especially when we won in Argentina, and the DS 3 WRC performs very well at high speed. For a driver, these roads call for commi tment and courage. I like that and I hope we can fight for a spot on the podium.'

Stephane Lefebvre:
'I have taken part in Rally Poland for the last two years in the FIA Junior WRC. I enjoy driving on very fast roads like these, which are going to make a change from the fairly rough routes we have competed on recently. In Sardinia, we learned a lot about the DS 3 RRC. We still have room for improvement as regards our pace notes system, but we have a car we can win in. The aim is therefore to secure a good result. I also feel like I have a bit more freedom to push now. I'm equally bearing in mind that I need to be ready for Rallye Deutschland, where I'll be competing in a DS 3 WRC.'

A NEW ROUTE BUT THE SAME CHARACTER

The 2015 route features nineteen special stages, partly borrowed from the 2009 and 2014 itineraries. Few of them will be entirely new for the keenest followers of the event. But only forty kilometres or so are shared with last year's route.

The itinerary runs through the Masurian lake district. After Thursday morning's shakedown, the ceremonial start will be held in the city centre of Mikolajki at 4pm. Three hours later, the Mikolajki Arena super-special stage will establish an initial pecking order.

On Friday morning, the crews will set off in the order of the World Championship standings for a loop of four stages featuring Gorklo (13km), Goldap (14.75km), Babki (14.65km) and Stanczyki (39.12km), the rally's longest test. Although there is no midday service, the drivers and co-drivers will be able to change tyres before tackling Babki, Stanczyki and Goldap for a second time and then finishing the leg in the Mikolajki Arena. The cars are due back in service at 7.35pm.

Parc ferme will open at 6.40am on Saturday for stages held a little further to the south than on day one. Still competing in the order of the championship standings, the drivers will contest Mazury (8.25km), Wieliczki (12.87km), Swietajno (21.25km) and Paprotki (23.15km) before heading for a 30-minute service at 1.38pm. In the afternoon, the crews will complete second runs on Mazury, Wieliczki and Swietajno before a final pass on the Mikolajki Arena super special stage.

On Saturday, the cars still in the race will stay close to the service park. The final leg will involve two runs on Baranowo (14.60km), completed in reverse order of the rally overall standings. The final test, which will also serve as the Power Stage, will be shown live on television from 12pm (GMT +2). The rally is scheduled to finish in the centre of Mikolajki from 2pm.

Vatanen Aims To Maintain Pole In DMACK Fiesta Trophy

Posted: June 26, 2015 6:47 AM

Competitors in the 2015 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy will aim to put on a real show for spectators from all over Europe when round two of the series takes the 11 crews to Poland next weekend.

A feverishly competitive season-opener at the Vodafone Rally de Portugal in May was won by Max Vatanen. But, although the flying Finn dominated, winning half of the 12 tough gravel stages, the lead had changed hands several times earlier in the weekend.

Crews now move on to Lotos Rally Poland, which runs from 2-5 July. They will find the route has changed almost completely from that used in 2014 ' providing more of a level playing field between those who competed last year and the 2015 rookies.

Tom Cave, the 2014 Trophy runner-up, was fast in the corresponding Polish event last year. The Brit, fifth in Portugal, is likely to head a determined chasing pack of drivers looking to claw back points on pacesetter Vatanen.

Cave's fellow Brit Gus Greensmith acquitted himself well on his Trophy debut in Portugal and will be aiming to improve on his fourth place. Norwegian Marius Aasen and Spaniard Nil Solans, who took second and third spots, respectively, at the opener in Portugal will be looking to move higher up the podium. Both Vatanen and Solans will contest Rally Warminski this weekend, a small rally in the same region, to finalise their preparations.

Also looking for improvements will be American driver Will Hudson and Belgian Guislain de Mevius - both had been setting good times but retired after accidents in Portugal. Dutch drivers Kevin van Deijne and Mats van den Brand have limited gravel experience and come to Poland for the first time.

Day one of Lotos Rally Poland next Friday features more than 150km of timed stages but no service ' only a tyre zone where the crews have the chance to fit new DMACK gravel tyres to their sustainable GEM fuel-powered Ford Fiesta R2s. So there is a greater emphasis on having a problem-free run on the opening day.

Saturday's second leg is closer to the rally base in Mikolajki and includes three tests that are driven twice, while Sunday's final loop is within touching distance of the town.

The gravel stages are very fast, through open countryside, so accurate pacenotes are a must. Surfaces are soft and sandy, and all drivers will use DMACK's G62 soft compound tyres ' a maximum of 16 being available.

Due to its location and proximity to a number of central and Eastern European countries, Poland attracts huge numbers of travelling spectators. However, the event is home from home for the Krakow-based M-Sport team which builds and prepares the identical and all-new Fiesta R2 cars. These are powered by Ford's 1.0 litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine, energised by sustainable racing fuel and equipped with the latest lubricants from Morris.

Up for grabs for the overall Trophy winner this year is a lucrative full seven-round series of 2016 WRC 2 competition using a Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5. The contest aims to help provide a cost-effective platform for upcoming drivers to experience the FIA World Rally Championship.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said:
'Poland provided some intense competition last year and I'm excited to see how the battle unfurls next week. DMACK tyres perform well and are suited to the soft Polish roads and I'm sure our crews will be up there challenging the other two-wheel-drive classes.'

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport managing director, said:
'After so many drivers showed their pace at the first round in Portugal, I think we're in for another thrilling battle in Poland. Although the conditions are a lot less abrasive and the stages are much kinder on the cars, they are extremely fast. Combine this with what is almost a completely new route and we have a level playing field in which I fully expect a number of competitors to show their true potential.'

Driver Quotes
Marius Aasen from Norway said:
'The high speeds in Poland will be a challenge, but I am feeling well prepared. I have been driving with a four-wheel-drive rally car with turbo to get used to the high speed as well as watching on board videos from the stages. We aim to build on the great result we achieved in Portugal, using the same strategy of safe driving. Hopefully we will finish again on the podium with some stage wins.'

Nicolas Amiouni from Lebanon said:
'I haven't had the opportunity to drive since Portugal but I have been training to keep my fitness up. I wasn't particularly happy with my first result of the trophy and will hopefully have better luck in Poland. I will push to the maximum and see what I can do. If the weather is bad in Poland the roads will become difficult to drive.'

Mats van den Brand from Netherlands said:
'In preparation for Rally Poland I've been doing simulator training, watching onboard footage and practicing with my navigator on the pacenotes. It's important for us to improve our pacenotes and not push ourselves too much in Poland. I think we can improve a lot on the last round because I was not happy with the result there. But the competition is great and I'm hoping for a top-three finish on round two.'

Edoardo Bresolin from Italy said:
'In preparation for Rally Poland I have been reviewing the onboard footage from Portugal and trying to identify the mistakes we made. My target for Poland is to improve my driving and gain more confidence with the car, which was lacking in Portugal. It will be important to find a good rhythm and stay close with the other competitors.'

Tom Cave from UK said:
'Our result in Portugal was the best we could do under the circumstances we faced; so to get our championship back on track, I'm aiming for the win in Poland and score as many stage points as I can. I've stepped up my fitness program in preparation and also have a different approach to my diet. Remaining focused in Poland will be key, the stages are a little more forgiving than other events but there are still corners that can catch you out.'

Kevin van Deijne from Netherlands said:
'In preparation for Poland I competed in the Vechtdal Rally, finishing eighth overall and first in my class. I have organised a test before the rally and will also be going over some onboard footage to hopefully get some good pacenotes. Rally Poland is totally new to me so those pacenotes need to be accurate. My main goal is to finish in the top-five and consistently improve my result, I hope to set some top three stage times.'

Gus Greensmith from UK said:
'Due to education commitments, I've had little spare time to prepare for Rally Poland. In the run up to the rally I'll be focused on my fitness and reviewing recce videos. I'm expecting the stages to be very fast, so having a consistent set of pacenotes will be important. I was pleased, but not happy with the result in Portugal. I couldn't really push in the opening round so it is vital that I do in Poland. My aim for Rally Poland is very simple, to go for it and see what we can achieve.'

Will Hudson from USA said:
'I obviously wasn't happy with the result in Portugal. Since we retired there my aim in Poland is to finish, to gain experience and hold my focus through the entire event. I've had the opportunity to test out the new R200 kit on my R2 and have been doing some karting as well. The surface is sandy in Poland so ruts are going to be a bit of a challenge.'

Ghislain de Mevius from Belgium said:
'To retire on the opening round was very disappointing for me, hopefully there will be no misunderstanding with the pacenotes in Poland. The aim is to finish the rally and achieve a podium place if possible. I remember the stages rutted up quite badly last year so that will be tricky, but the fast roads will be fun and I look forward to a better result in round two.'

Nil Solans from Spain said:
'It was really interesting to finish Rally Portugal on the podium and take those points for the championship. I hope we can maintain a top-three position overall after Poland. I want to be faster there than I was last year and build on the experience I gained in 2014. We will be competing in Rally Warminski as a warm up for the next round.'

Max Vatanen from Finland said:
'Finishing first in Portugal made me very happy but we have to keep our heads cool and work even harder to maintain our lead in the remaining rounds. We have been reviewing the performance in Portugal and identifying areas for improvement as well as doing some small tests to maintain momentum. We will also do a test in the Mikolaiki area as well as competing in Rally Warminski. My ambition is to win in Poland and take some valuable points to extend our lead in the championship before Finland.'

Adrenalin guaranteed ? Volkswagen heads to full speed festival in Poland

Posted: June 26, 2015 6:37 AM

Fast meets faster ' Volkswagen takes on the fastest special stages of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in Poland. At average speeds of just under 140 km/h, it's not just pure engine power that is required on the gravel, the drivers also need a lot of skill and determination. With S'bastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fl'ene (N/N) and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen sends the drivers currently placed first, third and fourth in the championship standings into the race ' all three will line up in an identical second generation Polo R WRC. 19 special stages covering a total of 313.53 timed kilometres are scheduled to be held in the north of the country ' almost 75 per cent of these are new rally terrain. In 2014, the ultra fast special stage 'Wieliczki' at 136.88 kilometres per hour was the fastest stage in the history of the 318 hp World Rally Cars from Wolfsburg. This stage has been changed slightly for 2015.

'Only those who really put their foot down will be successful in the coming weeks,' said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. 'With the Rally Poland and then the Rally Finland it's time for the 'full speed weeks' in the WRC. We have good memories of these rallies because we are yet to be beaten in Poland and Finland. But so far the season has shown that the manufacturers are now closer and all have good chances of being at the front. We will have to give it our all once again and won't be able to make any mistakes to get the win in Poland again. We can rely on the three best drivers and co-drivers in the world. Fast tracks have always been the hunting ground for S'bastien Ogier, Andreas Mikkelsen and Jari-Matti Latvala. So it's definitely going to be an interesting Rally Poland.'

One quarter familiar, three quarters uncharted territory: the 2015 version of the Rally Poland

Of the 313.53 kilometres of special stages in total, 234.69 are terra incognita for the top drivers in the World Rally Championship. After the Rally Poland returned to the WRC calendar for the first time since 2009 last year, making it new ground a year ago, it represents another challenge in 2015. Around three quarters of the track are entirely new, and on top of that, the world's drifting elite need to create new pace notes for 88.31 per cent of the total distance this year ' large sections of the familiar routes will now be driven in the reverse direction. When empty paper needs to be converted into an accurate 'prayer book' and drivers and co-drivers alike start from scratch, that's when Andreas Mikkelsen strikes. He delighted the fans in Poland in 2014 with a thrilling team duel with defending champion S'bastien Ogier. Mikkelsen is the hunter once again in 2015, with Ogier as defending champion and leader of the standings as the hunted. And then there is Jari-Matti Latvala, who still has a score to settle with the Rally Poland after two damaged tyres and suspension damage in 2014.

Intoxicating speed ahead: 'Wieliczki' and the fastest ever stage for the Polo R WRC

12.89 kilometres in 5:39.0 minutes ' Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fl'ene completed the fastest ever special stage contested in the Polo R WRC in 2014. An average of 136.88 kilometres an hour meant more speed than on any other special stage since the 2013 Rally Monte Carlo. 'Wieliczki' is on the schedule again for 2015, although it is slightly different from last year. The first 6.98 kilometres are identical to the 2014 edition, but from that point on it heads along a different gravel track until ' at a similar speed ' it ends at kilometre 12.87. Another partially familiar highlight from last year is the stage 'Goldap'. A 6.67-kilometre core element of this special stage studded with spectacular jumps and crests, as well as endlessly drawn out turns will be driven in the opposite direction in 2015. However, a good old friend is the spectator stage 'Mikołajki Arena' that has been driven three times, and despite covering just 2.5 kilometres, has always been good for a few dramas in the past and hasn't been changed since 2009.

First, third, fourth ' Volkswagen drivers well placed in the WRC standings

The Volkswagen drivers are in a good position as they take on the second half of the WRC season. Ogier/Ingrassia already have a lead of 66 points over second-placed Mads 'stberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S, Citro'n) going into rallies seven to 13. Mikkelsen/Fl'ene are a further three points behind in third place in the overall standings, Latvala/Anttila trail their Volkswagen team-mates by eight points in fourth place. Volkswagen have also built up a comfortable lead in the manufacturers' championship: Ogier/Latvala's team are 64 points ahead of Citro'n.

Three days of testing as preparation: Volkswagen prepares for the 'speed weeks'

Ahead of the 'speed weeks', Volkswagen will prepare intensely for the changed rhythm in the WRC. With Poland and Finland, July sees the two fastest rallies on the WRC calendar. Almost 30 km/h faster: the average speed rises from around 90 to 120 km/h ' compared with the recent Rally Italy on Sardinia, which with winding, narrow tracks was the slowest rally on the calendar to date since the Rally Argentina. Due to the fundamentally different nature, all three Volkswagen duos will each spend a day testing the Polo R WRC in the host country ahead of the Rally Poland from Friday to Sunday.

Quotes ahead of the Rally Poland

S'bastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
'I love fast rallies! The adrenalin rush is much greater, which I think is fantastic and which really suits me. Even though Poland is a different type of gravel rally and the track profile is nothing like the previous ones. The streets are nowhere near as narrow as recently on Sardinia. In Poland about three quarters of the special stages are new compared with last year, and a large part of the familiar stages will be driven in the opposite direction. So the rally is something of a novelty for all of the drivers and we are all in the same starting position. Everyone can show what they're made of, I'm really looking forward to that. The 'recce' and the interaction between drivers and co-drivers will play an important role again, just like at the Rally Italy. There's no doubt that luck is also a factor in winning such a demanding rally without any incidents. However, we had a very good strategy in Italy and varied the speed at the right time and in the right places. As a result of this win and the lead in the world championship, I'm not going to make any great changes to my way of driving: I want to win in Poland too. And to do that, you have to put your foot down.'

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
'I still have a score to settle with the Rally Poland. I was unlucky last year when I damaged my front-wheel suspension. But at least I fought my way up into fifth place from seventh. I was in second place in 2009 when I retired on the final special stage. Naturally that was still on my mind last year, but that's forgotten now. I won in Portugal and had a good pace at the Rally Italy. So I'm optimistic for the Rally Poland and have every chance of keeping up with my team-mates. The Rally Poland is very fast ' I like that. It's crucial to find the right rhythm, then anything is possible. We have the opportunity to get used to the surface and get a feeling for the set-up during testing in Poland. I feel prepared after the long, hot days in Italy. The Rally Poland is of a similar length, but it won't be as physically demanding as Sardinia.'

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
'I had a lot of fun at the Rally Poland last year and delivered a good performance finishing in second ' even if I didn't win the battle with S'bastien Ogier. There's one thing that counts in Poland: speed. At 136.88 km/h, I drove the fastest special stage in the history of the Polo R WRC in 2014. Let's see what I can do this year. If you want to win the rally, you have to go at full speed, be confident and take certain risks. The streets are quite forgiving, but you can't afford to lose respect for them and you need to be alert and prepared for anything. The track this year is almost entirely new, just like in 2014. I have already shown more than once that special stages that are new and haven't been driven in race conditions suit me. So I'm feeling positive. My goal for the Rally Poland is definitely to regain second place in the drivers' standings and to build on my performance from last year.'

Did you know that '
... the Rally Poland is the second oldest rally still to be held, after the Rally Monte Carlo' The 'Monte' was held for the first time in 1911, the Rally Poland in 1929.

... the Volkswagen drivers all drove for different teams at their first WRC appearance in Poland in 2009' S'bastien Ogier (then Citro'n) was on track to finish on the podium when he retired early due to technical problems, Jari-Matti Latvala (then Ford) also retired after an accident with the end in sight. Andreas Mikkelsen (then 'koda) also had to abandon the race early.

... the Volkswagen drivers have much fonder memories of the 2014 edition' S'bastien Ogier won after a thrilling duel with team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen; after suffering suspension damage, Jari-Matti Latvala started his pursuit, which saw him finish in fifth place.

... after the Rally Poland's trip to Lithuania last year, the rally will not be crossing any borders this time around' This makes the Rally Sweden the only rally on the 2015 calendar to be held partially outside its borders ' with special stages in Norway.

... the Volkswagen group brand 'koda won the Rally Poland in 2012' Back then, Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) were victorious in the Fabia S2000. 'koda returns to the Rally Poland in 2015 ' in the WRC 2 category. Starting again: Esapekka Lappi and Pontus Tidemand. Both drivers are managed by the same company as Andreas Mikkelsen.

... a German won the first time that a WRC rally was held in Poland in 1973' Achim Warmbold was victorious in a Fiat at that time. His co-driver was Jean Todt (F), the current president of the International Automobile Federation, the FIA.

... the Rally Poland has only been held around the Masurian Lake District since 2005'

... the Rally Poland has been part of the WRC season three times to date' In 1973, 2009 and 2014.

DMACK Sets Sights On Another Pole Position

Posted: June 26, 2015 6:35 AM

The Drive DMACK World Rally Team returns to Poland next week ' home of its first-ever one-two victory when Ott Tanak and Jari Ketomaa romped home at the top of the WRC 2 class in 2014. Next week's edition, round seven of the FIA World Rally Championship, will see Ketomaa return alongside Sander Parn at the wheel of the team's two Ford Fiesta R5 rally cars.

Topping the championship standings, the Drive DMACK team is on track to successfully defend its WRC 2 Teams world title and both drivers will be hoping to capitalise on the ultra-fast, smooth gravel roads in Poland - which should play to their skills and experience.

The conditions in Poland should also suit DMACK's rubber. The soft, sandy surfaces mean tyre wear is not expected to be an issue but the roads are likely to rut significantly and expose rocks for the second pass. The high-speed stages through the Polish countryside will demand high levels of performance and precision, allowing drivers to confidently cruise through the corners.

To cope with the soft surfaces, DMACK has nominated its DMG+2 soft compound S6 tyre, which topped the time-sheets on all but two special stages last year. Competitors can use a maximum of 22 tyres and also have the option to use a limited number of the alternative S3 hard compound should the conditions change.

Ketomaa and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom will be looking to bounce back from their final-day retirement in Portugal. The Finns excelled on the high-speed stages around the Polish lake district last year and will be hoping to capitalise on their experience.

Estonian Parn, with British co-driver James Morgan, blitzed the opposition last year, storming to overall victory in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. Stepping up to WRC 2 this season as part of their huge prize drive, the pair feel well prepared after a pre-event test in Estonia earlier this week. Parn is hoping to feel a little more at home in Poland with the roads bearing a strong similarity to his native stages.

The action is once again based in Mikołajki - a small town set in the middle of the picturesque Masurian Lake District in the north-east of the country. However, the majority of the event is new and that means a level playing field and pretty intense battles over the weekend ' all watched by huge numbers of fans who flock from neighbouring countries.

After a short blast through the super special stage on Thursday night, it's straight into the longest day of action to the north-east of Mikołajki on Friday ' made even tougher with no mid-day service. Crews do, however, get the chance to replace their rubber at a remote tyre fitting zone in Goldap.

Saturday's action is placed out to the east of rally HQ before two stages on Sunday complete the final tests.

Rally Poland is also round two of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy, which is led by Finnish star Max Vatanen.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said:
'Looking back on last year's performances, we expect our soft tyre to be well suited to the conditions in Poland but the stages could be pretty demanding on the second pass. The WRC 2 championship is becoming increasingly competitive with the addition of the works Skoda team and next week's event is set to be a proper high-speed race.'

Jari Ketomaa said:
'We know the surface in Poland suits our car and tyres well so I'm pretty confident ahead of next week. The roads are great, nice and flowing and we've got quite a few new stages this year so it will be a big challenge. It's an enjoyable rally with a really nice atmosphere and lots of fans in the stages.'

Sander Parn said:
'I should be more familiar with the roads in Poland ' from competing last year and also they are similar to back home in Estonia. We've been testing this week so I'm more confident now going into the rally. Our aim is to step it up a gear to try and improve the times and I think this type of rally will help me do that.'

M-SPORT POISED TO PROVE POTENTIAL IN POLAND

Posted: June 26, 2015 6:23 AM

M-Sport World Rally Team's Elfyn Evans and Ott T'nak will be looking for a confidence-building result at next week's Rally Poland. The Polish fixture marks the midway point in this year's FIA World Rally Championship and M-Sport's young charges are keen to prove their true potential.

Based in the Masurian town of Mikolajki, next week's event offers a change of tempo as the rough, technical stages of late make way for flat-out speed tests in which the Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRCs are let loose.

The speed should not come as a shock to the M-Sport duo as they spent a week on the Italian mainland after Rally Italia Sardinia, albeit for an extensive Tarmac test.

The research and development test was primarily to perfect the new Fiesta RS WRC ahead of the coming asphalt rounds, but the increased pace associated with sealed-surface rallying will not have hindered the duo ahead of the Polish gravel where getting accustomed to high speeds is a key factor.

High speeds are undoubtedly the order of the rally, but there is more to this event than an assertive display of pace. A trouble-free rally won't necessarily guarantee a strong result, but finding the balance between being fast, and being intelligent is essential ' especially on Friday when the crews will need to navigate 155 competitive kilometres without the luxury of a midday service.

This year's route is highly revised with almost 90 percent of the stages differing from last year's offering, but the nature and character of the event remains largely unchanged. Soft gravel roads are lined with high grasses that limit visibility and conceal a multitude of car-breaking obstacles. Rein in your speed and you risk being left behind, but plough flat-out into the unknown and you risk bringing your rally to a premature end.

A thorough reconnaissance and precise pacenotes are vital. Couple that with the confidence to conquer the high speeds and the intelligence to know when compromise is required and you could be on course for a strong result.

One crew who have started to perfect this balance is Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt. With a full year in the Fiesta RS WRC, the Brits know which stages demand their respect. The pairing were caught out by the Polish terrain last year, and they'll be keen to learn from that this time around.

After a disappointing result in Portugal, Evans has had to rebuild his confidence. As one of the most consistent drivers in the championship, Portugal hurt the young Welshman and he'll be determined to make amends next week. Continuously building his speed, Evans will be looking for a confidence-building result that will see him well placed ahead of his more favoured events.

But before the adrenaline-fuelled stages of Rally Poland, the Welshman will experience some adrenaline of a different kind as he makes an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The youngster will spend his Saturday taking in all things motorsport as he visits some of M-Sport's valued partners ' Ford, Michelin, Goodridge, NGK and HIAB ' as well as catching up with some fellow M-Sport supported drivers such as Ken Block.

Just as there is no doubting Evans' diligent approach, there is no doubting his team mate's speed. T'nak is renowned for his love of flat-out speed tests and the Polish stages suit him down to the ground. He and co-driver Raigo M'lder proved that with a dominant WRC 2 victory behind the wheel of their Ford Fiesta R5 last year and they'll be looking for a strong result as they take to the Fiesta RS WRC next week.

The Estonians' season has been marred by misfortune so far, but they'll be keen to put an end to that in Poland. As the 11th car on the road, the conditions could go either way for the duo but they won't let that dampen their spirits as they look to prove their potential.

Fully aware of the possible advantages and disadvantages he'll face in Poland, T'nak has just one goal in mind ' showcasing his speed and preparing himself for a comeback in the second half of the season.

Elfyn Evans said:
'This is a really fast event which will be a bit of a shock to the system after a series of relatively slow rallies, but I'm certainly looking forward to another new challenge. It's always a challenge getting back into the flow of high-speed rallying and there are so many new stages to contend with this year.

'I think a lot will come down to the character and the nature of the stages themselves. Last year we saw something of an ebb and flow in terms of road position. Some stages saw a lot of cleaning, whereas others cut-up and become slower. We'll have to wait and see how it is this year but either way we are in the middle of the pack. We won't get the optimum advantage from road cleaning, but we shouldn't be disadvantaged too much should the stages deteriorate.

'I think there have been some real positives over the past couple of rallies, but for various reasons some of the results haven't quite been what we wanted. We need to refocus and concentrate on the positives. I really want to enjoy this one, and hopefully everything will come together for us.'

Ott T'nak said:
'From this point in the season we'll experience much more smooth and flowing stages ' real driver stages and Rally Poland is a real drivers' event. I've always enjoyed fast stages and even though we haven't experienced stages like this for a while, I hope that we can have a good run and really push to the maximum from the very first kilometre.

'As the speeds are so high you need to have very precise notes that you are 100 percent confident in. Any mistakes and they are very hard to correct. Any hesitation and you'll lose speed and time.

'We'll be the 11th car on the road so we'll just have to wait and see if that is an advantage or a disadvantage. A lot will depend on the weather and the conditions on the week of the rally. The stages are quite soft, but I think it should be quite even for the second pass so hopefully that won't hinder us too much. Whatever the conditions, we just have to make the best of it.

'My target is to improve rally by rally. Since launching the new car in Portugal I've been able to feel everything getting better so we need to focus on keeping that confidence. We need to keep it on the road, enjoy the driving and continue to improve step by step until we're where we ultimately want to be.'

ADDITIONAL M-SPORT DRIVERS
M-Sport will also run the Ford Fiesta R5 of Sander P'rn and James Morgan as they continue their Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy prize drive as part of the Drive DMACK team.

Estonians generally feel at home at high speed, and the Polish stages should suit the youngster as he continues his WRC 2 campaign.

Entry List

Posted: June 25, 2015 10:10 AM

Website / Rally Guide Details

Posted: May 1, 2015 5:46 AM






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