Tuesday | 25 Feb 2014

New stages for Rally Poland

Drivers who tackled Rally Poland when it last appeared in the WRC five years ago will have few opportunities to use their experience when the event returns to the championship in June.

Only one of the 23 special stages will follow exactly the same route as the 2009 event, which was won by Mikko Hirvonen.

Hirvonen is one of seven frontline drivers who competed in 2009 who could be in action on the seventh round of the series which runs on 26 - 29 June.

Other definite starters are Jari-Matti Latvala, Sebastien Ogier, Mads Ostberg, Andreas Mikkelsen and Martin Prokop, while Hyundai could field Dani Sordo.

“We have prepared several new special stages this year and a few others have been partly changed,” explained clerk of the course Jaroslaw Noworol, when more details of the rally were released yesterday. “Only one will have exactly the same route as 2009 when Rally Poland was also a round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

“The new stages have no shortage of spectacular jumps and fast, flowing technical parts on hard gravel,” he added.

The rally will be based in Mikolajki, in the Masurian lake district in the north of the country, which will host the main service park and a super special stage which will be run once on each of the four days.

Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen celebrate victory at Rally Poland 2009

Four stages and a remote service will be held in Lithuania for the first time in the history of the WRC during Friday’s second leg, while the new 35km Goldap stage on Saturday passes close to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

Intriguingly the visit to Lithuania means that for the first time in the WRC’s history a round will be run across two time zones.

The four-day event, which is the second oldest rally in the world, covers 1699km, of which almost 360km will be competitive.