Thursday | 19 Jun 2014

Rally Poland: the challenge

The next stop on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar is LOTOS 71st Rally Poland. It’s an event that hasn’t been in the WRC for five years. That brings excitement – and a sizeable test – for the competing crews.

Next week's rally (26-29 June) will throw up a number of challenges. They are:

Into the unknown

A handful of the WRC regulars tackled Rally Poland back in 2009 but previous experience won’t count for much this time around. Only one of the 24 stages is exactly the same as it was in 2009. Several stages are completely new and the route of others has been tweaked since they were last used in the WRC five years ago. All of these changes mean that this year’s Rally Poland will be a genuine journey into the unknown. That could significantly influence the look of the final leaderboard on Sunday afternoon.

Making accurate pace notes will be critical during the recce

Pace note perfect

The Rally Poland recce will probably be the most important of the season. With none of the crews being familiar with the route and stages, they will have to write their pace notes from scratch. Both the driver and the co-driver will need to concentrate fully from the moment the recce begins so they can spot and note every detail on the stages.

The flowing roads in Poland. (Image and lead courtesy of Kalamus

Bravery will be needed

One of the few things that the WRC crews know about the Rally Poland stages is that they are fast and spectacular. The average speed at the rally in 2009 was an eye-watering 112.67kmh. Following his pre-rally test, Jari-Matti Latvala likened the stages in Poland’s Masurian region to those that are synonymous with rallies in Finland and Estonia. They are quick.

Robert Kubica's fans will be out in force during Saturday's ten stages

Quick fire stages

Organisers have lined up ten quick fire stages on Saturday, meaning the crews will have plenty to occupy their thoughts from the moment they leave the Mikolajki service park at 07.30 to when they return again at 22.15. If any of the crews have a problem on Saturday, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll have enough time to put it right.

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