Wed 01 Nov 2023

Why Kajto’s focus is on the WRC2 Challenger title

Kajetan Kajetanowicz and co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak can no longer win this year’s WRC2 title outright - but the Polish pair are targeting a different accolade at FORUM8 Rally Japan.

The Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 crew have their sights set on winning the WRC2 Challenger championship – and a result of third or higher in the class in Japan later this month (16 – 19 November) will be enough to guarantee they do exactly that.

Introduced at the beginning of this year, WRC2 Challenger is open to WRC2-registered drivers and co-drivers who have not previously won a title with Rally2 machinery at WRC level. Drivers previously nominated for WRC manufacturer points are also ineligible.

Sami Pajari currently leads the WRC2 Challenger standings by 10 points. However, unlike Kajetanowicz, the Finn has already participated in the maximum number of rallies permitted this season.

Speaking to after securing a WRC2 Challenger podium at last week’s Central European Rally, co-driver Szczepaniak said: “We should be proud of what we are doing, but realistically we should be focused on WRC2 Challenger.

“We are a private team running with the sponsors’ support and the package we are having is a bit different when you compare Kajto and myself to guys like Andreas [Mikkelsen] or Gus [Greensmith]. They are extremely experienced, doing 13 events a year, developing the car for the factory and running in, let’s say, a semi-works team.

“We are still up front in the overall WRC2 category,” continued Szczepaniak, “but we shouldn’t be judging ourselves against Andreas. When I was driving with Robert [Kubica] in 2014, Andreas was in the best team in WRC with Volkswagen. He started his WRC career in 2008, when Kajto was only doing small rallies in the Polish championship.”

Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak have unfinished business at FORUM8 Rally Japan, having crashed on the second stage last year. That incident, Szczepaniak says, is now a distant memory.

“They promised us that the Tarmac in the tunnel is repaired, so it’s going to be okay,” he joked. “No, to be honest, when you drive as many rallies as we do, you need to just forget about what happened 12 months ago. We will go there with a clear mind.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM