Esapekka Lappi (Skoda Fabia S2000) became the third Finnish driver in a history who won Rally Poland. In 1965 Rauno Aaltonen managed to win the event and three years ago his achievement was repeated by Mikko Hirvonen. Rally Poland was a round of the FIA World Rally Championship then. Lappi is also the first S2000 car driver who triumphed in Mikolajki.
21-year-old current Finnish champion co-driven by Janne Ferm is the youngest ever Rally Poland’s winner too. The Skoda Motorsport pilot won ten out of thirteen stages reaching the finish with over a two-minute advantage over Michal Solowow and Maciej Baran. It is the third time in a row Solowow and Baran finished Rally Poland in second position. Thanks to a very good result in Mikolajki, they have already won the title of European Championship runner-ups.
Michal Kosciuszko who was losing to Lappi only 14 seconds after Saturday stages had a bad luck. At “Mragowo” stage he damaged his car and was force to retire. Rally Poland is an unlucky event for PWRC driver who hasn’t finished it since 2007. Kosciuszko and the Estonian guest Karl Kruuda (Skoda Fabia S2000) were the only drivers who won special stages besides Lappi.
After Kosciuszko’s retirement, the great battle for third place was fought by Zbigniew Staniszewski co-driven by Radoslaw Korzeniewski and Grzegorz Grzyb partnered by Daniel Siatkowski. Before the final loop Staniszewski was losing only three seconds to Grzyb. During the penultimate test he had a puncture and dropped to seventh place. Grzyb and Siatkowski were third in Rally Poland for a second time in a row.
There was also a fierce battle in lower positions. Kajetan Kajetanowicz, Krzysztof Holowczyc (both in Subaru Impreza) and Michal Bebenek were fighting for fourth spot. Finally it was a current Polish champion who became the fastest R4 car driver. It is the first loose surface event lost by Kajetanowicz since May 2010. Bebenek scored a very solid time during the final stage and took Holowczyc over.
Czech crew’s Jan Cerny/Pavel Kohout Citroen DS3 was the fastest car among front-wheel-drive machines.
Comments after 69th Rally Poland
It was a great weekend, but in the beginning it was a bit stressful. The car was new for me as well as the road. Skoda drives differently to Ford and I had to adapt, soft road were also a challenge.
Maciej Baran (Michal Solowow’s co-driver):
On the second loop we were losing oil from the rear diff, but luckily we are on the finish line. Second place is a good one, of course first would be better. We scored points which secured our third runner-up spot in European Championship, that’s great.
We scored a podium on Rally Poland again. We were trying really hard and believing in a good result until the end, which made this result possible.
Great rally and fantastic car. Everybody’s happy, the Rally Radio made us remember the old times of Kormoran Rally. We are on the finish line and we couldn’t get a better result.
I am dissapointed, but not beacuse of the puncture itself, but place where it happened. It was on short tarmac section where I was driving really precise. Next time will be better for sure.
After misfortunes of last two days we are very happy to finish on fourth position after fighting our way from ninth place. I was driving very fast and despite mistakes I still feel like a winner.
There is no reason to remember a rally like this one where we had no pace whatsoever. Maybe we should try another car for next year.
I was aiming to fight with Lappi, and today I am very happy to win two stages with him. If you want to learn how to drive in ruts and trust your pacenotes then this is a perfect rally to train it.
- Esapekka Lappi to drive for ŠKODA Motorsport in Poland
- Rally Poland 2012 – Esapekka Lappi SS5 onboard
- Rally Poland 2012 – Lappi & Ferm make a winning debut
- Lappi & Ferm – Victory in Poland 2012
- Skoda Motorsport – Esapekka Lappi & Janne Ferm
- Esapekka Lappi preparing for Rally Finland 2012
- Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran win Rally Poland
- ŠKODA driver has already become the 2012 European Champion
- The youngest ever winner of the NI Rally Championship, Kilrea’s Connor McCloskey
- Good performance from Kajetanowicz during Rally Poland 2012