We were at the European Rally Championship’s Janner Rallye Powered by GaGa Energy (or ERC Jännerrallye) and here is our first photo gallery from the event.
“It wasn’t easy, because the grip was changing all the time – from ice to snow, then wet snow and Tarmac. But we did it and I don’t know how! I still can’t believe it, it’s amazing. It’s all much better than I thought before this rally.” Kajetan Kajetanowicz
Kajetan Kajetanowicz recorded fastest time on all but the final stage of the opening round of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship to win the snowy Internationale Jännerrallye powered by GaGa Energy.
Co-driven by Jarek Baran, the 35-year old Pole was in a class of his own and inch perfect over the treacherously slippery stages, which were played out over two days in the beautiful Mühlviertel region of Upper Austria. Regardless of the level of grip, in snow blizzards or in sunshine, on daylight stages or at night, Kajetanowicz was unbeatable in his Pirelli-shod Ford Fiesta R5 – increasing his lead at every opportunity to win by more than seven minutes.
“I only had eight tyres for all the rally, but the tyre is very strong. It was not easy to be concentrated, because after the first stage I was second and my strategy was to stay second – but to stay second is not so easy. I lost my concentration a lot of times, but now it’s okay – the rally has finished and I am second.” Robert Consani
Robert Consani finished an ERC career-high second after employing a clever tyre conservation strategy. The Frenchman, who collects 6000 Euros in prize money, used eight Pirelli tyres on his Peugeot 207 S2000 throughout the event, yet managed to set several impressive stage times.
“My smile will tell you more than words! It was a disaster on the first stage to lose everything, or so we thought at the time. That was not the best moment, but step-by-step we managed to get to the third place and it’s especially nice to do it on the final stage. This is like a small win.” Alexey Lukyanuk
The greatest fightback on the event was by Alexey Lukyanuk. The Belarus driver lost almost five minutes on the opening stage when he was forced to stop to let his Ford Fiesta R5’s overheating engine cool down. Having dropped to 23rd position, Lukyanuk set 15 second fastest stage times over the remaining 17 stages – and fastest time on the 18th and final stage to deny Kajetanowicz a stage win whitewash – and beat Jaromír Tarabus to third place, picking up the coveted Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy in the process. Lukyanuk will receive a cheque for 5000 Euros at the podium finish in Freistadt this evening.
“It’s a good start to the season.It was a difficult rally but we stayed on the road and that’s what it’s all about. We also got some good bonus points.” Vojtěch Štajf
Vojtěch Štajf maintained his healthy overnight lead to win the FIA ERC2 category for R4 production cars in his Subaru Impreza WRX STI by 2m19.9s.
The Czech driver also finished an excellent eight overall on the Internationale Jännerrallye powered by GaGa Energy.
ERC Junior champion Stéphane Lefebvre was on course for fifth spot when a mechanical failure forced his exit. Nevertheless the hugely talented Frenchman was able to gain plenty of experience at the wheel of his Citroën DS3 R5. He’ll be back on ERC duty on the Geko Ypres Rally in June.
Craig Breen restarted under Rally 2 rules this morning following his stage-one exit and bagged three bonus points for finishing leg two in fifth, albeit outside of the final classification, in his Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16.
Tarabus started the final stage 8.5s ahead of Lukyanuk, but ended 20.7s behind in fourth. The Czech’s ŠKODA Fabia S2000 had struggled with grip throughout the event, particularly towards the end when he had used all his allowed supply of 18 new tyres.
The Austrain Championship rallied alongside the European Rally Championship – but more on that in a future post.
There was a huge crowd, many braved the sub-zero conditions, particularly at night. The line of cars parked along the side streets measured for kilometres – with the Janner Rallye and the beautiful Muhlviertler region of Austria proving popular with fans.
“I am extremely happy with the victory – my most daring racing dream came true! I am here with Jakub and I can’t believe I won the classification of the front-wheel-drive cars and the ERC3 class in the first round of the European Rally Championship. Real winter conditions, cold, falling snow and ice did not make this task easier, but thanks to our will and determination, we are here at the finish of this extremely difficult rally with the result we are proud of!” Sławomir Ogryzek
Sławomir Ogryzek set the fastest time on 12 of the first 13 stages to carve out a clear FIA ERC3 lead, never putting a foot wrong and eventually winning the class by an impressive margin of more than four minutes and finished an incredible 11th overall.
Simone Tempestini’s confidence grew as the snowy event progressed and denied Ogryzek a clean sweep of stage wins with six fastest times of his own in his Napoca Rally Academy Citroën DS3 R3T.
Portugal’s Renato Pita, who was competing on snow for the first time, put a longer ratio gearbox in his Peugeot 208 R2 for leg two, which helped him increase his speed and finish fifth – one place ahead of Grzegorz Sikorski (Honda Civic Type R).
The 00 and 0 cars proved popular, the Toyota Celica brought back many memories
The Peugeot 205 was also popular with fans
Photos by Sam Tickell, January 2015
Words by press materials
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