Friday | 13 Jan 2023

Points-scoring Junior ERC driver Polasek hoping it’ll be nice on ice

Daniel Polášek will swap the more familiar Tarmac stages of his native Czech Republic for the ice-packed and snow-coated roads of Finland when he contests the Arctic Lapland Rally from today (Friday).

The 23-year-old FIA Junior ERC regular is contesting the opening round of Finland’s national championship for the first time in a Ford Fiesta Rally4 run by local team KMS Racing.

Polášek’s former Junior ERC team-mate Dennis Rådström came up with the idea for the ex-finswimmer to build his experience on the high-speed Finnish stages.

“Finland has unique gravel roads and high level of competition,” said Czech talent Polášek. “I’ve never driven on these kinds of gravel roads or snow, so our goal is to gain more and more pace throughout the season.”

KMS Racing was formed by former Finnish champion Arto Kumpumäki. Having been an official M-Sport partner since 2010, the team has international ambitions in the future.

“We’ve gone through a generational change at KMS Racing,” said Kumpumäki. “We’ll continue the same work with Daniel as KMS Racing has done with successful Finnish drivers before in the front-wheel-drive categories. Now we’re set our eyes firmly in Europe with ERC and WRC, and with the Rally3 category that’s becoming more and more popular.”

KMS Racing’s Jussi Kumpumäki added: “Daniel has been showing his speed in Europe and it will be interesting to see how his pace is like in Finland.”

Kateřina Janovská, Polášek’s regular co-driver, will continue in the role on the Rovaniemi-based event, which is made up of 11 stages over a competitive distance of 235.89 kilometres.

Jari Huttunen, who finished runner-up to Chris Ingram in the 2017 Junior ERC Championship before going on to claim two overall podium finishes, is the top seed for the event driving a Škoda Fabia for the frontrunning Printsport team.

Portrait photo: Jan Smerda