Fri 03 Jun 2022

Rally Poland Map Focus firmly on the lakes

Organisers of ORLEN 78th Rally Poland are focusing the route of next week’s FIA European Rally Championship qualifier entirely within the spectacular Masuria Lake District, the event’s home since its move north in 2005.

But while the region will be familiar to many, only two stages from 2021 have remained unaltered, such is the quest to keep the second oldest rally in the world fresh and the challenge constant.

Seven stages, each run twice over a competitive distance of 188.10km, are in store at round four of the ERC season, the first of two back-to-back events using high-speed gravel roads.

The chase for Polish success begins with Free Practice from 10h30 local time on Friday 10 June with the Baranowo stage hosting the action followed by the Qualifying Stage and then shakedown for the non-priority crews on the same layout.

Trailer: ERC ORLEN 78th Rally Poland

After the traditional ceremonial start in central Mikolajki, it’s a short drive back to the rally’s base for the Mikolajki Arena superspecial. Purpose built for the WRC’s first visit in 2009, the 2.5km two-by-two test is a fan favourite.

Saturday’s route takes crews east of Mikolajki for visits to Krzywe, Wojnasy and Wieliczki followed by midday service in the grounds of the giant Golebiewski Hotel. The morning stages are then repeated in the afternoon with a rerun of the Mikolajki Arena test rounding out the action from 19h00 local time.

Only the final 3km of Krzywe will represent previously chartered territory for the crews. Part of Wojnasy was titled Wieliczki in the WRC with the 2022 edition featuring several new sections. New for 2021, Wieliczki – a different stage of the same name – is the longest of the rally at 24.36km.

Sunday’s action begins with a return to the Mikolajki superspecial, albeit with a difference. The Mikolajki Max stage starts in the famous arena but then heads west towards Zelwagi. The following Swietajno stage is known for its mixture of narrow, technical passes, plus wide and fast sections. A route through a forest features in the middle of the stage. The Milki test, previously titled Paprotki, counts as the Power Stage when it’s repeated, as scheduled, from 1608 local time. Changes since it was last used in 2019 should result in even faster times.

After Rally Poland’s 100th anniversary edition in 2021 concluded with a street stage in the capital Warsaw, this year’s 78th running is contained on fast-paced gravel roads in the Masuria lake district only.

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