Thu 06 Apr 2023

Poland’s ERC champions revisited

Hot on the heels of the ORLEN 79 Rally Poland route reveal on yesterday, here’s a reminder of just some of the success the country has celebrated in the FIA European Rally Championship over the years.

Sobiesław Zasada: Poland’s first ERC champion (below)
After taking the coveted European championship crown in 1966 to become the first Polish winner, Sobiesław Zasada did it again in 1967 before making it a hat-trick in 1971. Zasada, who also raced cars and bikes, was ERC runner-up three times. Incredibly he contested the FIA World Rally Championship-counting Safari Rally in 2021, aged 91.

Krzysztof Hołowczyc: Brought Poland’s long wait for more ERC success to an end
It wasn’t until 1997 that a Pole finished an ERC season at the top of the table when Krzysztof Hołowczyc bagged the European championship title. Ten years later he became a member of the European Parliament.

Kajetan Kajetanowicz: Set a new ERC record with three titles in a row (below)
While drivers like Sobiesław Zasada and Italian Luca Rossetti have three ERC titles to their name, only Kajetan Kajetanowicz has won the crown three years in succession, a feat he achieved between 2015-2017 for the LOTOS Rally Team. He’s now a frontrunner in WRC2.

Wojciech Chuchała: A forgotten class champion
Wojciech Chuchała didn’t claim the ERC title outright but he did land ERC2 championship honours in 2016 courtesy of five class wins. But while he never scored an overall title win, making him a forgotten champion in the process, his achievement in claiming the ERC2 crown should never be underestimated.

Dariusz Poloński: The one-make champion (below)
Dariusz Poloński battled for the inaugural Abarth Rally Cup in 2019, eventually settling for the runner-up spot behind Andrea Nucita. He then finished fourth in 2020 before clinching the top prize in 2021.

Robert Kubica: A different kind of champion
Poland’s only Formula One Grand prix winner tackled selected ERC events between 2013 and 2014 as he battled back from serious injury. He scored multiple stage bests – including all eight on the opening leg of Rally Islas Canarias in 2013, his ERC debut – and won the Internationale Jänner Rallye outright in 2014.

Miko Marczyk: The future champion (below)
A double national champion, Miko Marczyk won ORLEN 78 Rally Poland in 2022 to underline his status as a potential future champion.

Łukasz Habaj: Close to being a champion (below)
Habaj’s Azores Rallye victory in 2019 signalled the start of an unlikely but highly impressive ERC title challenge. But despite excelling throughout the year, Habaj lost out on the European crown in a final-round showdown in Hungary in November of that year.

Igor Widłak: The category champion (top)
Having guided Łukasz Habaj to impressive ERC results, co-driver Daniel Dymurski formed a new alliance with Igor Widłak and promptly celebrated the ERC3 crown in 2022, courtesy of two category wins in a Ford Fiesta Rally3, built in Poland, no less.

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