Mon 15 May 2023

ERC Q&A with Miko Marczyk: “The stages are mainly a lot of fourth and fifth gear!”

It’s a big week for Miko Marczyk. Not only is the 27-year-old revving up to contest his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship, ORLEN 79th Rally Poland, he’ll also be in the mix to repeat his hugely popular victory of last season.

It’s almost Rally Poland time, how excited are you?
“In the first months of the year it was not possible for us to do Rally Poland because our main plan is to do the full WRC2 programme of seven rounds. But we did our best with our partners and in the last few weeks we have been able to confirm we do the event. From an emotional point of view it was very important for us to be with the Polish supporters, be on the Polish stages because in the Masuria lake district the special stages are awesome and it’s really wonderful to fight there. Additionally, our main sponsor, ORLEN, is the sponsor of the event. We won last year and we would like to finish with the best possible position.”

The entry list is big on quality and quantity. What will the competition be like?
“Last year the competition was very tough. We fight with JWRC champions like Tom Kristensson and Nil Solans. But now the level will go up because the big boys from the WRC like Mads Østberg and Hayden Paddon will be on the stages. But this is very important for me to compare myself with top drivers of the world on our stages, very fast gravel roads. We will also be able to drive the new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, which we are still learning and understanding because it’s a new car for me and this rally will be important for Estonia and Finland. They also have fast gravel stages and [Poland] should give me some advantage to the next part of the season in WRC2.”

Are you under pressure to win again?
“I would say mainly I would like to compare myself, on stages I like and I know, to the best drivers and I’m really happy the level will be higher than last year. We also develop with Szymon [Gospodarczyk, co-driver], we have a good car and very fast Michelin tyres. In this whole package I hope it’s possible for us to do good times on the stages and it will be possible to fight for a good result. But it’s hard for me to predict the pace of the guys because, in the past, Hayden and Mads were on the podium but in the WRC event in the World Rally Cars and probably their pace on the stages will be very, very high. But I’m sure even if we are slower we can develop and improve a lot with this comparison.”

What do you think of the changes to the route?
“Saturday should be quite similar to the typical Rally Poland but Sunday they are mainly new stages, near to Olsztyn but the style of the stages are similar, mainly a lot of fourth and fifth gear, a lot of straights and very fast corners. It’s good for the rally to do the classic stages but it’s also good to do something new because it’s checking the quality of the crews when they need to prepare new pacenotes and drive from the first pass very fast.”

You finished ninth in WRC2 and fourth in the WRC2 Challenger category on Vodafone Rally de Portugal last weekend, your first start in the FIA World Rally Championship this year. Can that outing help you for Rally Poland?
“Portugal was tough and I hope Rally Poland will be easier for us because we know it a little bit better and I hope my driving technique will be good for these fast gravel stages. We had a lot of ups and downs in Portugal and I am not fully happy with my performance but it was the start of our WRC2 programme for this year and it’s good we were on the finish line. We scored some points and did some good stage times. Now we can look forward to our home race but we have to accept there are five to seven very fast drivers who can win and at least 10 guys who can be in the top three.”

ORLEN 79th Rally Poland takes place from 19 - 21 May and counts as round three of the 2023 FIA European Rally Championship.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM