Fri 19 May 2023

Marczyk tops ERC Rally Poland order after Friday night flier in Mikolajki

Miko Marczyk will start Saturday’s first full day of action on ORLEN 79th Rally Poland leading the pack following a charging start to his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship this evening (Friday).

Driving a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 on Michelin tyres, last year’s Rally Poland winner took 1min 47.7sec to complete the 2.50km Mikołajki Arena super special stage alongside co-driver Szymon Gospodarczyk, a performance that was much to the delight of the thousands of fans who braved chilly temperatures to watch the head-to-head battles.

ERC points leaders Hayden Paddon and John Kennard were second quickest, just 0.9sec slower in their Pirelli-equipped, BRC Racing Team-run Hyundai i20 N Rally2 to underline their intent for more ERC success.

Erik Cais was the driver to beat on the mixed-surface stage until Marczyk made his move lat one. The Czech settled for the third fastest time with European champion Efrén Llarena fourth for Team MRF Tyres. Two-time Polish champion Grzegorz Grzyb completed the top five, one place ahead of Tom Kristensson, who won the Polish championship in 2022.

Andrea Mabellini, who went up against Marczyk on the two-at-a-time test, was seventh quickest and tied on time with multiple Romanian champion Simone Tempestini. French gravel champion Mathieu Franceschi was ninth followed by Andrea Nucita.

Finnish champion Mikko Heikkilä and Martin László set the joint 11th fastest time. Filip Mareš was 13th quickest ahead of Łukasz Byśkiniewicz, while Pontus Tidemand rounded out the top 15.

Jon Armstrong was the fastest of the ERC3 drivers in his Ford Fiesta Rally3 Evo. Paulo Soria, who is giving the all-new Renault Clio Rally3 its ERC debut in Poland, was third in class after his Motorsport Italia mechanics worked overtime to repair damage Soria sustained striking a deep rut during shakedown.

Eighteen-year-old Mille Johansson, the second youngest driver in the Hankook-equipped FIA Junior ERC Championship, was fastest on his category debut to edge out the youngest driver, Max McRae, who is also 18 and also competing in Junior ERC for the first time. Roberto Daprà, Norbert Maior and Patrik Herczig completed the top five.  

Johansson and McRae were also first and second fastest in ERC4 ahead of Dapra and Toyota Gazoo Racing development driver Nao Otake with Maior in fifth. Championship leader Norman Kreuter was 22nd fastest while there was frustration for Otake’s team-mate Yuki Yamamoto, who stopped in the stage with a reported broken driveshaft.

Saturday’s route consists of three double-use stages, plus a return to the Mikołajki Arena to round out the day’s timed action. At 18.58km, Świętajno is the rally’s longest and gets under way at 08:45 local time. It’s followed by tweaked versions of Markowskie (13.53km) and Wieliczki (17.35km) prior to a service stop in Mikołajki from 12:30. The repeat of Świętajno is the first of four stages in the afternoon from 14:35.

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