Welcome back to the rally calendar Poland! Or as the locals say: Cześć Polska! For the first time since 2009, the WRC cars will once again be bombing around the Masurian Lake District in northeast Poland this weekend. The Polish fans are celebrating the return of the World Rally Championship more than usual. And not just because of local hero Robert Kubica.
The drivers often compare this rally to the Rally Finland. Just with fewer forests – and no moose. The speeds are incredible (averaging at around 110 km/h) and the rally cars drift through sweeping gravel bends and fly over numerous crests along picturesque lakes. With so much action it’s surprising that the rally has only been held here twice since 1973 – the year that the World Rally Championship was founded.
Volkswagen driver Jari-Matti Latvala took part in the rally in 2009. Back then in a Ford. Five years is a long break, much of the knowledge from that time has been disposed of rather than recycled as “JML” revealed: “Compared with 2009 some of the special stages have stayed the same. Nevertheless we will be taking completely new notes, we won’t be using the old ones.” One completely new feature of the rally is a short trip to neighbouring Lithuania. Therefore being well prepared is much more important than in other rallies.
From a sporting perspective, Poland could stage another fierce battle between Volkswagen drivers Latvala and Séb Ogier. Séb still leads the championship table with Jari-Matti in second, who wants to make up for the Rally Italy, where he was initially heading for victory and then had to make do with third place. Full attack! And Andreas Mikkelsen? The Volkswagen youngster improved continuously with his old new co-driver Ola Fløene at the last rally and now wants to do even better after finishing fourth in three successive rallies.