Pirelli on the verge of clinching European Rally Championship
|Kajetanowicz in Cyprus|
Pirelli driver Kajetan Kajetanowicz has taken maximum European Rally Championship points on the latest round of the series in Cyprus, putting him on the verge of clinching the title. With two rounds to go (the Acropolis Rally in Greece and the Rallye du Valais in Switzerland) and a maximum of 71 points up for grabs by his only rival Craig Breen, Kajetanowicz’s 62-point advantage means that he has one hand on the title – despite having to fight against factory teams. Kajetanowicz won in Cyprus by the massive margin of more than four minutes, and also clinched the ERC ‘Gravel Master’ title, to match the ERC ‘Ice Master’ title he picked up earlier this year. The ‘Asphalt Master’ title will be decided on the last sealed-surface round of the year in Switzerland. Kajetanowicz led the way in a great overall result for Pirelli in Cyprus, when he and Alexey Lukyanuk – both driving Ford Fiesta R5s on Pirelli tyres – were notably the quickest, with Lukyanuk also being awarded the ‘Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy’. Lukyanuk was delayed with power steering problems on the opening day, but Kajetanowicz dominated the action by going fastest on six of the first day’s eight stages, ending the leg with an advantage of more than two minutes over the demanding gravel roads of Cyprus. During the final day Kajetanowicz concentrated on consolidating his position, but still managed to extend the European Championship lead. Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah passed him when Kajetanowicz experienced steering problems of his own, but Al-Attiyah was not scoring points for the European title. Lukyanuk put in an equally strong performance to fight back all the way to fifth: a position that reinforces his third place overall in the European Rally Championship standings. Pirelli’s product manager Terenzio Testoni said: “The Cyprus Rally is a highly unusual event, with a mix of Dakar-style loose gravel and other more compact gravel stages, with even some sections on asphalt. During the first leg, with tight and twisty stages on a hard base and some asphalt sections, the drivers used the XR tyre, while on the second leg, with faster and looser stages the K tyre was mainly used. Both types of tyre were extremely effective. The rest of the job was done thanks to the talents of Kajto, his co-driven Jacek Baran and their Team Lotos Fiesta R5, which proved to be not only fast but also strategically perfect. Had the crew wanted to, they could undoubtedly have gone even faster, but instead they were in a position to manage their pace. Congratulations also to Alexey Lukyanuk for his impressive fightback. To have two privateer drivers in the top three of the European Rally Championship standings – a series that is extremely varied, with different types of surfaces and events – is a strong testament to the all-round capabilities of our tyres.” The next round of the FIA European Rally Championship takes place on the legendary Acropolis Rally, from October 9-11.
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