WRC Rally stars arrive in Mikolajki to prepare for Rally Poland
ORLEN Platinum 66th Rally Poland 2009
FIA World Rally Championship, round 8
For immediate release
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
WRC STARS ARRIVE IN MIKOLAJKI TO PREPARE
FOR ORLEN PLATINUM 66TH RALLY POLAND
- Recce crucial to success on new Polish gravel stages
MIKOLAJKI (Poland): The world’s leading rally drivers have arrived in the small town of Mikolajki in north-eastern Poland to complete their preparations for the ORLEN Platinum 66th Rally Poland, the eighth round of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and the newest round of the prestigious series.
Mikolajki (pronounced Mikowaiki) is a small town in the Mragiwi County in the Warmian-Mazurian Voivodeship and is located on the Śniardwy, the largest lake in the Mazurian Lake District.
It will play host to three days of ferocious special stage competition over 18 timed gravel special stages, totalling 352km in a total route of approximately 1,024km on Thursday evening, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Poland was a round of the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers back in 1973. But this is the first time that the Eastern European country has played host to the new-look championship, after the FIA created the opportunity by encouraging new events to join the series on a rotation system a couple of years ago.
The Polish round of the WRC is also a counting round of the Ford Fiesta Sport Trophy International and the FIA Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) and has attracted a provisional 55 starters, including the might of the BP Abu Dhabi Ford World Rally Team, the Citroën Total World Rally Team and the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team.
On Tuesday, crews were permitted to carry out the first controlled passes through a selection of the special stages they will face this weekend. The Mazurian Lake District has experienced heavy rain in recent days, but Tuesday morning dawned bright, dry and sunny, as teams drove through the Grabówka, Pianki, Paprotki and Milki specials and the timed super special in Mikolajki on Tuesday evening.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) teams will be permitted to recce Thursday morning’s all-important shakedown stage and the Danowo, Gawliki, Wydminy and Tros specials. The stages are located in the lake region close to the Russian border, north-east of Mikolajki.
According to World Championship leader Sébastien Loeb, accurate pace-noting during the recce will be crucial to success on these new Polish loose surface stages. Both the Frenchman and his team-mate Dani Sordo carried out two days of testing before the event, but there is no substitute for good preparation and Loeb knows that the two days of recce are just as important as the actual competitive stages themselves.
The competitive action gets underway on Thursday evening with a 2.5km super special stage in Mikolajki at 8pm. This follows the ceremonial start in the town at 7pm.