The holiday period is extremely busy for Rallytechnology. Almost immediately after the end of the Rally Elektrenai competition, the team was ready for the next trip. The third weekend of July is when the 7th Rally di Roma Capitale takes place, the fifth round of the European Championships (July 19th – 21st 2019). Twenty-two rally duos will compete on winding Italian asphalt with the monuments of the Eternal City in the background. Almost half of them are representatives of the hosts, but in the Rome Rally there will also be Poles. Dariusz Poloński and Łukasz Sitek came to the homeland of the Abarth brand as the vice-leaders of the cup. After three previous rounds, they are losing 11 points to the leader. Their main rivals, Andrea Nucita and Bernardo Di Caro, on “their land" may turn out to be particularly difficult opponents. The Polish driver is well prepared for this fight, because he already had the opportunity to learn the specificity of these stages, when in the 2017 season, together with Balbina Gryczyńska in Peugeot 208 R2, he finished in the fifth place in ERC 3 and in RC4 class.
This year's edition comprises over 190 km of competition, divided into 16 stages. The Saturday stage brings together the three longest rally trials, run in two loops, northeast of Rome. Scheduled for Sunday there are ten trials (81.68 km), and the crew will face another two superstages on the Tyrrhenian coast. The ruins of the ancient port city of Ostia will also be the scenery of the Finishing Ceremony of the fifth edition of the FIA ERC 2019.
For Poloński and Sitek, Rally di Roma will open the second half of the season and similarly to the Polish Rally Championship, also in the Abarth Rally Cup 2019, there are only asphalt rallies left until the end of the season. Last weekend’s Rally Elektrenai (12th-13th July 2019) was the second round of the Polish championship played on a loose surface. Lithuanian gravels proved to be extremely demanding, which the Rallytechnology crews also experienced, as only one of the cars served by the Rybnik company reached the finish line. After two Friday superstages and the first loop on Saturday, Sylwester Płachytka and Jacek Nowaczewski (Ford Fiesta R5) were in seventh place in the RSMP, and Daniel Chwist and Kamil Heller in the beginning of the second ten. Unfortunately, after completing seven stages, due to failure of the power steering pump in their Hyundai i20 R5, they were forced to quit the rally.
From that moment, only Płachytka and Nowaczewski defended the team's colors, and after the adventure of the Polish Rally they were counting on points brought from Lithuania. They kept an even pace and drove consistently, and above all cleanly, which brought them sixth place in the Polish Championships and promotion in the season ranking. Halfway through the 2019 season, they open the second ten of the general classification, and Chwist and Heller are three positions above them. Before the upcoming Rzeszów Rally (August 8th-10th), the classification of sponsored teams looks interesting. Rallytechnology, currently third, loses only 5 points to the leading Tiger Energy Drink, and only a point to Skoda Polska. This is a preview of a spectacular fight in Rzeszów, and this weekend the team is mobilizing all forces to fight in the Rally di Roma.
Robert Gabryszewski (Rallytechnology team manager): Gravels at this year's RSMP were not very easy on us. We noted some valuable results, but the adventures of our other crews did not allow us to fully enjoy it. Our start in Lithuania ended similarly, unfortunately we had to show up there without Marcin Słobodzian and Kamil Kozdroń. In a way the situation was the reverse of those from Mikołajki. Sylwester Płachytka and Jacek Nowaczewski successfully began to make up for the point loss from the Polish Rally, but at the finish of the Rally Elektrenów, we missed Chwist and Heller. For Daniel that was the first unfinished rally, after switching to i20 R5. We are counting on the fight in Rzeszów, where we hope for the strongest field and a successful start of the second part of the season.
Darek Poloński and Łukasz Sitek also have their first half of competition behind them and look forward to the next edition of the cup in Rome. So far, we have already started the Rally di Roma Capitale twice, since the competition entered the ERC, and we are very happy to be back this year. This rally means not only difficult stages and a fierce fight, but also amazing views and scenery. The rich history of this place adds a a unique atmosphere to the rally competition, that cannot be found on other rounds of the ERC.
For our crew and the Abarth, the fact of being in the homeland of this brand would give a special taste to the victory. With this attitude and optimism, we are up for the fight. Keep your fingers crossed.