Kajetan Kajetanowicz has won the 2016 FIA European Rally Championship at Rally Liepaja today, his second consecutive title win. He now joins the likes of Luca Rossetti and Bernard Darniche – the only drivers to ever win a ERC title two years in a row. Kajetanowicz’s win also meant a second win in a row for Ford.
With one more round left in the season, Kajetanowicz fourth place finish today was enough to grant him a dream that only a few other drivers in ERC history have experienced. The Ford Fiesta R5 driver had a tough weekend keeping up with pace setters ahead of him, especially the 22-year old Ralfs Sirmacis in his Skoda Fabia R5. Sirmacis was the eventual winner of the penultimate round in Latvia today, which also happens to be his home country.
For Sirmacis, this was his third win of the season in only five starts, an epic moment for the youngster who only started racing in the top ERC category this year, having graduated from the Junior Championship. Co-driven by Arturs Šimins, they won every single stage except for two street stages on Saturday evening. This was the first time Rally Liepaja was held as a pure gravel event.
Second place went to Alexey Lukyanuk who ditched his usual Ford Fiesta R5 for a Mitsubishi Evo X in this round. He managed to keep up with the R5 spec cars, staying in second throughout the three day rally. Siim Plangi gave Mitsubishi a double podium by finishing third. Plangi and Kajetanowicz fought hard for the podium spot but the Ford driver was slowed down by technical difficulties allowing Plangi to escape away.
Local driver Raimonds Kisiels finished fifth behind Kajetanowicz in a Skoda Fabia R5. Marijan Griebel was crowned the ERC Junior champion and will be rewarded by upgrading to a Skoda Fabia R5 at the Cyprus Rally next month by Motorsport Italia.
Elsewhere in ERC2, Wojciech Chuchała claimed the championship title in his Subaru Poland Rally Team car. He crashed out on the final stage but his five wins of the season were good enough to award him the title with one more round left to go.
The season finale will go down at the Cyprus Rally on October 7.