WRC - Poland kicks off WRC’s high-speed summer schedule

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2024 WRC - ORLEN 80th Rally Poland (round 7 of 13) - Event Preview

Simone Campedelli at the FIA European Rally Championship in Mikolajki, Poland on 12th  June 2022 (photo @World / Red Bull Content Pool)

The FIA World Rally Championship’s need for speed takes it to Poland next week (June 27-30) for the first of three fast-paced gravel contests in succession.

Following the tough and technical stages of Rally Italia Sardegna, the WRC switches to faster and smoother gravel roads for back-to-back visits to Poland, Latvia and Finland during an exciting summer of top-flight rallying.

One young talent with a gilt-edged opportunity to shine is Mārtiṇš Sesks. The 24-year-old, a winner in the FIA European Rally Championship, has been handed a Rally1 drive for the events in Poland and his native Latvia. 

Notably, his appearance in a Ford Puma Rally1 on 80th ORLEN Rally Poland will make him the first driver to compete in a Rally1 car in the WRC without the use of hybrid technology under new regulations for the 2024 season. These allow Rally1 cars to be entered on WRC events with equivalent ballast weight in lieu of the plug-in hybrid system as part of ongoing efforts to help drivers take the step from Rally2 to Rally1 machinery. 

Following his appearance in Poland, an event he won last season when it formed part of the FIA ERC, Sesks will look to build on the experience he gains on the Mikołajki-based event by stepping up to a full hybrid-powered Puma Rally1 on Rally Latvia in July.

The WRC has gone from strength to strength since Poland was last part of the schedule. The hybrid-powered Rally1 regulations came on stream in 2022 – with a focus on greater safety and performance – when the move to fossil-free fuel was also made. The championship returned to Africa and Asia the previous year, a new points-scoring system was introduced for 2024, while myriad young drivers have emerged each season to underline the sport’s exciting future. 

Earlier this month, technical stability has been agreed between all stakeholders for the 2025 and 2026 WRC seasons. During its gathering in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the World Motor Sport Council confirmed that, following extensive feedback and discussions, the WRC Technical Regulations for Rally1/2 cars will remain unchanged for the coming two years, while the following objectives have been set (click here for more info):

• Key targets are aimed primarily at increasing participation at the highest level as previously set out by the FIA.
• It is a strong expectation of the World Council that the current manufacturers will commit to the long-term future of the sport well in advance. 
• Following a clear pledge to invest from the WRC Promoter, the FIA will strengthen its team across the Commercial and Communications Departments to extend their support for the Promoter and the key stakeholders around the Promotional Working Group. 
• There will be a strong focus on managing the sporting regulations following the creation of the WRC Sporting Working Group, with a key emphasis on increasing the opportunities for media activation and reducing the costs for its competitors. 

With Rally Poland a founding round of the FIA WRC back in 1973, the 80th edition of the world’s second oldest rally, which first ran in 1921, represents something of a homecoming. And having not hosted the global series since 2017, the country’s return at the halfway point of the season is eagerly anticipated. 

Official tyre supplier Pirelli provides its Scorpion KX in hard and soft compounds for round seven of the FIA WRC season. The soft compound is the first choice for use in cool and damp conditions, while the hard compound is the preference if it’s warm and dry. Rally1 teams can use a maximum of 28 tyres for ORLEN 80th Rally Poland including four for Thursday’s Shakedown.



Based in the town of Mikołajki in the picturesque Masurian lake district – three hours north of the capital Warsaw – this year’s Rally Poland is vastly different to the 2023 edition with just the Mikołajki Arena and Świętajno stages unchanged since last season. 

After the traditional ceremonial start has taken place in Mikołajki’s main square, the real action gets under way on Thursday June 27 at the Mikołajki Arena, purpose-built adjacent to the service park for head-to-head competition. 

A loop of three stages – Stańczyki, Wieliczki and Olecko – will test the crews on Friday morning followed by a Tyre Fitting Zone in Olecko. The morning loop is then repeated in the afternoon with another run of the 2.50-kilometre Mikołajki Arena rounding out the day. At 29.40 kilometres, Stańczyki is the rally’s longest stage, while Olecko features the famous Rosochackie jump, but in reverse direction to before. 

Saturday’s leg provides the most competitive action –124.10 kilometres of running – with crews tackling the Świętajno, Gołdap and Czarne stages. The morning loop also features the third running of the Mikołajki Arena stage prior to service in the grounds of Mikołajki’s gigantic Hotel Gołębiewski, after which the opening three morning tests are repeated. 

Sunday concludes with double runs through the Gmina Mrągowo and Mikołajki tests, with the latter counting as the points-paying Wolf Power Stage. At 10.73-kilometres, SS19 Mikołajki is due to begin at 14:15 local time with the closing kilometres inside the Mikołajki Arena, from where the prize-giving podium will be located from 15:15.



Stage distance: 303.16 km
Total distance: 1375.64 km
Number of stages: 19



Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team
The provisional WRC points leader after six rounds, Thierry Neuville is a previous Rally Poland winner and drives the lead Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid. He’s joined in the Germany-based squad by Ott Tänak and another former Rally Poland victor, Andreas Mikkelsen. Tänak claimed his first win of the season on the previous round, Rally Italia Sardegna, while Mikkelsen last competed for the team in Croatia.

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
Adrien Fourmaux leads the line at the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team having twice finished on the podium in 2024 aboard his Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid. Like Fourmaux, Grégoire Munster is a Rally Poland rookie but starts the event fresh from landing a WRC career-best fifth in Sardinia. Mārtiṇš Sesks, the Rally Poland winner in 2023 when it counted as a round of the FIA ERC, makes his Rally1 debut in a third non-hybrid Puma.

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
Double Rally Poland winner Sébastien Ogier continues his partial WRC campaign after he was denied victory on the final stage in Sardinia. Team-mates Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta will compete in identical Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid cars.



Twenty-three crews are eligible for FIA WRC2 points on ORLEN 80th Rally Poland. But with the current top two in the standings – Yohan Rossel and Jan Solans – not nominating the event as one of their scoring rounds, the chasing pack will look to take advantage. 

Contenders include Oliver Solberg (Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia RS Rally2), Sami Pajari (Printsport Toyota GR Yaris Rally2) and Nikolay Gryazin (DG Sport Competition Citroën C3 Rally2), while Solberg’s teammate Gus Greensmith has been a winner in the category this season. 

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy-supported Josh McErlean (Škoda Fabia RS) scored his breakthrough FIA WRC2 podium in Portugal, one place ahead of Lauri Joona at the wheel of another Škoda.

Polish hero Kajetan Kajetanowicz (Škoda Fabia RS) is a three-time FIA European Rally Championship winner who claimed the FIA WRC2 Challenger crown in 2023. His younger compatriot, Miko Marczyk (Škoda Fabia RS), has twice claimed his national title. Like Kajetanowicz, Marczyk is a former Rally Poland winner.

Germany’s Armin Kremer and Poland’s Michal Sołowow, both in Škoda Fabia RS cars, are expected to challenge for FIA WRC Masters Cup honours.

The 10-strong FIA WRC3 line-up includes Diego Domińguez from Paraguay, Jan Černý from Czech Republic and emerging Polish driver Jakub Matulka.



Media accreditation and media center.

Media accreditation must be collected in person by accredited pass holders from the Accreditation Desk, Rally HQ, Hotel Gołębiewski, 34 Mragowska Street, Mikołajki, Poland. The media center is located at the same place.

Media accreditation - Opening hours:
Tuesday 25 June: 14:00 – 20:00 hrs
Wednesday 26 June: 08:00 – 20:00 hrs
Thursday 27 June: 08:00 – 20:00 hrs
Friday 28 June: upon request only to accreditation@rallypoland.pl

Media Centre – Opening hours:
Tuesday 25 June: 14:00 – 20:00 hrs
Wednesday 26 June: 08:00 – 20:00 hrs
Thursday 27 June: 08:00 – 22:00 hrs
Friday 28 June: 08:00 – 22:00 hrs
Saturday 29 June: 08:00 – 22:00 hrs
Sunday 30 June: 08:00 – 22:00 hrs


Media activities and opportunities *

Wednesday 26 June 
17:00Mandatory Tabard Media Safety Briefing, Media Centre
17:30 – 18:30Boat regatta with selected P1 crews no. 9, 16, 18 (Wioska Żeglarska Jezioro Mikołajskie)
Thursday June 27 
10:01 – 10:00Shakedown for P1 drivers and invited drivers (Lubiewo, 5.10 km)
11:01 – 12:30Shakedown for P1 and P2 drivers (Lubiewo, 5.10 km)
13:01 – 13:30Shakedown for P3 and non-priority drivers (Lubiewo, 5.10 km)
13:00 – 14:30FIA WRC Media Pen with P1/P2 drivers and P1 Team Principals (Service Park)
16:20 – 16:50Autograph signing session with all P1 crews and crews no. 20, 26, 38 (Mikołajki Main Square)
17:00Ceremonial Start (Mikołajki Main Square)
18:05 – 18:45FIA WRC Meet the Crews/Pre-rally FIA Press Conference (Mikołajki Arena – Fan Zone)
18:50Start of Section 1 (Service Park)
Friday June 28 
06:20Start of Section 2 (Parc Fermé)
Approx. 11:45Media Zone at TC4A (Olecko)
Approx. 19:05Media Zone at TC8A (Mikolajki Service Park)
Approx. 20:00FIA WRC Meet the Crews with P1 Team Principals and top three drivers (Service Park)
Saturday June 29 
07:10Start of Section 5 (Parc Fermé)
Approx. 13:30Media Zone at TC12A (Mikolajki Service Park)
Approx. 20:00Media Zone at TC15A (Mikolajki Service Park)
Approx. 21:15FIA WRC Meet the Crews with P1 Team Principals and top three drivers (Service Park)
Sunday June 30 
08:00Start of Section 5 (Parc Fermé)
Approx. 10:15Media Zone at TC17A (Mikolajki Service Park)
Approx. 14:25Media Zone at TC19A (Rally finish, podium holding area)
15:15Finish Ceremony and post-rally FIA Press Conference (Mikołajki Arena – Fan Zone)

*All times local, approximate and subject to change


Media zones

Media Zones attended by all drivers and selected team representatives will operate as follows: 
TC 4A, TC 8A, TC 12A, TC 15A, TC 17A and TC 19A


FIA WRC Meet the Crews live interviews, Mikołajki Arena – Fan Zone, Thursday 27 June

18:05 - 18:15 - FIA WRC Manufacturer Team Principals
Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
Richard Millener (GBR), M-Sport Ford WRT

18:15 - 18:30 - FIA WRC Support Championships
FIA WRC2 - Toksport WRT, Oliver Solberg (SWE), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
FIA WRC2/FIA WRC2 Challenger - Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
FIA WRC Masters Cup - Armin Kremer (DEU), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
FIA WRC3 - Jakub Matulka (POL), Ford Fiesta Rally3

18:30 - 18:45 - FIA World Rally Championship
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT, Ott Tänak (EST), Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, Sébastien Ogier (FRA), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid
M-Sport Ford WRT, Grégoire Munster (LUX), Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid
M-Sport Ford WRT, Mārtinš Sesks (LVA), Ford Puma Rally1

FIA Post-event Press Conference, Mikołajki Arena – Fan Zone, Sunday 30 June, from 15:15

Top 3 drivers in overall classification, winning co-driver and representative of the winning manufacturer.
Winning drivers in the FIA WRC2, WRC2 Challenger, WRC3, WRC Masters Cup categories.

The FIA WRC Meet the Crews on Thursday and post-event FIA Press Conference on Sunday will be broadcast live on WRC and FIA social media channels.



Toyota Gazoo Racing WRTElfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR) - #33
 Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Vincent Landais (FRA) - #17
 Takamoto Katsuta (JPN)/Aaron Johnston (IRL) - #18
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRTThierry Neuville (BEL)/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) - #11
 Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) - #8
 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Torstein Eriksen (NOR) - #9
M-Sport Ford WRTAdrien Fourmaux (FRA)/Alexandre Coria (FRA) - #16
 Grégoire Munster (LUX)/Louis Louka (BEL) - #13



1. Mārtinš Sesks (LVA)/Renārs Francis (LVA)Škoda Fabia RS Rally21h34m57.8s
2. Hayddon Paddon (NZL)/John Kennard (NZL)Hyundai i20 N Rally2+39.6s
3. Miko Marczyk (POL)/Szymon Gospodarczyk (POL)Škoda Fabia RS Rally2+1m04.9s



2023Mārtinš Sesks/Renārs FrancisŠkoda Fabia RS Rally2
2022Mikołaj Marczyk/Szymon GospodarczykŠkoda Fabia Rally2 Evo
2021Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey ArnautovCitroën C3 Rally2
2020Event cancelled due to Covid-19 
2019Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey ArnautovCitroën C3 R5
2018Nikolay Gryazin/Yaroslav FedorovŠkoda Fabia R5
2017Thierry Neuville/Nicolas GilsoulHyundai i20 Coupe WRC
2016Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders JægerVolkswagen Polo R WRC
2015Sébastien Ogier/Julien IngrassiaVolkswagen Polo R WRC
2014Sébastien Ogier/Julien IngrassiaVolkswagen Polo R WRC


*Event held from 2018-2019 and 2021-2023 as a round of the FIA European Rally Championship