Bouffier Wins Rally Rzeszow As Kajetanowicz Takes Championship Lead


Photo Credit: @Gregory Lenormand / DPPI

Bryan Bouffier took his fifth Rally Rzeszow victory to make it five different winners from five events in the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship.

Bouffier who led overnight in his Ford Fiesta R5, won in Poland by 38.5 seconds ahead of Kajetan Kajetanowicz and ERC Junior U28 class winner Marijan Griebel who took third overall.

The Frenchman said on his victory: “This rally has always been important to me because if was my first rally in Poland a long, long time ago. When you look at the level of the ERC it’s nice to be on a good pace, especially after Canarias, which was no good for me. Back to winning means I am very happy.”

By taking second in Poland, Kajetanowicz now leads the ERC standings for the first time this season as former leader Bruno Magalhães could only manage ninth position after struggling to get to grips with the Polish tarmac stages.

The Portuguese driver said on his event performance: “We knew it would be a very difficult event for us and all the time you lose you never like it. There are a lot of drivers who are fast in one rally but not in the other.”

Photo Credit: @Wilfried Marcon / DPPI

Finishing on the podium in third, German Griebel took his second U28 victory of the season in his Skoda Fabia R5 and increased his lead at the top of the standings with the winner of the class set to be rewarded with an outing in a European WRC event next season.

Second in U28 went to Sylvain Michel who got away with various mistakes to claim the runners up sport while José Suárez took third in the Peugeot Rally Academy 208 R5. Meanwhile second placed coming into Poland, Pepe López, had a rally to forget after crashing on the first stage of the event and would not restart on Saturday morning.

Jari Huttunen continued where he left off on Friday evening and took a commanding victory in the ERC Junior Under 27 class despite brake issues in the Opel Adam R2 and also took his first ERC3 win in the process.

The Fin won in style after teammate Chris Ingram’s mechanical woes prevented the Brit from having the chance to extend his championship lead with Filip Mareš taking second and Aleks Zawada in third.

Photo Credit: @Wilfried Marcon / DPPI

Fourth in class went to Karel Kupec with Bugra Banaz in fifth and Dominik Brož rounding out the top six.

ERC2 saw a quite remarkable finish, with Tibor Érdi Jr seemingly going to take the win in his Mitsubishi Evo X, but the engine in the car failed on the finish line of the very last stage of the event.

ERC rules state that to take the win, the car must be able to make it to the podium and as a result Zelindo Melegari went on to claim the win and extend his championship lead with Sergey Remennik, who restarted under Rally2 rules on Saturday morning taking the runners up spot in the class after Marcin Słobodzian retired on his ERC debut.

Finally, the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy went to the returning Alexey Lukyanuk for his efforts in Poland despite retiring from the rally after a large crash on Saturday.

The Russian was only set to re-enter the championship at the next event in the Czech Republic after his testing accident, but not only did he compete in Poland this weekend, he was at one point leading the rally on his return to the championship despite still suffering from leg and hip pains.

Round six of the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship is the Barum Czech Rally Zlín and takes place between August 25-27.