Press conference before rally

Present:

Piotr Krzystek, Mayor of Szczecin city 
Michal Sikora, Chairman of Polish Automobile and Motorcycle Association
Jakub Przygonski, Orlen Team driver, FIA World Cup standings leader
Martin Prokop, driver, third in FIA World Cup standings
Julita Maluszynska, co-driver, leader of Polish Cross-Country Rally Championship
Krzysztof Holowczyc, driver, five-time Columna Medica Baja Poland winner

Question: It is ten years of Baja Poland in Szczecin. Do you think that this event fulfilled the expectations of Szczecin inhabitants and yours?

Piotr Krzystek: Yes, it is ten years now, but I feel like we have just begun. It was Krzysztof Holowczyc, who helped us to bring such an event to Szczecin. Now we know that fans love Baja Poland and we are glad that our city hosts the round of FIA World Cup, which attracts many top competitors. I would like to say thank you to everybody involved in the organization of Columna Medica Baja Poland.

Question: Kuba Przygonski came to Szczecin as a FIA World Cup leader. He is just a few steps from winning this trophy. Your fingers must be already crossed, I guess.

Michal Sikora: Yes, of course I keep my fingers crossed for Kuba. He took a long road to be where he is now. Once I asked him why he switched to car so early. He answered that he believed that it was a good moment for such a decision. Today it seems that Kuba was right and he knew what he was doing. I hope that he will increase his advantage this weekend.

Question: Kuba, in cross country rallying not only pure pace is important, but tactics too. And your strategy? Are you going to push from the beginning?

Jakub Przygonski: The points are very important for us, not only in this event. On the other hand, we are going to push already in the first stage. We want to perform well in front of our home fans. Usually we compete far away from Poland, so Polish spectators do not have many occasions to see us in action.

Question: After first stage you choose the position on the road. Which one is the best for you ?

Jakub Przygoński: When your goal is to win the FIA World Cup you need to know how to go fast in every situation, even if you go as a first crew on the stage. We already have some experience in this matter, because this season we were first on the road in many rounds.

Question: Julita, Kuba promised to go fast, and you? Are you going to go flat out or rather stay cautious and look at rivals’ pace?

Julita Maluszynska: We always go as fast as we only can, because this is what rallying is about. At the same time, we consider our capabilities. We remember about the points too, because at the end of the season this is what counts. Of course, we would like to compete with the World Cup regulars and for sure we will try to do so, but we have no idea what it will bring.

Question: Martin, we already know what the approach of Kuba, Tom, Michal and Julita. And how about you? We need to remember that World Cup victory is still in your sight.

Martin Prokop: I think that in previous event we have already lost the chance to fight for the title. This is why in Columna Medica Baja Poland we are going to focus on testing ideas and solutions for 2019 season. Nevertheless, we will fight to finish Polish World Cup counter in first place. I know that Kuba wants to win on home soil and our goal is to stop him.

Question: You have significant rallying experience after finishing many WRC events. Was it hard for you to switch from WRC machinery to off-road rally car?

Martin Prokop: I thought that it would be easier. I need to learn a lot about cross-country rallying. Actually, it took me quite a while to improve my pace. Of course, my WRC experience was pretty useful, but not on every stage. WRC cars are much more fragile comparing to my current car, which is capable to withstand many more. I needed to learn this too.

Question: Dirk, you have won Dakar Rally as a co-driver, now you compete behind the wheel, is it the next step in your career?

Dirk von Zitzewitz: Actually, I was looking for a new challenge. The machinery me and Ola (Floene) will use in Baja Poland is pretty affordable, yet very fast, so it is a great fun to drive. Meanwhile Ola wants to learn how to navigate in cross-country rallies. He already learned that being a WRC co-driver is completely different from doing cross-country events on the right seat.

Question: This is your first and probably the only one outing in this season. How do you feel?

Krzysztof Holowczyc: Sometimes I remind myself that moment when I announced the end of my professional rally career and I think that maybe this moment came a bit too early. My father used to say that you need to leave boxing ring when you are strong. Today I feel that I still can fight for the top results. However, I need to remember that my rivals have this rallying momentum, which you gain after many events. Nevertheless, I am very happy to be here, and I hope that this pure joy will help me to go fast.

Question: Do you reckon that Drawsko stage will be crucial in this event?

Definitely yes. We have 440 kilometres of battle at the military range. This is much more that we will cover on Sunday. Drawsko is really fantastic stage, this have to be said. What is more I would like to admit that year after year this rally is getting better and better. The organisers keep improving the stages and they take drivers voice under consideration too. We also need to say thank you to Polish army which let us race at the military range.

Organizers

Fundacja BAJA POLAND    PZM

Co-Organizers

Szczecin      Dobra Szczecińska     Drawsko Pomorskie

Honorary Patronage

Pod Patronatem Prezydenta Miasta Szczecina           Pod Patronatem Wójta Gminy Dobra     Pod Patronatem Burmistrza Drawska Pomorskiego

Titular Sponsor

Media sponsors

RMF MAXXXGłos Szczeciński   Moje Miasto Szczecin  WP.PL

Partners

 Mercedes Benz Auto Bogacka