Rally Poland 2024, Friday’s Report

After the action got underway with the short stage on Thursday evening, the first full day of action got going with stage two. Ott held the lead for Hyundai with his teammate Thierry second and Elfyn was third after Thursday’s stage.

Into the first stage then, SS2 Stańczyki 1 – 29.40 km and there was early amazing pace from Ott and Martin who despite being second on the road were setting stage winning pace. Unfortunately, they collided with a deer on the stage heavily damaging the front of their i20 and putting them out for the day. The big news was that Andreas was fastest from Martin Sesks who was in the non-hybrid Puma and Kalle third fastest. All three crews gained positions and moved into the top three overall.

Next up was SS3 Wieliczki 1 – 12.90 km and it was a surprise to see Thierry set the fastest time from Elfyn, but the stage was actually cancelled after they completed. The reason? Some spectators were not standing in the right places, and it was not safe to continue. All the other crews were given a notional time. Elfyn gained one position and moved into third overall.

Onto SS4 Olecko 1 – 13.20 km and Andreas was showing great pace, winning the stage from Gregoire and Elfyn. It was interesting to see Martin maintain such great pace holding second overall from Elfyn who was 4.5 seconds behind the Latvian.

After the tyre fitting zone the second run of SS5 Stańczyki 2 – 29.40 km and Kalle found his way to the fastest time with Elfyn second and Martin third. The decision by Toyota and their crews to run hard tyres in this one was inspired as they saw those who ran the softs all round fall back, but the way to run them was highlighted by Andreas who had the two softs on the rear and the hards on the front. The Norwegian was finding the balance tricky and lost 14.4 seconds. Kalle emerged in the lead, just two tenths ahead.

The following stage, SS6 Wieliczki 2 – 12.90 km was again taken by Thierry with Elfyn and Takamoto setting the same time for joint second. Once again, we saw a notional time given as the stage was red flagged due to spectators in the wrong places again, just like earlier. The top two changed again as Andreas and Elfyn moved into the top two positions.

The final proper stage of the day, SS7 Olecko 2 – 13.20 km and Adrien won the stage with Elfyn and Andreas second fastest. Once again, the spectators ruined things by crossing the stage and the stage was stopped and then later cancelled.

The final stage then of the day, SS8 Mikołajki Arena 2 – 2.50 km was won by Takamoto and Kalle was second with the same time as his teammate and Andreas was third.

Let’s take a look at the top positions and hear from the drivers.

Classification after Day One

1   A. Mikkelsen T. Eriksen Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid 59:43.7

2   K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +1.8

3   E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +2.0

4   A. Fourmaux A. Coria Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid +7.5

5   M. Sesks R. Francis Ford Puma Rally1 +7.7

6   G. Munster L. Louka Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid +21.3

7   T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +29.8

8   T. Katsuta A. Johnston Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +32.3

9    S. Pajari E. Mälkönen Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 +2:15.6

10 K. Kajetanowicz M. Szczepaniak Škoda Fabia RS +2:24.5


Hyundai Motorsport

Andreas Mikkelsen

“It has been a good day at Rally Poland. It is a shame we couldn’t do more stages, but all in all a positive day. I was far too cautious on the long stage after mid-day service: I am used to the Rally2 cars where you have to be really careful in the ruts, but with these tyres you can just throw the car in. It’s one of the learnings I can take advantage of moving forward; I love this event, and I want to bring a fight to the guys tomorrow. It will be a proper battle, with no road cleaning and the top guys starting in front of me, so a completely different day to today.”

2024 FIA World Rally Championship Round 7,
Rally Poland 2024, 27-30 June 2024
Andreas Mikkelsen, Torstein Eriksen, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid, Action during Day 2 of WRC Rally Poland 2024
Photographer: Romain Thuillier
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Thierry Neuville

“A really tough and challenging day. The temperature in the car was crazy, and we’re pretty exhausted after a long Friday. Let’s see what the weather will do overnight – if it’s dry, it won’t be much easier than it was today, but we could have more chances to catch positions if it rains. It could be an interesting day with wet and slippery conditions, but today we made the most out of the situation we faced.”

Ott Tänak

“It was really bad luck for us today. Looking back at the onboard, we were on a straight section but the time between the deer emerging from the bush and the impact was only 0.26 seconds. There was no time to react and avoid the situation. The opening stage with very loose gravel wasn’t the easiest, but we felt okay in the car for those first kilometres. It is disappointing that we finished early, and we will come back fighting, however it isn’t going to be easy. We can see that opening the road is losing a lot of time, so it will be a challenging task to score those Super Sunday points, but we will do our best for sure.”


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Kalle Rovanperä

“This morning everything was quite tricky for me given our preparation, even more than I was expecting. With the preparation time we had, and after such a long time without driving a fast rally or even a test, it’s not been easy to make good and precise pacenotes for these speeds. I just tried to find a pace, where I was comfortable and to finish the loop without any mistakes. Then in the afternoon we could show our pace straightaway, and it was more enjoyable. I think we did all we could, it was a clean day with no mistakes and our position is not bad tonight considering everything. Tomorrow, I hope we can be stronger in the first pass and let’s see what we can do.”

Elfyn Evans

“We had quite an OK start this morning, getting used to these high-speed stages. The grip was quite changeable and difficult to judge, but everything was working fine in the car and the speed was OK considering the road position and the cleaning that we had to do. This afternoon was pretty similar, but we were able to get closer to the front, and on the whole it’s been a pretty clean day with no mistakes. Let’s see what’s possible tomorrow – and what the weather does overnight, because if it rains a lot that will obviously make things less straightforward.”

Takamoto Katsuta

“In the morning loop, I was struggling quite a lot. I think I went in the wrong direction with the car setup after my test. It was not really feeling good or consistent, it was hard to have trust and keep a good pace, and we were losing a lot of time. But with the help of the engineers, we changed what we could during the day, and it started to feel better in the afternoon. We’ve found the right direction, and tonight we can change even more to make it better tomorrow. Our road position might be more difficult if it’s dry, but the weather is uncertain: hopefully for me it rains and that could be better for us.”



Oliver Solberg

“It’s been a tough day,” said the Škoda driver. “We’ve struggled for confidence and some grip today. The surface has been really tricky, it’s been cleaning and getting quicker and quicker for the cars behind. We will work with the team for the set-up on the car tonight and let’s go again in the morning.”


Well, it was a tricky day out there for the crews and, but more so for the organisers. Having to stop stages when spectators are standing in dangerous places or even walking on the live stage is not very good and is one of the original reasons that the event was not selected for a number of seasons after the 2017 event.

They will not want that to continue during the Saturday’s stages which will see the crews tackle 124km’s over seven stages.

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