79th RAJD POLSKI HRT Racing Team and Norbert Maior – Francesca Maior are competing in their second race together. The third round of the European Championship Series (ERC) continued in Poland on a gravel track. Once again, the small town of Mikolajki in the north of Poland was the centre of the competition. This year, the Romanian pair of brothers and sisters were competing in the ERC for the first time, with the ERC Junior (under 27) category being the focus of their attention as they set their sights on the latter series in 2023. The race week started with a test session on Wednesday, where the Peugeot 208 Rally4, prepared with a gravel chassis, was used to clock up the kilometres and give the driver extra confidence. Thursday’s day was spent on the track, and the itinerary could not have been completely unfamiliar, as the Maiors had already competed in this event in 2021 and 2022.
Then came the day everyone had been waiting for: Friday. In the early afternoon, the riders had the chance to practice on a so-called Shakedown, a 3.5 km designated stage. After that, the first superspecific was held in the evening at the Mikolajki Arena, where the Maiors were greeted by a real Katlan atmosphere. They really love rallying here, and the 79th edition of the Rajd Polskie this year is proof of that. No significant differences emerged in the superspec, with the team finishing the day in 4th place in ERC Junior. Saturday was the longest day of the race, with seven races and more than 100 kilometres of stages. The morning’s three races were spent groping the trails.
The weather was sunny and dry throughout. The 4th place was still held and was only five seconds behind the 2nd place. Lunch time was followed by a 30 minute service followed by four more fast ones. At the end of the second lap, the field returned to the Mikolajki Arena for a fast run, where Norbert Maior and his team were able to claim a stage win. This also helped them to finish the day in 2nd place in the ERC Junior. Norbert Maior after Saturday. It is too early to celebrate today’s result, but it definitely gives me confidence and motivation for tomorrow. Stage by stage we tried to improve our pace, which I think we did. I can say that today, me, Francesca and the car were a good team. We start day 2 from 2nd place in the junior classification and we are looking forward to tomorrow.”
On the final day of the rally, the duo’s aim was to retain second place. Norbert Maior did not want to push the pace in any way, as he was less familiar with these tracks from the previous ones. Despite this, they were able to drive in good rhythm and had a great rapport with the HRT Racing Team in the service park. In the 14th rapid the Norbert’s won another rapid. On the last Power Stage, where the result was still important, they had a great run and scored more points in the championship with their third place. First place was not realistic this time, but 2nd place was a very respectable result! The driver’s words at the end of the race.
We can’t really find the words to express all the emotions we are feeling right now, but we are definitely happy and grateful for everything that happened here. Second place in the European Rally Championship Junior classification in the first event of the year is definitely an achievement we are proud of. We leave here with the hope of being there for the next round in Latvia, but we definitely have to work to find the support and resources to make it happen. Thank you for being with us and thank you to everyone who has supported us and helped us get this far. Thank you to HRT Racing for everything!” In summary, it has been a very long and tough weekend for the HRT Racing Team, the team’s first European Championship race with the Romanian brother and sister team. The next round of the ERC Junior Championship will be the Rallye Liepaja in Latvia, also on gravel, from 17-18 June.
Rajd Polski, ERC Junior category Final result:
1. Nore Ola Jr. – Eilertsen Rune Renault Clio Rally4
2nd Maior Norbert – Maior F. Peugeot 208 Rally4
3. Hansen Victor – Johansson Victor Peugeot 208 Rally4
Five more rounds of the ERC Junior 2023 season:
– Tet Rally Liepaja 17-18 June
– Royal Rally of Scandinavia 7-8 July
– Rally di Roma Capitale 29-30 July
– Barum Czech Rally 18-20 August
– Rally Hungary 7-8 October