Thu 29 Sep 2022

Litwinowicz overjoyed with ‘personal best’ in Portugal

Following his impressive rookie campaign in the FIA European Rallycross Championship in 2021, Damian Litwinowicz took a while to truly find his form again at Euro RX3 level this season – but a ‘personal best’ in Portugal earlier this month reminded everybody just why he is regarded as one of the dual-surface discipline’s rising stars.

Following his impressive rookie campaign in the FIA European Rallycross Championship in 2021, Damian Litwinowicz took a while to truly find his form again at Euro RX3 level this season – but a ‘personal best’ in Portugal earlier this month reminded everybody just why he is regarded as one of the dual-surface discipline’s rising stars.

Travelling to Montalegre, Litwinowicz had only one podium finish to his name in 2022 – a third place in Norway – but from the outset around the challenging Vila Real circuit, the Pole was on the front-running pace.

After lapping fastest in free practice on Saturday morning – in a 14-strong field counting no fewer than nine local specialists – he exploited an early joker strategy in the opening heat to overhaul João Ribeiro for the lead and post the third-quickest time overall.

He proceeded to keep champion-elect Kobe Pauwels at bay for the second-best time in heat two, but a sudden loss of power as he was coasting to victory in his heat three race dropped Litwinowicz from third to fifth in the intermediate ranking.

Following a safe run to second in his progression race, the 24-year-old Poznan native smartly tucked to the inside on the run down to Turn One from his mid-grid slot in semi-final two, losing time in traffic after taking his joker but thereafter pushing Ribeiro right the way to the chequered flag.

In the all-important final, Litwinowicz then wrong-footed fellow Audi driver Nuno Miguel da Costa Araújo by jumping into the joker on lap one. His strong turn-of-speed subsequently enabled him to leapfrog Škoda rival Jan Černý to secure the runner-up spoils behind Pauwels – the finest result of his burgeoning Euro RX3 career, and a performance that deservedly earned him the Cooper Tires ‘Racer of the Weekend’ award in the category.

“It was a fantastic weekend at Montalegre – a track that I fell in love with last year,” enthused the former Polish and CEZ SuperTouring Champion. “The changes to the joker suited me well, and we started off perfectly with the best time in free practice and finishing third and second in Saturday’s heats – although heat three unfortunately ended 200 metres before the flag due to a minor failure.

“From there, the plan for the progression race and semi-final was simple – play it safe to reach the finish and get through to the final, because that’s where the points are handed out. The chase was on in the final after a poor start, but we had good tactics and came away with a great second place – a personal best, and elevating us to second in the championship. I’m very happy with that.”

Latvia
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