Thu 30 Nov 2023

Euro RX3 champion ‘working on’ Euro RX1 graduation

Buoyed by his title success in Euro RX3 this year, Damian Litwinowicz has set his sights on stepping up to the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top-tier in 2024.

Buoyed by his title success in Euro RX3 this year, Damian Litwinowicz has set his sights on stepping up to the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top-tier in 2024.

Having finished second in the Euro RX3 standings in 2022, Litwinowicz entered the 2023 campaign as many people’s tip to clinch the coveted crown – and he duly confirmed that ‘favourite’ tag by winning the opening two rounds.

A trickier mid-season run, however – allied to a ‘purple patch’ for Volland Racing stablemate Espen Isaksætre – saw the Pole arrive at Germany’s Estering for the final showdown holding a slender five-point advantage over his Norwegian rival in the championship classification.

The tension mounted following the heats, as Isaksætre topped the ranking while Litwinowicz could manage no better than fourth place – reducing the gap between the pair to just two points entering the semi-finals. And the main drama was still to come.

After Isaksætre found himself turfed out of the semi-final and then reinstated in the final by a penalty for his aggressor, he and Litwinowicz lined up fourth and fifth on the grid respectively for the last race of the season.

Considering what was at stake, it was perhaps inevitable that neither driver would be willing to give an inch. They ran wheel-to-wheel for much of the opening lap, with side-to-side contact breaking Litwinowicz’s steering and resulting in further contact entering the joker that sent both drivers into a spin.

The Poznan native was out on the spot, while the former Norwegian Super1600 champion was able to continue, but could not make up sufficient ground due to the delay and was subsequently disqualified for being judged to have instigated the incident. Despite the clash, Litwinowicz – who had been at pains to avoid any kind of collision heading into the weekend – insists there are no hard feelings.

“To be honest, when my car stopped in the joker, I was more annoyed than anything else that something like that could happen with my team-mate – it was the worst possible scenario,” he reflects. “I didn’t think too much initially about what it meant for the championship.

“It goes without saying that I would rather the race had unfolded differently. It’s obviously more enjoyable to win the title by crossing the finish line rather than having to wait for the publication of the official result.

“After watching the videos, Rolf [Volland – team manager] quickly saw that there wasn’t very much either of us could have done to avoid the collision, and there were no issues between Espen and myself after the race. It’s the nature of rallycross, and I think we both understand that. He came up to congratulate me and even if we haven’t had much chance to discuss it since, what happens on the track should stay on the track. Espen is a very fast driver and a tough competitor, and I must admit he made my life extremely difficult in 2023!”

Indeed he did, but 2023 is already in the rear-view mirror, with Litwinowicz’s attentions firmly focussed on 2024. Having become the first Pole to win a European title since Krzysztof Groblewski 17 years earlier, the 25-year-old is now evaluating what comes next.

“Even if it would be fun to try to defend the championship, I’ve never tended to stay in a category after winning it,” he muses. “It would certainly be a big challenge, but I want to try something else. I’ve always wanted to race a Supercar and that is what I’m working on for next year. I hope I can continue my adventure with Volland Racing beyond the three seasons we’ve spent together in Euro RX3. I really feel at home inside this team, so it would be tough to leave...”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM