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Mon 22 Apr 2024

Euro RX3 champion confirms Euro RX1 graduation

Damian Litwinowicz – one of the sport’s undisputed rising stars – will graduate from Euro RX3 to the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top-tier this year, as he joins the Euro RX1 grid with Volland Racing.

Litwinowicz made his debut in international competition in 2021, rapidly establishing himself as a consistent front-runner in Euro RX3 and emerging on top of a fraught duel with team-mate Espen Isaksætre last season to become the first Pole to clinch the discipline’s European crown in 17 years.


With eight podium finishes to his credit from 15 appearances in the fiercely-disputed category – more than a 50 per cent strike rate – the 25-year-old has decided the time is now right to take the next step in his burgeoning career by pitting himself against Europe’s elite in 2024.


“I never even expected to get as far as Euro RX3 – that was already a dream, and then to win the championship was incredible,” he candidly acknowledged. “I could never have imagined that one day I would move up to Euro RX1 – this is absolutely another dream come true for me, and I have a lot of people to thank for helping me along the way. I’m super-excited.”


Litwinowicz will take to the track for the five-round campaign behind the wheel of the same Audi S1 that was piloted at Höljes last summer by Andreas Bakkerud. Having only raced front wheel-drive cars before, he is preparing to make his four wheel-drive bow, but he will benefit from the consistency of remaining with Volland Racing – continuing a successful relationship first forged three years ago.


Professing himself much stronger for all the experience he has gained to-date on the European stage, Litwinowicz is aiming to show that he can be just as much of a force at its highest level.


“I have learnt and improved so much from driving with Volland Racing,” commented the Poznan native. “Rolf [Volland – team owner] knows everything there is to know about rallycross, and he’s a first-class coach – very straightforward with a real no-nonsense approach. Thanks to his tuition, I know I’m a much better driver all-round now than I was when I first joined the European Championship.


“The S1 is a considerably more powerful car than I’ve been used to before, and being four wheel-drive, it will feel very different so I will need to adapt to the driving style and extra power as quickly as I can. I’m clearly going to be on a steep learning curve to begin with, but at Volland Racing, I know I have the full support of an excellent team behind me and I feel very much at home.


“Obviously it’s a nice confidence boost to have a Euro RX3 title under my belt, but honestly, I don’t think that counts for very much at Euro RX1 level! I don’t yet know which other drivers will be racing this season, but it’s always a very competitive field so I’m not setting myself any particular targets to begin with as I have a lot to learn. All that said of course, ultimately, I want to be fighting at the front...”


Litwinowicz has several test days planned in the Audi ahead of the curtain-raising contest at Essay in France on 8-9 June. Team owner Volland – 13 times a German Rallycross Champion during his own driving career – is eager to allow his young charge the time he needs to settle into the groove in what is one of the toughest series’ in the sport.


“For his first season in the category, it will be important to keep expectations under control,” he asserted. “From my side, there is no pressure on Damian this year at all. I don’t think it will take him too long to acclimatise to the car, but Euro RX1 is a big step-up and he will need to get to grips with a new launch procedure, which is quite different to what he has been used to in Euro RX3.


“On the flipside, he clearly has the skill and I think Euro RX1 will suit Damian’s attacking driving style quite well. There is no question about his speed, and we have seen in recent years that when somebody is good in Euro RX3, that usually translates to Euro RX1.


“It would obviously be better to have a bit more preparation time before going racing, but we will support him with everything he needs from a team perspective and if he can reach the final a couple of times, I think we will be able to call it a successful season.”