Fri 21 Jun 2024

Litwinowicz: You need to rely much more on your instincts

Just two weeks away from the start of the 2024 FIA European Rallycross Championship season, Euro RX1 rookie Damian Litwinowicz says he is rapidly getting to grips with his Audi S1 – and loving every moment.

Last year’s Euro RX3 champion – tallying two victories and two further podium finishes from five rounds – Litwinowicz is stepping up to the European Championship’s top-tier for the forthcoming campaign, partnering fellow former Euro RX3 title-winner Yury Belevskiy at front-running outfit Volland Racing.

To put that into perspective, what it means is that the Pole has traded 220bhp for 600bhp and has at his disposal 900Nm of torque when he had previously only been accustomed to 190Nm. Oh yes, and he is now accelerating from a standing start to 100km/h in under two seconds...

“I was very cautious initially as I wanted to settle in slowly,” he says, not surprisingly. “With so much power, it’s easy to push too hard, and I’ve definitely gone over the limit a few times in testing. I’ve been pulling a little too much handbrake on occasion, too – you hardly use it in Euro RX3. That has resulted in some drifting, which clearly isn’t the fastest approach, but ultimately, exploring the limits like that is the only way to find out where they actually are.

“Everything certainly goes much faster now! In Euro RX3, you have a bit more time to think before you reach the corner, but there’s no time for that in Euro RX1, so you need to rely much more on your instincts. You can also really feel how much heavier this car is, especially in the corners and under acceleration.

“I have to say, though, it feels great, and I’m getting used to it pretty quickly. The first time I did a start in the S1, the launch procedure honestly blew me away – it just takes off like a rocket. It’s incredible – I love it – and I think it suits my driving style well.”

During the two tests he has conducted to-date – one in France and the other in Hungary at Nyirád, scene of round two of the campaign on 27-28 July – Litwinowicz has worked closely and collaboratively with team-mate Belevskiy. The next stop for the pair will be Swedish circuit Höljes, for the 2024 curtain-raising contest at rallycross’ legendary ‘Magic Weekend’ (6-7 July).

“Yury and I have spent some time together and have been comparing data from the tests, which has obviously been useful for me,” reflected the 26-year-old Poznan native. “He has a lot more experience than me at this level and has been very open, which has definitely helped to speed up my learning curve.

“I’m really excited to go to Höljes – it’s been a long time since the Estering at the end of last season! Of course I have an ambition to get into the final – that’s why I go racing, because I want to be the best – but I need to be realistic while I continue to learn so I’m keeping my early expectations in-check. Knowing how much of a lottery rallycross can be, a good result in Sweden I think would be getting through to the semi-finals – and then we can build from there...”

Images: Jakub Nitka / QNIGAN Rallycross Media

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