A decade after his last Dakar Rally, Krzysztof Hołowczyc will chase the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas in 2023 to prepare for his return to the legendary race in 2024. He will race a Mini Countryman for X-raid Team with Łukasz Kurzeja as co-driver. The campaign has been dubbed “Road to Dakar”, though it is not to be confused with the Road to Dakar programme that rewards rookies with invitations to the race if they perform well in certain events.
“The upcoming season is a unique challenge for us,” said Hołowczyc. “Lukasz and I are starting a programme called Road to Dakar, which includes starts in the full cycle of the World Cup in Baja rallies in the 2023 season, as well as starting the legendary Dakar Rally 2024. Told you we’d be back there.
“The next novelty will be the rally that we will race. We are getting on with Łukasz to the brand new Mini Countryman T1+ prepared by the German X-raid Team. It’s a brand new vehicle that will have its presentation in mid-December.
“Great things are born out of passion, persistence, determination, which we share with the owner Jarosław Peczka. We are going there to win.”
Hołowczyc is no stranger to the World Cup and its European Cup counterpart, though mainly because his native Baja Poland is a round on both championships’ schedules. He is the most accomplished driver in the event’s history, having won the overall eight times including all but once from 2010 to 2015. Despite retiring from racing after his 2015 victory, he returned for more and secured additional wins in 2021 and 2022.
In 2021, he ran the final four legs of the Baja World Cup and was third in points with wins in the Hungarian Baja and Baja Poland. The win on home soil was his lone Cross-Country Bajas start in 2022.
He competed at the Dakar Rally from 2005 to 2015, with the final four starts coming in a Mini. His most recent run was also his best as he finished third overall, while he scored his lone stage win in the 2012 edition.
Prior to rally raid, Hołowczyc was a three-time Polish Rally Champion and 1997 European Rally Champion. He also raced in the World Rally Championship on a part-time basis in the late 1990s followed by the Rally Poland in 2009, 2014, and 2015. The 2009 Rally Poland saw him finish sixth for the highest run by a Pole at the time, a feat since eclipsed by Robert Kubica. Incidentally, Kubica has been helping Polish rider Maciej Giemza prepare for the 2023 Dakar Rally by joining him in dune training; Kubica’s Formula One team Alfa Romeo is sponsored by ORLEN, who fields a rally raid programme for Giemza.
Hołowczyc also ran two races in the FIA European Rallycross Championship in 2016.
The 2023 World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas is eight races long beginning with the Saudi Baja on 2–4 February. Baja Poland is the fifth leg on 24–27 August, though it has been dropped from the European Cup calendar.