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ERC Barum Rally Zlin preview

ERC Barum Rally Zlin preview

22.08.2018: BARUM RALLY ZLIN 24-26th August 2018 FIA European Rally Championship round 6/8 FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship round 4/6 FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship round 4/6 The battle for FIA European Rally Championship glory will intensi


BARUM RALLY ZLIN
24-26th August 2018

FIA European Rally Championship round 6/8
FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship round 4/6
FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship round 4/6



 
The battle for FIA European Rally Championship glory will intensify in Czech Republic next week (24-26 August) when the country’s sealed-surface ERC contest hosts the latest chapter of this enthralling season.



Barum Czech Rally Zlín is a Tarmac test like no other due to the bumpy and sometimes broken nature of the roads. To add to the challenge, several stages feature high-speed blasts through forests and intermittent showers are always possible.




 As well as some of the sport’s best young talents in the FIA ERC Junior categories, the bulging entry includes seasoned aces like Alexey Lukyanuk and SEAJETS-backed Bruno Magalhães, former ERC champion Jan Kopecký and world championship star Dani Sordo.
 



 
BARUM CZECH RALLY ZLÍN IN NUMBERS:


48: Barum Czech Rally Zlín ran for the first time in 1971 and turns 48 this year. Jan Halmažna took the inaugural honours in a ŠKODA 1100 MB.


6: Jan Kopecký was also ŠKODA-powered when he claimed a record-extending sixth outright victory in Zlín last season. He’s one of 36 drivers entered in R5 machinery in 2018.



15: Since the ERC’s streamlining in 2004, Barum Czech Rally Zlín has been ever-present on the European championship schedule.



24.88: At 24.88 kilometres, the new event-closing Kašava stage is the rally’s longest. Meanwhile, Maják, which runs twice on day two, is the shortest at 8.15 kilometres.


19: ERC Junior Experience student Erik Cais from Fryšták, a village near Zlín, will be 19 years and 19 days when Barum Czech Rally Zlín gets underway, making him the event’s youngest competitor.




 
FAST FACTS



*Zlín’s rise from small town to big city is credited to Tomáš Bat’a, who founded a shoe factory there in 1894. His old office – located in a moving elevator – is preserved in the Regional Authority Building 21.


*Now established as a bustling university city, Zlín’s south-eastern Moravia setting is 300 kilometres from the Czech capital Prague and 220 kilometres from the Austrian capital Vienna.


*Zlín became Gottwaldov from 1949-1990 after the first Czech communist president, Klement Gottwald.



*Event sponsor Continental Barum’s giant tyre factory and distribution centre in nearby Otrokovice hosts the rally’s permanent service park.


*Zlín’s residents can count on an extensive transport network – including 13 trolleybus routes – but the running of the ever-popular city-centre superspecial on the opening night means a number of services are temporarily suspended due to part of the route running through a bus terminal and over a railway line.








FORMER EUROPEAN CHAMPION KOPECKÝ AND WORLD STAR SORDO SET THE STANDARD FOR ERC JUNIOR ACES IN ZLÍN


 
*Top Czech Kopecký the driver to beat on home FIA European championship counter

*World star Sordo makes ERC debut in factory-supported Hyundai

*Fans will be out in force as newcomers join ERC Junior ranks

*Érdi Jr bids for ERC2 title number two

 


The most successful driver in Barum Czech Rally Zlín history and unbeaten at home in 22 events, former European champion Jan Kopecký will serve as the ultimate benchmark for the ERC Junior drivers aiming for the top when the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship resumes on the hugely demanding sealed-surface roads in south-eastern Moravia from 24-26 August.
 


Part of the famous factory ŠKODA Motorsport line-up, Kopecký is renowned as an asphalt master and rarely falters in the heat of battle, making him the driver to beat when Barum Czech Rally Zlín turns 48 this year.



 While Kopecký’s threat won’t be lost on Alexey Lukyanuk – the ERC title leader after five all-action rounds – it provides further motivation for the young stars in R5 cars competing in the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship.
 


They include Czech talents Jan Černý and Filip Mareš, who are backed by the Autoklub of the Czech Republic under the ACCR Czech Rally Team banner. Černý is already a winner in the category, while Mareš is embarking on his first season in R5 machinery having excelled in ERC Junior U27 in 2017.
 


Mareš can count on the guidance of Czech rallying legend Roman Kresta, who has 20 Barum Czech Rally Zlín starts – and three wins – to his name and has successfully transferred his skills as a driver into team management via his Kresta Racing concern.




The team from Luhačovice will run a second ŠKODA Fabia R5 for Briton Rhys Yates, who is making his Barum Czech Rally Zlín debut.
 


ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland’s Fabian Kreim, who extended his ERC Junior U28 lead with his maiden category win on the previous round in Rome, will make his second Barum Czech Rally Zlín start one week after contesting his home round of the world championship.



 Latvia-based Russian Nikolay Gryazin revved up for Zlín with a winning run on Rally Rzeszow in Poland and has the pace to chase the outright victory in his Sports Racing Technologies Fabia.


 
Laurent Pellier got a taste of the Barum Czech Rally Zlín when he completed the recce in 2017 as part of the ERC Junior Experience training programme. And after a non-finish in Italy, the PEUGEOT Rally Academy star from France will be aiming to bounce back in Czech Republic.




Briton Chris Ingram, the reigning ERC Junior U27 champion, was on the podium in Rome as he bids for back-to-back titles with Toksport WRT. Poland’s Aleks Zawada, another ERC Junior U27 graduate, won his class in Zlín last season and is entered by his family-run MSZ Racing team.
 


- Richard Rodgers, photo FIA ERC

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/erc-barum-rally-zlin-preview---180031.html

22.08.2018 / MaP

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