Barum Czech Rally Zlin, IRC greats to go head-to-head

Barum Czech Rally Zlin, IRC greats to go head-to-head

24.08.2012: 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, round nine of 13 Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 31 August-2 September OVERVIEW

2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, round nine of 13
Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 31 August-2 September

 

 
OVERVIEW


The thrilling race for the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge title will step up a gear in Czech Republic next week when three of the all-action series’ best drivers go head-to-head for glory in front of live television cameras on the testing high-speed stages around the industrial city of Zlín.
 

Defending IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen, three-time runner-up Jan Kopecký and 2010 winner Juho Hänninen, who also holds the record for the most IRC victories, will all be in action on the Tarmac spectacular, which is set to attract more than 200,000 fans to savour the electrifying atmosphere.
 

Kicking off with a superspecial stage through the heart of host city Zlín in south-east Czech Republic on Friday 31 August, Barum Czech Rally Zlín, a mainstay of the IRC since it began in 2007, will feature 15 stages, including four produced by Eurosport Events for live coverage on Eurosport and Czech TV.
 

The bulk of the competition will take place on Saturday 2 September with four repeated stages, including the live Slušovice ‘circuit’ stage, which returns to the itinerary after a five-year absence, and is set to attract huge numbers of spectators.
 

Sunday’s route consists of three stages run twice. Each loop concludes with the Maják stage, which will also be televised live. Maják, which at 23.38 kilometres is the longest of the event, returned to the schedule for the first time in 20 years in 2011 although it will run in a reverse direction this season.
 

Once again Otrokovice, a short distance from Zlín, will host the permanent service park and is a must for fans wanting to get close up to the cars and drivers.
 


KEY FEATURES



Barum Czech Rally Zlín is famed for its high-speed stages on bumpy and sometimes broken Tarmac through a mixture of urban areas and narrow woodland stretches where experience and commitment behind the wheel are essential.
 

Although the stages on Saturday and Sunday will ultimately decide the outcome of the rally, Friday night’s superspecial in Zlín can’t be taken for granted. Run under the cover of darkness, the stage comprises three laps of Zlin’s central area and crosses over a railway line at one point.


With part of the stage on cobbled streets, grip is at a premium, particularly in the event of rain. Competitors tackle the stage in reverse order from 21:15hrs local time and crews are released from the start in regular intervals, which means there will be as many as seven cars on the concrete wall-lined course at any one time.
 

While the weather in central Europe in late August is characterised by sun and warm temperatures, rain is a frequent hazard on the event. With chunks of the route running under tree cover, grip levels can be unpredictable and drivers running further up the order often benefit from a cleaner stage surface due to the practice of corner ‘cutting’ dragging mud and debris onto the optimal line.


 Tyre compound choice is also a factor with crews often leaving their selection until the last possible moment to try to ensure they are using tyres best suited to the conditions.
 


LIVE TELEVISION COVERAGE

Eurosport Events is producing live television coverage of Barum Czech Rally Zlín, which will be shown on Eurosport and Czech TV as follows:
 
Saturday 1 September

10:00hrs-11:00hrs CET: SS2 Slušovice 1 (16.20 kilometres)
13:00hrs-14:00hrs CET: SS4 Slušovice 2 (16.20 kilometres)


Sunday 2 September


10:00hrs-11:00hrs CET: SS12 Maják 1 (22.80 kilometres)
13:00hrs-14:00hrs CET: SS15 Maják 2 (22.80 kilometres)
 
 


Richard Rodgers,  photo IRC

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24.08.2012 / MaP

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