Barum Rally Local Honda Drivers Put in Strong Performance

Barum Rally Local Honda Drivers Put in Strong Performance

03.09.2012: Intercontinental Rally Challenge - Barum Rally 2012 The Barum Czech Rally Zlin, the 9th round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, lived up to

Intercontinental Rally Challenge - Barum Rally 2012     

The Barum Czech Rally Zlin, the 9th round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, lived up to its reputation this weekend as one of the most strenuous rallies on the IRC calendar. And with mixed weather forecast, even before the first special stage on Saturday morning there was already one fundamental question on every driver's lips: did we choose the right tyres?

Martin Kangur and co-driver Andres Ots, who arrived to defend their current third place in the 2WD Cup, knew immediately what they were up against.

"With the rain it was very slippery, especially in the forest," said the Estonian Honda driver, who at this early stage of the rally was second, behind Frenchman Consani.     
But when the rain did eventually stop, the roads in and around the wooded surroundings of Zlin remained challenging and in stage 3 the Honda Civic Type R lost significant time, falling back to 15th place in 2WD.

"The conditions caused us to go off the track in the third stage, leading to a puncture." explained Kangur. The crew of JAS Motorsport swiftly stepped in to fix the damage, but in the next stage, the red and white Civic hit a wall. Over and out.

"It was bad luck", commented Andres Ots, the Estonian's co-driver and the most direct witness of the incident in stage 4. "We were driving at the right tempo, the incident with the puncture hadn't distracted Martin in any way, and we didn't take any unnecessary risks either. But the Slusovice stage was simply too slippery for the grip we had."

Martin's direct rival in the 2WD Cup, Consani, was also forced to retire after sliding off the road.

But with Kangur and Consani out, it was the moment for others to shine, with Czech Honda drivers Adam Kobliha and Ondrej Bisaha leading the charge - delivering Honda a total of 18 points in the 2WD Manufacturer's Cup.

And with nine Honda Civics in class 9, the crowd could be forgiven for thinking the Barum Czech Rally Zlin was a Honda Cup!     
"You need a lot of power on the ultra-fast bumpy roads in the forests, and in that way the Civic is the best, and furthermore, the most affordable car," explained Ondøej Blatak, who finished high last year in Zlin and came 3rd this year in class 9.

"As a young debutant and with a limited budget, the Civic is simply the best car for learning how to drive fast," continues Tomas Hrabec, who runs four Civics in the Czech Rally Championship under the Sparrow Racing Team. "Adam Kobliha is the best example of this: he is one of the fastest drivers that I know. He doesn't have much money, but with his supremacy here in Zlin, he showed once again that he can really make a difference with the Civic."

Ondrej Bisaha and co-driver David Zachar concur: "If we even tried to catch up with Kobliha, we would have messed with our game plan. He is simply too fast and so we preferred to safeguard the second place."

The next round of the IRC will take place in Ukraine, with the Prime Yalta Rally on 15 and 16 September.

The 2012 Barum Czech Rally Zlin was halted in the 13th Special Stage after two spectators were injured, one fatally. The team's thoughts are with the friends and families of all those involved.      

- Jas Motorsport - also photos


03.09.2012 / MaP

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