Barum Czech Rally Zlin ERC event preview

Barum Czech Rally Zlin ERC event preview

10.08.2019: While the battle for the overall FIA European Rally Championship is still wide open with three events left, next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín takes on huge importance for five young hopefuls aiming to prove they have the talent to take title glory in the

While the battle for the overall FIA European Rally Championship is still wide open with three events left, next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín takes on huge importance for five young hopefuls aiming to prove they have the talent to take title glory in the fiercely competitive ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior categories.



Essentials


Barum Czech Rally Zlin
What: FIA European Rally Championship round 6 of 8*
When: 16-18 August 2019
Where: Zlín, Czech Republic
Stages: 15
Distance: 219.63 kilometres
Surface: Asphalt
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 15 (2004-2018)


*Also counting for: FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, FIA ERC3 Junior Championship, ERC2, ERC3, FIA European Rally Championship for Teams, ERC Nations’ Cup, ERC Ladies’ Trophy, Abarth Rally Cup



Recent winners:


2015-2018: Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (ŠKODA Fabia R5)
2014: Václav Pech Jr/Petr Uhel (MINI John Cooper Works S2000)





Overview




While the battle for the overall FIA European Rally Championship is still wide open with three events left, next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín takes on huge importance for five young hopefuls aiming to prove they have the talent to take title glory in the fiercely competitive ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior categories.




The sealed-surface event based in Zlín, the South Moravian university city, from 16-18 August marks the deciding rounds of the ERC’s two young driver divisions when two prize packages, each worth 100,000 euros, will be up for grabs.



Briton Chris Ingram and Czech Filip Mareš will face-off for the ERC1 Junior crown – the class for drivers in R5 cars aged 28 and under. As well as a prestigious FIA title, the winner will get 100,000 euros to contest the season closing ERC events in Cyprus and Hungary where they will bid for overall honours. ERC3 Junior, meanwhile, is a three-way fight for glory between Estonia’s Ken Thorn, Spaniard Efrén Llarena and Norwegian Sindre Furuseth. Drivers aged 27 and under compete in R2 cars on Pirelli tyres.



Ever-present in the ERC since the championship’s streamlining in 2004, Barum Czech Rally Zlín is a sealed-surface 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.



Intermittent showers are always possible. While the weather might be hard to predict, huge numbers of fans follow the action, especially on the opening night-time Zlín superspecial stage. Taking place two weeks earlier than normal, Barum Czech Rally Zlín will also host the Czech championship decider.



Of the major route tweaks, the return of the legendary Pindula after a one-year absence leads the changes, which also include the Qualifying Stage running in reverse direction and the revival of the Kostelany test.



Once again Barum Czech Rally Zlín organisers have attracted a packed entry featuring some of the best drivers in the host country, across Europe and beyond. Fifty-seven crews with priority status appear on the list of registrations, which total 137 entries across all events.




Barum Czech Rally Zlín in 100 words



Ever-present in the ERC since the championship’s streamlining in 2004, Barum Czech Rally Zlín is based in the South Moravian university city, 300 kilometres south of the Czech capital Prague. It is a Tarmac test like no other due to the bumpy and sometimes broken nature of the road surface.



To add to the challenge, several stages feature high-speed blasts through forests and intermittent showers are always possible. While the weather might be hard to predict, huge numbers of fans follow the action, especially on the opening night-time Zlín superspecial stage. The rally has a long-term contract with the ERC.





What’s new for 2019?



Taking place two weeks earlier than normal, Barum Czech Rally Zlín will host the final ERC Junior rounds of the season as well as the Czech championship decider. Of the major route tweaks, the return of the legendary Pindula after a one-year absence leads changes, which also include the Qualifying Stage running in reverse direction and the revival of the Kostelany stage.



Changes to the ERC for 2019 include the renaming of the ERC Junior categories: ERC Junior Under 28 becomes ERC1 Junior, ERC Junior U27 becomes ERC3 Junior with continued support from Pirelli. R4-K and RGT cars are eligible for ERC2 points, the Abarth Rally Cup will be contested over six ERC rounds, while Rally Hungary joins the calendar for the first time as the deciding round in November.





Head to head: Kopecky v Lukyanuk in Barum Rally Zlin



The former (Jan Kopecký) and reigning (Alexey Lukyanuk) FIA European champions are expected to engage in a thrilling battle for victory on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, even though both have their own title aspirations to consider. While Kopecký is going for a fifth win in Zlín, Lukyanuk has yet to triumph but finished runner-up in 2017 and 2018 to underline his pace and potential.




Form guide: Erik Cais



Backed by his country’s national ASN, the former downhill mountain bike racer scored his maiden ERC3 Junior podium on Rally di Roma Capitale following a strong display in his Ford Fiesta R2T.



He was leading his class on his Barum Czech Rally Zlín debut last season until a puncture struck. Cais, who turned 20 earlier this month, is the son of experienced driver – and Czech class title winner – Miroslav Cais.






How to follow?



On TV and online: Live coverage of selected stages on Facebook. Daily highlights on Eurosport, Eurosport Player. Videos on YouTube. ERC All Access on Eurosport on 20 August. Event highlights broadcast around the world.


Videos, news update and live timing: Available at FIAERC.com




ERC Radio: Live from the end of all stages and selected service park visits. Available at FIAERC.com or download the official
ERC App


Social media:Follow the ERC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter







-Richard Rodgers - photos FIA ERC



Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/barum-czech-rally-zlin-erc-event-preview---195502.html

10.08.2019 / MaP

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