Upcoming Events

 Past Events

 Future Events


Rally Zlin (Czech Republic) - 26-28 Aug 11

Posted: September 17, 2011 9:37 PM - 6533 Hits

Barum Czech Rally Zlin - 26-28 Aug 11
Round 8 - 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)
Round 8 - 2011 European Rally Championship

High five for super-fast Mikkelsen on Barum Rally

Posted: September 17, 2011 9:37 PM

Andreas Mikkelsen was the fastest driver on Leg 2 of the Barum Czech Rally Zlín, setting four fastest times over the six stages to finish a magnificent 5th in his ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000. Co-driven by Ola Fløene, he finished just 6.1 seconds away from 4th, despite losing almost two minutes with a puncture on Leg 1, when he was fighting for the lead.

ŠKODA recorded a stunning result on its home round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), with Jan Kopecký, Freddy Loix and Juho Hänninen making it a 1-2-3 finish - the second time in two years that the Fabia S2000 has scored a podium whitewash in the Czech Republic. Kopecký’s 1.2 second victory margin was the closest in IRC history. The result sees Hänninen, Kopecký and Loix 1-2-3 in the IRC drivers’ standings, while ŠKODA extends its lead to 94 points in the manufacturers’ championship.

Andreas was delighted with his performance, on what he described as his best rally on asphalt of his career. Having led the rally after SS2, the 22-year old FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy driver was in 2nd position when he collected a rear left puncture on SS8, to finish Leg 1 in 6th.

A thunderstorm on Saturday night made Sunday’s Leg 2 stages near Zlín and Otrokovice damp and slippery in places – precisely the type of challenging conditions that Andreas thrives on.

Bryan Bouffier crashed out on the opening stage of the day, allowing Andreas to move up to 5th, as his sights were set on catching the man who started the final day 18.2 seconds ahead of him, Thierry Neuville. Fastest time on SS10 and 11 saw Andreas reduce the gap to 12.3 seconds, but when Andreas overshot a junction on SS12 and had to reverse back up an escape road, the difference was back up to 17.5 seconds.

The morning’s three stages were repeated in the afternoon, and Andreas was once again quickest on SS13 (15.2 seconds faster through the second running of the famous Maják stage) and SS14 to reduce the gap to 11 seconds. Andreas pushed hard on the final stage to take more time out of his targeted rival, reducing the gap to 6.1 seconds between the two drivers at the end of the final stage.

Andreas:
“The performance has been great. Okay, we are a little bit unlucky to collect a puncture, but the speed is there and when we go flat out we are at the top, so the potential is there for sure. To be battling for the lead with Jan [Kopecký] on his home rally on leg one, and setting four fastest stage times on leg two, is very positive. Before I considered myself much more a gravel driver, but I’ve been learning a lot about asphalt rallies and now, especially after this rally, I feel very comfortable on asphalt. We have some good rallies for us coming up and the rest of the IRC will very interesting.”

Exceptional Performance by Craig Breen at Barum Czech Rally Zlin

Posted: September 17, 2011 9:35 PM

Irish rally driver Craig Breen has send ripples through the IRC Championship this weekend by taking 7th overall in the Barum Czech Rally Zlin today in the Czech Republic. Breen who claimed his maiden victory in the World Rally Academy just over a week ago in WRC Germany, reverted to his Keltech Engineering Ford Fiesta S2000 (4 Wheel Drive) for his first outing the IRC (International Rally Challenge) and gave a tremendous display on the asphalt surface in Eastern Europe. After finishing the final stage Breen commented, "I'm a young guy from Waterford, Ireland. This is my first IRC event and it’s great to be among the drivers that I saw on TV when I was young, I’m very happy to be here with them at the same level.”

The action in Eastern Europe got underway on Friday night and the Waterford ace took a sensible approach over the opening super special stage held in the host City of Zlin by finishing equal 21st overall. The rally resumed on Saturday morning with a double loop of four stages. At midday service Breen had steadily climbed the leader board to 11th place. The afternoon loop was just as rewarding as by the end of the Saturday schedule Breen has moved up to 8th overall. On returning to the Zlin overnight halt Breen commented, "I took a steady approach on the Super Special last night to save my tyres, then this morning we gradually increased our pace."

Over the final two stages this evening, Breen set the 6th best and 5th best times respectively. "I'd a really good feeling over both. I got into a rhythm and the times show our speed, Breen . I'm eight overnight but tomorrow will be another tough day with six stages."

Breen, who was placed 11th at the end of the Saturday Stages, immediately gained a place on the resumption this morning on stage 10 but reported, “The ride is really dangerous and I’ve had several adrenaline moments. I had to try and focus in order not to make mistakes. Everybody will have problems here, even if they slow down.“

On to stage 11 and Craig held station in 7th setting 8th best time, he did state at the end of the test, “It’s still a long way to the finish. We’re enjoying it but changes between forest and open landscape are difficult.“ On the final stage in the morning loop Craig narrowed the gap to Finnish driver Toni Gardemeister who held 6th to 12.1s and in service said, “We did quite well at this stage. We managed without any big mistakes.“

Over stage 13 there was change in order, but on the start line of the penultimate test (SS14) Gardemeister had a false start and picked up a ten-second penalty. At the end of the stage Craig said during his interview, “We won’t speed up, only the final stage left and I don’t want to make any mistakes.“ but when informed about Gardemeister’s penalty, Craig quickly answered, “You shouldn’t have told me. Well, we’ll try to beat him then.“ Craig final push didn’t reward him, he did beat the Finnish driver by 2.9s over the closing test but it wasn’t to be but the Irish driver have impressed enough with his 7th overall.

Barrable Battles through Challenging Barum Rally

Posted: September 17, 2011 9:34 PM

Robert Barrable winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman award supported by the Irish Sports Council, in his Skoda Fabia S2000 with co-driver Damien Connolly finished 13th overall on the Barum Czech Rally Zlin. The rally a counting round of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) was Robert’s second time competing on a round of this year’s IRC in his Skoda Fabia S2000 with the Co. Dublin driver taking to the difficult Czech stages. Robert lined up alongside a top class entry of over 120 competing crews including 22 latest specification S2000 machines. The rally kicked off on Friday night with the drivers blasting through the Zlin special stage around the industrial town and was watched by thousands of enthusiastic spectators; Robert posted a very respectable 13th fastest time through the stage and returned to the overnight halt ready for the rally start proper on Saturday morning. Day 1 of the rally consisted of four stage locations to which the crews would visit twice with a service halt between each loop, a total of 124km including the 28km ‘Trojak’ stage lay ahead. Robert and Damien set a string of top twenty stage times through the opening loop of stages and while it was a solid start to the rally Robert felt that the car setup was not right and the crew returned to the midpoint service in 18th place overall and feeling there was still more to come from the Skoda. The Evolution Motorsport mechanics set to work on the car and the Irish crew returned to the second loop happier with the cars setup. It was clear that the setup changes had made a difference with them setting two top ten stage times on stages six and nine respectively and moving them up the leader board as a result, they finished the opening day in 16th place overall just 2.9 seconds behind Odlozilik also in a Skoda Fabia.
“Today has been a tough day, we were not happy with the cars setup on the opening loop of stages so we made some changes at the service halt and they made a big difference in the afternoon although I struggled to find a rhythm through the day and I also think we may be using to hard a compound tyre. We are going to push for the top ten tomorrow and see how it goes we have nothing to lose” commented Robert at the end of day one.

Heavy overnight rain had cleared by the time the crew’s left parc ferme for the start of day two of the rally although the roads on the opening stages were damp in places despite the early morning sun and rising temperature. Day two’s stages were faster more flowing than day one, with Robert and Damien tackling six stages totalling 115km, Robert opened his day two account with 8th fastest time on the ‘Majak’ stage and moved to 13th overall in the process. Stage 11, Robert’s move up the leader board was temporarily halted when he went off the road and into a ditch losing valuable seconds and slipping back to 15th place. The Skoda with some front corner damage seemed to have survived the incident and the crew posted 12th fastest time on the final stage of the loop and returned to service to have the car checked and repaired. For the final loop Roberts sights were firmly focused on finishing the rally and he posted a string of top fifteen stages times through the final loop of stages to bring the Skoda Fabia S2000 home in 13th place overall. But there was to be a final sting in the tale of a tough weekend’s rallying for the Skoda crew when their time card for the last stage went missing in the midst of a huge crowd of very excited spectators at the last control and the crew were later excluded from the final results.
“It has been a tough weekend, the stages on both days have all had their own unique challenges and it took me a while to get used to them. I think for an event like this a local test prior is very important as it is difficult to get a feel for the stages on the shakedown, I have learnt a lot this weekend”, said Robert when he reached the finish of the rally in Zlin.

IRC success as Toni Gardemeister finishes in 6th place at Barum Czech Rally Zlin

Posted: September 17, 2011 9:32 PM

Hankook are thrilled as their Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) team finish in 6th place at this weekend’s Barum Czech Rally Zlin. Driver, Toni Gardemeister, is one of just a few privateers within the series as he once again demonstrates his skills and experience at the weekend’s event.

Toni Gardemeister states
“We were delighted with the result this weekend after having received a 10 second penalty for a jumpstart and several broken clutches one of which was repaired in just 16 minutes. The rally was as expected with bumpy and tricky stages to contend with however the Hankook tyres performed consistently well throughout the weekend handling the difficult road conditions with ease. We managed to maintain a good pace which has given us further confidence for the next round in Hungary which takes place in just a matter of weeks.”

Hankook UK Motorsport Manager, Mike Patterson added
“Toni and his team successfully continued to show their ever-mounting experience with a satisfying 6th place result despite several technical problems. This was an impressive result as he faced tough competition from many more powerful factory cars and Drivers whom have competed here before. They also remain in the top spot for the private team within the IRC. The weather remained dry on Saturday with showers on Sunday which we were fortunate enough to avoid. The car was therefore shod with Hankook’s Ventus Z209 tyres which coped exceptionally well under the pressures of the challenging road surface.”

IRC ACE KOPECKY WINS DRAMATIC ZLIN SHOWDOWN

Posted: September 17, 2011 9:09 PM

Jan Kopecký has claimed his first victory in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for more than a year after triumphing on a thrilling Barum Czech Rally Zlín. The ŠKODA Motorsport ace, roared on by approximately 300,000 home fans, beat Freddy Loix by 1.2s, the closest finish in the history of the IRC. Team-mate Juho Hänninen took third to make it a ŠKODA podium lockout.

Kopecky started the final stage with a two-second margin over Loix. Despite the BFO-SKODA driver going fastest through the closing test, Kopecky was able to hold on to first place and trim Hanninen’s title lead to three points with four IRC rounds remaining.

Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg’s Thierry Neuville was the leading Peugeot 207 driver in fourth after Bryan Bouffier crashed his Peugeot France entry on Sunday’s opening stage. However, Neuville faced strong opposition from SKODA UK Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen, who slashed his margin to 6.1s with a succession of stage wins.

Kopecky, whose last win in the IRC was on Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles in May 2010, thought his hopes of victory were over when his car’s powersteering faltered on Sunday’s first stage, which resulted in his overnight lead of 19.7s being slashed to 5.6s. Although he and co-driver Petr Stary were able to fashion makeshift repairs by using a spare pipe to bypass the oil cooler to the powersteering pump, they were unable to prevent the advancing Loix from closing to within one second at the midday service halt in Otrokovice.

In a tense finish, Kopecky held his nerve to win and banish the memories of 2010 when he crashed out of the lead of his home event on the final day. His efforts earned him the prestigious Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy, awarded to the driver whose performance best embodies the spirit of the rallying legend.

Hanninen began the final day equal on time with Loix in second but dropped out of contention when he slid wide on stage 12 and lost a few precious seconds in the mistaken belief that he had a puncture. Anxious to preserve his championship lead, the Finn settled for third rather than pushing for a fourth win of the campaign.

Neuville found Sunday’s faster and flowing stages more to his liking, which increased his confidence and ability to push, despite heavy overnight rain leaving the roads damp in places. His capture of fourth completed an encouraging showing on his second appearance on the demanding asphalt event following a handful of set-up issues on day one.

Mikkelsen’s bid to make up lost ground following his puncture on Saturday began with a brace of stage wins in his SKODA UK Motorsport Fabia. Stage 12 proved less successful for the Norwegian when he went off the road and then overshot a junction. But two further stage wins in the afternoon underlined the 22-year-old’s huge potential on his way to fifth position.

Finn Toni Gardemeister overcame two clutch failures and a 10-second penalty for a jumped start in his TGS Worldwide SKODA to fend off Craig Breen for sixth position. Both drivers impressed on their first appearances in Zlin with Breen’s performance particularly noteworthy. Seeded 20th, the 21-year-old from Ireland was the highest-placed M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver at the finish following an error-free outing.

Guy Wilks, languishing in 12th at the start of the day following his costly puncture on Saturday afternoon, battled back to eight position in his Peugeot UK 207 after posting several impressive stage times. But his frustrating visit to Czech Republic ended with alternator failure prior to the 13th stage.

Roman Kresta’s eagerness to secure maximum Czech championship points after rivals Pavel Valousek and Vaclav Pech both hit trouble on Saturday meant he was happy to settle for eighth. His only major concern during the rally was his puncture on stage five.

Swede PG Andersson survived a spin and a broken propshaft on stage 12 to clinch his first IRC points in his PROTON Motorsports’ Satria Neo in a highly encouraging ninth place. Estonian teenager Karl Kruuda rounded out the top 10 in his SKODA with Pole Michal Solowow 6.3s behind in 11th in an M-Sport Fiesta.

SKODA Sweden’s Patrik Sandell was 12th after upping his pace and confidence on his first visit to the Zlin stages. Irishman Robert Barrable charged a wall on Sunday morning but kept his composure to finish 13th in his privateer Fabia, one place ahead of PROTON driver Giandomenico Basso. SKODA Auto Deutschland duo Mark Wallenwein and Matthias Kahle were 19th and 20th on their Zlin debuts.

Bryan Bouffier was in the thick of the battle for a podium finish entering Sunday’s opening test only to go off the road two kilometres from the end of the stage. Impact with a boulder ripped two wheels from his Peugeot France 207 and resulted in his instant retirement.

“I was trying, doing my best when I went off, hit a boulder and broke off two wheels,” said the Rallye Monte-Carlo winner. “For sure I’m very disappointed but this is the race and I was trying to keep my position and also fight the guys in front of me.”

IRC Production Cup
In the fight for the IRC Production Cup Jaroslav Orsak, in a Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4, triumphed by a healthy margin over Subaru Impreza driver Daniel Behalek. Martin Bujacek finished third in a Lancer with Vaclav Arazim next up in another Lancer. Vaclav Pech had been leading the class when he dropped out with suspension failure on stage six. He returned under SupeRally regulations on Sunday. Fumio Nutahara, in his Yokohama-supported Impreza R4, crashed into retirement on stage five.

IRC 2WD Cup
Stefano Albertini shone on his Zlin debut to clinch IRC 2WD Cup spoils for the first time in his Clio R3. The young Italian edged Czech rising star Vaclav Dunovsky, who struggled with rear suspension problems for much of the event in his Ignis. Jean-Michel Raoux boosted his IRC 2WD Cup title hopes in third position after overcoming an exhaust failure on his Clio. Overnight leader Petr Zednik, in an M-Sport Fiesta, dropped back to fourth following intercom and engine problems on the final day. Martin Kangur was the leading Honda Civic finisher in sixth place.

Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic), SKODA Fabia S2000, first overall:
“It was a nice fight with Freddy until the last metre of the last stage and we enjoyed it a lot. Many people were much more nervous than me, I was quite relaxed and felt no pressure. I have to say it is my best win and we come back in the championship now but there is still a long way to go.”

Freddy Loix (Belgium), SKODA Fabia S2000, second overall:
“I was hoping I could win but the first four stages I wasn’t so quick and didn’t have the feeling with the car. I was also missing a bit the rhythm. But then we changed the car and started to fight back from sixth to a few seconds from Jan. It was a great race for me and Jan was very quick.”

Juho Hanninen (Finland), SKODA Fabia S2000, third overall:
“Okay I wanted to win but sometimes it’s better to accept not winning and take some points, which is important for the championship. The boys in front of me were on full attack and when I made a small mistake on stage 12 and thought I had a puncture they won eight seconds from me and that was it.”

Full Results

Posted: September 17, 2011 9:01 PM

1 Jan Kopecky (CZE)/Petr Stary (CZE) SKODA Fabia S2000 2h15m51.7s
2 Freddy Loix (BEL)/Frederic Miclotte (BEL) SKODA Fabia S2000 +1.2s
3 Juho Hanninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) SKODA Fabia S2000 +37.4s
4 Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m59.6s
5 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Ola Fløene (NOR) SKODA Fabia S2000 +2m05.7s
6 Toni Gardemeister (FIN)/Tapio Suominen (FIN) SKODA Fabia S2000 +3m43.2s
7 Craig Breen (IRL)/Gareth Roberts (GBR) M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 +3m47.4s
8 Roman Kresta (CZE)/Petr Gross (CZE) SKODA Fabia S2000 +4m21.5s
9 PG Andersson (SWE)/Emil Axelsson (SWE) PROTON Satria Neo S2000 +4m41.1s
10 Karl Kruuda (EST)/Martin Jarveoja (EST) SKODA Fabia S2000 +4m54.4s

IRC Production Cup:
Jaroslav Orsak (CZE)/Karel Vajik (CZE) Ralliart Lancer Evolution IX R4
IRC 2WD Cup:
Stefano Alberto (ITA)/Simone Scattolin (ITA) Renault Clio R3

Video: Proton Test

Posted: August 26, 2011 5:08 PM

RECORD NUMBER OF ŠKODA FABIA SUPER 2000s TO APPEAR AT THE BARUM RALLY

Posted: August 26, 2011 9:48 AM

No fewer than 14 Fabia S2000s will line up at the start of the Czech Barum Rally Zlin – round seven of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. ŠKODA’s home event is one of the best supported in the championship, with over 250,000 expected to flock to the stages to watch the action unfold.

The event is also a round of the European Rally Championship and the International Czech Republic Championship – both high profile series that have helped attracted a full and varied field of competitors.

ŠKODA Motorsport will be favourites to take overall victory, with 2009 winner Jan Kopecký and current IRC championship leader Juho Hänninen both in excellent form.

Commenting on the unique challenge of competing on his home event, Jan said:
"We’re looking forward to it very much. We were the fastest crew here in the last two years and we expect strong support from our great fans. But we know we will be under pressure, because we are expected to succeed here.”

Hoping to build on his IRC series lead Juho Hänninen added:
“We have been doing well at the Barum Rally over the past few years, and we want to continue this trend. This is a difficult rally with many tricky places and one of the climaxes of the season, one of the reasons being the great fans here”.

Competing alongside the factory entries will be a further 12 Fabia S2000s. Among them will be last year’s winner, Freddy Loix in a ŠKODA Belgium car, along with ŠKODA UK Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen. The Norwegian will be hoping to continue his sparkling form following his second place finish on the Azores Rally.

Also lining up for the start will be Zlin native and multiple Czech Republic champion Roman Kresta in a privately-entered S2000, along with ŠKODA Germany's Mark Wallenwein and Matthias Kahle. Toni Gardemeister – another driver with strong ŠKODA connections – is also set to thrill spectators in his Fabia S2000.

The Barum Czech Rally Zlin starts on Friday 26 August and finishes on Sunday afternoon. It consists of 15 special stages totalling 155 competitive miles. Full coverage will be available on Eurosport.

Bouffier determined to fight in Zlin

Posted: August 26, 2011 8:45 AM

Peugeot France driver Bryan Bouffier has said he will do all he can to get his Intercontinental Rally Challenge title bid back on track on Barum Czech Rally Zlin, which takes place from 26-28 August.

The Rallye Monte-Carlo winner has slipped to fourth in the IRC drivers’ standings, 22 points behind SKODA Motorsport’s Juho Hanninen.

After coming close to winning in Zlin last season, the 32-year-old from France will be hoping to replicate his pace from 12 months ago when the rally gets underway on Friday night.

“It’s a tremendous event,” said Bouffier, who is co-driven by Xavier Panseri. “I love the atmosphere, the field is always very strong and the stages are very varied. They range from wide and fast to narrow and bumpy, and the challenge is often made more complex by changing weather conditions. I led last year’s event but the fight was very close and tyre choices played a decisive role. I do feel very comfortable on this rally, though. Like Peugeot, I need to obtain a top result and I will do everything in my power to do just that.”

SKODA ace Kopecky plots Zlin revenge

Posted: August 26, 2011 8:44 AM

Jan Kopecky starts Barum Czech Rally Zlin this week, round seven of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, determined to make up for the disappointment of last season when he crashed out while leading on the final day of the event.

The Czech hero, the winner in Zlin in 2009, is second in the IRC drivers’ standings and determined to end his winless streak in the series, which stretches back to May 2010.

Kopecky, who is co-driven in his SKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000 by countryman Petr Stary, said:
“This is our home rally, and I and Petr are looking forward to it very much. We were the fastest crew here in the last two years, but we had bad luck last year and flew off the track. We expect strong support from our great fans, but we know we will be under pressure, because we are expected to succeed here.”

Team-mate Juho Hanninen, the current IRC leader, is expected to run at the front on the challenging asphalt event. The Finn said: “We have been doing well at the Barum Rally over the past few years, and we want to continue this trend. This is a difficult rally with many tricky places and one of the climaxes of the season, one of the reasons being the great fans here.”

A total of 14 Fabia S2000s will be in action on Barum Czech Rally Zlin, which gets underway with the first of 15 stages on Friday night (26 August).

Craig Breen Rallying: Barum Czech Rally Zlin Event Preview

Posted: August 25, 2011 10:56 AM

Craig didn't have much time to revel in his victory on Rallye Deutschland as by Monday he was back at the wheel of his Keltech Engineering Fiesta S2000 testing for next weekend's Barum Czech Rally Zlin.

The Irishman is out to prove himself against the best S2000 drivers on this Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), Tarmac event.
"Naturally the confidence is high after our win in Germany. I penciled in this rally some time back as it will give an idea of my pace in relation to the top IRC campaigners." Craig stated this evening after completing day one of his recce.

He also said, "I had a test just outside Prague on Monday, it was great to get back behind the wheel of the S2000, my last event in it was in June, where I won the Ravens Rock Rally. We were out on day one of our recce today and the stages are quite similar to Ireland in places but very bumpy. It will be an interesting event and I'm sure to learn a lot."

The event will be fully featured on Craig’s website and when the rally goes live on Friday there will be stage by stage updates. Logon to www.craigbreen.com to follow Craig.

Based in the industrial city of Zlin in south-east Czech Republic, the event has appeared on the IRC schedule since 2007 and takes place for a 41st time this year. Famed for its tricky stages on bumpy and sometimes broken Tarmac through narrow woodland areas, experience and commitment are often rewarded.

The Rally kicks off with a ceremonial start in front of Zlin town hall on Friday evening at 17.00hrs; this will be followed by the action on the stages with a “Super Special” through the streets of the host city at 21.15hrs. 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.

Saturday’s action features four repeated stages, including two runs of Trojak, which at 28.29 kilometres is the longest of the rally. Although some of the stage names might be familiar to Zlin regulars the competitive route is 70 per cent different from 2010 in an effort by organisers to increase the challenge facing crews.

The opening Biskupice stage, for example, features a small gravel section, while the Trojak and Semetin tests run in an opposite direction to last season. Saturday’s itinerary also includes three visits to the permanent service park in Otrokovice, which is located 11 kilometres from Zlin.

Sunday’s route covers three repeated stages, including Majak, which is back for the first time in 20 years. In other changes, the Kudlovice and Halenkovice stages will run in reverse and will also include a handful of small changes. Following the sixth and final service halt in Otrokovice, crews head to Zlin for the traditional finish in front of the city’s old cinema at 15:17hrs local time.

In total the rally consists of 15 special stages over a competitive distance of 248.48 kilometres. Shakedown will once again take place close to the service park in Otrokovice, albeit over a new route of 4.3 kilometres.

While the weather in central Europe in 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 corning ‘cutting’ dragging mud and debris onto the optimum line.

Barum Czech Rally Zlin Preview - Robert Barrable Rally Team

Posted: August 25, 2011 10:26 AM

Robert Barrable winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman award supported by the Irish Sports Council, in his Skoda Fabia S2000 with co-driver Damien Connolly alongside head to this weekend’s Barum Rally Zlin hoping to build on their success on the Ypres Rally earlier this year. Robert and Damien have not competed in the Skoda Fabia S2000 since a broken spark plug forced their early retirement from Robert’s home event the ALMC Stages rally back in July. Although Robert in an effort to maintain his tarmac practice competed on the recent Stonethrowers rally in his championship winning Citreon C2R2, finishing a credible third overall. The Barum Rally is round seven of the 2011 IRC, based in the industrial city of Zlin in south-east Czech Republic, the event will see Robert and Damien take on a top class field of IRC competitors including no less than 122 crews which includes 29 Super 2000 machines. The rally which has been a counting round of the IRC since 2007 is famous for its tricky stages which are characterised by bumpy and sometimes broken tarmac through narrow woodland areas, the event is not only a test of skill but requires drivers full commitment. “I am looking forward to getting back in the Skoda S2000 after the summer break, the engine and gearbox have been fully rebuilt over the past month and we are sporting a new colour scheme for Skoda’s home event. Barum is a difficult rally and very different from Ypres, a good recce is very important and I am hoping we can adapt to the stages quickly and set some competitive stage times.” commented Robert prior to starting reece for the rally.

The event kicks off on Friday evening with a super special stage through the host city, the tricky stage runs partly on cobble stones providing a real test for competitors particularly if it rains. The rally proper starts on Saturday with a loop of four stages repeated twice, including the longest of the rally covering a competitive distance of 28km, with the crews making three visits to the service park in Otrokovice. The final day’s stages on Sunday will take Robert and his Skoda through a total of six stages, three stages looped twice divided by a service halt with the rally ending early afternoon in the centre of the city.
“Tyre choice on the rally will be critical particularly if it rains, we will be trying to make our choice as late as possible to ensure we are on the right tyres for the stage conditions, it would be good to drive well on this Skoda’s home rally” Commented Robert.

Following his outing on Barum Czech Rally Zlin, Robert is hoping to take part in the San Remo IRC in September along with the closing rounds of the 2011 Irish national rally championship.

GUY WILKS AND PHIL PUGH CZECH IN WITH ‘EVERYTHING TO PLAY FOR’ IN IRC ROUND SEVEN

Posted: August 23, 2011 1:09 PM

With six rallies behind them and five to go, Guy and Phil remain optimistic that their fortunes for the rest of 2011 will turn around in their IRC title hunt. After the disappointment in the Azores, the pair feels there is everything to play for in the forthcoming venues, with there being points-and-a-half available in Scotland and double-points in Cyprus.

Wilks, who is driving a Peugeot UK-backed 207 Super 2000 is presently placed sixth and 38 points adrift of the leader, Juho Hänninen.

Team manager, Marc Van Dalen said:
“Everything is still possible with many rallies left including multi-points-scoring Scotland and Cyprus. It is very important Guy is on the podium but for sure he has the speed to do it and we know the car is at the right level. I know Guy is 100 per cent motivated to be successful and so are we.”

Barum Czech Rally Zlín takes place from Friday 26 – Sunday 28 August and counts as round seven of the 11-event IRC season.

Still flying the flag as the top placed UK team, Peugeot UK and driver pairing Guy Wilks and Phil Pugh will be fully focused on producing a strong result and scoring valuable points towards the Championship.

IRC BARUM CZECH RALLY ZLIN PREVIEW

Posted: August 20, 2011 8:48 AM

The battle for the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge title will take another twist in Czech Republic next week (26-28 August) when the series returns to asphalt for Barum Czech Rally Zlin, round seven of this scintillating chase for the prestigious drivers’ crown.

Based in the industrial city of Zlin in south-east Czech Republic, the event has appeared on the IRC schedule since 2007 and takes place for a 41st time this year. Famed for its tricky stages on bumpy and sometimes broken Tarmac through narrow woodland areas, experience and commitment are often rewarded.

Another feature of the event is the huge numbers of spectators who traditionally flock to the stages in there thousands to provide raucous support to the competitors, particularly the massed ranks of local crews.

Following the ceremonial start in front of Zlin town hall, the event begins with a superspecial stage through the streets of the host city on the night of Friday 26 August. 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 time.

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.

Saturday’s action features four repeated stages, including two runs of Trojak, which at 28.29 kilometres is the longest of the rally. Although some of the stage names might be familiar to Zlin regulars the competitive route is 70 per cent different from 2010 in an effort by organisers to increase the challenge facing crews.

The opening Biskupice stage, for example, features a small gravel section, while the Trojak and Semetin tests run in an opposite direction to last season. Saturday’s itinerary also includes three visits to the permanent service park in Otrokovice, which is located 11 kilometres from Zlin.

Sunday’s route covers three repeated stages, including Majak, which is back for the first time in 20 years. In other changes, the Kudlovice and Halenkovice stages will run in reverse and will also include a handful of small changes. Following the sixth and final service halt in Otrokovice, crews head to Zlin for the traditional finish in front of the city’s old cinema at 15:17hrs local time.

In total the rally consists of 15 special stages over a competitive distance of 248.48 kilometres. Shakedown will once again take place close to the service park in Otrokovice, albeit over a new route of 4.3 kilometres.

While the weather in central Europe in 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 corning ‘cutting’ dragging mud and debris onto the optimum line. Tyre 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.

All drivers competing in Zlin will be in contention for the prestigious Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy, which is awarded on all rounds of the IRC to the driver whose performance best embodies the spirit of the rally legend.

THE COMPETITORS

Zlin regularly attracts a big entry and the tradition is maintained this year with 122 crews, including 29 in Super 2000 machinery, set to take the start. All eight IRC manufacturers – Abarth, Honda, M-Sport, Peugeot, PROTON, Ralliart, SKODA and Subaru – are represented, while seven IRC event winners will be taking part.

Of these no driver has won more IRC rounds than Juho Hanninen, who made it eight wins with victory on last month’s Sata Rallye Acores in his SKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000. Hanninen’s success on the gravel round – the Finn has also triumphed twice on asphalt this season – has given him a 13-point title lead over team-mate Jan Kopecky and Freddy Loix, who drives a Fabia for the factory-run BFO-SKODA Rally Team and won in Zlin last season.

While Belgian Loix is an established frontrunner in the IRC, his victory on the Czech Republic round in 2010 owed much to local hero Kopecky’s costly mistake when he was leading comfortably. Bryan Bouffier could also have capitalised on Kopecky’s error but he lost vital ground when a water leak caused him to go off the road, but not before the Peugeot France driver had created a strong impression in his 207 S2000.

Bouffier is one of several Peugeot drivers in action in Zlin this season and will be determined to regain some of the ground he has lost in the title fight following his exclusion from the results of June’s GEKO Ypres Rally due to a technical infringement. Other Peugeot runners include Tour de Corse-E.Leclerc winner Thierry Neuville, who competes under the Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg banner, and Peugeot UK’s Guy Wilks.

Pavel Valousek, the reigning Czech champion will also rely on Peugeot power. Like Neuville and Wilks, he will drive for the crack Kronos Racing operation from Belgium. With backing from Peugeot’s Czech importer, Valousek will be determined to build on the third place finish he achieved in Zlin in 2010.

SKODA UK Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen has competed in Zlin on two occasions and will start the event on a high following his impressive second place finish in the Azores. Roman Kresta will also be at the wheel of a Fabia and is a three-time winner of the event. SKODA Sweden’s Patrik Sandell and TGS Worldwide’s Toni Gardemeister will be in the thick of the top 10 battle, while Irish privateer Robert Barrable impressed with a points finish on his IRC debut in Ypres in a Fabia. Estonian teenager Karl Kruuda has scored points on both IRC rounds he has started this season.

Two other Fabia drivers set to create an impression in Zlin are the SKODA Auto Deutschland duo of Matthias Kahle and Mark Wallenwein. The importer is contesting a selection of IRC rounds this season with Kahle, a multiple German champion, making his IRC debut in Zlin.

PG Andersson and Giandomenico Basso head PROTON Motorsports’ challenge in their Satria Neo S2000s and will impress, as will Pole Michal Solowow and young Irishman Craig Breen in their M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000s.

IRC Production Cup
Vaclav Pech will be the driver to beat in the new-for-2011 IRC Production Cup in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, which he has upgraded to R4 specification. His rivals include Ralliart driver Vaclav Arazim and Subaru Impreza trio Daniel Behalek, Jan Slehofer and Vojtech Stajf. Japan’s Fumio Nutahara, starting his second event in his Yokohama-backed Impreza R4, will be in contention, as will Jaromir Tarabus who has switched to a Lancer after contesting a handful of IRC rounds in 2010 in a Fiesta. Italian Marco Cavigioli, a former IRC 2WD Cup champion, will begin his five-event IRC Production Cup bid in Zlin in a Lancer.

IRC 2WD Cup
Jan Cerny will be one of the favourites for IRC 2WD Cup glory. The highly rated Czech youngster is armed with an R2 version of SKODA’s successful Fabia and is regarded as an asphalt expert. He will face stiff competition from Estonian Honda Civic ace Martin Kangur, Czech driver Vaclav Dunovsky, Bulgarian Todor Slavov, Italian Stefano Albertini and Frenchman Jean-Michel Raoux, the current leader of the standings. Giovanni Vergnano is the lone Abarth driver on the entry at the wheel of a 500 R3T.

Thierry Neuville will be one of the leading Peugeot drivers competing in Zlin

THE EXPECTATIONS

Giandomenico Basso (Italy), PROTON Satria Neo S2000:
“The most important thing is to set the car up for the bumpy surface, and that means you have to do a lot of work with the suspension dampers. But we have made a lot of progress in that area, which we hope to confirm with a test in Czech Republic on Monday. We continue to improve and there is no reason why we cannot get a strong result.”

Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic), SKODA Fabia S2000:
“It’s my home rally and I’m really excited. For the last two years we have been the quickest but in 2010 we made quite a small mistake and we finished in the forest but without any damage to the car. It’s a big and famous rally and we will get some great support from the Czech fans.”

Thierry Neuville (Belgium), Peugeot 207 S2000:
“Having not done a rally for two months could be a problem but we will test for two days next week and that should allow me to get back into the rhythm. I know a bit the rally from last year although a lot of the stages are in a different direction. But having a Czech team-mate [Pavel Valousek] will really help for this rally.”

ANDREAS PREDICTS ‘BATTLE OF THE ŠKODAs’ AT BARUM

Posted: August 20, 2011 8:42 AM

ŠKODA UK Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen predicts “a battle of the ŠKODAs” at the Barum Czech Rally Zlín (26-28 August), ŠKODA’s home round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), as no fewer than 14 Fabia S2000s grace the 122 car entry list.

ŠKODA arrives in the Moravian host town of Zlín in an extremely strong position in the IRC, as it leads the Manufacturers’ championship by 63 points and has three Fabia S2000 drivers (Juho Hänninen, Jan Kopecký and Freddy Loix) positioned 1-2-3 in the Drivers’ standings. With up to 250,000 predominantly ŠKODA rally fans lining the route, the atmosphere in the south-east region of the Czech Republic during the event is likely to be electric, as the 11 round IRC moves into the second half of the season.

With his strongest rallies still to come, Andreas heads to the Barum Rally on a high. In the six weeks since finishing 2nd on the previous round of the IRC in the Azores, Andreas has enjoyed match practice on Rally Finland and has been training with the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy in Germany. After a short holiday in Ibiza, he got back to business with an encouraging one day test in the Czech Republic, completing 111 miles (180kms) in conditions that he and co-driver Ola Fløene anticipate they’ll face in competition next.

Andreas has experience and fond memories of the Barum Rally, having contested the event the previous two years and finishing 5th last year.

Whilst all eight registered IRC manufacturers, seven IRC event winners and a number of top local drivers adorn the entry, the balance and performance of the Fabia S2000, and the skill of the crews, makes a number of ŠKODA driversfavouritefor victory. Drivers joining Andreas on that list include Hänninen and Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport), Loix (BFO ŠKODA Rally Team) Patrik Sandell (ŠKODA Sweden), Matthias Kahle and Mark Wallenwein (ŠKODA Auto Deutschland), Toni Gardemeister (TGS Worldwide Ou), Roman Kresta (Adell Mogul Racing Team) and the privately entered cars of Zlín born Antonín Tlusták and Irishman Robert Barrable.

Andreas:
“I’ve done the Barum Rally twice before and it’s a rally I really like. We had a good result there last year, but this time the stages are run in the opposite direction so it will be a new challenge. We’ve had a good test in the Czech Republic. The conditions were dry, but there was mud in places and gravel on the corners; just what we’re likely to find on the rally itself, so that was excellent preparation. We experimented with some set-up options on the car during the test and the feeling was very good.

“The Barum Rally is going to be tough and there are a lot of good drivers taking part, yet I think it’s going to be a battle of the ŠKODAs. Juho and Jan will be very fast, as of course will Freddy, and I’d like to think that we’ll be there or there abouts too. We’re certainly going to try and score points and continue from where we left off in Azores.”

The Barum Czech Rally Zlín begins on Friday 26 August with a ceremonial start in Zlín at 17.00, followed by three laps of the magnificent city centre super-special later that evening, which draws thousands of spectators. Leg 1 restarts at 08.30 the following morning, with two stages before a remote refuel at Slušovice and two more stages – including, at 17.82 miles (28.69kms), the longest stage of the entire event, before a regroup in Zlín and mid-day service in nearby Otrokovice. The morning’s route is repeated in the afternoon, with Leg 1 drawing to a close before 21.30 after nine stages and 84.22 miles (133.4kms) of competition.

Leg 2 starts at 07.30 on Sunday 28 August and goes straight into the legendary 14.09 mile (22.69km) Maják stage, which returns to the rally for the first time in 20 years – complete with its famous section close to the Malenovice castle, which was synonymous with the event. There are two more stages before service in Otrokovice, while the three stage loop is repeated in the afternoon. After a further 71.5 miles (115.08kms) of competition, the finish podium is back in Zlín at 15.00. There are 15 special stages in total, equalling 154.39 miles (248.48kms).

Eurosport will broadcast edited highlights of the event, so please check TV listings for details.

Proton: Barum Czech Rally Zlin preview

Posted: August 20, 2011 8:39 AM

Next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlin will kick-start one of the busiest periods in PROTON Motorsport’s history – as the Malaysian firm tackles five events on two continents in just seven weeks.

Two-time FIA Junior World Rally Champion P-G Andersson (Sweden) and double FIA European Rally Champion Giandomenico Basso (Italy) will return to the Satria Neo S2000s, having demonstrated the pace and potential of the car in the highly competitive Intercontinental Rally Challenge earlier this year.

PROTON Motorsport’s hectic schedule means the team goes from the Czech Republic next week to Hungary for the Mecsek Rallye (IRC); Italy for Rallye Sanremo (IRC); Japan for Rally Hokkaido (FIA APRC) and Great Britain for Rally of Scotland (IRC) between now and the first weekend in October.

PROTON’s preparations for this intensive second half of the season have included further development work on the suspension and engine for the Satria – the car which has dominated this year’s FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, winning three from four rounds in the hands of Chris Atkinson.

The rally is based in the south-east of the Czech Republic and is always one of the most popular events of the season with drivers and spectators; thousands of fans from across Europe are expected to line the tricky asphalt stages running through the forests close to the city of Zlin. A treat for those fans will be the town centre superspecial stage on Friday evening. Run in the darkness, the 9.36-kilometre test is the rally’s atmospheric highlight.

Another fascinating element of this rally is the unpredictable weather conditions, with warm sunshine regularly giving way to heavy rain showers in a matter of minutes. The changeable weather makes grip levels notoriously tough to call – especially as the roads dive in and out of the tree cover.

The PROTON Motorsports team enjoyed a strong performance on this rally last year, with the Satria Neo posting times at the sharp end of the competition. The team will test for a day in the Czech Republic on Monday (August 22).

Quotes:

P-G Andersson said:
“The roads on this rally can be quite bumpy with some broken Tarmac, which is good for me – this kind of condition suits me quite well. I haven’t competed in Zlin before, but I have heard a lot about the rally. I’m looking forward to getting out there and driving again to chase a good result. It’s also nice to drive on a rally with a really good atmosphere. I think it’s going to be a great event. We have a test with the Satria on Monday, which will give us a good chance to see how the car is running after the team have been working on it some more.”

Giandomenico Basso said:
“The most important thing is to find a good confidence in the car on the bumpy surface. Barum is not like a normal Tarmac rally, it is very specific. The bumps make finding the right set-up complicated so there is a lot of work to do with the dampers. But we have made a lot of progress in this area since switching to Reiger, and the test will help us find the right solution on Monday. The roads in Zlin can be quite difficult when there is rain – under the trees it can be quite slippery. It's important to make good pacenotes. I've done the rally three or four times and I like it. I remember some good times there.”

Chris Mellors (team principal) said:
“There’s no doubt that we are coming into a busy time for the team. We’ve used the last couple of weeks to really push forward the work on the car, focusing again on the engine and suspension, but now we’re fixed on the rallies ahead; five events in seven weeks is a full-on schedule. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate what the car can do – and continue the winning performances we’ve been putting in on the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. The car showed some real pace on this rally 12 months ago and we’re looking forward to picking up where we left off in the Czech Republic.”

Seeded Entry List

Posted: August 16, 2011 9:29 AM

Irish Entries
20 Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Ford Fiesta S2000)
25 Robert Barrable/Damien Connolly (Skoda Fabia S2000)

TV Times

Posted: August 11, 2011 2:30 PM

All Times Ireland/UK

Saturday 27 August:
22:00hrs-22:30hrs: Day one highlights (Eurosport)
25:15hrs-25:45hrs: Day one highlights (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Sunday 28 August:
22:00hrs-22:30hrs: Day two highlights (Eurosport)*
25:15hrs-25:45hrs: Day two highlights (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
*Please note this programme will be broadcast at 24:00hrs CET (local time) on Eurosport France

Monday 29 August:
07:45hrs-08:15hrs: Day two highlights repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Tuesday 30 August:
14:00hrs-14:30hrs: Rally Review (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
14:15hrs-15:40hrs: Rally Review (Eurosport)

Wednesday 31 August:
02:00hrs-02:30hrs: Rally Review repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
07:45hrs-08:15hrs: Rally Review repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Friday 9 September:
11:00hrs-11:30hrs: Rally Review repeated (Eurosport 2)

Famous Maják stage returns to Zlín schedule

Posted: August 11, 2011 2:29 PM

The legendary Maják stage will return to the Barum Czech Rally Zlín itinerary for the first time in 20 years when the 41st edition of the Tarmac event takes place from 26-28 August.

Measuring 22.69 kilometres in length, the stage will run twice on Sunday 28 August with the first run, stage 10, getting underway at 08:33hrs local time followed by the second pass, stage 13, at 12:12hrs.

Jan Regner, the deputy clerk of the course, explained:
“We wanted to renew the traditional stages from the 1970s and 1980s, such as Maják and Pržno for the 40th edition [last year]. However, we received permission to include the Maják special stage into the itinerary from the relevant authorities, institutions, property owners and others one year later and we are thankful for that.”

Maják was first used as a special stage in 1977 with a difficult left-hander near the start and a section close to the Malenovice castle becoming synonymous with the route. The last time the Maják name appeared on the event itinerary was in 1991 when it began near Zlín’s winter stadium.

“We are glad that we can introduce this legendary section to younger generation,” added Regner. “We believe we will include this stage in the following years.”

Barum Czech Rally Zlín counts as round seven of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Van Dalen: Wilks is still in IRC title hunt

Posted: August 11, 2011 2:27 PM

Kronos Racing boss Marc van Dalen believes Guy Wilks is still in the fight for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge title and says he can so no reason why the Briton can’t secure a podium finish on the next round of the series in Czech Republic at the end of August.

Wilks, who is driving a Peugeot UK-backed 207 Super 2000 for the Kronos team, is sixth in the IRC standings following retirements in Corsica and Azores.

Van Dalen said:
“Everything is still possible with many rallies left including Scotland and Cyprus where there a points and a half and double points available [respectively]. It is very important Guy is on the podium [in Zlin] but for sure he has the speed to do it and we know the car is on the right level. We are all behind him because we win as a team and we lose as a team. I know Guy is 100 per cent motivated to be successful and so are we.”

Barum Czech Rally Zlin takes place from 26-28 August and counts as round seven of the 11-event IRC season.

Two for factory PROTON team in Zlin

Posted: August 11, 2011 2:26 PM

PROTON Motorsports will resume its Intercontinental Rally Challenge campaign on Barum Czech Rally Zlin from 26-28 August.

The Malaysian squad skipped the last round of the series, Sata Rallye Acores, due to a clashing Asia Pacific championship event in New Zealand, which it won with Chris Atkinson and co-driver Stephane Prevot.

For the all-asphalt rally in Czech Republic later this month, the MEM-run squad will enter a brace of Satria Neo Super 2000s for Swede PG Andersson and Italian Giandomenico Basso.

Andersson hasn’t contested a round of the IRC since June’s GEKO Ypres Rally. He has also never competed in Zlin before but took part on Finland’s round of the world championship last month, which he believes will help his chances on the IRC qualifier.

“It’s always good to have time in a car because it helps you to stay sharp,” said the 31-year-old Swedish driver, who unlike team-mate Basso is still waiting to open his point-scoring account in the IRC this season.

Local aces on huge entry for Zlin IRC round

Posted: August 11, 2011 2:26 PM

Local hero Pavel Valousek will be among more than 100 drivers in action on Barum Czech Rally Zlin later this month, organisers of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier have confirmed.

Although the official list of entries will not be published until next week (15 August), event bosses have revealed that the reigning Czech rally champion will compete in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 run by the Belgian Kronos Racing organisation, which claimed back to back victories in Zlin with Nicolas Vouilloz and Freddy Loix in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

The bulging entry also features a number of the IRC’s big guns, including Peugeot drivers Bryan Bouffier, Thierry Neuville and Guy Wilks, plus the trio of factory SKODA Motorsport pilots Juho Hanninen, Jan Kopecky and Freddy Loix, who will be bidding to make it three wins in a row for the Czech manufacturer on the asphalt event, which takes place from 26-28 August.

The full entry list will be published at 18:00hrs local time on Monday 15 August and will be available at www.rally-irc.com. All eight IRC manufacturers, Abarth, Honda, M-Sport (Ford), Peugeot, PROTON, Ralliart (Mitsubishi), SKODA and Subaru, will be represented on the 41st running of the Czech rally, which counts as round seven of the 2011 IRC season.

Breen set for Zlin debut

Posted: August 5, 2011 2:57 PM

Promising Irish driver Craig Breen has entered Barum Czech Rally Zlin, round seven of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000.

The 21-year-old has never contested an asphalt rally outside of the British Isles in his Fiesta before and identified the IRC qualifier as a good opportunity to measure his talent against some of the world’s leading Super 2000 drivers.

“The plan is to go there and learn but it’s also a good chance to try to prove myself,” said Breen, who will be co-driven by Briton Gareth Roberts. “I’ve never been to the rally before but I’ve spoken to a lot of people to get some advice. The stages look similar to what we have in Ireland but a bit more bumpy in places.”

Mixed weather conditions were a feature of Barum Czech Rally Zlin last season and Breen says his experience of competing in Ireland, where rain can be a factor, will help him on the Czech Republic-based event from 26-28 August.

“I’ve got good experience of driving on surfaces when you have good grip one minute and shiny asphalt the next so I’ve got an idea about what to expect,” Breen added.

Zlin route to feature several changes for 2011

Posted: August 5, 2011 2:55 PM

The route of the 41st Barum Czech Rally Zlin, round seven of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, will feature 15 special stages over a competitive distance of 248 kilometres, organisers have confirmed.

Following the ceremonial start in front of Zlin city hall at 17:00hrs local time on Friday 26 August, the action will begin with the traditional night time superspecial stage through the streets of the host city with the crews tackling three laps of the course in reverse running order from 21:15hrs.

Saturday’s itinerary will include four special stages – Biskupice, Pindula, Trojak and Semetin – run twice. Although the stage names are familiar to Rally Zlin regulars, the route has undergone significant changes since 2010 with stages either being run in an opposite direction or featuring new sections.

Day two, Sunday, will be made up of three repeated stages – Majak, Kudlovice and Halenkovice. The Majak stage is back on the timetable for the first time in 20 years, while Kudlovice and Halenkovice will run in reverse direction from 2010 and also include minor tweaks.

The first car is due to cross the finishing ramp in front of the Big Cinem in Zlin at 15:17hrs on Sunday 28 August.

Polish rally to boost Bouffier for Zlin

Posted: August 5, 2011 2:55 PM

Bryan Bouffier hopes that an outing on a round of the Polish championship this weekend will boost his chances of success when he resumes his bid for Intercontinental Rally Challenge glory on Barum Czech Rally Zlin at the end of August.

The Rallye Monte-Carlo winner will tackle Rajd Rzeszowski in a Peugeot Sport Polska Rally Team-run 207 Super 2000 alongside regular co-driver Xavier Panseri, who moved to Poland to live and run a business three years ago.

Bouffier, from France, is a three-time Polish champion, taking the title in 2007 and 2008 in a Peugeot 207 S2000 before claiming a hat trick of accolades in 2009 at the wheel of a Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer.

“It’s a Tarmac rally so it’s good practice for Zlin,” said Bouffier, 32. “Whenever you have experience in the car it always helps you so maybe it can help me for Zlin. We will also do a test and I hope we will do a good job and be quick in Zlin. We need good points.”

Bouffier is currently 22 points behind Juho Hanninen in the IRC drivers’ standings following his exclusion from June’s GEKO Ypres Rally due to a technical infringement.

Rajd Rzeszowski takes place from 4-6 August and features 11 special stages. One of Bouffier’s main rivals this weekend is likely to be Polish driver Michal Solowow, currently 10th in the IRC classification, in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000.

Breen and Barrable expected to compete

Posted: August 5, 2011 2:51 PM

Craig Breen (Ford Fiesta S2000) and Robert Barrable (Skoda Fabia S2000) are both expected to compete on Rally Zlin.

Kopecky excited ahead of home IRC round

Posted: July 29, 2011 10:55 AM

Jan Kopecky says he cannot wait for the next round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, Barum Czech Rally Zlin, to get underway at the end of August.

The Czech driver won the event in 2009 and was leading last season only to go off the road in the closing stages at the wheel of his SKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000. He is determined to make amends when the rally takes place from 26-28 August.

“It’s my home rally, I’m really excited and I want to win this rally,” said the 29-year-old. “The last two years we were quickest over there but [last year we] made quite a small mistake and we finished in the forest without any damage to the car.”

Kopecky, who will undertake a test in his homeland prior to the event, said he was expecting to enjoy a huge following from the local fans that traditionally descend on the rally in great number.

“All the Czech drivers will get great support, not just me but also Roman Kresta who is also driving a SKODA and will be very quick,” said Kopecky. “It’s a big and famous rally and I can’t wait.”

Kopecky has been runner-up in the IRC for the past two seasons. He is currently joint second in the title standings, 13 points behind team-mate Juho Hanninen.

Event Website / Rally Guide 1 / Details

Posted: January 2, 1990 3:04 PM






Twitter Feed