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Barum Rally Zlin (Czech Republic) - 21-23 Aug 09

Posted: August 23, 2009 4:00 PM - 7851 Hits

Round 8 - 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

Video Clips

Posted: August 23, 2009 4:00 PM

Results / Photos

Posted: August 23, 2009 3:54 PM

Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle stage sensational comeback in Czech Rally

Posted: August 23, 2009 3:20 PM

It has been a remarkable first full day in the Czech Republic for Peugeot UK's Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle.

Overnight it could not have looked worse - a puncture on Friday night's SuperSpecial had cost the Peugeot 207 Super 2000 pair over 31 seconds, and dropped them to a lowly 32nd place overall. Worse, Meeke was clearly unwell, suffering from a 'flu bug. There were severe doubts as to whether he would even be able to start the morning's stages.

A sneezing, shivering Kris was given an emergency injection by a doctor shortly before the restart.

But the Championship leaders are made of stern stuff, and in a blistering performance on the asphalt, they hauled their way through the field, and by the end of the day they found themselves in third, just 8.4 seconds behind championship rival Freddy Loix. It was an amazing performance for what is their first visit to the Czech Rally.

Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle are heading for the Czech Republic for the next round of the IRC

Posted: August 18, 2009 8:01 PM

Round eight of the IRC, the Barum Czech Rally Zlin, will be an important round for Peugeot UK and Kris Meeke.

With the rally taking part in his main championship rival Skoda's Jan Kopecky's back yard, scoring as many points as possible will be the name of the game.

With a five point lead in the IRC driver's standings, Peugeot UK's Kris Meeke will face stiff competition from a total of 25 other S2000 drivers, including five Skoda Fabia S2000s and eleven Peugeot 207 S2000s. A total of five manufacturers will field S2000 cars in the rally Skoda, Fiat (Abarth), Peugeot, Opel and Proton.

The rally starts on Friday 21st August with the ceremonial start and then a three lap 9.36 km super special stage in Zlin. The crews will then contest over the next two days a further fourteen all asphalt stages with a total stage distance of 254.96 km, before the rally ends on Sunday 23rd August.

Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel look forward to the strongest starting field of their career

Posted: August 18, 2009 6:52 PM

The “Barum-Rally” from August 21 to 23 is a temporary highlight in the careers of Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel. This isn’t so much because they think they would stand a chance for a top result but rather because the Interwetten Racing Team will face the strongest starting field so far in their still young international career. Counting 25 S2000 and over 30 Mitsubishi teams of the evolution stages IX and X, this might even be the absolute highlight of this international rally year.

“Thus our objective is clear. Due to the top competition all we can do here is to gather experience with our Mitsubishi Evo IX. We are the only top team that has never been at the start of the ‘Barum’. Therefore this time around we will lay the foundation for next year’s rally so that we will be able to fight for a top result then, having gained more experience”, explains Franz Wittmann.

The young Lower Austrian will nevertheless do his best to drive home a good result in the Czech Republic, following his sensational fifth overall place at the “Rally Russia” in July. But he won’t orientate himself on another driver but will rather try to find his own pace.

Wittmann: “The course is beautiful but also very selective, fast and bumpy. One might find oneself in the ditch faster than one thinks. And we additionally lack the necessary experience here.”

For Franz Wittmann the Barum Rally means the beginning of a very hot rally autumn. Including the Czech IRC-run, the Interwetten Racing-driver has four rallies in front of him where he can add to his account of seven points (11th intermediate place) so far. While in San Remo and Spain the surface will be, like in the Czech Republic, tarmac, the IRC final in Scotland in November will take place on gravel.

If one takes a look at the result lists of the Barum-Rally one will encounter the name Wittmann twice, for Franz sen won the most famous Czech rally run twice, in the years 1988 and 1989 together with co-driver Jörg Pattermann on Lancia Delta Integrale.

IRC Preview: Epic battle in store for Barum Czech Rally Zlin

Posted: August 18, 2009 6:48 PM

The Barum Czech Rally Zlin, round 8 of 11 in this year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge, takes place this weekend (August 21-23), with a huge entry including no fewer than 25 of the top-flight Super 2000 machines – another record attendance for the IRC.

A truly iconic rally in Europe, the Barum Czech Rally Zlin is the foremost motor sport event in the Czech Republic. As a result the event draws enormous interest, all the more so in 2009 as the works Skoda Motorsport team attempts to unseat the leading Peugeot runners from the top of this year’s championship tables.

Skoda missed the previous round, the Rali Vinho Madeira earlier this month, in order to focusits pair of Fabia S2000 machines on an all-out assault on its home event. Asphalt ace Jan Kopecky sits just five points behind current series leader Kris Meeke with three rounds remaining, and as his team-mate Juho Hanninen suggested, there is enormous presure for the 27-year-old to soak up.

“The pressure will be on Jan because he is a Czech driver in a Czech car and is very quick,” Skoda’s Finnish gravel star said. “For me, it will be my first time there so I am not expecting anything too much. A top-five finish would be good.”

Piling pressure on Kopecky, championship leader Meeke himself said he expects to see his Skoda rival to take the honours on the event.

“Jan showed in Ypres how quick he could be and I’m sure there will be no driver quicker than him,” he said. “He knows the event well and he’ll be wanting to prove he’s the top Czech driver.”

Once again Meeke heads a large entry of Peugeot 207 S2000 machines, including the two Benelux-entered cars of Belgian star Freddy Loix and France’s defending IRC champion Nicolas Vouilloz. Among the other Peugeot runners are some extremely fast and experienced Czech runners, such as Pavel Valousek, ex-Skoda WRC man Roman Kresta and the BF Goodrich Drivers Team entry of newly-crowned Junior World Rally Championship winner, Martin Prokop.

Coming into the Barum Czech Rally Zlin on a high is the Abarth squad, after team leaderGiandomenico Basso won the last event in Madeira to boost himself into the IRC title race. The second of the team’s Grande Punto S2000 machines will be driven once again by Luca Rossetti, as the all-Italian squad catches up on its Skoda and Peugeot rivals.

Meanwhile, among the ‘guest’ entries on the event will be the Citroen Junior WRC Team member, Evgeny Novikov. The teenage Russian is the third and final member of the Citroen squad to have competed in this year’s IRC, after his French team-mate Sebastien Ogier took a stunning victory on round 1 in Monte Carlo when he drove the BF Goodrich Drivers Team Peugeot, and was followed by young Zimbabwean Conrad Rautenbach when he drove a Peugeot on the Rally Azores. Novikov will drive a Skoda Fabia S2000 and is expected to have new co-driver Stephane Prevot alongside him.

A large contingent of Ralliart entries also makes its way to the Barum Czech Rally Zlin, led by Franz Wittmann, son of the two-time winner of this classic Czech event; Franz Wittmann Sr. The younger Wittmann was not optimistic that his turbocharged production-spec Evo IX could challenge for outright victory against the lighter S2000 machines, but was looking forward to a tough and close competition to be the top Ralliart finisher.

Among those bidding to beat Wittmann are Dutchman Jasper van den Heuvel, who flew on his last IRC appearance in Ypres with his unique Evo X. The remaining 29 Ralliart runners will compete in the tried and tested Evo IX and will be crewed by contenders for the local championship, who will doubtless show strongly against the international field of the IRC.

Proton’s all-new IRC effort with the Satria Neo S2000 sees the single car to have competed so far, that of British driver Guy Wilks, paired up with a second entry for Frenchman Bryan Bouffier. The highly promising new contenders scored a fourth-place finish in last month’s Rally Russia in Wilks’s hands, and as the car continues to undergo rigorous development to make up ground it can be expected to perform more strongly on every event.

Honda also returns to IRC action in the Czech Republic with a strong entry in the 2WD Cup. On last month’s Rally Russia the top 2-wheel-drive Civic Type R performed strongly enough to give the Japanese giant its first outright points in the IRC, but with competition from Peugeot and Abarth there will be a tremendous battle in store for the class honours.

The Barum Czech Rally Zlin gets underway in the town centre of Zlin on the evening of Friday August 21 with the ceremonial start at 20:57* leading into a fabulous spectator-friendly Superspecial stage in the city.

On Saturday 22 August Leg 1 continues from 08:00* with two runs through the Pindula, Halkovice, and Kudlovice stages. Finally the event reaches a climax on Sunday 23 August when the field tackles the Trojak, Semetin and Komarov stages in the morning and once more in the afternoon before the victory celebrations can begin back in Zlin at 16:00*.

As ever there will be extensive coverage of the event on the official series website www.irc-series.com and on the Barum Rally Zlin’s own site, www.barum.rally.cz

Eurosport will once again be broadcasting the best of the action throughout the event with live coverage from the end of Leg 1 and Leg 2 on Eurosport, and live Leg 1 coverage on Eurosport Asia-Pacific, and a comprehensive week-long schedule of highlights coverage on Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Asia-Pacific totalling 9 hours of global airtime.

*All times C.E.T. (1 hour ahead of Ireland)

Meeke tips Kopecky for Zlin victory

Posted: August 14, 2009 5:07 PM

Jan Kopecky has been tipped to win Barum Czech Rally Zlin, round eight of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, by the current leader in the IRC standings, Kris Meeke.

Twenty-seven-year-old Kopecky will drive a Skoda Motorsport Fabia Super 2000 on his home event and Meeke believes that Kopecky’s pace will be hard to match.

“Jan showed in Ypres how quick he could be and I’m sure there will be no driver quicker than him,” said Meeke. “He knows the event well and he’ll be wanting to prove he’s the top Czech driver.”

Kopecky has yet to register his first IRC win but has finished on the podium on three occasions this season. His Skoda team-mate Juho Hanninen was victorious when the IRC visited Russia in July.

“I am certain this will be a fantastic rally for us and I am really looking forward to it,” said Kopecky. “I wish to invite all our fans to come to the rally.”  


Bouffier joins Proton for Barum Rally Zlin

Posted: August 14, 2009 5:06 PM

The factory Proton effort will double in number for the first time this season when Bryan Bouffier joins Guy Wilks in the Malaysian manufacturer’s team.

Bouffier, who gave the Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 its competition debut last season, will contest Barum Czech Rally Zlin with the fledgling squad. The agreement is currently for the eighth round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge only.

“It was always the plan to run a second car and Bryan is a great driver to have on board because of his experience,” said Chris Mellors, whose MEM operation is responsible for Proton’s IRC campaign.

Proton’s best result since joining the IRC on June’s Belgium Ypres Rally is the fourth place Wilks recorded on Rally Russia last month.

“We’ve got ideas of how we can go even faster,” said British driver Wilks. “It’s still a new car and the most important thing is to get to the finish of each event so we can build the experience.”

Prokop ready for BF Goodrich outing

Posted: August 14, 2009 5:06 PM

Jacques Morelli, the man in charge of tyre firm BFGoodrich’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge campaign, has spoken of the high hopes he has for Martin Prokop on Barum Czech Rally Zlin.

Prokop was selected to drive the BFGoodrich Drivers’ Team entry on the Tarmac event. Although Prokop has scant experience of the Peugeot 207 Super 2000 he will use, Morelli said he was confident he would replicate the performances of Sebastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville, who represented the team in Monte Carlo and Ypres respectively.

“It promises to be another exciting event,” said Morelli. “Martin is quick on all types of surfaces and he is very experienced too, which he showed by sewing up the Junior World Rally Championship in Finland recently.”

A jury of journalists and representatives of the Czech motorsport governing body, BFGoodrich and Kronos Racing, which runs the Peugeot 207, chose Prokop for the seat ahead of four other Czech drivers.  


Wittmann leads huge entry for Ralliart

Posted: August 14, 2009 5:05 PM

The Ralliart challenge on Barum Czech Rally Zlin has been boosted by the addition of several star crews.

Ralliart is currently third in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge manufacturers’ standings after seven events thanks largely to the efforts of Austrian Franz Wittman Jr.

The Interwetten Racing driver has had to shoulder the burden of the firm’s expectations for much of this season. However, the Ralliart line-up will also include Dutch driver Jasper van den Heuvel and Czech Vaclav Pech when the IRC resumes next week.

“There will be great competition, I can’t wait,” said Wittman Jr, whose father Franz Sr won the event twice in the past. “Our goal is to close the gap to the Super 2000 cars. It’s not easy because our car has less power and more weight but it’s good we have more cars to help.”

Historic Entry List

Posted: August 13, 2009 9:25 PM

Historic Entry List

Posted: August 13, 2009 9:24 PM

Entry List

Posted: August 10, 2009 11:43 AM

Martin Prokop chosen to fly the BFGoodrich Drivers Team flag on the Barum Rally Zlin

Posted: August 5, 2009 2:04 PM

A jury comprising representatives of the media, the Czech Republic's motor sport governing body, BFGoodrich and Kronos Racing has selected Czech driver Martin Prokop to drive the BFGoodrich Drivers Team Peugeot 207 S2000 on the 2009 Barum Rally Zlin (August 21-23), round eight of this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Martin Prokop, who recently wrapped up the 2009 Junior World Rally Championship title in Finland, has been named to drive the BFGoodrich Drivers Team Peugeot 207 S2000 on this month's Barum Rally Zlin. The 26-year old received 15 votes to finish ahead of the four other finalists, namely Jaroslav Orsák (two votes), Jan Černy, Jaromir Tarabus and Eva Vykydalová. The Czech governing body received 26 applications for the drive.

"It's an honour to have been chosen to drive this car in my country's colours on the Barum Rally. I would like to thank all those who voted for me, and I will do everything in my power to be worthy of the BFGoodrich brand in the Czech Republic," declared Martin Prokop following the decision's announcement.

Jacques Morelli (BFGoodrich's IRC Programme Manager): "After being represented by Sébastien Ogier on the Rallye Monte-Carlo and by Thierry Neuville in Belgium, the third port of call for the 2009 BFGoodrich Drivers Team programme promises to be another exciting event. Martin Prokop is quick on all types of surface. He is very experienced, too, which he showed by sewing up the 2009 Junior crown in Finland."

In order to familiarise himself with the Kronos Racing-prepared Peugeot 207 S2000 and with BFGoodrich's range of tyres, Martin Prokop will attend a special test on Monday August 10.

Martin Prokop's career in brief
Born October 4, 1982
2001 - Rally debut (Skoda Felicia).
2005 - WRC debut (Suzuki Ignis S1600).
2006 - 1st (JWRC), Rallye Monte-Carlo, Rally Catalunya (Citroën C2 S1600/BFGoodrich).
2007 - 1st (JWRC), Rallye Monte-Carlo, Rallye Deutschland, Rallye de France (Citroën C2 S1600/BFGoodrich). 3rd, Junior World Rally Championship.
2008 - 1st (JWRC), Rally Finland, Rallye d’Espana, Rallye de France (Citroën C2 S1600), 1st (PWRC), Rally New Zealand (Mitsubishi Lancer). 3rd, Junior World Rally Championship.
2009 - 1st, Junior World Rally Championship. 1st (JWRC), Cyprus Rally, Rally d’Italia, Rally Finland (Citroën C2 S1600). 2nd (JWRC), Rally Ireland, Rally Poland (Citroën C2S1600), and Rally Portugal (Mitsubishi Lancer). Junior World Champion.


Posted: July 21, 2009 8:56 PM

Proton will expand its line-up to a two-car team in time for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge's visit to Czech Republic from August 21-23, team principal Chris Mellors has confirmed.

The Malaysian manufacturer made its IRC debut on the Belgium Ypres Rally last month, fielding a single entry for the British driver Guy Wilks. On Rally Russia recently, the team took its first IRC points when Wilks finished an impressive fourth on the gravel event.

Now Mellors has revealed that the construction of a second Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 will be completed in time for next month's Barum Rally Zlin, although he is keeping the details of his new signing under wraps.

"We will have a second car for the Barum Rally but I am not able to say who will be driving it," Mellors said.

Meanwhile, Mellors explained that preparations were already underway for the next round of the IRC, Rali Vinho Madeira, from July 30-August 1. "The car returned to the UK on Thursday (July 16) and we will leave with the car for Madeira on Tuesday (July 21). In that time we will carry out a full rebuild and convert the car to Tarmac specification. We plan to test when we get to Madeira


Posted: July 6, 2009 5:28 PM

The search for the next BFGoodrich Drivers' Team participant will begin in earnest shortly following the recent Belgium Ypres Rally.

Giving the opportunity for a rising star from selected countries to tackle their home event of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in a fully funded Peugeot 207 Super 2000, the programme will continue on Barum Rally Zlin in August.

Before then, however, representatives of tyre firm BFGoodrich, Kronos Racing (the company responsible for preparing the 207 S2000 used for the project), the Czech Republic's motorsport governing body and members of the Czech media will have to consider applications from various candidates before eventually selecting a winner.

Last year's recipient on Barum Rally Zlin, Pavel Valousek, finished fourth on the asphalt event, while the pedigree of the candidates was demonstrated when Sebastien Ogier won the Monte Carlo Rally, the IRC opener, in January.

Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville, who was selected to drive the car on the Belgium Ypres Rally, lived up to the strong reputation created by the BFGoodrich-backed drivers. Although he would ultimately retire from the asphalt event before the completion of day one, he had run as high as fourth on his first outing in a four-wheel-drive car.

"The BFGoodrich Drivers' Team operation was once again a huge success with the local crowd," said the company's Jacques Morelli. "Thierry's retirement no way calls his talent into question. He failed to finish but that's rallying."  


Posted: April 28, 2009 4:40 PM

Roman Kresta could prove a major threat to the established Intercontinental Rally Challenge regulars when he contests Barum Rally Zlin in August.

Kresta, who is the reigning Czech champion, crashed out on the second stage of his home event last year. But he will return in 2009 in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 prepared by his own Kresta Racing Team. He will be co-driven by long-term partner Petr Gross.

Although Kresta insists that defending his domestic crown this season is his number one priority, the 33-year-old is highly regarded both in his homeland and abroad. He was a member of the factory Ford team in the World Rally Championship in 2005 before returning to Czech Republic in 2007 following a season in the British Rally Championship in a Ford Fiesta S1600.

Furthermore, Peugeot 207s have triumphed on the asphalt event since it was first included in the IRC in 2007: Nicolas Vouilloz claimed victory that year, while Freddy Loix emulated that achievement the following season.

Barum Rally Zlin begins with a superspecial stage through the streets of Zlin on Friday August 21. The event is due to finish in the afternoon of Sunday August 23.


Posted: March 21, 2009 11:52 PM

Organisers of Barum Rally Zlin have revealed outline details of the eighth round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which takes place in the Czech Republic from August 21-23.

The event celebrates its 39th anniversary this year and will get underway with a spectator-friendly superspecial stage in host town Zlin on the evening of Friday August 21.

It will be followed by two days special stages, totalling 270 kilometres, before the finish in the afternoon of Sunday August 23.

Approximately 200,000 spectators visit the rally each year, which is located 300 kilometres east of the Czech capital Prague and 200 kilometres north of the Austrian capital Vienna. The compact route means the furthest stage is 50 kilometres from Zlin.

A total of 98 crews started the rally in 2008, including 21 Super 2000 cars. Freddy Loix, the current leader of the IRC, and co-driver Robin Buysmans won the event in a Peugeot 207 run by the Kronos Racing team.

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 1, 2009 12:01 AM

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