A great fight is expected in Czech Republic for the 6th round of the European Rally Championship.
The 47th edition of Barum Czech Rally Zlín already promises quite a package of great crews whose cars will rumble on the last August weekend (25th to 27th August) in Zlín. Barum rally is a part of FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) and TrueCam Czech Rally Championship 2017 (MCR). Total of 151 crews from 23 countries have signed up for this rally. All the top drivers from European and Czech Championship are going to Zlín.
The astonishing number of 37 cars R5 category will surely delight every fan. Among the favourites for the victory is the five-time winner of Barum rally Jan Kopecký (Škoda Fabia R5) from the factory team Škoda Motorsport, then Kajetan Kajetanowicz from Poland (Ford Fiesta R5) who is the defending European champion and current leader, moreover, Bruno Magalhaes from Portugal (Škoda Fabia R5), Russian Alexey Lukyanuk and French Bryan Bouffier (both driving Ford Fiesta R5). Other drivers can shine too, like Latvian Nikolay Gryazin, German Marijan Griebel, French Sylvain Michel, Polish Grzegorz Grzyb, Slovakian Martin Koči (all driving Škoda Fabia R5) or Spanish drivers José Mária López and José António Suárez (both on Peugeot 208 T16). And the winner of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans French Romain Dumas has certainly the ability to outrace them on his Porsche 997 GT3, in the past he represented factory teams like Audi and Porsche.
Aside from Kopecký, the line-up of Czech drivers lists Václav Pech, Miroslav Jakeš (both on Ford Fiesta R5), Tomáš Kostka, Pavel Valoušek, Jan Černý, Vojtěch Štajf (all on Škoda Fabia R5).
Roman Kresta has returned to Barum rally after three years, he ruled local roads three times and he is considered a legend of Czech rally sport. However, more domestic drivers hope to reach top ten like Roman Odložilík, Martin Vlček, Ondřej Bisaha (all on Ford Fiesta R5), Antonín Tlusťák (Škoda Fabia R5) and Jaromír Tarabus (Škoda Fabia S2000).
The category of Front-wheel drive cars is dominated by two drivers from factory team Opel. Jari Huttunem from Finland and British Chris Ingram (Opel Adam R2), both of them also strive to achieve victory in Junior Rally Championship. The young talented Finnish driver seems to have a bright future ahead. More European drivers are coming to Zlín. The ERC3 leader Bagra Banaz (Ford Fiesta R2T) from Turkey, Aleks Zawada (Opel Adam R2) and Jerzy Tomaszczyk (Ford Fiesta R2) from Poland. Julian Wagner from Austria who is leading two-wheel drive category will measure his strength with Czech drivers like Filip Mareš, Dominik Brož (both on Peugeot 208 R2), Egon Smékal (Citroën DS3 R3T) and Andrej Barčák (Opel Adam R2).
The start list also contains seven female drivers, amongst them former world hockey champion Martin Špaňhel (Honda Civic VTi),TV presenter Tomáš Hauptvogel (Opel Adam Cup) and young Italian Tamara Molinaro (Opel Adam R2).
Barum Czech Rally Zlín remains huge in terms of challenge, spectator and media interest: this year’s event covers 15 fast and demanding all-asphalt stages over 204.25 kilometres.
Source: Barum Czech Rally Zlin