- The LOTOS Rally Team duo completes Day 1 of Barum Czech Rally Zlín;
- The crews covered over one hundred demanding competitive kilometres, divided into nine special stages;
- Kajetanowicz and Baran continue to lead the FIA European Rally Championship standings, with constant advantage of 13 points;
- The final leg tomorrow consists of six special stages.
Extremely exciting battle for victory in Barum Czech Rally Zlín, involving virtually all FIA European Rally Championship frontrunners, is on – with almost 40 crews in top R5 cars. Local drivers set an excellent pace and maintaining this sort of performance requires great courage and taking some risks. The fight took place on specific, narrow and bumpy, often uneven roads. Supported by huge crowds of Polish fans, reigning European Rally Champions Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran completed the day in eight position, with over 40 seconds advantage over their main championship rivals, Bruno and Hugo Magalhães from Portugal.
The LOTOS Rally Team duo maintained consistent pace today, which allowed them to avoid problems and set stage times with narrow gap to the leaders. The organisers prepared an exhausting challenge for the competitors – street stage on Friday night finished well after midnight and Saturday’s competition lasted for almost 15 hours!
Six-time rally winner Jan Kopecký (Czech Republic, Skoda Fabia R5) leads the overall standings with 16.6 seconds advantage over Russian driver Alexey Lukyanuk (Ford Fiesta R5). Top three is completed by Václav Pech Junior (Czech Republic, Ford Fiesta R5), who trails the leader by 47.5 seconds. The following group of drivers is closely matched: German driver Marijan Griebel (+1:09.7, Skoda Fabia R5) holds fourth position and is followed by Czech competitors Roman Kresta (+1:13.0, Skoda Fabia R5), Tomáš Kostka (+1:14.5, Skoda Fabia R5) and Jan Černý (+1:20.8, Skoda Fabia R5). Kajetanowicz is further 0.4 seconds behind (+1:21.2, Ford Fiesta R5). Kajto and Jarek are the fastest crew among Polish competitors.
The final leg of Barum Czech Rally Zlín takes place tomorrow. The crew will tackle three special stages, each of them twice. Total competitive distance exceeds 95 kilometres and there are points to score for leg classification and overall standings. The battle should end before 15:00 CET.
– On one hand we are happy but on the other we feel some hunger. I am not taking unnecessary risks and this strategy pays off because we are not making any mistakes. We drive cleanly, reasonably quickly, but at the same time we lack a lot of performance compared to the top two drivers. I think that even if I took risk it would be difficult to fight with them. We are able to compete with other crews and this is positive. I am thinking about things we could improve but at the same time I want to maintain this compromise: to stay on the road and to enjoy driving. The whole LOTOS Rally Team is working nicely, as usual. This rally is demanding also for them, so big thanks for the team.
Starts of Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran are supported by strategic partner of LOTOS Rally Team – LOTOS Group – as well as CUBE.ITG, Delphi and Driving Experience. More info about Kajetan Kajetanowicz and the team available at: www.lotosrallyteam.pl, www.kajto.pl, www.facebook.com/EmocjeDoPelna, www.facebook.com/KajetanKajetanowicz and www.twitter.com/Kajto_pl
Unofficial classification after SS9 of Barum Czech Rally Zlín:
1. Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler (Czech Republic, Skoda Fabia R5) 1:04:07.6
2. Alexey Lukyanuk / Alexey Arnautov (Russia, Ford Fiesta R5) +16.6 s
3. Václav Pech Junior / Petr Uhel (Czech Republic, Ford Fiesta R5) +47.5 s
4. Marijan Griebel / Stefan Kopczyk (Germany, Skoda Fabia R5) +1:09.7 s
5. Roman Kresta / Petr Starý (Czech Republic, Skoda Fabia R5) +1:13.0 s
6. Tomáš Kostka / Ladislav Kučera (Czech Republic, Skoda Fabia R5) +1:14.5 s
7. Jan Černý / Petr Černohorský (Czech Republic, Skoda Fabia R5) +1:20.8 s
8. Kajetan Kajetanowicz / Jarosław Baran (Poland, Ford Fiesta R5) +1:21.2 s
9. Martin Koči / Flilip Schovánek (Czech Rep./Slovakia, Skoda Fabia R5) +1:46.1 s
10. Pavel Valoušek / Veronika Havelková (Czech Rep., Skoda Fabia R5) +1:49.5 s