Kopecký increases his lead, Cais drops below the podium
28. 8. 2022 - Jakub Kudláč
The leader of Barum Czech Rally Zlín, Jan Kopecký, was driving more cautiously in Sunday morning's passes and did not win any of the three stages, but neither did good his competitors. He improved his lead to more than five seconds. Three stages to the end of the 51st Barum rally, he leads by 39.8 seconds over second-placed Filip Mareš, with Dominik Stříteský and Erik Cais close behind.
After Saturday's leg, Stříteský was 12 seconds behind Cais in third place, but he pushed for a fast pace in the morning's Bunč stage. For the first time, he moved to the first position 0.3 seconds ahead of Austrian Wagner, with Jan Kopecký finishing third, less than a second behind him. Adam Březík finished fifth, Cais and Mareš took the positions behind.
The following pass through the Maják was also affected by rain. Below the castle in Malenovice, the first twelve or so cars drove dry while the others had to fight with heavy rain. In the end, Filip Mareš dominated the SS for the first time this year by 3.1 seconds ahead of Dominik Stříteský. These two drivers drove the passage just in light rain. Third place went to Adam Březík. However, after yesterday's technical problems, he is seventeenth in the overall standings.
Cais, Kopecký, who started in positions 14 and 15, were the most affected by the downpour. It affected their performances, the first mentioned finished the SS twelfth with a loss of 17.1 seconds to the winner, Kopecký was ninth with less than two seconds better.
On the other hand, dry Pindula stage was very equal in the end. And the third stage of the day also had a different winner, Estonian Ken Torn. After yesterday's accident, he is only driving solo in the Super rally, but his performance of 1.1 seconds better than second placed Mareš certainly made him happy. Erik Cais took the imaginary bronze medal half a second behind him, Kopecký was three tenths slower. The fifth Austrian Wagner completed the very balanced lead, his time was only 2.3 seconds slower than the leader.
Jan Kopecký is now in the lead with almost 40 seconds ahead. The rally is tricky, but only a driver's mistake or a technical problem could now prevent him from winning. The drivers behind him have no chance of closing that gap under normal circumstances. But a dramatic battle is expected in second to fifth place, where the gap is just 8.1 seconds.
French driver Laurent Pellier (Opel Corsa Rally4) leads the ERC4J standings, with second Andrea Mabellini from Italy (Renault Clio Rally4) with 1:24.1 minutes behind, and Óscar Palomo from Spain (Peugeot 208 Rally4) as third, 2:12.4 minutes behind.
Standings after 10th Special Stage:
1. Kopecký, Hloušek (CZE, Škoda Fabia Rally2) 1:31:06,3 hod
2. Mareš, Bucha (CZE, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) + 39,8 s
3. Stříteský, Hovorka (CZE, Škoda Fabia R5) + 40,0 s
4. Cais, Těšínský (CZE, Ford Fiesta Rally2) + 40,9 s
5. S. Wagner, Winter (AUT, Škoda Fabia Rally2) + 47,9 s
6. Herczig, Ferencz (HUN, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) + 3:37,4 min
7. Campedelli, Canton (ITA, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) + 3:57,2 min
8. Battistolli, Scattolin (ITA, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) + 4:00,3 min
9. László, Berendi (HUN, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) + 4:42,8 min
10. von Thurn und Taxis (DEU/AUT, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) + 4:58,8 min
11. Astier, Vauclare (FRA, Alpine A110 RGT) 1st in RGT cat. + 5:28,2 min
16. Pellier, Pelamourgues (FRA, Opel Corsa Rally4) 1st in ERC4J cat. + 7:52,3 min
27. Widlak, Dymurski (POL, Ford Fiesta Rally3) 1st in ERC3 cat. + 13:40,7 min