Flash news after SS4

19. 8. 2023 - Vojtěch Gargulák, David Štícha

The crews of the 52nd edition of the Barum Czech Rally Zlín started the Saturday morning section at a high pace, very close battles were seen on the Slušovice, Kateřinice and Troják special stages. Drizzle of sweat was also caused by the hot weather in Zlín. After four laps, local Erik Cais was in the lead of the Barum rally by less than two seconds ahead of Jan Kopecký. Václav Pech in third and Miklós Csomós in fourth were another five seconds off.

Erik Cais (CZE, Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, no.11):
„It was difficult for us, unfortunately we made a mistake and went off. Luckily there wasn't anything on the outside, and even though we went quite deep, we managed to get back on track. It was my mistake, I wrongly wrote the braking point so it's me to blame. Overall it's good, the pace is pretty crazy, it's all about tenths of a seconds and nobody is giving anyone a single meter. It's really hot, I have never been so sweaty in the car, but it's the same for everyone so I can't take it as an excuse."

Miklós Csomós (HUN, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, no.14):
„I have good feeling, the stages were very very fast. First and second stages were good, the third one Troják was very difficult and we lost a few seconds there. Overall the fist loop was good, the car setup works well, so do the tyres. We enjoyed it and now are waiting for the second loop."

Filip Mareš (CZE, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, no.9):
„The stages were difficult, today obviously isn't my day, I'm a bit off the pace and especially the last stage wasn't good from me. I knew we're not doing well even during the stage. I take the responsibility, sometimes it just happens, that things are not going the way we expect. But the finish is still far away, now we'll try to change some things and we're gonna fight. We'll cross the bridge when we come to it."

Simon Wagner (AUT, Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, no.10):
„It was quite OK, the plan was not to lose more than 15 seconds, so we're in the plan. I knew that the long stage (Troják) was going to be difficult for us, especially the first part of it, which we never ran before. We lost the brakes a bit, but it should be well prepared for the second loop."

Dominik Stříteský (CZE, Škoda Fabia R5, no.20):
„It didn't really go how I wanted. Even though I'm home and I know the format of the stages, I can't find the pace. We'll see what we can do in the afternoon."

Chris Ingram (GBR, Volkswagen Polo Gti R5, no. 19):
„We had a gearbox problem in the city stage last night and the team did an amazing job to fix it this morning, but we still got 20 seconds time penalty. First stage of the day was just about getting the rythm back, in the second stage we had really good pace. In the third one we had problem with power steering and lost all the liquid from it. It's unlucky, the gap is too big now, so we'll see what we can do."

Jan Kopecký (CZE, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, no.18):
„We're happy to keep the second place. It's gonna be interesting, everyone is going fast and we're trying to keep it on the road and go as fast as possible."

Alexej Lukjaňuk (CYP, Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, no.5):
„You can see the results. When I know the stages I am driving with my eyes and memories. I have zero pace notes from co-driver. It's unbelievable. Everything else is fantastic. On stage two, where I know where to go then I have a good time. I can´t commit when I need to validate all the notes I hear."

Hayden Paddon (NZL, Hyundai i20 N Rally2, no.1):
„Very challenging stages. We are taking it very easy. Not pushing at all. The stages are very demanding, car is bouncing around a lot."

Simone Tempestini (ROU, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, no.15):
„It was nice loop, nice stages. For us it was first time we could go through such stages with an R5 car. We are trying to get used to it. We will try to be faster in the second loop."

Joshua McErlean (IRL, Hyundai i20 N Rally2, no.12):
„On the last corner of stage three we hit a bale on the inside, pushed back the headlight and obviously it came out. Maybe we will have to stay away from the bales a bit more. Its only cosmetic for now, no worries. Obviously, we want to go faster, there is no question there. But I think you need to learn this rally before you want to push to the limit, because it can bite hard."

Mads Østberg (NOR, Citroën C3 Rally2, no.2):
„To be honest. It's been good. I have been enjoying the stages a lot. Its nice experience to when you don't know the stages and you are purely driving from the pace notes and that's one of the best sensations of rallying so. I have enjoyed it a lot. I'm happy with our pace aswell. Now that we know the stages a bit more, we can be a bit faster."

Albert von Thurn und Taxis (GER, Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, no. 16):
„Amazing stages. Slušovice we know obviously, but other stages are tricky and demanding aswell. It is so much fun to drive. There is also so many little places where you can make mistakes. Kateřinice are very tricky stage, you have a ditch on the side of the road all the time. I am happy with our run."

Mathieu Franceschi (FRA, Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, no.7):
„Good impression. Difficult loop. It's my first time here and I must check the pace notes to see whether the car will jump or not, whether there is dirt on the road or not. Target was to be 1 second per kilometre slower and we are only 0.7 which is really nice. Now we have to change something on the car."

Efrén Llarena (ESP, Škoda Fabia R5, no.3):
„I'm feeling really well. We are fighting. The five guys at front are super fast. We are not so far from the sixth position. We are doing a good job considering we are with an old Škoda. I am sure we will improve in the afternoon. We will do some changes on the setup."

Adam Březík (CZE, Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, no. 21):
„So far I think it's good, in the first stage we had a bit slower start, we made few mistakes. It was a bit careful, but the time wasn't bad. In the second stage I was even more careful, it was a lot of dirt from the cuts there and I didn't want to go off. We enjoyed Troják a lot, I grew up there, so I know every meter."

Martin Vlček (CZE, Hyundai i20 R5, no.22):
„Kateřinice are great. It's all straight, we can see on the times who knows it there and who doesn't. It's a bit a training for the Europeans, because lots of corners were behind horizonts. But it's true that the guys in front are going absolutely crazy, so for them doesn't matter what are they driving on and in, because the times are absolutely unbelievable. I hope Kateřinice stage stays for the next years, so we can get the experience and apply them in following years."

Rachele Somaschini (ITA, Citroën C3 Rally3, no.24):
„Totally without confidence. First time here, I have a lot of difficulties to trust my pace notes and everything. High speed stages and everything is bumpy. It's tough."

Jon Armstrong (GBR, Ford Fiesta Rally3, no.26):
„I'm feeling good. The first stage this morning the car was a little bit too soft, so we made some setup changes for the long stage and the middle stage. I'm really enjoying the stages. It's amazing, so much fun to drive. I like the bumpy narrow places. Times are nice, we are happy."

Roberto Dapra (ITA, Peugeot 208 Rally4, no.30):
„Very difficult, tricky, and dirty stages. We are not pushing too much. It's easy to make a mistake. In this situation, it's important for us to gain as many points for the juniors and ERC4 as possible."

Victor Hansen (SWE, Peugeot 208 Rally4, no.31):
„It's quite okay, but it could have been a bit faster so we must keep moving it."

Max McRae (GBR, Peugeot 208 Rally4, no.32):
„I think the base is really good, we had a couple problems this morning. We lost power steering, it's not been easy. The pace is there and we are still holding third. Wish i would have been faster."

Timo Schulz (GER, Opel Corsa Rally4, no.33):
„Feelings are good, we have a 30 seconds lead in juniors, so we are happy. The stages are really good."

Jaromír Tarabus (CZE, Peugeot 208 Rally4, no.41):
„We managed to nail the first loop pretty well. We have a small gap to the european guys, but we gained some time back in Troják. We took Kateřinice a bit more carefuly, as it is a new stage, with many possible surprises. On the last big breaks just before the finish we had quite a moment, we managed to stop the car on the last moment. Overall it's perfect, we made few small mistakes, but also made some time back. So I believe, we'll have a good run in the afternoon too."

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