Castrol-backed ŠKODA driver Kopecký wins opening ERC round
Castrol-backed ŠKODA driver Jan Kopecký has taken his second consecutive victory on the Jännerrallye in Austria, round one of the new-look European Rally Championship.
Kopecký and co-driver Pavel Dresler picked up the victory by a mere half a second after a dramatic final day – with the winner only decided on the very last stage of the rally.
“I never stopped believing I could win because if you stop believing you cannot achieve anything,” said Kopecký.
“I was still believing and still hoping. Thanks to Bryan [Bouffier] for an incredible battle and to the team for a great car. Pavel [Dresler], my co-driver, also did a great job so thanks to him.”
Kopecký & Dresler dominated the standings until Stage 15 when they had a tyre defect, costing the pair one minute and sending them down to third place.
However, Kopecký produced a brilliant chase ride to catch up with leader Bryan Bouffier within the last three stages. The time board after Stage 18 showed: 1. Kopecký, 2. Bouffier +0.5 s. Ten times Austrian Champion Raimund Baumschlager in another Fabia Super 2000, finished third.
As is so typical of this event, the 30th Jänner Rally saw snow, ice, rain, fog, evening-time stages, fast-changing on-track conditions and a tyre-choice lottery. The on-track conditions were often extreme, with overall standings changing on a stage-by-stage basis.
The European Championship (ERC) started a new era in Austria – its merger with the IRC has given rise to the FIA-ERC, a single championship whose new promoter is Eurosport.
2013 ERC Standings (after Rnd 1)