“This rally on Corsica and its many bends are a special challenge in any case, but the afternoon rain just complicated matters. It was a great battle with Elfyn Evans on Saturday,” commented the 34-year-old Kopecký after completing 169.04 stage kilometres on Saturday. “I tried to attack the leader all day long, but I just couldn’t close the gap. But it’s not over yet.”
The experienced ŠKODA driver plans to mount another attack in his FABIA R5 during the longest special stage of the Rally France, which runs for 53.78 kilometres from Antisanti to Poggio di Nazza on Sunday morning. “I will keep pushing – anything is possible in rallying. I will carry on fighting up to the final metre.” Having claimed two second-place finishes recently in the WRC 2, Kopecký started the Rally France with the aim of finally recording his first class win in the world championship this year.
Kopecký and Evans had each won two special stages on Friday. On Saturday, ŠKODA driver Kopecký began the day 15.7 seconds behind the leader and the top-quality battle at the “Rally of 10,000 Corners” once again delighted the thousands of fans who lined the stages.
Evans was 4.9 seconds faster in the opening special stage over 53.72 kilometres. However, Kopecký hit back immediately in the FABIA R5 on the “Novella – Pietralba” stage, moving 4.2 seconds closer to Evans. It began to rain midway through the second run of the “Orezza – La Porta – Valle di Rostino” special stage. Kopecký decided not to take too many risks on the slippery surface and lost ground to the British driver, who extended his lead during the final two stages of the day.
ŠKODA customer Julien Maurin (F) improved by two places in the WRC 2 standings, finishing the day in fourth place in the second FABIA R5.
Standings at the Rally France (WRC 2):
1. Evans/Parry (GB/GB) Ford Fiesta R5 1:40:29.1 hrs
2. Kopecký/Dresler (CZ/CZ) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 0:37,8 min.
3. Bonato/Boulloud (F/F) Citroën DS3 R5 + 3:15,7 min.
4. Maurin/Thimonier (F/F) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 3:53,3 min.
Number of the day: 53.72
On Saturday, the drivers had to master the 53.72 kilometres of the second-longest stage in the Rally France, not just once but twice. ŠKODA driver Jan Kopecký completed the second run of the winding “Orezza – La Porta – Valle di Rostino” route in 37:16.2 minutes. That corresponds to an average speed of 86.48 kilometres per hour. This is much slower than the speeds achieved at the high-speed rallies in Finland or Poland. Some gravel stages there see drivers reaching average speeds of over 120 kilometres per hour.
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
Rally Monte Carlo 21.01.–24.01.2016
Rally Sweden 11.02.–14.02.2016
Rally Mexico 03.03.–06.03.2016
Rally Argentina 21.04.–24.04.2016
Rally Portugal 19.05.–22.05.2016
Rally Italy 09.06.–12.06.2016
Rally Poland 30.06.–03.07.2016
Rally Finland 28.07.–31.07.2016
Rally Germany 18.08.–21.08.2016
Rally China 08.09.–11.09.2016 (cancelled)
Rally France 29.09.–02.10.2016
Rally Spain 13.10.–16.10.2016
Rally Great Britain 27.10.–30.10.2016
Rally Australia 17.11.–20.11.2016