A total of 121 crews have entered Round Eight of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), Barum Czech Rally Zlín. The huge turnout underlines the popularity of the ERC and the all-asphalt showcase, which takes place for a 44th time from 29-31 August.
Craig Breen is the top seed in a Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16 R5 and is one of 24 drivers competing for honours in the headlining RC2 category. Ott Tänak, who like Breen is an ERC event winner in 2014, is the second seed at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5. Esapekka Lappi, whose two wins in 2014 have propelled him to the top of the ERC standings, is seeded third for Skoda Motorsport.
Czech champion Václav Pech (MINI John Cooper Works S2000) is the fourth seed with Kevin Abbring next up for Peugeot Rally Academy. LOTOS Rally Team’s four-time Polish title winner Kajetan Kajetanowicz is seeded sixth on his first ERC start since mid-May. Sepp Wiegand (Skoda Fabia S2000) is the seventh seed with Bruno Magalhães seeded eighth on his first ERC start in a 208 T16.
Roman Kresta, who announced his retirement after finishing fifth in Zlín last season, will tackle his first full rally since calling time on his driving career and is seeded ninth in his self-run Fabia S2000. Irishman Robert Barrable is the tenth seed in a Fiesta R5.
The ERC Production Car Cup, ERC 2WD Championship, ERC Junior Championship and ERC Ladies’ Trophy are also big on numbers with the respective title leaders – Vitaliy Pushkar, Zoltán Bessenyey, Jan Černý and Ekaterina Stratieva all due to contest the 15-stage event.
The entry list for round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship, Barum Czech Rally Zlín, has been published and here are some of the key numbers:
• 121: Barum Czech Rally Zlín organisers have accepted entries from 121 crews for round eight of the 2014 ERC season.
• 16: Confirmation of Marco Cavigoli’s entry will mean the Italian will tackle his 16th Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
• 2003: Triple British champion Mark Higgins starts Barum Czech Rally Zlín for the first time since 2003.
• 25: A total of 25 different nations will be represented on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
• 1: Bruno Magalhães will make his first start in the ERC in a Peugeot 208 T16.
• 3: Roman Kresta, who will start his first full rally in 12 months after he reversed his decision to call time on his driving career, has won Barum Czech Rally Zlín three times. His new co-driver Petr Starý is a two-time winner of the event.
• 13: There will be 13 ERC Juniors competing on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
• 8: Barum Czech Rally Zlín will mark French ace Robert Consani’s eighth start in this year’s ERC.
• 3: All three R5 cars currently eligible for competition – Citroën DS3 R5, Ford Fiesta R5 and Peugeot 208 T16 – will be in action on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
• 2: Czech singer and actress Olga Lounová and actor David Suchařípa will bring the number of show business celebrities contesting Barum Czech Rally Zlín to two.
This latest edition of Handbrakes & Hairpins dedicated in memory of Timothy Cathcart, who passed away at the British Rally Championship’s Ulster Rally this past weekend.
Inside we bring you news from Michelin and the World Rally Championship’s new two-year deal, Marcus Gronholm’s Volkswagen Motorsport move, a look at this weekend’s WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland and a review of the SA National Rally Championship’s Round Five.
Yours free, each week: http://bit.ly/issue326
“What an unbelievable experience,” said Richard Tuthill after a test in the Porsche 911 R-GT for this weekend’s WRC ADAC Rally Deutschland. “We’ve had the perfect day of driving. The car hasn’t missed a beat and the weather has shown all its faces, from rain in the morning to a dry afternoon. But what has impressed most is the reception for this car. We’ve had so many drivers coming over to talk to us about it and the fans haven’t left our side all day. The FIA has definitely got this one right.”
One man who paid very close attention to the Tuthill Porsche 911 GT3 RGT challenger was the talented Estonian WRC star, Ott Tänak, who enjoyed chatting to Stéphane Prevot about Tuthill Porsche’s new machine. No doubt there is huge interest in what the R-GT class holds for rally enthusiasts. It’s great to see a Porsche 911 back on the entry list for the WRC in Germany.
Jeff Zwart is a special person in the world of motoring and motorsport in the USA. His love of all things Porsche have been translated into a collection of some of the most beautiful German machines from Zuffenhausen, but it is his motorsport aspirations that appeal to Handbrakes & Hairpins so much. As a creative media guru, Zwart puts his professional know-how into motorsport. This is a video highly recommended from the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2014…
And now from a “Drivers-Eye” camera…
Now that your appetite has been whet, watch this videos from a selection of his previous years at Pikes Peak…
This is a compilation simply and beautifully titled “Rally is Awesome!”
Volkswagen Motorsport has secured the services of former World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm: the 46-year-old Finn, winner of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2000 and 2002, will support the works team at test sessions with the Polo R WRC. Grönholm boasts a vast wealth of experience acquired from 150 WRC rallies enormous, 30 of which he won, and his findings will provide invaluable assistance when it comes to testing and further developing the World Rally Car.
“We are delighted to have Marcus Grönholm on board as test driver for our WRC project,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Marcus is one of the most successful and talented rally drivers around, and will support us with the further development of the Polo R WRC. Thanks to his in-depth understanding of technical aspects and his analytical skills, he will be able to provide our engineers with valuable input.”
“To get behind the wheel for the World Championship winning team from Wolfsburg is obviously a great opportunity for me,” said Marcus Grönholm. “I am really looking forward to testing and having the chance to work on the further development of what is currently the best rally car out there – the Polo R WRC.” “Bosse” Grönholm took his place at the wheel of the Polo R WRC for the first time during the gravel tests in Fontjoncouse (southern France) in early August. Grönholm will assist the Volkswagen WRC team at selected tests.
Grönholm’s career as a works driver in the World Rally Championship began in 1999 at Peugeot. In only his second year as a pro, the Finn won four rallies and claimed his first World Championship title. Two years later he added a second title with Peugeot. The father of three subsequently switched to Ford, where, at the end of the 2007 season, he brought the curtain down on a dazzling career that included 30 wins, 60 podiums and 540 stage wins.
While a full recovery from the back injury sustained in a heavy landing during Finland’s World Rally Championship round last week is his current priority, Craig Breen’s focus is very much on achieving more FIA European Rally Championship success on Barum Czech Rally Zlín later this month.
Q: It’s an event you last tackled in 2011 but how tough is Barum Czech Rally Zlín?
CB: “It’s a very tough event but it’s similar to what I know from back home in Ireland. The roads are bumpy and quite changeable if it rains. The problem is the shiny Tarmac, which can become very slippery and therefore a big challenge.”