Wednesday | 17 Aug 2022

Cais vows to banish Barum nightmares

Czech hotshot Erik Cais will bid to right the wrongs of his 2021 Barum Czech Rally Zlín outing when the ERC returns to his home country next week (26 - 28 August).

Cais was poised to win last year’s rally with a 20.2sec advantage going into the final stage - but an accident in the closing kilometres handed victory to fellow countryman Jan Kopecky. 

The 23-year-old has since made one ERC start at this year’s season opener in Fafe, where he plummeted down the order with power steering woes before retiring in the Power Stage. His search for a maiden triumph at this level continues - but next week could be one. 

Fresh from finishing third overall at last weekend’s Rally Fulnek-Odry, Cais assured FIAERC.com he has put last year’s disappointment behind him and remains ecstatic to start his home round of the series. 

“For sure, last year was a hard one to take,” he admitted. “But when you’re competing in a rally you are always trying to push the car to the limit and sometimes you make mistakes, just like I did. I paid quite a lot for that -  but it’s part of the game.

“This is my home rally and, especially when you are living close to Zlín, you always want to be competitive on your local stages. It’s one of the best feelings. 

“It’s such a unique event and pushing in these cars on these stages is always something special. Of course, you need to have full focus, but you also need to be a bit crazy and have big courage to push to the limit,” he added.

While many of his rivals are hoping for dry roads and bright sunshine, Cais is doing a rain dance ahead of next week. He wants the opposite. 

The Ford Fiesta Rally2 driver shone in damp conditions last year and believes similar weather would play to his advantage.

Cais' last ERC outing was in Fafe

“Last year the conditions were really changeable in the forest sections and there was a bit of water and humidity which made things really slippery with the mud and everything. I really like when it’s like this and I felt comfortable to push,” he explained. 

“If the conditions are like this again - or even worse - then I think I could have a chance. If it’s dry Tarmac, it will probably be really hard to catch Kopecky and of course all the other quick guys like [Efrén] Llarena and [Simone] Tempestini.”

  • Full coverage from Barum Czech Rally Zlín will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.