Half-century celebrations in the planning as ERC Barum Czech Rally Zlín bosses prepare to go big
The 50th Barum Czech Rally Zlín will be longer than in recent seasons, while there will be a return to “old and legendary stages” under plans currently being drawn up by bosses of the sealed-surface FIA European Rally Championship counter.
Scheduled to take place from 28-30 August as the sixth event of the 2020 ERC season, the milestone-running of Barum Czech Rally Zlín is set to offer crews a competitive distance in excess of 230 kilometres after special dispensation was received from the FIA, motorsport’s governing body. This year’s event covered a distance of less than 220 kilometres.
“With this anniversary we want to offer something special to the crews,” said Miloslav Regner, the Barum Czech Rally Zlín Clerk of the Course. “At least for this one special year we would like to return to some old and legendary stages. Of course, it requires many negotiations with villages and property owners at places where the rally has not been run for many years. But the approved exception gives us a room for arranging the route and we believe that its final shape will be extraordinary.”
Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s half century will enforce its partnership with title sponsor Continental Barum, which opened its tyre factory in Otrokovice in 1971, the year of the first Barum Rally. For many years a stage was run around the factory’s grounds, which now accommodate the event’s service park.
As well as the association with Continental Barum, confirmation that the event will continue to form part of the ERC schedule extends a relationship that began in 1983 when the Zlín-based event hosted the FIA European Rally Championship for the first time.
“The FIA European Rally Championship has enjoyed a long and very successful relationship with the organisers of Barum Czech Rally Zlín,” said Jean-Baptiste Ley, the FIA ERC Coordinator. “As one of the highlights of our calendar, the month of August is always eagerly anticipated and every year we look forward to and enjoy a great welcome and plenty of on-stage action. In addition to being well organised, the event is extremely popular among our registered drivers and teams, who take part in great number each season. We extend our congratulations to the Barum Czech Rally Zlín organising team for reaching this impressive milestone.”