Mares not frustrated by last-stage first leg ERC1 Junior lead swap
Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) dismissed any worries over losing the lead in ERC1 Junior on the last stage of Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s opening leg, despite missing out on an extra leg point to title rival Chris Ingram.
Chasing down a 30 point deficit but with no scores to drop, Mareš needs to chase every point to win the all-important ERC1 Junior crown, though was unconcerned with scoring only six leg points instead of seven after being passed by Ingram (Toksport WRT) on the Kostelany night stage.
“It’s not so frustrating for me because I don’t like this stage, to be honest. I hope [today] will suit us better and we can take the position back for us,” said Mareš.
“It’s difficult to enjoy it in some moments because it’s really big motivation to win this battle. It’s about budget for two ERC rounds of the season so it’s important for us to win and it will be really nice to win it.”
Ingram, however, was elated at his last minute swipe of the class lead. He beat the likes of seven-time event winner and 2013 ERC champion Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Motorsport) and reigning ERC1 Junior champion Nikolay Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies) to the overall fastest stage time, stealing the maximum seven leg points away from Mareš at the last moment.
“It was the best day for a long time,” said Ingram of his first leg performance.
“There was one stage, Semetín, both runs I lost so much time. But we were quicker than Filip on every other stage, and then going fastest on the last stage in the dark was really nice.
“We can do it. It’s been a difficult year but I’ve proven to myself today that if I just relax, I’ve got the pace, and we’ve not taken any risks, so really promising.”
Ingram and Mareš are only 3.8s apart heading to leg two and also occupy second and third place overall, with only 103.34 kilometres of competitive action left to decide this year’s ERC1 Junior champion.