Thu 25 Aug 2022

Title-chasing Pellier wary of Zlín

Victory on this week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín would guarantee Laurent Pellier the 2022 FIA Junior ERC title.

But the Frenchman, who tops the category entry ahead of the penultimate round of the season in the Czech Republic, is keeping a firm hold on his aspirations. Having started the event twice previously, he knows that Barum Czech Rally Zlín can bite.

Pellier currently holds a six-point advantage over Peugeot 208 hotshot Óscar Palomo in the FIA Junior ERC, which is open to competitors aged 27 and under driving Rally4-specification cars. Awaiting the eventual winner is a four-round prize drive in next year’s FIA Junior WRC. 

Opel Corsa star Pellier is the only man who can seal the title this weekend - and to do that, he must bring home 30 points. For Palomo, the objective is simple: stay ahead of Pellier in a bid to set up a final round thriller at his home event of RallyRACC Catalunya - Costa Daurada in October. 

Any mistake can end your rally on the spot,” Pellier mused. “We saw that [when we rolled] in Latvia, and that's also and especially true of Barum Czech Rally Zlín with its fast, rough asphalt tracks. 

“I love this rally and have fond memories from last year, when we won the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup here with the Corsa-e Rally. But as always, we will concentrate on ourselves, try to run a flawless rally and then calculate afterwards,” he added. 

Finnish hotshot Toni Herranen - who contested WRC Rally Finland earlier this month - fields a Ford Fiesta, while Italy’s Andrea Mabellini has entered a Toksport-prepared Renault Clio. 

The pair are tied in third on 61 points and, while both still have a mathematical chance of taking the title, they would be reliant on Pellier and Palomo scoring poorly in Zlín and Spain.

In ERC4, which is open to drivers of any age piloting Rally4 or Rally5-specification cars, Palomo leads the standings by 17 points from Mabellini, while Pellier - who has started two rallies fewer than his rivals - is 29 points in arrears. 

For Palomo to clinch the honours in Zlín, he would need to score 13 points more than Mabellini and a mere two more than Pellier. If that doesn’t happen, the championship will be decided in Spain. 

Aside from the title contenders, a bumper entry of 20 Rally4 and Rally5 cars feature on this week’s entry. Other drivers to keep an eye on include home hero Daniel Polášek in a Fiesta, Roberto Daprà in a Clio plus Norbert Maior in a 208.  

  • 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.
Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM