Mon 29 Aug 2022

Kopecký: 10 is just a number

Jan Kopecký extended his Barum Czech Rally Zlín reign with a record 10th victory on Sunday - but the Škoda star insists he’s not interested in the numbers.

It was another typically dominant performance from the Czech master on his home event. 

Having taken the lead after blitzing the field by almost 20sec through Saturday’s opening pass of Držková, Kopecký and co-driver Jan Hloušek managed - and built - their advantage to perfection. 

Arriving at the finish of the Power Stage 37.6sec clear of closest challenger Filip Mareš, Kopecký was as easy-going as ever. Job done: win number 10 at the event - or 11, if you count his 2004 triumph in a Fabia WRC which was ineligible for overall recognition. 

There were no animated stop line celebrations. No climbing on the roof. Just one very humble driver who paid tribute to his team.

“It’s just a number,” Kopecký told FIAERC.com when reminded of his Barum record. “I am really happy that we are so successful here of course, but that’s all thanks to our team, my co-driver and the people who are around me. 

“There are so many aspects to the success and I have to say that this was maybe one of the most difficult wins of them all because the conditions were really crazy.”

Kopecký’s right. The conditions were crazy this year. Whenever the ERC comes to Zlín, weather and tyres are always a huge talking point. 

Saturday’s opening leg was extremely varied, with sunshine one minute and heavy rain showers the next. Sunday, meanwhile, was a little more consistent - rain, rain and, you guessed it, more rain. But that’s what makes Barum Czech Rally Zlín special.

“The conditions are never easy here,” Kopecký explained. “It was constantly changing, especially on Sunday because it was really full of water on every single stage. 

“When the cuts get wet, they are full of mud and the mud is always coming out into the road making it even more slippery.”

Amazingly, the 40-year-old only won four out of 13 stages, but it was consistency which really enabled him to cut loose from the pack. That consistency comes with experience. 

Kopecký may not be worried about the numbers, but we are. And we’re pretty sure the knowledge garnered from all those previous wins made all the difference.

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