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Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
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Wed 31 Aug 2022

Mixed feelings for Wagner after Czech podium

Simon Wagner left Barum Czech Rally Zlín with mixed emotions despite securing his second ERC podium of the season.

The Austrian driver put up an impressive fight against a gaggle of experienced local drivers to finish third overall - a repeat of the result he achieved on gravel at the Azores Rallye earlier this year. 

However, he left the championship’s penultimate round ruing what could have been after missing out on the runner-up spot by just 1.7sec to Filip Mareš. Wagner fell foul to tyre choice gambles on a number of stages, while a Friday spin also cost precious time. 

“When we saw at the beginning of the rally that we could fight with the local guys, then of course I was wishing that I could be in front of them," said Wagner. "But it’s very, very difficult to go at the same speed because they know all the stages quite well.

“If there is a new stage or new sections like we had on Sunday then we can win stages, but on the other ones it is quite difficult to change the times. The conditions were absolutely unpredictable and even when we were at the start line of the stages, we didn’t know if there would be some rain or not. 

“Overall, it was a crazy rally, but we enjoyed every metre. Of course, I am still very happy [with third place], but I feel it could have been even better,” he added. 

Wagner was lucky to survive a heart-stopping moment in the final stage when his Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo slid into a ditch on the outside of a left-hander. He and co-driver Gerald Winter escaped with centimetres to spare and narrowly missed hitting a log pile which would have probably ended their rally.

Best of Barum Czech Rally Zlín

“It was not so dramatic, it just took us some time to get out,” smiled the 29-year-old. “I was always confident that we could get out and in the end it was all good. 

“I was hoping for the rain to come earlier on this stage, but in the end we had not the perfect tyre choice for the conditions and I had one small off into a ditch. The front of the car was full of grass and we lost some power, which was a bigger issue.

“At the end we are quite pleased and I am very happy with the job we have done. Thanks to Škoda and Michelin - they were perfect.”