Thu 08 Sep 2022

Mareš: I admire anyone who finished Barum

Filip Mareš has revealed just how difficult Barum Czech Rally Zlín was by taking off his hat to everybody who made it to the finish of the event.

The Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo driver notched up his best result of the season by finishing second overall to Jan Kopecký at last month’s penultimate round, which took place in his native Czech Republic. 

Mareš was quick to congratulate all the finishers as torrential downpours led to treacherous conditions on the asphalt speed tests. 

Several crews were caught off guard by the tricky roads, including newly-crowned champions Efrén Llarena and Sara Fernández plus Alberto Battistolli, Ken Torn and Tom Kristensson. 

“I have to admire anybody who was able to finish this rally,” Mareš told “It’s always difficult to be fast on this unusual event because the stages are so bumpy and really muddy in places.

“The roads are very narrow in places but still very fast. When you add in the conditions that we were faced with, it’s just so difficult - especially if you want to keep up with the pace of the fastest guys.

“You have to take some risks to keep that pace and that’s maybe the reason we saw quite a few accidents during the rally, but it’s like that sometimes. It’s part of the game.”

The 31-year-old’s event got off to a scrappy start and he made a series of mistakes which came close to ending his own rally during Saturday’s opening leg. Tweaks were made at the midday service and, from then on, Mareš’ weekend went relatively drama-free.

Onboard of the Rally: Barum Czech Rally Zlín

Holding position over Simon Wagner’s similar Fabia by a mere 1.7sec after the rally-ending power stage, Mareš admitted his result almost felt like a win in itself. 

“I live 300km from Zlín, so it’s not really my home event, but it’s really special for me because there are always so many Czech fans here," he explained.  

“Erik Cais is the big hero here and he is very fast. He’s a good benchmark for us because he is doing a WRC programme, so we are really proud of our performance and that we were able to beat him as well as some of the other guys.”

Mareš returned to the ERC at Rally Poland in June and has contested three rounds so far this year. He is understood to be planning a full title assault in 2023.

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