Mon 27 Mar 2023

Mares vows to come back stronger in ERC

Filip Mareš is already looking ahead to round two of the FIA European Rally Championship following a tough start to his 2023 title challenge in Portugal two weeks ago.

Czech ace Mareš, 31, endured a Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto to forget alongside co-driver Radovan Bucha.

A broken damper, the result of contact with a rock that also damaged a tyre, forced his retirement after three stages, while a second tyre change was required on stage 14 as a result of more damage following his restart on leg two.

“The rally was a good lesson,” said Mareš, who took the Rally2-based Junior ERC title in 2019. “After the troubles on the first day, the second day was just about learning something to gain experience, to get back into the pace and build the confidence because we had nothing to build on [from Saturday]. But we ended the rally with a very good feeling, so I am quite sure we are going to be more competitive on gravel next time.”

Mareš, who was making a rare start on a loose-surface event and I am sure we can be on the same level on gravel, we just need more seat time on this surface and more experience. I just did Poland and Latvia in a Rally2 car before Fafe. These races are really fast, flowing and this one is slower and the surface is really different. But I have learned a lot and next time we will be stronger.”

Explaining his leg one exit, the ACCR Entry Engineering Škoda driver said: “I hit a rock five kilometres after the start of the second Saturday stage and in consequence we got a puncture, we changed the puncture because we just thought it was a puncture but I immediately recognised there was some other damage on the car and suddenly the damper went through the bonnet and that was the end of the day for us.

“Luckily we managed to repair the car and we continued on the second day. For sure it was frustrating because we are missing the kilometres on gravel generally and it’s a shame for us after all the preparation not to be competing so we can’t be happy. But we had possibilities to get back in the pace and slowly we are getting better and better and closer and closer to the fastest guys, the top 10 times and that’s good for us.”

Before he switches his focus to round two of the ERC season, May’s Rally Islas Canarias, Mareš will contest Kowax Valašská Rally ValMez in Czech Republic from 31 March - 2 April The event counts as round one of his national championship and the revamped FIA European Rally Trophy.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM