Wed 09 Aug 2023

ERC comeback king Wagner all in for Zlín

Simon Wagner heads to Barum Czech Rally Zlín next week with an impressive reputation to uphold.

Wagner has twice finished in the FIA European Rally Championship top five this season after fighting back from lowly positions, making him the unofficial king of the ERC comebacks.

On Rally Islas Canarias, the 30-year-old ran as low as 17th before he charged back to finish fifth among the ERC contenders.

When his ERC campaign resumed on Rally di Roma Capitale last month, Wagner came through from 16th to fifth aboard the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 he shares with co-driver Gerald Winter.

“I am happy with the position, this is what I was hoping for and the best I could wish for,” Wagner said at the conclusion of Rally di Roma Capitale. “The speed is still to improve but it’s not a lot because the whole package in the ERC is quite tight. We have to find just a little bit more, at least for Barum.”

The double Austrian champion is something of a Barum Czech Rally Zlín expert having claimed one outright podium and three class podiums on the all-Tarmac event.

In 2017 he finished third in the old R2 category-based Junior ERC division before taking second place one year later. And in 2019, after his step up to the R5-based Junior ERC class, Wagner finished third in what was then his best overall finishing position of sixth. But things got even better last year when Wagner drove his Eurosol Racing Team Hungary entry to the final outright podium spot.

Wagner believes his Rally di Roma Capitale performance can only help him when he starts Barum Czech Rally Zlín for a seventh time next Friday (18 August).

“For sure [the Rome] result helps a bit with the confidence but there is still some unknown because we have been struggling a bit [on some rallies this season],” Wagner said. “In Canarias we got from P17 to P5 so second days are definitely for us and I am really looking forward to Barum.”

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