Thu 31 Aug 2023

How cool and calm Wagner had the Power in the ERC

Simon Wagner has described how remaining cool and calm was key to his Power Stage victory – and podium finish – on Barum Czech Rally Zlín earlier this month.

Wagner was set to lose out on third place on the penultimate event of the FIA European Rally Championship season after he fell behind Adam Březík with just the Halenkovice Power Stage left to run.

Facing the prospect of having to settle for fourth position after holding a podium place from stage six of the Tarmac event, Wagner soaked up the intense pressure to go quickest of all through the deciding 16.69km run and beat young Czech talent Březík to third place aboard his Michelin-equipped Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 in the process.

“We won the first stage in the city and now the Power Stage so we can be quite happy,” Wagner said at the finish of Barum Czech Rally Zlín. “The middle of the weekend, especially the final morning, I felt not 100 per cent confident but I tried to focus for the Power Stage and finally we got this third place. It was a big pleasure to drive in the Czech Republic with a lot of fans and big competition.”

Wagner’s podium advantage stood at 11.0sec with two stages remaining, but a cautious run and a trip through a ditch let in Březík to snatch third after he went quickest on the second run through Pindula.

“I’m not sure what happened,” the double Austrian champion said. “I thought 11sec is quite okay and Pindula is a tricky stage, so I was just driving smooth. Maybe that’s the reason why I had this small mistake because I was not pushing. But I knew Halenkovice was already quite good from the first pass for us and I like this stage so I just took it calm and had a good, clean stage,” said Wagner.

“It’s nice to see we have the speed because I’m pretty sure on the Power Stage everyone tried to get some points so we are pleased with the time. I know there is a bit more in [me] but it’s always about who is paying the deposit because it’s quite expensive with this car. If I have any accident then the season is over so we have to stay on the road. Maybe for the future we will find someone who is supporting us with this cost.”

Wagner, who is co-driven by fellow Austrian Gerald Winter, is seventh in the provisional ERC standings with just the Rally Hungary season finale from 6 - 8 October remaining. “I’m working on doing that rally, let’s see,” the Eurosol Racing Team Hungary driver added.

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