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Sat 02 Sep 2023

Why timing was everything for Franceschi on Zlín ERC debut

Mathieu Franceschi achieved his target when he made his Barum Czech Rally Zlín debut last month – and it had nothing to do with his final finishing position.

While the 24-year-old Frenchman continued his impressive first FIA European Rally Championship campaign by finishing 10th overall on the challenging asphalt event, it was his on-stage performances that mattered most.


“We are happy to be on the finish line of this crazy rally,” said Franceschi, an ambassador for tyre manufacturer Michelin. “For sure when you discover this kind of road you need to be careful and go step by step and we did this for all of the weekend. We wanted to learn everything for the future and it is a good point we did this. But the target was to be one second per kilometre to the best driver and we finished at 0.6sec during the weekend so it’s perfect.”


Barum Czech Rally Zlín marked Franceschi’s second outing in AMD Motorsport’s all-new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 and his second with Andy Malfoy co-driving.

“We can see a lot of things on the car and a lot of things on the tyres are improving, everything is okay, it’s perfect,” said the French gravel champion from 2022. “Except for the first stage [on leg two] when it was difficult to find the feeling, everything was fine during the weekend.”


After he was denied a finish on Rally di Roma Capitale in late July due to a technical failure, Franceschi’s top-10 result on Barum Czech Rally Zlín means he has scored points on five appearances out of seven.


With just the Rally Hungary season finale remaining, Franceschi is a strong fifth in the provisional ERC standings.