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Sun 17 Mar 2024

Moments that made ERC 2023 great: Returning Widłak lands Zlín ERC3 glory

Former champion Igor Widłak completed a perfect FIA European Rally Championship comeback with the ERC3 win on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last August.

Widłak, from Poland, was making his return to the series having not competed since he wrapped up the ERC3 title on the Tarmac event one year previously.  


With new co-driver Mateusz Pawłowski alongside, Widłak moved into first place when 2023 champion and runaway leader Jon Armstrong crashed heavily on stage six.   


And with compatriot Jakub Matulka out of contention having stopped with a mechanical issue on stage two, Widłak was essentially assured of victory, providing he could make it through the final leg’s 92.40 timed kilometres.



Driving a Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta Rally3, Widłak did just that and claimed a dominant winning margin of almost 53min over Matulka, who restarted this morning and brought his Fiesta Rally3 to the finish in second position.  


“Everything was good today, it’s perfect, and with Jon everything is okay so I am happy for that,” an emotional Widłak said following his victory. “I try to get my confidence back this morning but it’s not easy on this hard rally. We had a plan today and we go with this. We can go faster but it’s hard for the first rally back. My goal on this rally was to have fun and I have had good fun. I am happy to come back to the ERC family and I want to go all season next year, that would be perfect. The car and co-driver were perfect today, I am so happy.”