ŠKODA UK Motorsport’s 23-year old Andreas Mikkelsen is something of a veteran when it comes to the Barum Czech Rally Zlín (August 31-2 September), having contested it more times than any other round of the IRC. At his fourth attempt this year, Andreas is aiming to score his best result at ŠKODA’s home round of the series as he tries to extend his lead at the top of the Drivers’ standings.
Co-driven by Ola Fløene, Andreas made his IRC debut in Zlín in 2009, while he finished 5th in both 2010 and 2011. Last year was his best performance, leading the event in his factory-prepared Fabia S2000 before losing time with a puncture.
ŠKODA has won the Barum Czech Rally Zlín for the last three years, and no fewer than 12 Fabia S2000s will contest the this year’s event – including the four leading drivers in the current IRC standings: Andreas, Jan Kopecký, Juho Hänninen (ŠKODA Motorsport) and Sepp Wiegand (ŠKODA Deutschland). There are also private entries from Roman Kresta, Karl Kruuda, Jaromír Tarabus, Emil Triner and ŠKODA Ireland’s Robert Barrable.
Andreas: “I’ve done the Barum Rally more times than any other IRC event, so I know it well. We were very fast there last year, until a puncture slowed us down, and I can’t wait to go back there for the forth time. After victory in Sibiu, I’m feeling quite confident and I’m going there for a good result. Barum is a special event – all the ŠKODA Fabias will be very fast, because they are every year, and it won’t be easy fighting with the likes of Jan and Juho, but I think we can put on a good display.”
This year’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín contains 15 stages covering 155.96 miles (251.62kms) over fast and bumpy asphalt roads, with the centralised service park located at the Barum tyre factory in Otrokovice. The action begins with the traditional and spectacular night-time 5.81 mile (9.36km) superspecial around the city centre on Friday 31 August, with cars doing three high-speed laps in reverse running order – with the top cars finishing at around 23.00.
Leg 1 continues the following day at 08.32, with two runs of the Slušovice (SS2/4) and Pindula (SS3/5) stages (with the former using the Slušovice motor racing circuit and broadcast live on Eurosport) and two runs through the Lukov (SS6/8) and Tesák (SS7/9) before the finish, after 86.5 miles (139.22kms) at 23.00.
Leg 2 on Sunday 2 September gets underway at 08.27 and contains a further three stages in the morning, all of which are repeated in the afternoon. Two of which are over 12.5 miles (20kms) long, with the 14.5 mile (23.38km) Maják stage (SS12/15) the longest of the event – run in the reverse direction to the last year and broadcast live on Eurosport. The finish ceremony is in Zlín at 14.30.
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