Having almost finished the recce, Andreas Mikkelsen believes a fast and clean run through the opening day of this weekend’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín will be the key to success, as final preparations for Round 9 of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge continue as planned.
Co-driven by Ola Fløene, this will be Andreas’ fourth appearance at the Czech asphalt event, and he arrives in a healthy 49 point lead in the Drivers’ standings.
“Day 1 and Day 2 here in Barum are pretty different,” explains Andreas. “Day 1 is a lot more bumpy, narrow and more technical and the second day is all about high speed, driving lines and wider roads.
“A lot of the stages are the same as last year, albeit run in the opposite direction, and there is one completely new stage – which is really quite tricky. It’s the second stage of the rally, the first one on Saturday morning [SS2, Slušovice]. It’s more or less a Mickey Mouse stage, but it’s hard to see where you are going and there is a high risk of getting a puncture, so you need to be clean with your lines.
“Except for one stage, which was used last year, Ola and I have written brand new pace notes for this event, and we feel quite comfortable on these roads.
“All the stages on this rally will be important, but if you have a good first day, with a clean run and no mistakes, then you’ll have everything to play for because the second day is not so difficult.”
Andreas and Ola will recce the superspecial stage around the streets of Zlín later tonight – held after 23.00 to allow the public roads to be closed with as little disruption as possible – before climbing into their ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000 for the official shakedown test tomorrow morning. A busy afternoon of press conferences and media activities follow, before SS1 get underway at 21.15 tomorrow night (Friday 31 August) – with the entire field doing three laps of the Zlín superspecial in reverse order.
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