Bastia, 7 April 2018 – ŠKODA factory team Jan Kopecký and co-driver Pavel Dresler (CZE/CZE) continue to dominate the WRC 2 category at Rally France/Tour de Corse. Their young Norwegian teammates Ole Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjaermoen (NOR/NOR) after a tense fight were second in the provisional category standings going into the last stage of the Saturday leg. Albeit, when their gearbox got stuck in first gear they dropped to third place behind Italian ŠKODA privateer Fabio Andolfi.
The first special stage on early Saturday morning was a tough wake-up call for the crews. More than 35 kilometres had to be driven in the north of Corsica. ŠKODA youngster O.C. Veiby was fully awake and scored his first WRC 2 fastest time on the fifth stage of the rally while teammate Jan Kopecký consolidated his category lead. "This was a very good start for us, but the stage was very tricky. Maybe I was at the end too cautious. But going into the corners, you always have to keep an eye for surprising gravel on the road," commented Jan Kopecký.
His Norwegian teammate was happy after his first WRC 2 stage win on an asphalt event of the FIA World Rally Championship. "I found a really nice rhythm and I just kept pushing," smiled Veiby at the end of the first morning stage. And his rhythm also led him to the next fastest time in special stage number six, while his teammate and WRC 2 category leader Kopecký fought back with the fastest time on the following one.
After the regrouping in Bastia, the ŠKODA crews had to face the repetition of the morning stages and proved again their speed on the Mediterranean Island. On the second pass of the longest stage of the day, the 35 kilometres between Cagnano and Canari, Kopecký was quickest in front of Veiby who moved into second position after a tense fight in the WRC 2 category. On the next two stages, Czech Champion Kopecký was fastest again, while on the last stage of the day the gearbox of Veiby’s ŠKODA FABIA R5 got stuck in first gear. The time loss cost him the possible second place in the WRC 2 category.
ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek emphasized: "Again a great drive of Jan, who had no issues with his ŠKODA FABIA R5 and drove fast and faultlessly. Sorry for O.C., that bad luck put him out of the fight for second place. We will fix his car at the final service. The rally is not over yet, on Sunday is still a long way to go."
On the final day of the rally, the longest stage is waiting for the crews. More than 55 kilometres have to be driven on winding mountain roads, before the rally-ending Power Stage, covering
around 16 kilometres, will bring the final decision. The winner is expected on the podium in Ajaccio around 15h00.
Standings Rally Corsica after Day 2 (WRC 2)
1. Kopecký/Dresler (CZE/CZE), ŠKODA FABIA R5, 2:51:30.6 h
2. Andolfi/Scattolin (ITA/ITA), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +3:04.3 min.
3. Veiby/ Skjaermoen (NOR/NOR), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +3:49.9 min.
4. Bonato/Boulloud, (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 R5, +7:05.9 sec.
5. Pieniazek/Mazur (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +12:08.9 min.
Number of the day: 6
All of the six stages of the second day of the rally were won – in WRC 2 category – by the ŠKODA works crews Kopecký/Dresler (4) and Veiby/ Skjaermoen (2).
The calendar of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
Great Britain 04/10/–07/10/2018