Kopřivnice, 26th March 2017 – The ŠKODA works duo of Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ) has won the season-opener in the Czech Rally Championship (MČR). The defending champions claimed victory at the Rally Janča Valašská and remained undefeated in their ŠKODA FABIA R5 for the eleventh race over three combined seasons in the national championship. The experienced drivers put on a commanding performance on both days of the rally and topped the overall standings from the first stage to the last. Jan Černý/Petr Černohorský (CZ/CZ) claimed an impressive third place, also in a ŠKODA FABIA R5, and were just one second behind the second-placed duo of Václav Pech/Petr Uhel (CZ/CZ) at the finish.
"Respect to Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler for this commanding opening performance. They dominated the rally from the first special stage to the last. Of course, this eleventh straight win for the ŠKODA FABIA R5 confirms just how well we have been working. When I look into the eyes of the team members, all I can say is: they are hungry for success and want more. I would also like to congratulate Jan Černý and Petr Černohorský in third place. They showed just how competitive the ŠKODA FABIA R5 is," said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek.
The Rally Janča Valašská, a new addition to the MČR calendar this year, consisted of twelve special stages over a total of 150.56 kilometres, and Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler were victorious on eleven of them. Kopecký dominated the rally from the first special stage and crossed the finish line 01:11.1 minutes ahead of his arch rival Václav Pech in second place. The battle for second place was more exciting and Pech/Uhel were only able to emerge triumphant on the final stage, pushing the ŠKODA FABIA R5 drivers Černý/Černohorský into third place.
"A great weekend for the whole team," said Jan Kopecký. "The FABIA R5 was perfectly prepared and ran well from the first stage to the last, so it’s a big thankyou to all involved. The win confirms that we are on our way. It is also a yardstick for the next challenges. We want to confirm this good impression at the upcoming domestic and international rallies."
Final standings Rally Janča Valašská (MČR):
01. Kopecký/Dresler (CZ/CZ) ŠKODA FABIA R5 1:30.57.8 Hrs
02. Pech/Uhel (CZ/CZ) Ford Fiesta R5 + 1:11.1 min.
03. Černý/Černohorský (CZ/CZ) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 1:12.1 min.
08. Tlusťák/Vybíral (CZ/CZ) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 4:25.4 min.
09. Tarabus/Machů (CZ/CZ) ŠKODA FABIA S2000 + 4:27.6 min.
10. Štajf/Rajnoha (CZ/CZ) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 4:52.4 min.
The number of the Rally Janča Valašská: 11
With this victory at the Rally Janča Valašská, ŠKODA works driver Jan Kopecký chalked up his eleventh straight win over two seasons. The ŠKODA FABIA R5 still remains unbeaten since making its Czech championship debut at the Rally Šumava Klatovy in April 2015. At the season-opener, Kopecký also claimed eleven of twelve possible special stage best times, and his winning margin at the finish was also a lucky number: 1:11.1 minutes.
ŠKODA Motorsport Overview
ŠKODA has been on the motorsport scene since 1901. Be it on the circuit or in rallies, ŠKODA has celebrated victories and won titles all around the world. Historical highlights include numerous title wins in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), as well as the victory in the European Touring Car Championship in 1981. ŠKODA teams have also triumphed in the world’s oldest and most famous rally, taking several class victories in the legendary Monte Carlo, which was first held in 1911.
In 2015, ŠKODA celebrated four victories in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2) with their new ŠKODA FABIA R5 rally car. The high-tech 4x4 was homologated by the International Automobile Federation FIA on 1 April 2015. In the ŠKODA FABIA R5’s very first season, factory duo Pontus Tidemand/Emil Axelsson (S/S) secured the fourth APRC title in a row for ŠKODA. In addition, the brand claimed five national titles with their new winning model.
ŠKODA’s new FABIA R5 proudly continues the brand’s long tradition in motorsport. Its predecessor, the FABIA Super 2000, was the most successful model in ŠKODA’s 115-year motorsport history. With the 4x4 from Mladá Boleslav, factory duo Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ) achieved the historic feat of becoming the first duo in history to win the drivers’ title in the ERC and the APRC in consecutive years. Between 2009 and 2014, ŠKODA FABIA Super 2000 drivers won a total of 50 national and international titles around the world.
In 2016, the factory teams Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (S/S), Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler and Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (F/F) are competing with the ŠKODA FABIA R5 in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2).