Kopecky takes win in Barum Rally
|By David Evans||Sunday, August 23rd 2009, 15:39 GMT|
Jan Kopecky completed the biggest win of his career when he drove his Skoda Fabia S2000 to victory on the Barum Rally.
The 27-year-old Czech Republic driver didn't put a wheel wrong through yesterday's treacherous conditions, working hard to build a minute lead.
He then protected that lead through today's six stages, bringing his Skoda home to a rapturous welcome from the partisan home crowd: a Czech driver winning a Czech rally in a Czech machine. It was the perfect weekend for the Zlin locals.
After a tricky start to the event - a puncture on the superspecial leaving him 33rd on Friday night - Kris Meeke turned his and Peugeot UK's rally around with a sensational run back through the field.
Meeke ended the event second, ensuring Kopecky, his closest title rival, only reduced the margin between the pair by two points. Meeke still has a three-point advantage in the race for this year's IRC title.
Skoda's hopes of a fairytale one-two on this event ended when third-placed Juho Hanninen dropped half a minute spinning his Fabia S2000 on the first stage out of service this afternoon.
That mistake allowed Roman Krest to briefly steal that provisional bottom step of the podium, but a spirited charge ' which included fastest times on the last two stages - ensured Hanninen returned to third.
Kresta eventually placed his Peugeot fourth. Super 2000 first-timer Martin Prokop placed the BFGoodrich guest car in a fine fifth. Prokop was one place ahead of the man he replaced in the BFG car, with Pavel Valousek rounding out the top six in a private Skoda.