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GP Week : Issue 59
>>RALLYINSIGHT The people’s rally: ‘Barumka’ attracts massive crowds every year, above left, while Roman Kresta will be there – it’s his home town, above. competitive element as well. In the late 1970s, the rear- engined Skoda 130RS cars were unbeatable, winning the event five times in a row; their light weight and nimbleness completely suited to the roads despite their small 1300cc engines. These days the route is allasphalt. In the 1980s the event became hugely popular among privateers from Western Europe. Czech drivers are highly fancied, to the extent that regular IRC and ERC drivers are sure to start at a disadvantage, as they did recently in Madeira. Several other top Czech drivers come from Zlin itself, including Pavel Valousek. Top favourite nonSuper 2000 driver is former Czech champion Vaclav Pech (Evo IX). T he roads on the Barum Rally are widely enjoyed. Haugland has had a lifetime of experience of international rallying, and says “the roads are quite quick, and the character of the event is the frequently changing grip levels. Sometimes the roads are in perfect condition, sometimes in need of repair and can be really bumpy and be quite narrow as well. “The weather can also play its part. Being held in central Europe in late summer it will normally be hot, but often in the late afternoons it will suddenly become thundery, rain heavily, but immediately clear up again.” A recent popular to the route are the three-lap nine kilometre night time superspecial stage close to Zlin. Crowds come from all over the country, and many from neighbouring countries including Poland, and start to gather in the city six hours before the rally is due to start. The route crosses a railway line and train services are suspended during the course of the event, passengers being bussed for their onward travel. There is a special feeling among fans for the Barum Rally, which they call ‘Barumka’. This summarises the fun that everyone who travels to Zlin has over the weekend. C urrent championship standings in the IRC show Meeke still leading in his Peugeot, five points ahead of Kopecky (Skoda), and jointly third two points behind are Basso and Loix. In the twowheel-drive category second placed Denis Millet, in the turbo 1.6 litre Peugeot 207, hopes to overhaul Manuel Villa, who won’t be starting this event. In the ERC, the top three competitors are in the line-up. These are Basso, who is eight points clear at the top of the list ahead of Michal Solowow and Corrado Fontana, who is two points behind. In the ERC two-wheel category the two top challenges are both present; Czech Citroen C2 S1600 driver Antonin Tlustak, who currently is 17 points in front of Renault Clio R3 driver Todor Slavov from Bulgaria. This is the eighth out of 11 rounds of the IRC, and seventh out of 11 in the ERC. 7