Czech crew Filip Mares - Jan Hlousek raised their spirits on another event of the European Rally Championship after DNF on Rally Bohemia. In the demanding Rally di Roma Capitale, ACCR Czech Rally Team members finished fifth in the overall ranking and won the ERC1 Junior category. Thus they will fight for the overall victory in the championship for drivers under the age of 28 on Barum Czech Rally Zlín in August!
Filip Mares started his Italian campaign with seventh place in the qualifying stage and finished the opening section of three special stages as the sixth fastest contender. In the second passes Filip and Jan sped up and at the end of the first day they held a great third position in the overall classification after Lukyanuk’s one minute penalty. “After the crash on Rally Bohemia it was not an easy task to get back to the proper pace. We started with caution as we did not want to take any risks at all” Filip explained tactics for the beginning of the rally. “Pico special stage was one of the toughest we have ever driven on tarmac. It was a real challenge in terms of pace notes and avoiding the puncture. During the first passages we verified that everything in our notes is 100% correct. For the second pass we selected the hardest Michelin tire compound and that paid off. We avoided driving mistakes and punctures and that is why we were more satisfied with our performance in the second passes.”
In special stage 10 Alexey Lukyanuk moved up in the ranking ahead of our crew and Andrea Crugnola, a fast local driver, started to build up pressure from behind, too. However, the main rival of the crew Mares - Hlousek in the junior category was Chris Ingram. Filip was watching him carefully and managed to keep ahead of him up to the finish line. Final 5th place and victory in ERC1 Junior are another notable results of the young crew of ACCR Czech Rally Team. “Fortunately, the Sunday leg was not that tricky and the risk of puncture was minimal. Although we lost some positions in absolute ranking, we fully focused on the junior category result. We drove purposefully and kept an advantage on our competitors” said satisfied Mareš in the finish of the race. “Victory in Juniors from Rome is exactly the result that we had hoped for and believed in. After Bohemia it was not easy. However, the main goal was fulfilled and we are in the fight for the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship title until Barum Rally” a co-driver Jan Hlousek did not hide his satisfaction with the result.
Participation in Rally di Roma Capitale was at risk after the crash on Rally Bohemia. KRESTA RACING team has done a great job of repairing the Fabia R5 in less than two days and preparing it to 100 percent before the tricky Italian race. “The result from Rome belongs primarily to our mechanics. We caused a lot of additional work and worries due to our crash on Bohemian rally and we wouldn't start in Italy, if there wasn't a huge effort of every team member. Our big thanks also go to all sponsors who supported our participation in Rome” said Filip Mares and Roman Kresta added: “Filip fulfilled all the guidelines we had set before this challenging event and he was able to turn them into a good result. Being able to finish less than a minute and a half behind Basso on this type of stages is a very good performance. Especially when we take into account the fact that on Sunday we clearly made a decision not to risk unnecessarily andkeep behind Chris Ingram who is Filip's main rival in the fight for the junior title. Therefore, Barum Rally will be very interesting and in the ERC the fight for victory will go on until the last kilometer of this season. I thank to the whole team for their great commitment.”
The crew Mares - Hlousek will enjoy this year's great finale on the legendary Barum Czech Rally Zlín which will finish not only Czech championship but also the ERC1 Junior calendar. The 49th Barum Rally takes place on August 16-18.