ACA ŠKODA AUTOKLUB TEAM achieved in Hustopeče another substantial milestone in its career. Filip Mareš and his co-driver Jan Hloušek claimed their first overall victory in the 15th Agrotec Petronas Rally Hustopeče. Moreover, they had to fight for it until the final stage.
A popular competition situated in South Moravian vineyards was held in truly tropical weather. Not only crews, but also cars suffered from high temperatures. The ACA ŠKODA AUTOKLUB TEAM began the rally with 6th and 5th time respectively in the initial two special stages. However, in the evening loop both their passes were the fastest ones. Thanks to that they moved up to the first place at the end of the first leg. "Stage times in the first passes weren't quite what we are capable of achieving, but during the night we put the hammer down and the two fastest times got us truly motivated. Before the start of the 3rd stage, I accidentally complicated our situation since I torn off the co-driver’s lamp. Therefore, I was reading during two stages with the headlamp in my left hand and with fear in mind that the pace notes would fall out of my hands,” Jan Hloušek shared his experiences when finished Leg one.
The second leg started into the extreme temperatures as well, in which the battle for the leading position broke out between Filip Mareš and Jan Černý, who was less than four seconds behind the leading crew. The ACA ŠKODA AUTOKLUB TEAM crew managed to slightly increase their lead to nine and a half seconds before the last section, however even this advantage was not a completely safe margin for Filip. “We had a slightly higher pace than our pursuers in each special stage. Still, we cannot make any mistake as 10 seconds is not much of a difference. But we are doing well and we trust in ourselves before last section,” said Filip during the second leg service stop.
The grand finale went on in the final three stages and especially on the last 22 km long special stage. Tension was high as well as the temperature in the cockpit of racing cars which has risen up to sixty degrees. Filip and Honza flew through the finish line with the fastest time and hence they can celebrate their first victory in overall classification in their career. “This is our first victory and yet we do not fully understand what we have just achieved. We would like to thank the whole team, all partners, without whom none of this would be possible. It is a result of the great effort of many people,” said happy winner of the Agrotec Petronas Rally Hustopeče and he continued: “Michelin tires worked flawlessly in hot weather and we were also highly motivated by incredible fan support. So far we haven't had so many supporters in any prior race. The pace was really high from the beginning, we couldn't fool around and I'm glad we held our nerves. After just a year and quarter of racing in R5 category, this is a great result for us and a good sign that we can keep improving.”
Eduard Skaba, director of AUTOCENTRÁLA, a ŠKODA dealership in Ostrava region, was visibly pleased with the race result: “The performance of our crew is growing with every competition. It's amazing to watch Filip and Jan’s approach, commitment and great discipline in preparation before the races. On top of that the support from the perfectly working team of Roman Kresta is invaluable. Thanks to everyone on behalf of ACA and I wish you good luck in the next rallies.”
Roman Kresta, Filip's mentor and team manager of the KRESTA RACING can also be satisfied. “In Hustopeče it was confirmed how important the complex preparation is. We knew that due to the absence of Jan Kopecký we had a great chance to score a good result. For this reason it was a very important race for us and also for our position in general classification of the championship. The whole team has done its best for Filip's success, including the fact that we used a brand new car. Everybody fulfilled his tasks perfectly and Filip with Jan performed flawlessly. The victory is crucial for their further development. Hard work has paid off, I am very pleased as well as the whole team.”
Undoubtedly, the ACA ŠKODA AUTOKLUB TEAM crew will not forget the 15th Agrotec Petronas Rally Hustopeče, as Filip and Jan are new leaders of Czech championship standings after 4th round from 6. However there is not much time for a long rest of mind. In just two weeks time, it is attending another European rally championship event in Poland.