Acts, not words are the reason of sensational performance of young czech internationals in rally Filip Mareš and Jan Hloušek on the penultimate event of FIA ERC Junior U27 Championship. With their Peugeot 208 R2 in a livery of national ACCR Czech Team they beat in a close fight Opel Motorsport works crews and won deservedly Rally di Roma Capitale. Filip and Honza achieved a podium position for the 4th time in their initial season of prestigious FIA ERC Junior U27 Championship. As a result, they lead by a close margin of two points a general classification of the championship before its final round in Latvia.
An Italian event was part of european championship for the first time and, as Filip admits, the same level of knowledge of local stages played a significant role in south of Europe: ‘It was just the second race in the calendar after Rally Rzeszow which was unknown for the majority of junior crews. Hence, nobody could benefit from previous knowledge of stages. Because of that we believed in a good result and we were really looking forward to this competition,’ described Filip his pre-event thoughts and kept talking: ‘After two 2nd places in Poland and on Barum Rally, it was obvious we have to fight for a victory in Rome, if we want to keep our hopes for a junior title alive.’
Filip and Jan were showing off their determination from the first kilometers on. They convincingly won both Free practice runs and despite a qualification run was cancelled, they started the rally with series of the second best times among juniors. Despite not very appropriate tyre choice for the 2nd Saturday’s section, czech crew held the 3rd position with a marginal loss on leading crews after Leg 1, which was influenced by cancellation of two longest stages as well. The tyre choice was a key factor of Filip and Jan’s decisive victory on Sunday morning when the stages were still damp. ‘Although the roads after overnight rain were slowly drying out, I believed I can take advantage of the wet tyres and at the same time, keep them in good condition during more than 30 km of the longest stage. We managed to do so and over the morning we took the lead,’ says Filip about the shift to the lead of junior classification. The second passages, now in mostly dry conditions, were for the young crew also challenging. Filip and Honza managed to win also the second passage of 33 km long special stage with characteristic name ‘Big Caput Mundi’ and they even increased their lead before the last two stages. ‘I believed that if we can retain Opel works drivers behind us also after the longest special stage, we can win this race. We put all our effort to this stage and we managed to win it. Even though we could not ease our pace in the last stages, we could work with our time margin. Everything went well and we maintained our lead. Certainly, I am very happy for this victory. During entire race everything has worked flawlessly and Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy is for all of us the icing on the cake,’ said Filip, obviously satisfied with the result and added: ‘Once again rally proved to be a team sport. The car worked great and the whole team have done brilliant and well-coordinated job. This result belongs to all of them and one more time I would like to say thank you!’
A team manager Stanislav Kafka summarized the greatest achievement yet: ‘Victory in Junior U27 category and 12th position overall is a result which underlines a hard work of the whole team but especially of our crew during an entire season. It is very interesting to see their progress from total rookies in ERC up to the most prominent position on the podium. I would like to mention also a perfect performance of the other ACCR Czech Team crew - Jan Černý and Petr Černohorský. They won U28 category and placed 6th overall. Both of these amazing results allowed us to win a team trophy for the 3rd time in a row.’
We would like to thank all sponsors and partners, which are Peugeot Sport CZ, Gekon Racing s.r.o., AP Freight, Pirelli, Faster magazine, Garáž.cz, MK-Racing – Performance & Motorsport a eWRC.cz.