Monte-Carlo, 28 January 2018 – ŠKODA’s Jan Kopecký and co-driver Pavel Dresler (CZE/CZE) convincingly won the #wrc 2 category at the season opener of the 2018 FIA World #rally Championship (WRC), the famous #rally Monte-Carlo. They took top spot after the fourth of 17 special stages and defended their lead up to the finish in Monte-Carlo despite very challenging road and weather conditions. On his birthday, Kopecký rewarded himself with the gift of not only winning the #wrc 2 category, but also taking victory in RC 2 class and finishing 10th overall. While ŠKODA junior Ole Christian Veiby had to retire on Saturday due to a driver’s error, teammate Kalle Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen (FIN/FIN) brought home their ŠKODA #fabiar5 on second place in RC 2 class after a fast and controlled drive under difficult conditions.
Night stages, bright sunshine, rain, dry roads, so-called black ice, slushy snow and fog: The opening round of the 2018 FIA World #rally Championship (WRC), the famous #rally Monte-Carlo, offered all kinds of road and weather conditions. On the last four stages on Sunday – including two passages over the legendary Col de Turini – again sheets of black ice and gravel on the asphalt roads made life difficult for the crews.
But on Sunday afternoon in front of the Royal Palace in Monte-Carlo, all the difficulties and challenges were forgotten. The sun was smiling from the azure blue sky – and so was Jan Kopecký (CZE). After four tough and challenging #rally days, he received royal gifts on his 36th birthday: the trophies for winning #wrc 2 category and RC 2 class. “During the last stages, it was really a challenge to stay focussed, find the right speed and to avoid any mistake. I had nothing more to gain but so much to lose. Now, a dream came true. On my seventh participation I could finally win. Many thanks to my co-driver Pavel Dresler and as well to the whole ŠKODA team for giving me such a fantastic car. The special design of my fantastic ŠKODA #fabiar5, which carries the tricolour of the Czech flag, brought me the luck you need to win this very special event,” beamed a happy Jan Kopecký.
ŠKODA factory team Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler headed #wrc 2 category already after the fourth stage of #rally Monte-Carlo, defending the lead both in #wrc 2 and RC 2 class during four challenging days up to the finish in Monte-Carlo. They survived a hairy moment in the slushy snow of the ninth stage when Kopecký lost control of his ŠKODA #fabiar5 for a moment. After a lucky escape, he continued conservatively to the stage finish and up to the end of the #rally. In the end Kopecký/Dresler won #wrc 2 category by nearly 15 minutes, being first in RC 2 class as well with a margin of more than five minutes.
In the wake of the Czech Champions the youngest driver of the event, 17 years old ŠKODA youngster Kalle Rovanperä (FIN), and co-driver Jonne Halttunen (FIN) delivered a stunning performance, cheered by thousands of fans alongside the special stages. They were not entered in #wrc 2 category, thus not fighting for championship points on this occasion. “I was here to learn. This was a very challenging event, I really enjoyed driving here with my fantastic ŠKODA #fabiar5. On the last stages, I was really cautious to bring home this result,” said a delighted Rovanperä at the finish.
ŠKODA juniors Ole Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjaermœn (NOR/NOR) had to retire on Saturday afternoon. With a spin-caused contact with a barrier their ŠKODA #fabiar5 suffered damages too extensive to continue.
ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek was totally happy at the finish in Monte Carlo. “After he was second on last year’s RalIy Monte-Carlo, Jan took a well deserved win this year. With all his routine and speed, he was simply unbeatable! Kalle’s performance was incredible! This guy has what it takes to be a future champion. He showed pure speed combined with cleverness under the most difficult road conditions you can imagine,” commented Hrabánek.
Final result #rally Monte-Carlo (WRC 2)
1. Kopecký/Dresler (CZE/CZE), ŠKODA #fabiar5, 4:35:38.5 h.
2. De Mevius/Louka (BEL/BEL), Peugeot 208, +14:46.1 min.
3. Sciessere/Zanella (ITA/ITA), Citroën DS3, +22:47.7 min.
4. Sunninen/Markkula (FIN/FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, +33:31.1 min.
Number of the day: 28
January 28th is the birthday of ŠKODA factory driver Jan Kopecký – incidentally also the day he won #wrc 2 category and RC 2 class at #rally Monte-Carlo.
The 2018 calendar of the FIA World #rally Championship (WRC 2)
Great Britain; 04/10/–07/10/2018
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