Rally / 23 August 2011

Barum Czech Rally Zlin: Martin Kangur and Janos Puskadi aim for points in 2WD

The Intercontinental Rally Challenge heats up this weekend when the drivers head to the lightening-quick asphalt roads of the Barum Czech Rally Zlin in the Czech Republic, now in its 41st year.

With ultra-fast bumpy roads, which snake through the forests in the east of the country, the Barum Czech Rally Zlin is widely regarded as one of the most strenuous rally on the IRC calendar. Rain is also forecast, which will add to the drama, but it is unlikely to put off the crowds. Rallying is hugely popular in the region, with more than 200.000 spectators expected for the three day event.

For Martin Kangur, co-driver Anders Ots and the crew of the Honda Civic Type R, the Barum is a completely new experience and a step into the unknown.

?This is my first time at the Barum Czech Rally Zlin, but I?ve studied a few videos and you quickly realize it?s a very difficult assignment,? said the Estonian driver. ?My worst fear is rain. With heavy rain, on these types of roads, visibility will be close to zero. But with so few rally left this year, we will press hard for a good result by putting down fast times in the special stages. But it won?t be easy. One quick look at the strong contestants in our category is proof of that.?

Whilst Kangur and his team are new to the Barum, Honda colleagues Janos Puskadi and co-driver Barna Godor know exactly what to expect: ?I?ve been here three times before and know that the weather and tyre choice are the two most important factors for success.? said Hungarian Puskadi. ?Sometimes the sun is shining at one stage and at another the rain falls out of the sky. At that moment it?s a question of luck to be on the track with the correct rubber.  And if the forecast is to be believed, it won?t be any different this year!?

He adds: ?It?s a hard competition that can force contestants to retire at any stage, so the trick to the Barum is simply to finish, which is what we aim to do. And if I can score some points in 2WD as well, I will be a very happy man!?

Joining Kangur and Puskadi at the rally are ten local Czech Honda drivers, including main drivers Petr Pelech and Martin Sopuch, who will all be looking to put in a good performance for the crowds and take advantage in their hometown rally.

As is tradition, the rally starts in the Moravian city of Zlin. The 122 crews then begin the first of 15 special tarmac stages, covering a total of 248 kilometers. The final winner will appear at the finish around 15.01 on 28th August. The end of round seven of the IRC will be no time for rest for the Honda drivers though. Following the Czech Republic, they travel in quick succession to the Mecesk Rally (Hungary), Sanremo (Italy) and RACMSA (Scotland), before the IRC 2011 ends in Cyprus at the beginning of November.