Jan Kopecky has been tipped to win Barum Czech Rally Zlin, round eight of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, by the current leader in the IRC standings, Britains Kris Meeke.
Twenty-seven-year-old Kopecky will drive a Skoda Motorsport Fabia Super 2000 on his home event and Meeke believes that Kopeckys pace will be hard to match.
Jan showed in Ypres how quick he could be and Im sure there will be no driver quicker than him, said Meeke. He knows the event well and hell be wanting to prove hes the top Czech driver.
Kopecky has yet to register his first IRC win but has finished on the podium on three occasions this season. His Skoda team-mate Juho Hanninen was victorious when the IRC visited Russia in July.
I am certain this will be a fantastic rally for us and I am really looking forward to it, said Kopecky. I wish to invite all our fans to come to the rally.
Wittmann leads huge entry for Ralliart
The Ralliart challenge on Barum Czech Rally Zlin has been boosted by the addition of several star crews.
Ralliart is currently third in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge manufacturers standings after seven events thanks largely to the efforts of Austrian Franz Wittman Jr.
The Interwetten Racing driver has had to shoulder the burden of the firms expectations for much of this season. However, the Ralliart line-up will also include Dutch driver Jasper van den Heuvel and Czech Vaclav Pech when the IRC resumes next week.
There will be great competition, I cant wait, said Wittman Jr, whose father Franz Sr won the event twice in the past. Our goal is to close the gap to the Super 2000 cars. Its not easy because our car has less power and more weight but its good we have more cars to help.
Prokop ready for BF Goodrich outing
Jacques Morelli, the man in charge of tyre firm BFGoodrichs Intercontinental Rally Challenge campaign, has spoken of the high hopes he has for Martin Prokop on Barum Czech Rally Zlin.
Prokop was selected to drive the BFGoodrich Drivers Team entry on the Tarmac event. Although Prokop has scant experience of the Peugeot 207 Super 2000 he will use, Morelli said he was confident he would replicate the performances of Sebastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville, who represented the team in Monte Carlo and Ypres respectively.
It promises to be another exciting event, said Morelli. Martin is quick on all types of surfaces and he is very experienced too, which he showed by sewing up the Junior World Rally Championship in Finland recently.
A jury of journalists and representatives of the Czech motorsport governing body, BFGoodrich and Kronos Racing, which runs the Peugeot 207, chose Prokop for the seat ahead of four other Czech drivers.
Bouffier joins Proton for Barum Rally Zlin
The factory Proton effort will double in number for the first time this season when Bryan Bouffier joins Guy Wilks in the Malaysian manufacturers team.
Bouffier, who gave the Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 its competition debut last season, will contest Barum Czech Rally Zlin with the fledgling squad. The agreement is currently for the eighth round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge only.
It was always the plan to run a second car and Bryan is a great driver to have on board because of his experience, said Chris Mellors, whose MEM operation is responsible for Protons IRC campaign.
Protons best result since joining the IRC on Junes Belgium Ypres Rally is the fourth place Wilks recorded on Rally Russia last month.
Weve got ideas of how we can go even faster, said British driver Wilks. Its still a new car and the most important thing is to get to the finish of each event so we can build the experience.