The season began with the Valašská Rally, which was returning to the Czech calendar for the first time since 2012. But any hopes his rivals may have had, that unfamiliarity would give them a chance at the start of the new season, were quickly dashed. Kopecký drove the perfect rally, leading from start to finish and winning all but one stage to end up 1 minute and 11 seconds clear of the field. Perhaps it shouldn’t be such a surprise as he won the last two editions of this rally before it dropped off the MČR calendar too.
Next up was the Rallye Šumava Klatovy, where the winning run continued. Despite incurring a 15-second penalty for taking the wrong route into a refuelling zone, Kopecký won the first seven special stages and nine overall to take victory by 47.1 seconds. This was his fourth win at this event, which makes him the joint record holder alongside Czech rally legends Leo Pavlík and Václav Pech Jr.
The season continued with the Rallye Český Krumlov, where Kopecký once again demonstrated his class. After ending the first special stage in second place, he went on to win every other stage, finishing the rally 1 minute 42 seconds ahead of the pack. Again, this was his fourth career victory at this event, putting him second on the all-time list.
Jan Kopecký at the Czech Rally Championship 2017
Round 4 of the championship was the Rally Hustopeče, where Kopecký and Dresler were up against the fierce competition of their ŠKODA Motorsport teammate Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson. They would go on to win the WRC2 title this year, so for Kopecký to claim victory number four of the season was no mean feat. It was another impressive drive at a tricky mixed-surface event which takes place in the South-Moravian wine region of the Czech Republic. But, despite a little wobble midway through the first leg, Kopecký won five of the twelve special stages and won by a margin of 41.2 seconds.
Next up was the Rally Bohemia, where another victory would secure a third successive Czech Rally Championship. And Kopecký didn’t disappoint, winning seven of the eleven stages and leading for all but the first stage on the way to a fifth win of the season by a margin of 1 minute 9 seconds. It was his seventh win at this rally, making him the all-time record holder ahead of former ŠKODA Motorsport driver Roman Kresta.
With the Czech title being decided by the best five results of the seven events on the calendar, that made it impossible for anyone to surpass Kopecký’s points total. He was Czech Rally Champion again for third time in a row and the fifth time in his career.
Despite the title already being secured, Kopecký also drove in the Barum Czech Rally Zlín, the next round and the biggest event on the Czech rallying calendar, which is also a round of the FIA European Rally Championship. And up against the cream of European rallying, he emerged victorious again, taking the overall win by a margin of 55.5 seconds and winning eleven of the fifteen stages driven. It was his sixth win at this event which is also an all-time record.
Since Kopecký and Dresler first entered the Czech Rally Championship in a ŠKODA FABIA R5 they have driven sixteen rallies and won them all, an unprecedented feat which undoubtedly elevates Jan Kopecký into the pantheon of Czech rallying greats.
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Jan Kopecký (born 1982) has been rallying, mostly in ŠKODA’s since 2001. He is a five-time Czech Rally Championship winner (2004, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017) and also won the FIA European Rally Championship in 2013 and the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in 2014. He has driven for the ŠKODA Motorsport team for much of his career aiding the development of the FABIA S2000 and FABIA R5 cars and winning three rounds of the WRC2 championship. He has also broken countless Czech rallying records and ensured his place in that country’s rallying history.
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