Winning the most difficult rally of the Czech Rally Championship – Barum Czech Rally Zlín – meant that Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler not only increased their total number of victories to nine, but also gained their seventh Czech Rally Championship title.
The ŠKODA Motorsport works crew has dominated the Czech Rally Championship for the last five years. The key to their success is not only Jan’s speed, but also the always excellently prepared ŠKODA FABIA R5, which is, much like its crew, exceptionally reliable. The last time Jan Kopecký was absent from the finish line in any Czech rally was in 2014 at Rallye Český Krumlov. The last time he failed to finish an international rally was in the same year at Malaysia’s round of the APRC. Also very telling is that out of his 115 starts for ŠKODA Motorsport since 2004, he has had to retire, for various reasons, from just eight rallies. In more than half of them – 59 overall – he won!
Jan and Pavel started this season, facing tough competition eager to fight for the title, by winning the Valašská Rally, the first round. They continued with a second place finish at Rallye Šumava, the first rally driving a ŠKODA FABIA R5 that Jan didn’t win. He returned to his winning streak straight away when he debuted the revamped FABIA R5 evo in Český Krumlov, the next rally. He followed that with a win in ŠKODA’s hometown of Mladá Boleslav, watched by thousands of ŠKODA workers, after a beautiful battle against his teammate Kalle Rovanperä.
After dominating the Barum Czech Rally Zlín, Kopecký cemented his championship win. This confirmed his words that even after fathering his first child during the course of the season, he is not any slower. “This season was mostly about finishing the development and debuting the revamped FABIA R5 evo. It was surrounded by great expectations and it had to be even better than its predecessor. And I’m sure we succeeded. The car is excellent”, he remarked.