The reigning Czech Rally Champion Jan Kopecký with his new co-driver Jan Hloušek will enter this year’s first round of Czech Rally Championship. Unusually, the year will begin with its most prestigious rally – the 47th Rally Bohemia.
Rally Bohemia officially starts on Saturday, 11th July in the centre of Mladá Boleslav, home of the ŠKODA AUTO. The location is the reason why Rally Bohemia is usually considered to be ŠKODA Motorsport’s home event, and the cars of the Czech manufacturer are present in great numbers. Besides the works FABIA Rally2 evo, there will be more than ten private FABIA Rally2 and Rally2 evo cars fighting for the victory. Others, like ŠKODA 130 RS, FELICIA or FABIA S2000 will also be there to make the programme even more interesting.
The biggest favourite of the rally will be the ŠKODA Motorsport works crew, defending the last year’s victory. Jan Kopecký have already won eight times at Rally Bohemia. However, several ŠKODA Motorsport customer teams are making no secrets about their podium ambitions. These include last year’s ERC Junior champion Filip Mareš, young talent Petr Semerád, local drivers Miroslav Jakeš, Roman Odložilík and Věroslav Cvrček, as well as Simon Wagner from Austria and German aristocrat Albert von Thurn und Taxis.
“We are glad that after many months we see so many of our customers on the starting list again. In the Rally2 group, more than half of the crews drive ŠKODA cars, including those with the highest ambitions, and the partnerships with ŠKODA dealerships also continue successfully. We wish them all the best of luck,” says David Jareš, the coordinator of the ŠKODA Motorsport commercial programme.
The stages of this year’s Rally Bohemia include over 150 timed kilometres and they look similar to the last year’s route. After the first stage on the Old Town Street in Mladá Boleslav, the crews will move north – to the service area on the Hoškovice airbase and stages in Jizera Mountains. The tracks combine technical sections, often with difficult changes between various surfaces, and very fast passages, where drivers have to put their heart into the driving.
The longest stage in the Rally Bohemia itinerary is the traditional Radostín stage, which goes from Malá Skála to Radimovice. The crews will face almost 22 kilometres of country roads, with the notorious passages around Hodkovice nad Mohelkou and Pelíkovice being especially attractive for spectators.
The rally weekend itself will, however, begin on Friday, 10th July with all-day exhibition programme at Sosnová Autodrome. Even though it will not count towards the Rally Bohemia results, the spectators will be able to see rally cars from various eras.
The new crew
It was at Mogul Test Rally in Sosnová a few weeks ago where Jan Kopecký first tried a hot drive with his new co-driver Jan Hloušek this year. And both of them seem to be happy with the cooperation. “I tried working with Honza on two WRC rounds late in the last season, and I think we managed to sync together very quickly. We both have a precision approach to our work and we even listen to the same music. It’s an honour to be driving with him and I’m looking forward to it,” says Jan Hloušek before Rally Bohemia.
Kopecký confirms his words: “Last year in Spain and Britain, we found out that this works and that we want to continue driving together. We are a good fit both personally and profesionaly, and we were able to hone our pace in just a couple of stages.” And he adds that after the pause forced by Covid-19 pandemic, he can’t wait to be on the track. “I can’t wait! We are looking forward to be together on rally, with people we love – which, of course, includes fans. They always create a great atmosphere on home events. The goal is simple, to win Rally Bohemia,” concludes Kopecký.