ŠKODA works driver Jan Kopecký goes into the final day of the Rallye de France in second place in the WRC2 standings. On the second day of the rally, the Czech champion battled it out with Elfyn Evans throughout the rain-affected stages on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.
Kopecký and his co-driver Pavel Dresler trail by 37.8 seconds, approaching the final 64.20 kilometres of competitive distance of this FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) round on Sunday.
The experienced ŠKODA driver plans to mount another attack in his FABIA R5 during the longest special stage of the Rallye de France, which runs for 53.78 kilometres from Antisanti to Poggio di Nazza on Sunday morning.
Having claimed two second-place finishes recently in the WRC2, Kopecký started the Rallye de France with the aim of finally recording his first class win in the world championship this year.
Kopecký and Evans had each won two special stages on Friday. On Saturday, ŠKODA driver Kopecký began the day 15.7 seconds behind the leader and the top-quality battle at the “Rally of 10,000 Corners” once again delighted the thousands of fans who lined the stages.
Evans was 4.9 seconds faster in the opening special stage over 53.72 kilometres. However, Kopecký hit back immediately in the FABIA R5 on the Novella – Pietralba stage, moving 4.2 seconds closer to Evans. It began to rain midway through the second run of the Orezza – La Porta – Valle di Rostino special stage. Kopecký decided not to take too many risks on the slippery surface and lost ground to the British driver, who extended his lead during the final two stages of the day.
ŠKODA customer Julien Maurin improved by two places in the WRC2 standings, finishing the day in fourth place in the second FABIA R5.
|Rallye de France – WRC2 standings after the Leg 2:|
|1.||Elfyn Evans / Craig Parry
|Ford Fiesta R5||1:40:29.1 hrs|
|2.||Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler
|ŠKODA FABIA R5||+ 37.8 sec|
|3.||Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud
|Citroën DS3 R5||+ 3:15.7 min|
|4.||Julien Maurin / Gilles Thimonier
|ŠKODA FABIA R5||+ 3:53.3 min|
Number of the day: 53.72
On Saturday, the drivers had to master the 53.72 kilometres of the second-longest stage in the Rally France, not just once but twice. ŠKODA driver Jan Kopecký completed the second run of the winding Orezza – La Porta – Valle di Rostino route in 37:16.2 minutes. That corresponds to an average speed of 86.48 kilometres per hour. This is much slower than the speeds achieved at the high-speed rallies in Finland or Poland. Some gravel stages there see drivers reaching average speeds of over 120 kilometres per hour.