slushy conditions as a result of heavy rains, the works-assisted Skoda MRF team
went on to claim another one-two at the second round of the FIA Asia-Pacific
Rally Championship (APRC). European champions Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ)
picked up their first win in the APRC in exotic New Caledonia (French island in
the South Pacific), ahead of team-mates Gaurav Gill/Glenn Macneall (IND/NZ).
Gill had previously triumphed ahead of Kopecký at the opening round in New
to a company statement, the two drivers are now tied at the top of the overall
standings after two of six races in the APRC, while Skoda also holds a
commanding lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship.
had quite a big lead on day two, so I just wanted to avoid making any mistakes
on the muddy roads. I was under no pressure, and could relax in the Fabia Super
2000, which was perfect – as always,” said Kopecký, who was delighted with his
first win at only his second start in the APRC.
“We are now level with Gaurav, which is good
for the championship. It is always better when there is such a close battle,”
he said gleefully.
Czech driver finished a full 6:12.8 minutes ahead of his Skoda team-mate Gill
in New Caledonia. The Indian had initially led the rally on day one, but then
damaged his car when he came off the road and consequently dropped a crucial
amount of time. The drivers were once again faced with the trickiest of
conditions, with most of the route transformed into mud bath by the heavy rain.
So bad were the conditions that six of the 17 special stages scheduled had to
concerns meant that the two Skoda MRF drivers started the penultimate stage
later than expected. This resulted in a time penalty from the jury, but this
was subsequently reduced after an appeal from the Skoda MRF team. As such,
Kopecký and Gill had to wait several hours to celebrate their one-two.
“We were a victim of the conditions with our
crash on day one. However, we still managed to make the most of the situation
for ourselves and the team in the end,” Gill commented. The two Skoda MRF
drivers clocked the fastest times on all eleven special stages.
the latest one-two, Jan Kopecký is already looking forward to the next APRC
Rally in Australia from June 20 to 22. “I have never been to Australia, so the
rally will be completely new territory for me. It will be exciting again,” he
Source: Skoda / MRF
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