More rally success for SKODA’s IRC aces
"We really appreciate the great results our crews have achieved"
Juho Hänninen and Jan Kopecký continued their impressive starts to the 2012 season with wins apiece in Croatia and Czech Republic at the weekend.
The ŠKODA Motorsport drivers, regulars in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge since 2009, are contesting rounds of the European and Czech championships alongside their IRC programmes with ŠKODA’s factory team.
Hänninen (pictured) won the Rijeka-based Croatia Rally following an exciting battle with fellow IRC regular Hermann Gassner Jr, in a similar Fabia Super 2000, while a tyre defect prevented Kopecký from going fastest on all but one of the 14 stages on the Český Krumlov Rally in South Bohemia.
Victory for Hänninen puts him in the clear in the race for the European title, while Kopecký now has a sizable advantage in the Czech series on the back of his fourth win from four starts.
“We are pleased to have made no mistake and to have won this rally that was a great unknown for us at the beginning,” said Finn Hänninen, IRC champion in 2010. “We decided to be on guard all the time which proved to be the right tactic.”
Kopecký, runner-up in the IRC for the last three seasons, said: “We have been doing fantastically well in the Czech Republic this year, so we are absolutely satisfied. Like last time in Šumava, we scored our first victory here in Český Krumlov. The drivers in the Czech top league are pretty fast and I therefore find this victory very valuable.”
ŠKODA Motorsport head Michal Hrabánek added: “Appearing in two different rallies at a time is a challenge for the whole team, and we therefore really appreciate the great results our crews have achieved.”