Barum Czech Rally Zlin preview
August 19, 2011
Next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlin will kick-start one of the busiest periods in PROTON Motorsport’s history – as the Malaysian firm tackles five events on two continents in just seven weeks.
Two-time FIA Junior World Rally Champion P-G Andersson (Sweden) and double FIA European Rally Champion Giandomenico Basso (Italy) will return to the Satria Neo S2000s, having demonstrated the pace and potential of the car in the highly competitive Intercontinental Rally Challenge earlier this year.
PROTON Motorsport’s hectic schedule means the team goes from the Czech Republic next week to Hungary for the Mecsek Rallye (IRC); Italy for Rallye Sanremo (IRC); Japan for Rally Hokkaido (FIA APRC) and Great Britain for Rally of Scotland (IRC) between now and the first weekend in October.
PROTON’s preparations for this intensive second half of the season have included further development work on the suspension and engine for the Satria – the car which has dominated this year’s FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, winning three from four rounds in the hands of Chris Atkinson.
The rally is based in the south-east of the Czech Republic and is always one of the most popular events of the season with drivers and spectators; thousands of fans from across Europe are expected to line the tricky asphalt stages running through the forests close to the city of Zlin. A treat for those fans will be the town centre superspecial stage on Friday evening. Run in the darkness, the 9.36-kilometre test is the rally’s atmospheric highlight.
Another fascinating element of this rally is the unpredictable weather conditions, with warm sunshine regularly giving way to heavy rain showers in a matter of minutes. The changeable weather makes grip levels notoriously tough to call – especially as the roads dive in and out of the tree cover.
The PROTON Motorsports team enjoyed a strong performance on this rally last year, with the Satria Neo posting times at the sharp end of the competition. The team will test for a day in the Czech Republic on Monday (August 22).
P-G Andersson said:
“The roads on this rally can be quite bumpy with some broken Tarmac, which is good for me – this kind of condition suits me quite well. I haven’t competed in Zlin before, but I have heard a lot about the rally. I’m looking forward to getting out there and driving again to chase a good result. It’s also nice to drive on a rally with a really good atmosphere. I think it’s going to be a great event. We have a test with the Satria on Monday, which will give us a good chance to see how the car is running after the team have been working on it some more.”
Giandomenico Basso said:
“The most important thing is to find a good confidence in the car on the bumpy surface. Barum is not like a normal Tarmac rally, it is very specific. The bumps make finding the right set-up complicated so there is a lot of work to do with the dampers. But we have made a lot of progress in this area since switching to Reiger, and the test will help us find the right solution on Monday. The roads in Zlin can be quite difficult when there is rain – under the trees it can be quite slippery. It’s important to make good pacenotes. I’ve done the rally three or four times and I like it. I remember some good times there.”
Chris Mellors (team principal) said:
“There’s no doubt that we are coming into a busy time for the team. We’ve used the last couple of weeks to really push forward the work on the car, focusing again on the engine and suspension, but now we’re fixed on the rallies ahead; five events in seven weeks is a full-on schedule. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate what the car can do – and continue the winning performances we’ve been putting in on the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. The car showed some real pace on this rally 12 months ago and we’re looking forward to picking up where we left off in the Czech Republic.”
Round: 7/11, Intercontinental Rally Challenge
Based: Zlin, Czech Republic
Liaison distance: 371.25km
Competitive distance: 248.48km
Total distance: 619.73km
Pre-event press conference: 16th Floor, Building 21 (Friday August 26, 1500)
Post-event press conference: 16th Floor, Building 21 (Saturday August 28, 1700)
Time difference: Czech Republic is GMT+2hrs
Friday August 26
SS1 SSS Zlin (9.36km) 2115
Saturday August 27
SS2 Biskupice 1 (8.89km) 0938
SS3 Pindula 1 (12.95km) 1011
SS4 Trojak 1 (28.69km) 1054
SS5 Semetin 1 (11.49km) 1137
Service Otrokovice 1337
SS6 Biskupice 2 (8.89km) 1500
SS7 Pindula 2(12.95km) 1533
SS8 Trojak 2 (28.69km) 1616
SS9 Semetin 2 (11.49km) 1659
Sunday August 28
SS10 Majak 1 (22.69km) 0833
SS11 Kudlovice 1 (10.48km) 0921
SS12 Halenkovice 1 (24.37km) 0954
Service Otrokovice 1104
SS13 Majak 2 (22.69km) 1212
SS14 Kudlovice 2 (10.48km) 1300
SS15 Halenkovice 2 (24.37km) 1333
Finish Zlin 150