Good start for Jan Kopecky

Good start for Jan KopeckyFrom Skoda Press [ 02/06/2006 ].
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The World Rally Championship continues in the first weekend of June with the demanding Acropolis Rally, which has a reputation as an event where only the very best and hardiest make their way to the finish line. The stages take place on hot gravel sections which are littered with large stones. This challenge is compounded by the immense temperatures, often above 30 degrees in the shade and climbing to around 60 degrees in the cockpit of the rally cars. The rocky terrain is so notorious that the Acropolis Rally is the only event in the WRC series where crews can take two spare tyres with them.

 

 

The programme began with the traditional official shakedown on Thursday. The Czech Rally Team Škoda-Kopecký crew of Jan Kopecký and Filip Schovánek drove round the shakedown course in their Škoda Fabia WRC four times. The aim was to check the settings they had selected for the car and to try out the new gravel tyres specially designed for the Acropolis Rally.

 

The very popular stage at the Olympic Stadium in Athens was launched on Thursday evening with a dramatic battle for the laurels. In the super-special stage, Jan Kopecký did extremely well, guiding the Škoda Fabia WRC to the finish in the seventh fastest time.

 

'We went out on the shakedown course four times and focused primarily on how the Škoda Fabia WRC was functioning as a whole and whether the initial settings we had chosen for this event were correct. The team decided to try out a new tyre model specially designed for the Acropolis Rally. The tyre manufacturers take account of the difficult terrain around Athens and have prepared a new, broader tyre. It is made from a harder mixture and a thick layer covers the casing.

Jan entered the event in seventh place, which we are naturally pleased with. We are also very happy with the Škoda Fabia WRC, which was driving perfectly not only in the shakedown and initial stage of the Acropolis Rally, but also during Monday's demanding tests that we carried out in Greece together with Francois Duval's team.

Jan is pondering whether to take up the option of two spare tyres in the car for the initial stage, because in the initial stage the crews are in for a challenging time for their cars and tyres,' said the team manager Josef Kopecký.

Overall standings after the first stage:

1. LOEB S. / ELENA D. CITROËN Xsara WRC 02:21.4

2. GRÖNHOLM M. / RAUTIAINEN T. FORD Focus RS WRC 06 00:02.0

3. HIRVONEN M. / LEHTINEN J. FORD Focus RS WRC 06 00:02.8

4. DUVAL F. / PIVATO P. ŠKODA Fabia WRC 00:03.4

5. SORDO D. / MARTI M. CITROEN Xsara WRC 00:04.0

6. ATKINSON C. / MAcNEALL G. SUBARU Impreza WRC 2006 00:04.8

7. SOLBERG H. / MENKERUD C. PEUGEOT 307 WRC 00:05.0

7. KOPECKÝ Jan / SCHOVÁNEK Filip ŠKODA Fabia WRC 00:05.0

9. GARDEMEISTER T. / HONKANEN J. CITROËN Xsara WRC 00:06.1

10.PONS X. / DEL BARRIO C. CITROËN Xsara WRC 00:06.6