Kopecky retires as steering goes awry

Kopecky retires as steering goes awryFrom Skoda Press [ 20/05/2007 ].
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Luck has turned its back on Czech Rally Team Kopecký also in the second leg of Rally d'Italia Sardegna. Transmission problems stopped the Škoda Fabia WRC car driven by Jan Kopecký in the initial leg; the team however, took advantage of the Superally rule and entered into the second stage.

The first half of the Saturday's leg allowed the Jan Kopecký-Filip Schovánek crew to somewhat forget yesterday's unlucky leg, because it achieved twelfth, tenth and eighth time in today's first the three super stages. Jan Kopecký gradually gained self-confidence on the Italian gravel and especially in today's second runs through the special stages he wanted to achieve partial successes In Rally d'Italia Sardegna. Before the start of the tenth special stage after a telephone conference with the team Jan Kopecký retired, because the new steering model was not one hundred percent functional.

Czech Rally Team Kopecký after some healthy consideration decided to concentrate on the upcoming BP Ultimate Acropolis Rally in Greece and the Škoda Fabia WRC car of Jan Kopecký-Filip Schovánek crew will not enter the Sunday's leg.

"Jan entered today's leg with quality times. Although the Rally d'Italia Sardegna is very inconsiderate to technology, we had no indication that there is something wrong with the car from the technical point of view.

Unfortunately the start of the tenth special stage Jan contacted us by phone to inform us that the steering does not react to the turning of the steering wheel to the left or the right side. On the contrary at times the steering reacted immediately. After a short conference we decided not to take the risk and we've retired from the race. We will bring you the specific details about the causes of the non-functioning steering later on, but we suspect a mechanical defect.

This type of steering is a brand new model and Škoda Motorsport received it from the steering manufacturer. The fundamental innovation is more aggressive reaction, where for the same angle of wheel turns, there is a smaller turn angle of the steering wheel required. We've tested the new model in Vysoké Mýto and also during the two days of testing in Sardinia and noticed no technical problem. Understandably it would be insensible to allow a race car to go on the track of a special stage when the steering does not react to the turning of the steering wheel.

We will not enter the final leg and focus the car's preparation on the Acropolis rally," said the team manager Josef Kopecký.

"In the initial three special stages of today's leg the Škoda Fabia WRC car performed very well and although we were happy with the achieved times, we wanted to speed up even more in the second runs. Unfortunately on the transit to the tenth special stage the steering stopped reacting to the turning of the steering wheel and after a phone conference with the team we've decided to retire from the race," added the pilot Jan Kopecký.