Kopecky a solid 4th after leg one

Kopecky a solid 4th after leg oneFrom General Article [ 09/05/2008 ].
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Friday's program of Rally de Portugal, the second race of this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge circuit, included six special stages. Following the Thursday's super special spectator stage the Jan Kopecký-Petr Starý crew with the Peugeot 207 S2000 bearing the colors of Motorsport Kopecký Team held eighth place.


 Throughout Friday's stage Jan Kopecký with his concentrated and flawless performance kept moving upward through the standings. Jan was in fifth place following the initial section of Friday's leg, which was comprised of three stages. Second runs on these three special stages in the afternoon hours were rain stricken and Jan Kopecký took advantage of the difficult conditions to move one more position upward. Following Friday's leg the Czech crew is sitting in fourth place.

Due to a defect of a sensor, Jan Kopecký had to struggle with a nonfunctional cut off for shifting of gears throughout the second half of today's leg. The times achieved by Jan did not indicate any problems with the race car and luckily the mechanics' fear of possible retirement as a consequence of the technical difficulties were not fulfilled.

The evenness of the starting field in Rally Portugal is best demonstrated by the gap that Jan has from the leader of the race, which is less than forty seconds! Saturday's leg has final six special stages in store for the crews, where you can expect battles for seconds all the way to the finish line of the final special stage.

"I have entered Friday's stage in a more careful pace, because I was afraid to get a tire puncture. During the introductory rides large stones were appearing on the track, which are very treacherous. Luckily these fears of mine did not come true and I just started to gradually pick up the pace and the achieved times were among the absolute top. Along with the other drivers at the absolute top of the starting field we were partially disadvantaged since we had to remove dust from the track for other cars.

Halfway through today's leg a rain shower has passed over the region and although the track kept drying relatively fast we chose softer tire compound. This selection was motivated by an effort to lower a possible risk of wrong decision by selecting a harder compound.

In this section I had to also struggle with a dysfunctional cut off for shifting of gears. In spite of this we have moved to a fourth position following Friday's leg. This is a good starting position before the leg on Saturday," said the driver Jan Kopecký.

"We can be satisfied with today's times as well as the fourth position. The race car only with the exception of the cut off for shifting of gears ran flawlessly and even our crew has avoided mistakes," added the team manager Josef Kopecký