One of Europe’s most difficult events due to the proliferation of high-speed blasts through forests and woodland, sections of broken Tarmac, a high likelihood of intermittent showers and the bumpy nature of some of the roads, the rally attracts huge numbers of fans each year.
Sepp Wiegand has upset the formbook by outpacing pre-event favourite and double event winner Jan Kopecký in shakedown for round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship, Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
Driving a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, Wiegand set a fastest time of 1m51.6s through the 3.37-kilometre practice stage near the village of Hvozdná.
To underline the serious competition ahead in the ERC, his factory team-mate Kopecký, the current European championship leader, was a mere 0.2s slower in second with Esapekka Lappi, who completes the ŠKODA attack on its home event, third quickest, 0.6s down on Wiegand.
“This rally is really difficult but for me it’s a big chance and a big pleasure to drive for the factory ŠKODA team for the first time in my life,” said the 22-year-old Wiegand. “I have two really good team-mates, I drive my best and I am looking forward to this experience and this chance.”
Tomáš Kostka, one of two drivers giving M-Sport’s Ford Fista R5 its competition debut in the ERC this week, was next up with Roman Kresta fifth and Pavel Valoušek, in the second Fiesta R5, completing the top six.
Miroslav Jakeš was the fastest of the ERC Production Car Cup drivers in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, 0.1s up on Subaru Impreza pilot Andás Hadik. Renault Clio driver Hannes Danzinger set the pace among the ERC 2WD Championship contenders from Kornél Lukács in a similar Clio R3. Title pacesetter Zoltán Bessenyey was third fastest in his Honda Civic Type R.
1 Sepp Wiegand (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) 1m51.6s
2 Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) +0.2s
3 Esapekka Lappi (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) +0.6s
4 Tomáš Kostka (Ford Fiesta R5) +1.5s
5 Roman Kresta (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) +2.5s
6 Pavel Valoušek (Ford Fiesta R5) +3.0s
7 Jaromír Tarabus (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) +3.4s
8 Jan Jelínek (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) +3.5s
9 Václav Pech (MINI John Cooper Works S2000) +3.9s
10 Miroslav Jakeš (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) +4.5s
ERC Production Car Cup
1 Miroslav Jakeš (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) 1m56.1s
2 András Hadik (Subaru Impreza R4 STI) +0.1s
3 Jaroslav Orsák (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4) +1.2s
4 Toshi Arai (Subaru Impreza R4 STI) +1.3s
5 Robert Consani (Renault Mégane RS) +1.8s
ERC 2WD Championship
1 Hannes Danzinger (Renault Clio R3) 1m59.5s
2 Kornél Lukács (Renault Clio R3) +0.4s
3 Zoltán Bessenyey (Honda Civic Type R) +2.3s
4 Jan Černý (Peugeot 208 R2) +2.3s
5 Jiří Vrkoslav (Citroën C2 S1600) +2.6s
After SS1: Kopecký takes street stage to lead overnight
Jan Kopecký leads round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship following the opening charge through the streets of host city Zlín tonight.
Cheered on by thousands of enthusiastic fans in dry but increasingly cool conditions, Kopecký took 7m06.7s to complete the 9.36-kilometre course in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.
“This is nothing, tomorrow it’s a different story,” said the European championship leader. “Today in the city was full of spectators and thanks a lot to everyone who came but tomorrow the rally starts again.”
Vacláv Pech was second fastest in his MINI John Cooper Works S2000, 3.2s down on Kopecký with Tomáš Kostka third in his Ford Fieta R5, despite reporting an issue with his in-car display. Pavel Valoušek was fourth quickest in another Fiesta R5 with Sepp Wiegand and Roman Kresta rounding out the top six respectively. Valoušek, meanwhile, made history by becoming the first driver to complete a stage of the ERC in competitive conditions in a Fiesta R5.
Jaroslav Orsák leads the ERC Production Car Cup for GPD Mit Metal Racing in 10th overall, 6.3s ahead of Team Renault Sport Technologies’ Robert Consani. Egon Smékal was the fastest of the ERC 2WD Championship contingent in a Citroën DS3 R3T.
ERC Production Car Cup contender Toshi Arai reported a suspected fuel starvation problem on his Subaru Impreza R4 STI, while ERC 2WD contender Molly Taylor said she made a few errors applying the handbrake at corners.
Following an overnight halt in Zlín, Barum Czech Rally Zlín gets serious at 09:23hrs when the 8.81-kilometre Biskupice stage goes live at 09:23hrs local time.
Jan Kopecký has made a storming start to Saturday’s action to extend his overnight lead of round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship to 9.1s.
In warm and dry conditions, local hero Kopecký took 12m01.2s to complete the 8.81 kilometres of Biskupice as he aims to win Barum Czech Rally Zlín for a third time.
“We can say this stage is like a warm-up because some difficult stages are coming up,” said ŠKODA Motorsport’s ERC title leader. “There were lots of spectators in this stage and that was really nice.”
Vacláv Pech, second overnight in his MINI John Cooper Works S2000, was 5.9s slower than Kopecký but remains in second place overall, one position ahead of Tomáš Kostka in a Ford Fiesta R5, who was second fastest through the stage, 3.6s down on Kopecký. “It was very slippery, not good driving at all,” said Pech, the current Czech championship leader.
Esapekka Lappi, who was 4.1s down on Kopecký in third, said he had been too careful in his factory Fabia S2000. The Finn also reported a bout of understeer.
Toshi Arai said he lost 20s in his misfiring Subaru Impreza R4 STI while there were also problems for Jaroslav Orsák, who led the ERC Production Car Cup overnight for GPD Mit Metal Racing Team. “There is something wrong with the transmission but I don’t know why because all parts are new,” said Orsák’s co-driver Lukáš Kostka. “We have big trouble with transmissions, maybe differentials.”
Team Renault Sport Technologies aces Robert Consani and Germain Bonnefis both impressed in the ERC Production Car Cup in their Mégane RSs but were no match to rising Czech star Miroslav Jakeš, who topped the class to move into the category lead, 4.5s ahead of Consani.
Roman Kresta has moved from fifth to third on Barum Czech Rally Zlín, round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship.
The three-time event winner and local hero was 2.4s down on stage winner Jan Kopecký but climbs ahead of Tomáš Kostka and Esapekka Lappi in the overall standings. With three stages run, Kresta is 3.7s down on Czech championship leader Václav Pech.
“I like this stage very much,” said the former factory Ford WRC driver, who took 12m15.1s to complete the 22.03-kilometre Troják stage. “There is a lot of bumpy and we gave it a push.”
Jaromír Tarabus was also a man on the move in his similar ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. He has shot up from seventh to fourth after going second fastest, 1.4s down on Kopecký, and outpacing his team boss Kresta in the process.
Meanwhile, ERC champion Kopecký reported dropping a handful of seconds braking for a chicane. “I missed one braking point in a chicane and lost maximum two or three seconds. But there’s a really beautiful feeling in the car. The notes are correct and the car is perfect I must say.”
Pech was fourth fastest in his MINI John Cooper Works S2000 and remains in second overall, 15.1s down on Kopecký. “This is my limit, I cannot go faster,” he said.
Esapekka Lappi, who is competing in Zlín for the first time and making only his fifth start on asphalt, drops from fourth to fifth. He said: “It’s quite crazy you know, it’s so fast, narrow and bumpy. We went wide at one junction where there was no grip.”
Tomáš Kostka was another driver to lose position, slipping from third to sixth in his Ford Fiesta R5. “It’s still a big learning for the whole team and we try to find a good set-up because it’s really bumpy.”
Next up is the 11.51 kilometres of Semetín at 10:59hrs local time prior to regroup and service in Otrokovice.
While Jan Kopecký has made it four stage wins out of four on round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship, Tomáš Kostka says there’s still some work to do in order to make his Ford Fiesta R5 fly on the bumpy roads.
Along with Pavel Valoušek, Kostka is giving the exciting new-generation machine its competition debut in the ERC. After four stages, the ex-circuit racer is sixth overall having reached Friday’s overnight halt in third place.
“We are losing a lot when the stages are really bumpy because we’ve still not got the set-up right,” said Kostka. “It’s not fun on the bumps but we are still learning the car because this is only our first time after a very short test.”
Valoušek, meanwhile, dropped time in his R5 on the 11.51-kilometre Semetín stage. “We went off into a ditch and had to reverse,” said the former Czech champion, who is currently eighth overall. “I hope there were no damages to the car.”
Out front, ŠKODA Motorsport’s European championship leader Jan Kopecký’s advantage over second-placed Václav Pech is now up to 18.8s following his latest stage triumph.
Roman Kresta continues to hold third place, despite tipping his Fabia on to two wheels when he cut a corner too tightly. His advantage over fourth-placed team-mate Jaromír Tarabus is now 1.5s. Rising Finnish star Esapekka Lappi, who was third fastest through the stage, is a further 3.3s behind Tarabus in his factory Fabia.
GPD Mit Metal Racing Team’s Jaroslav Orsák’s problem on stage two has been put down to a broken rear differential, while Toshi Arai’s Subaru Impreza continues to be hampered by a lack of power.
Meanwhile, Robert Consani crashed after five kilometres in his Renault Mégane RS. With the car blocking the road, the stage was temporarily halted but has since restarted. Consani and co-driver Nicolas Klinger were both unhurt.
Crews enter service in Otrokovice at 12:54hrs local time following the regroup.
Home hero Tomáš Kostka’s hopes of a repeat podium finish on Barum Czech Rally Zlín have suffered a setback after his Ford Fiesta R5 was hit by a broken front differential on the classic Pindula stage.
Kostka, one of two drivers giving the new-generation machine its competitive ERC debut, was sixth overall but has plunged down the leaderboard after dropping 2m45.7s to stage winner Jan Kopecký.
“We had some difficult moment and the front differential is broken,” said Kostka, who spent Saturday morning struggling with handling issues. “I had to stop to let Jaromír [Tarabus] pass and come to the finish.”
Kopecký, meanwhile, has made it five stage wins on round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. The ERC title leader was 2.6s faster than Václav Pech and now leads the all-asphalt event by 21.4s.
Elsewhere, Tarabus slips from fourth to seventh after being handed a one-minute time penalty. His demotion means Esapekka Lappi, Sepp Wiegand and Pavel Valoušek all move up the order.
Toshi Arai will go no further on leg one of Barum Czech Rally Zlín due to a suspected broken right steering arm on his Subaru Impreza R4 STI.
Although the Japanese driver’s Stohl Racing team had been able to rectify the misfire problem that had hampered Arai in the morning, he is now out for the day. A decision on whether he will restart on Sunday has yet to be taken.
After SS6: Kopecky is too fast for me, says Pech
Václav Pech says Jan Kopecký is proving too fast for him on round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Kopecký, in a factory ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, raced to his sixth consecutive stage win on the 22.03-kilometre Troják test, going 5.4s quicker than Pech in a MINI John Cooper Works S2000. “Jan is going too fast for me,” said the Czech championship leader, who is now 26.8s behind Kopecký, who tops the ERC title standings.
Kopecký said: “I saw the big cloud so I was trying to go a bit faster. This is an amazing stage, the last part in the bumps and jumps is fantastic.”
Meanwhile, Esapekka Lappi has lost nearly four minutes after going off the road on a right-hand corner in his works Fabia. “There was more gravel on the corner than what I expected, I went wide, hit a tree and lost lots of time stuck in the forest because there were not so much spectators at first,” the 22-year-old Finn explained.
There are reports that Tomáš Kostka failed to start the stage in his Ford Fiesta R5, while Pavel Valoušek, in the second Fiesta R5, is understood to have stopped in the run with a puncture.
Pavel Valoušek, competing in the FIA European Rally Championship for the first time since the International Jännerrallye at the start of the year, has suffered more misfortune on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
After losing more than five minutes when he stopped to change a punctured tyre on stage six, the former Czech champion reached the finish of the rerun of Semetín with no working powersteering on his Ford Fiesta R5.
“We lost powersteering and there is some problem with the engine but I don’t know what it is,” said Valoušek.
Meanwhile, stage winner Jan Kopecký reported light drizzle prior to starting the 11.51-kilometre test in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. “There was some drops on the screen but I hope it goes because it won’t be fair if I have dry conditions and the others damp,” said the ERC title leader, whose overall lead stands at 29.4s. We have a great team, great car, it’s really exciting and great fun.”
Roman Kresta, who went second fastest, said he enjoyed a dry stage in his self-run Fabia to cement third overall behind Václav Pech. Elsewhere, Antonín Tlusťák has reported a broken differential on his GPD Mit Metal Racing Team ŠKODA Fabia.
Sepp Wiegand has underlined his potential by going second fastest on the penultimate stage of leg one of Barum Czech Rally Zlín, round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship.
The 22-year-old from Germany, making a one-off appearance for the factory ŠKODA squad on the all-asphalt event, was 3.1s slower than team-mate and event leader Jan Kopecký, who has now won all eight stages held so far.
“I like this stage, I feel comfortable and when I feel confident I can push and go fast,” said Wiegand, who is fourth overall heading into the Pindula night stage. “I like all the stages, but the next stage it is easy to go off. We try to stay on the road and with the slippery conditions, it makes no sense to push.”
Roman Kresta, who lives five kilometres from the 8.81-kilometre Biskupice stage, was third quickest, 4.2s off the pace in his self-run Fabia S2000. He remains in third overall behind Kopecký and second-placed Václav Pech in a MINI John Cooper Works S2000.
The day-closing Pindula test gets underway at 19:44hrs. Running through a forest, the stage will take place under the cover of darkness and measures 18.43 kilometres in length.
After SS9: Tarabus snatches fourth as Kopecky makes it nine from nine
Jan Kopecký has claimed a lockout of stage wins to lead Barum Czech Rally Zlín by more than half a minute after leg one of the FIA European Rally Championship counter.
Kopecký made it nine stage wins in a row by topping the times through the 18.43-kilometre Pindula night stage in the ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000 he shares with co-driver Pavel Dresler.
“It’s been a really great day, no problems and the car is working very well so thanks a lot to the team and my engineer [Yannick Wilockx],” said Kopecký. “We did a great job in testing before the rally and some rain is maybe coming in the night so it can be a big challenge tomorrow.”
Václav Pech was second fastest through the stage in his MINI John Cooper Works S2000, 1.8s down on Kopecký with Jaromír Tarabus going third quickest to snatch fourth place from Sepp Wiegand in the overall classification. “It has been a good day and we pushed hard in that stage,” said Tarabus.
Tarabus (pictured) would have been in third overall at the completion of leg one but for a one-minute time penalty handed out for an early check-in. As a result he’s 46.2s behind team boss Roman Kresta, who occupies the final spot on the provisional all-Czech podium in his similar Fabia S2000.
Starting the Pindula stage, Mitsubishi Lancer driver Miroslav Jakeš led the ERC Production Car Cup category with Jan Černý on top in the ERC 2WD Championship section in a Peugeot 208 R2.
Following stage nine crews will head back to Otrokovice for end-of-day service prior to the overnight halt in Zlín. Leg two begins with the 23.66-kilometre Maják stage at 08:53hrs local time on Sunday.
Roman Kresta has broken Jan Kopecký’s sequence of stage wins on Barum Czech Rally Zlín by winning Sunday’s opening test, the 23.66 kilometres of Maják.
Following heavy overnight rain and persistent drizzle this morning, the stage was wet throughout with mud dragged onto several corners increasing the challenge for the crews on round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Despite going off the road on one right-hander, Kresta set the pace, edging his team-mate Jaromír Tarabus, in a similar ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, by 0.1s and closing to within 15.7s of second-placed Václav Pech. “In one corner I was too wide and we hit some mud on the grass, but no problem.”
Running 10th on the road after the leading positions were reversed at the end of leg one, Kopecký continues to lead the event in his Fabia S2000 with an advantage of 40.9s over MINI John Cooper Works S2000 driver Pech.
“I have to say on this stage I was only waiting and checking on what is going on the next corner,” said the ERC title leader, who was slightly more cautious through the stage than normal. “The mud is everywhere in every corner and I don’t want to risk everything. We lost some time to a few guys but we were still quicker than Mr Pech so it’s important.”
Pavel Valoušek, who is opening the road, admitted he found it tough going trying out MICHELIN’s new PILOT Sport R tyre in wet conditions for the first time at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta R5. Nevertheless, he was third fastest, just 1.2s behind Kresta.
One driver to particularly suffer in the wet conditions was French ace Germain Bonnefis, who bemoaned the lack of grip in his front-wheel-drive Renault Mégane RS compared to his four-wheel-drive rivals. “It’s very hard in the wet,” said Bonnefis, who slips from second to third in the ERC Production Car Cup and from seventh to ninth in the overall standings.
Class leader Miroslav Jakeš lost time with a mistake after 100 metres. However, he leads new second-placed driver Jaroslav Orsák by 1m18.1s. Jan Černý continues to top the ERC 2WD Championship classification with Hermann Neubauer still second in class despite a “big moment” in the first three kilometres in his Suzuki Swift S1600. Elwis Chentre has taken third in class after Jiří Vrkoslav lost time in his Citroën C2 S1600, which completed the stage with damaged suspension.
Pavel Valoušek has made history by becoming the first driver in a Ford Fiesta R5 to win a stage in the FIA European Rally Championship.
The former Czech champion was 1.6s faster than Václav Pech through the 19.42 kilometres of Jankovice. But while Valoušek celebrated his stage best in the exciting new-generation Fiesta, there was despair for Roman Kresta who drops from third to fifth after picking up a front-right puncture on his self-run ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.
“We hit something but I don’t know what, maybe some part on the gravel,” said Kresta, who lost almost three and a half minutes. “We continue then after we stop because there was no point driving on three wheels. I’m very disappointed but what can we do?”
Kresta’s team-mate Jaromír Tarabus was also in trouble when he picked up a front-right puncture of his own 12 kilometres from the stage finish. “I am lucky to be here,” said Tarabus, who holds a 4.8s advantage over Sepp Wiegand in what has become a battle for third place.
Although drivers reported some drier sections in the stage, conditions still remained difficult with Germain Bonnefis continuing to drop time in his front-wheel-drive Team Renault Sport Technologies Mégane RS. He is now fourth in the ERC Production Car Cup after slipping behind Czech driver Robert Kořístka. Mirsolav Jakeš continues to head the division by 1m22.3s over Jaroslav Orsák.
Orsák, meanwhile, has demoted GPD Mit Metal Racing team-mate Antonín Tlusťák for seventh place in the overall classification. Jan Černý remains in charge in the ERC 2WD Championship classification after Hermann Neubauer lost more than 90 seconds stuck off the road in his Suzuki Swift S1600 and slips behind Fabia R2 pilot Elwis Chentre in the class positions.
Jan Kopecký continues to lead round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship after completing Sunday’s opening loop of three stages with a lead of 40.7s for ŠKODA Motorsport.
After winning all nine stages that made up leg one of Barum Czech Rally Zlín, Kopecký has adopted a more cautious approach running 10th on the road in the wet conditions. He completed the Žlutava stage with the fourth fastest time, 5.8s down on stage winner Roman Kresta.
“It’s getting worse and worse with a lot of cars putting mud on the road and you don’t see it,” said Kopecký, the ERC title leader. “It’s better not to take any risk because our gap is quite big. We just try to survive.”
Václav Pech, who began leg two 37.5s behind Kopecký, has been unhappy with the handling of his MINI John Cooper Works S2000 this morning. The Czech champion elect also explained that the ‘cuts’ he inserted into his tyres – permitted following an agreement of the event stewards – for more grip had been done on the basis the rainfall would be more intense than it actually was.
Jaromír Tarabus reported losing a few seconds with a small mistake in his Kresta Racing Fabia. Despite his error, the Czech driver still heads Germany’s Sepp Wiegand in the battle for third overall. Wiegand is now 10.0s adrift of Tarabus but happy with his performance in his works Fabia.
Jan Černý still heads the ERC 2WD Championship standings despite overshooting a junction in his Peugeot 208 R2. Elsewhere, Germain Bonnefis’ hopes of a podium in the ERC Production Car Cup are hanging by the balance as he struggles against his four-wheel-drive rivals in his front-wheel-drive Renault Mégane RS. “It has been very difficult and dangerous for us this morning,” said Bonnefis. “It is crazy slippery a lot time. On this stage was not so bad because there was sun here but we will see for third place in ERC Production Car Cup.”
Miroslav Jakeš still leads the category, 1m23.9s ahead of Jaroslav Orsák. Crews are now in Otrokovice for a 30-minute service halt.
Roman Kresta continues to fight back from the puncture that dropped him out of a podium place on Barum Czech Rally Zlín by winning stage 13 of round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Kresta, in his self-run ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, took 13m42.5s to complete the 23.66 kilometres of Maják. And in a further boost to the Kresta Racing outfit, team number two Jaromír Tarabus was second fastest, 2.9s down on Kresta.
The stage began in wet conditions with rain falling for the first 10 kilometres. Although it began to dry out towards the end of the run the bulk of the crews opted to use soft-compound tyres, which are better suited for damp weather.
“After the start there was heavy rain and the first 10 kilometres are completely wet and you can find everything over here so we take this [tyre] decision for safety,” said Jan Kopecký, who was third fastest, 8.2s slower than Kresta. With two stages remaining, Kopecký’s overall lead ahead of MINI driver Václav Pech stands at 49.3s.
Toshi Arai suffered a spin while ERC Production Car Cup rival Jaroslav Orsák overshot a junction. However, there were no such problems for category leader Miroslav Jakeš, who tops the division by 1m28.5s.
Jan Černý holds a comfortable advantage in the ERC 2WD classification over Elwis Chentre but a suspected engine problem has hit Hermann Neubauer’s hopes of a podium place. Championship leader Zoltán Bessenyey climbs to third as a result of Neubauer’s woe, 22.1s ahead of Raffael Sulzinger, who completed the stage with a front-right puncture on his Renault Clio R3.
Jan Kopecký is one stage away from claiming his fifth win in this year’s FIA European Rally Championship.
The Czech champion completed the rerun of Jankovice, which took place in drying conditions, to extend his lead of Barum Czech Rally Zlín to almost one minute in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.
“It’s important to come to the finish by driving without risk because the conditions are very tricky,” said Kopecký. “Still we have one stage to go and service before we can think about being on the podium.”
Roman Kresta was fastest through the 19.42-kilometre test, 3.3s quicker than Kopecký for his fourth stage victory on leg two in his privately-entered Fabia. Pavel Valoušek was third fastest in his Ford Fiesta R5 with Jaromír Tarabus fourth, Sepp Wiegand fifth and Václav Pech sixth.
Pech is secure in second overall, 58.4s behind Kopecký and 1m35.2s up on Tarabus, whose advantage over fourth-placed Wiegand is now up to 33.0s.
Valoušek, meanwhile, said his Ford Fiesta R5’s engine dropped onto three cylinders for the first 400 metres before returning to full power for the remainder of the run. Nevertheless the former Czech champion has overtaken Antonín Tlusťák for eighth position.
The final stage, the repeat of the 8.85-kilometre Žlutava run goes live at 14:28hrs local time.
Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler have made it five wins from six starts in this year’s FIA European Rally Championship with victory on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
The Czech aces led from start to finish to claim the fifth triumph for ŠKODA’s Fabia Super 2000 on the asphalt event.
"We've had no problems but today was all about arriving because the gap was huge and it would have been stupid to make some mistake," said Kopecký.
Václav Pech finished second with Jaromír Tarabus beating Sepp Wiegand to the final step of the podium. Jan Černy topped the ERC 2WD Championship section in a Peugeot 208 R2 with Miroslav Jakeš taking ERC Production Car Cup spoils in a Mitsubishi Lancer.
Pavel Valoušek was fastest through the closing stage, the rerun of the 8.85-kilometre Žlutava test, in his Ford Fiesta R5, 0.4s quicker than Wiegand.
Meanwhile, Roman Kresta, announced his retirement from competition at the finish of the stage. The three-time Zlín winner had been third starting the final day but a puncture dropped him to fifth this morning.
Crews are now heading back to Otrokvice for the final service. The finishing ceremony gets underway in Zlín at 16:00hrs.
Celebrating 70 years in 2013, the spectacular gravel event is not only a familiar fixture on the ERC schedule it is also one of the oldest rallies in the world. This year’s anniversary edition, the final loose-surface round of the season, is set to be a big hit with fans with four stages shown live on Eurosport and national hero, the Formula One race winner Robert Kubica, among a host of star names set to take part. Running through Poland’s stunning Masurian lake district, the event headquarters, service park and superspecial are housed in one part of host town Mikołajki.