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25 AUGUST 2017

ERC BARUM CZECH RALLY ZLÍN PRE-EVENT PRESS CONFERENCE

FIA European Rally Championship 2017: Round 6 of 8
Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 25-27 August

Present:
Miroslav Regner, Clerk of the Course, Barum Czech Rally Zlín
Libor Láznička, Managing Director, Continental Barum
Bryan Bouffier, Gemini Clinic Rally Team
Jan Kopecký, ŠKODA Motorsport
Alexey Lukyanuk, Russian Performance Motorsport
Filip Mareš, ACCR Czech Team

Q:
Barum Czech Rally Zlín is about to get underway, how have the preparations gone?

MR:
We are just adding some finishing touches in our preparations. Right now in the city square we have the start of the historic rally and there is also weddings for three drivers from the historic rally so we hope everything will be fine. Regarding the programme for this evening everything is clear. It will all be in the city and after that we are happy to continue.

Q:
And what about the first day tomorrow, what can we expect?

MR:
Tomorrow we have a very packed order and have very quality drivers attending the rally so I think it’s going to be a nice opportunity for you to enjoy the rally but also have the best interviews and best pictures you can manage to take.

Q:
The event is famous for its great atmosphere. Will that be the same this year?

MR:
We are awaiting a big and great atmosphere here in Zlín. We have done our preparations to enjoy the best rally and the rest is down to you to conclude how god it’s going to be.

Q:
How satisfied is Continental Barum with its involvement in the rally?

LL:
Continental Barum is the general partner of this rally and Barum has been the general partner since the start of the rally itself 47 years in a row. From his position I can say the entry is really packed because the service park is located in the Continental Barum factory so it’s really packed up heavily and fully. From my point of view it’s all prepared very well and I wish the best of luck to all the drivers and to all the fans and spectators.

Q:
You’ve won 16 rallies in a row in the Czech championship. Can you continue that record here?

JK:
This year the competition is really tough but I am happy I have managed to score very good results on this rally in the past and the Barum Rally is really the top moment of the season every time. I am happy that thanks to the Clerk of the Course Mr Regner there are some new sections in the stages so it’s going to be a really interesting rally, I am happy to continue and I’m wishing you all the best experiences.

Q:
It’s five times you’ve won this rally but there was also the victory in 2004 that was not included in the overall classification because you were driving a World Rally Car. But what is your best win?

JK:
I remember most the first victory because it’s always something special as it’s the greatest experience you can have. I was happy to drive here in a World Rally Car competing against Roman Kresta, my idol, and I was happy to beat him on the stages.

Q:
Tens of thousands of fans come to spectate on this event. What do you think of the great atmosphere?

JK:
The atmosphere here is always great and I’m happy to have such great support here with so many spectators, it’s great for the sport. I wish all the spectators a great time.

Q:
After coming so close to winning last year is it a case of trying to get revenge this year?

AL:
The only revenge I can make is to this body because it was myself who made the mistake. Of course I would like to have something like last year but the opposite position before the last stage! I am really excited to be here. The first time I came here was two years ago and everyone in Russia was saying ‘where are you going’. But straight away I was really fast. It is one of my favourite rallies and I am really confident. I enjoy very much the stages. They are so beautiful and I am really happy to be here again. Some of my favourite stages are on this rally.

Q:
You had a very big accident three months ago and another crash on Rally Rzeszow earlier this month. How fit are you feeling?

AL:
I think the results can tell you more than my words but for the driving I am completely fit. To run an Olympic distance or do a jump maybe not. But otherwise I am feeling quite good.

Q:
Are you ready for this rally?

BB:
Yes, we are ready but we did not do a good time in shakedown so we have to be better by starting this evening with a good stage. It’s always good to be back here and I really appreciate being here. I would like to thank the organisation because I imagine how difficult it must be to organise an event like this. When you see all the spectators on the stages it’s a really unique atmosphere. It’s great to be back here and we have a good motivation.

Q:
You mentioned your performance on the Qualifying Stage but on Rally Rzeszow you were outside the top 15 and won the rally so is this a tactic from you?

BB:
I have to admit that on Rally Rzeszow I had a problem with the pop-off in qualifying but it was not the case today.

Q:
You are representing the ACCR in the ERC Junior Under 27 Championship this season. How has it gone for you so far?

FM:
In the Azores it was my first opportunity to race on gravel and it was not really easy but in difficult conditions I managed to finish in third position. In the Canary Islands unfortunately we were dealing with technical difficulties, which was not ideal. On Rally Rzeszow I was really happy to score second place. I really want to thank the Autoklub and the other partners around team.

Q:
What is your goal for this rally?

FM:
I want to compete with the best drivers. It’s my home rally and it’s always tough and there is a bit of pressure on him. I want to enjoy the rally and by feeling confident I hope I can win some stage, that’s all.

ENDS

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