*Czech federation-backed promise in category for young stars in R5 cars
*Barum Czech Rally Zlín part of ERC Junior U27 graduate’s experience-building mission
*Further outings in Poland and Latvia planned for Kresta Racing driver
Filip Mareš will step up to R5 power in the FIA European Rally Championship when he makes his debut in the ERC Junior Under 28 category on his home event, Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
Mareš, who turned 27 on 22 August, challenged for last year’s Pirelli-supported ERC Junior Under 27 title with the backing of his country’s national federation, the Autoklub of the Czech Republic, eventually finishing third in the standings.
As his reward and to further his experience, the ACCR has supported his hugely promising campaign in the Czech Republic this season in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 run by Kresta Racing, which includes the combined ERC and Czech championship-counting Barum Czech Rally Zlín from 24-26 August.
“I am very pleased we are back in the ERC after several months, moreover in the highly competitive championship that ERC Junior U28 undoubtedly is,” said Mareš, who is also planning to contest Rally Poland (21-23 September) and Rally Liepāja (12-14 October). “Last year in ERC Junior U27 we fought for a podium in every race in which we competed and it would be great to repeat it also in ERC Junior U28. But I stay with my feet firmly on the ground. As it is still my first season with an R5, I'm going to take it step by step and try to get as much points for our ACCR Czech Team as possible. Anyway I really appreciate the opportunity to represent the national team and thank everyone who made it possible.”
Mareš, who continues to be co-driven by compatriot Jan Hloušek, has claimed two podiums in this season’s Czech championship and is second in the standings. He joins Jan Černý – who has emerged as his main adversary in 2018 – in the ACCR Czech Rally Team on this week’s sealed-surface event.
“Of course it is something very special for me to get a chance to compete at the Barum with a Fabia R5, covered by the national ACCR Czech Team,” said Mareš, who comes from the Czech city of Mladá Boleslav, which is also the home of ŠKODA. “It's obviously one of the greatest news of the summer for us.
“For sure, it means the best opportunity to show what we have learned with our Fabia R5 so far and the ideal way to compare our level with other European drivers. Some guys, who also competed in ERC Junior U27 last year are now on the starting line with an R5, which could be good for comparison. However, I do not dare to predict our competitiveness in ERC Junior U28. We are determined to put in our best but the main objective remains the same: to complete the rally and learn as much as possible.”
Mareš is one of several ERC Junior graduates with R5 experience. Others include Fabio Andolfi, Jan Černý, Marijan Griebel, Nikolay Gryazin, Jari Huttunen, Chris Ingram, Stéphane Lefebvre, Tamara Molinaro, Łukasz Pieniazek and Aleks Zawada.
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