Zlin, 20 August 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge - Barum Rally 09 Honda Customers Race Back into IRC This weekend's Barum Czech Rally Zlin, round 8 of 11 in this year's Intercontinetal Rally Challenge, sees Honda customers gunning...
Zlin, 20 August 2009
Intercontinental Rally Challenge - Barum Rally 09
Honda Customers Race Back into IRC
This weekend's Barum Czech Rally Zlin, round 8 of 11 in this year's Intercontinetal Rally Challenge, sees Honda customers gunning for 2WD honours with the Civic Type R R3 rally car, developed and built by JAS Motorsport.
After making a victorious return to the series in the Belgium Rally Ypres in June, Honda's finest result in the IRC so far came in Russia last month, when not only did Estonian Kaspar Koitla take a dominant class win but also scored Honda's first overall championship points.
The IRC returns to asphalt this weekend in the Czech Republic , where the Type R truly comes into its own.
Among the huge field of 2WD cars on the Barum Rally Zlin the Civics are among the clear favourites. None less than 14 Honda Civic's are taking the start of the Czech round of the IRC. The special stages, while all-asphalt, combine narrow, twisting and bumpy sections in the forests with fast, sweeping open road sections. A mixture of precision and pace are all-important and the hazards are many, but the Civic drivers approach the weekend with confidence.
Leading the way for Honda is Dutchman Marcel Piepers, the winner in Ypres, in his distinctive orange car, number 41. After a towering performance on one of the biggest road rallies in Europe he returns to action on the roads around Zlin and is committed to taking the fight to Honda's rivals.
"Ypres was a dream come true for us," Piepers confirmed. "The car was perfect and inspired complete confidence which allowed us to push and to take the win. In the Czech Republic things are a little different, in terms of the geography and the nature of the roads. Nevertheless we are strong in developing good pace notes to work from as a team and I'm positive about our chances."
Carrying the Honda banner alongside Piepers in Zlin will be car number 53 of Denmark's Martin Knudsen, plus two Hungarian entries, number 66 for Laslo Vizin and number 91 of Janos Puskadi. "The Barum Czech Rally Zlin is a major national event and one that every driver wants to do well in," said Vizin. "The Honda is strong and coming to the rally with the full back-up of the JAS team and staff is very important, although we are all customers we feel like a works team!"
All four drivers will be pushing to contribute to Honda's points position the manufacturers' class of the 2009 IRC 2WD Cup, as it closes fast on second-place Abarth. A strong performance from the quartet of cars entered in the Barum Czech Rally Zlin could completely change the picture for the remainder of the series.