Local driver Jan Kopecky leads his home round of the 2016 FIA European Rally Championship after winning the opening stage of the Barum Czech Rally Zlín. The Czech driver was 0.8 seconds ahead of the Qualifying stage winner and championship contender Alexey Lukyanuk.
Kopecký completed the three-lap course in a time of 6m31.6s, but he did do some minor damage to the rear of his factory Skoda Fabia R5 however, clipping a barrel of water when he ran wide.
Championship leader Kajetan Kajetanowicz was third fastest just 1.3 seconds down on his Czech rival. The reigning champion set exactly the same time as local ace Pavel Valoušek. setting up a great battle for tomorrow.
Tarmac veteran Bryan Bouffier struggled with an exhaust manifold issue and had to settle for ninth fastest 0.2 of a second behind ERC regular Jaromir Tarabus. Jan Cerný took 10th while Ralfs Sirmacis was tied for 12th, 8.5s off the pace, after spinning in the stage.
In ERC2 it is Italian driver Giacomo Scattolon who is 5.6 seconds ahead of Tibor Erdi Jr. In the ERC Junior class it is Briton Chris Ingram who leads the way, winning the first stage by 5.4 seconds over Marijan Griebel while Julius Tannert set exactly the same time as Griebel and is tied for second going into Saturday’s stages.