The list of registered crews at the 52nd Barum Czech Rally Zlin 2023 was declassified eleven days before the start of the competition. Competition crews await on deadline 18. – On August 20, the fight for important points in the Standings of the European Rally Championship (ERC) and PSG of the Czech Republic Rally Championship (MCR). A total of 114 crews from 22 nations have signed up for the Zlín organizers, with no one missing from the top of the well-staffed European Championships, with the exception of France’s Yoann Bonato. In recent years, the highest-quality starting line-up will appear in Zlín. Hayden Paddon, Mads Ostberg, but also the last European champions Efrén Llarena, Alexei Lukjaňuk or Chris Ingram will arrive. Rallysport fans can look forward to comparing the elite drivers from the European Championship with the Czech top.
The king of barumka Jan Kopecký (Skoda Fabia RS Rally2) has won the Zlin rally a total of 10 times, of which he has not found a slayer in the last seven years. This year, a good pack of predators in line are cutting their teeth on his scalp. The biggest spectator attractions include the launch of the two leading drivers who have won the World Championship competition in the past, Hayden Paddon of New Zealand (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) and Mads Ostberg of Norway (Citroën C3 Rally2). The 36-year-old from Far Oceania is almost certain to be a European champion and will appear in the Czech Republic for the first time ever. Also at the start will be the last three European champions Efrén Llarena from Spain, Alexei Lukjaňuk (both Skoda Fabia RS Rally2) in the colours of his new homeland of Cyprus and the returnee to the competitive track Chris Ingram from Great Britain (VW Polo GTi R5).
The winner of two shotoline rallies within me, Martinš Sesks from Latvia, mathieu Franceschi from France, Mikko Heikkilä from Finland, Simon Wagner from Austria (all Skoda Fabia RS Rally2) and Andrea Mabellini from Italy (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo), will also be at the start of the European top. The competition’s dark horse may be Joshua McErlean of Ireland (Hyundai i20 N Rally2), with Simone Tempestini of Romania or Miklós Csomós of Hungary also riding high. Filip Mareš (all Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo), who is ranked eighth on the all-time list, starts regularly from the Czech top. Three starts were made in Europe this year by Erik Cais (Skoda Fabia RS Rally2), who focuses his starts on the WRC2 World Championship competitions, where he drove excellent results in Monte Carlo and Sardinia. Alongside Kopecky, dominik Stříteský (Skoda Fabia R5), winner of the recent Bohemia rally and Adam Březík, won the premier ship with the Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo. Next with the ERC1 priority will be martin Vlček (Hyundai i20 R5).
The international field will feature Věroslav Cvrček jun., Aleš Jirásek, Jakub Jirovec, Petr Trnovec (all Skoda Fabia R5). In the ERC3 category, a recent European champion, Jon Armstrong of Great Britain (Ford Fiesta Rally3), will be shown to Czech spectators. Multiple Czech champion Vaclav Pech (Ford Focus WRC) or former F1 driver Tomáš Enge (Toyota Yaris GR) will appear in the national field. Petr Nešetřil (Porsche 997 GT3), Pavel Ševčík (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) and others.
The Junior Championship (JERC) offers an interesting spectacle and there is also a close race for seconds at the speed trials in Zlín. Among the front-runners entered are classification leader Ola Nore jnr of Norway (Renault Clio Rally4), Norbert Maior of Romania and Robert Dapra of Italy, who leads the ERC4 standings. Next, Victor Hansen of Sweden or Max McRae of Australia (all Peugeot 208 Rally4) driving with a British licence. Eleven drivers will compete for points in the junior championship, with 15 names in the ERC4 standings. Zlín pilot Jaromír Tarabus (Peugeot 208 Rally4) is also pictured here. It will be interesting to see how the ratings of single-axle cars are measured by Czech drivers with European competition. Alongside Tarabuse, he is thinking very high and the cards in the two-wheelers are sure to be shuffled by David Štefan (Peugeot 208 Rally4), Filip Ocelka (Renault Clio Rally4), Peter Surovič (Opel Corsa Rally4), Dominik Brož (Peugeot 208 R2) and others.
Of the total enrollment, 70 crews will travel in the international field, of which 41 are WITH ERC priority, with ERC1 priority 24 riders, ERC 3 two riders and ERC4 priority 15 riders (of which 11 are juniors). A total of 34 rally2/R5 cars can be found on the list of entries. Six women behind the wheel will also be a highlight of the starting line-up. The well-known Adrienn Vogel of Hungary (Peugeot 208 Rally4), Ekaterina Statieva of Bulgaria, Cristiana Oprea of Romania (both Opel Corsa Rally4), but also Rachele Somaschini of Italy (Citroen C3 Rally2), Aoife Raftery of Ireland (Peugeot 208 Rally4) and Czech racing driver Eliška Slavíková (Škoda Fabia) will perform the equestrian art on Czech tracks. The hockey world champion and former NHL successful defender Filip Kuba (Peugeot 208 Rally4) is also sure to attract the attention of the media and spectators.