The renewed European Championship has had a nice start. Jan Kopecky (Skoda) has opened a new era of continental tournament with a win epic. He won by just half a second to Bryan Bouffier (Peugeot) in Jannerrallye, the quote that opened the season this weekend in Austria.
Kopecky has left in his head most of the rally. But, with changing conditions, with snow, ice, mud, rain and fog have been several rivals who have played the lead. Raimund Baumschlager (Skoda), Vaclav Pech (Mini) and veteran Francois Delecour (Peugeot) were fighting for the win at some point.
When the final stage was separated and almost half a minute of his nearest rival, Bouffier, suffered a puncture on the penultimate stage. But the Czech driver did not give up and fought back. He reached the final stretch of 25 kilometers, ten seconds behind the Frenchman. It seemed hard to counteract that difference, and almost does not get it.
In the end only half a second separated them at the finish, in one of the most epic final in living memory in the specialty. “It was an incredible fight, and I want to thank Bouffier that made me enjoy both,” said the excited end.
Delecour finished seventh after breaking his shifter and penalized in the first stage. Another veteran, Stig Blomqvist, finished twelfth in his Mitsubishi. Clearly in the rallies, the “old rockers” never die.