50th Barum Czech Rally Zlín - 27-29/08/2021
Starts: 17h00 CET, Friday August 27, Main Square, Zlín
Finishes: 17h12 CET, Sunday August 28, Main Square, Zlín
Headquarters: Regional Authority– Building 21, třída T. Bati 21, 761 90 Zlín
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 16 (2004-2019)
Stage distance: 210.92 kilometres
Liaison distance: 574.76 kilometres
Total distance: 785.68 kilometres
Free Practice (for priority drivers): 07h30-09h20, Friday August 27 (4.07 kilometres, Malenovice)
Qualifying Stage (for priority drivers): 09h30-10h20, Friday August 27 (4.07 kilometres, Malenovice)
Shakedown (for all drivers): 10h25-13h00, Friday August 27 (4.07 kilometres, Malenovice)
The rally in 100 words: Part of the ERC schedule since the championship’s streamlining in 2004, Barum Czech Rally Zlín is based in the South Moravian university city, 300 kilometres south of the Czech capital Prague. It is a Tarmac test like no other due to the bumpy and sometimes broken nature of the road surface. To add to the challenge, several stages feature high-speed blasts through forests and intermittent showers are always possible. While the weather might be hard to predict, huge numbers of fans follow the action, especially on the opening night-time Zlín superspecial stage. The long-term ERC rally turns 50 in 2021.
Event eligibility: ERC1, ERC2, ERC3, ERC Junior, ERC3 Junior, European Rally Championship for Teams, Abarth Rally Cup, Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT. ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives available
What’s new for 2021? Sweeping route changes have been made since the last pre-pandemic Barum Czech Rally Zlín as organisers continue in their constant quest to deliver an itinerary that’s packed full of challenge and unknowns. Even the event-opening SSS Zlín has been tweaked to accommodate construction work taking place in the host city, while the Qualifying Stage, based on the old SS Majak, is a new addition for 2021. In fact, no stage has escaped a degree of tinkering with sections of some stages never previously trialled – such as a small section on the legendary Pindula stage. Including Hošťálková on the route is a significant achievement for the organisers. To mark the event’s big 50, special permission was granted to link the famous Semetín and Troják stages, previously impossible due to access issues. The return of the Komárov stage is notable. Using a route last adopted in 2009, the 8.46-kilometre run is where Clerk of the Course Miloslav Regner began his association with Barum Czech Rally Zlin in his role as stage chief back in 1974.
The route in short:
Friday August 27: Using sections of SS Majak, the Malenovic Qualifying Stage from 09h30 local time will signal Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s long-awaited return to the international arena following its enforced absence in 2020 due to COVID-19. However, the real action begins at 21h15 when the opening stage, SSS Zlín, gets underway with crews running in reverse-seeded order.
Saturday August 28: Two loops of four stages over a competitive distance of 127.18 kilometres provide the challenge on leg one. Kicking off with the semi-circuit Březová stage, crews then venture further east of Zlín for the Hošťálková test, which formed part of SS Semetín in 2019 and Rajnochovice in 2018. However, the link road between the two is unchartered territory. Parts of Komárov last enjoyed service as the Qualifying Stage in 2018 but it’s not since 2009 that the stage was run in its 2021 configuration. While the first pass of the classic 18.95-kilometre Pindula is run in early afternoon, the repeat is after dark and will represent a huge test – even for the 14 drivers and co-drivers who live in the village of Zelechovice, which features on the route. Meanwhile, the opening forest section is being revived for this year. There a no fewer than four service halts at the Continental Barum factory in Otrkovice, while a regroup in Zlín is set to provide welcome respite.
Sunday August 29: The deciding leg covers a slightly more sedate 83.74 kilometres divided between three double-use stages run either side of service in Otrokovice. Halenkovice starts near a river, runs next to a motocross track and passes a sand quarry. Biskupice is close to the base of top team Kresta Racing, while Májová incorporates sections of several famous stages and is the rally’s longest at 25.43 kilometres.
2019: Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5 Evo)
2018: Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5)
2017: Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5)
2016: Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5)
2015: Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5)
1: Zlín’s rise from small town to big city is credited to Tomáš Bat’a, who founded a shoe factory there in 1894. His old office – located in a moving elevator – is preserved in the Regional Authority Building 21, which is home to the Barum Czech Rally Zlín’s headquarters.
2: Now established as a bustling university city, Zlín’s south-eastern Moravia setting is 300 kilometres from the Czech capital Prague and 220 kilometres from the Austrian capital Vienna.
3: Zlín became Gottwaldov from 1949-1990 after the first Czech communist president, Klement Gottwald.
4: Barum Czech Rally Zlín ran for the first time in 1971 and turns 50 in 2021. Jan Halmažna took the inaugural honours in a ŠKODA 1100 MB.
5: Event sponsor Continental Barum’s giant tyre factory and distribution centre in nearby Otrokovice hosts the rally’s permanent service park.