Jan Kopecky completed a consummate performance in the WRC 2 category at Rallye Monte-Carlo on Sunday, finishing almost 15 minutes clear of the field and saving his best until last on the event’s final stage.
The Skoda Motorsport driver might have appeared to have a relatively easy task ahead of him heading into the day – with an advantage of 12min 12.0sec over his nearest rival – but he still needed to cope with the challenging conditions posed by the remaining four speed tests.
Kopecky let Teemu Suninen take the glory on the day’s first three stages, before proving his class on SS17 (La Cabanette - Col de Braus) with a final flourish to cement a resounding victory in dominant fashion, as he outpaced all of his pursuers in the support class over the demanding 13.58km test.
“We have tried many times, and now finally we have won here!” the Czech driver reflected. “At the beginning, the conditions were really tricky so we started out a bit slower while trying to put pressure on the others.
“After Friday, we were left with quite a big lead, but we still needed to stay 100 per cent focussed. We had nothing to gain and everything to lose, so we had to be careful. We simply tried to enjoy it while sticking firmly to the middle of the road. Looking at everything that happened this weekend, you can definitely say this is the most difficult rally in the world.”
Driving with the sole focus of reaching the finish, Guillaume de Mevius took the runner-up spoils in his Peugeot 208 – albeit 14min 46.1sec adrift of the winner – with Eddie Sciessere (Citroën DS3) a distant third, losing time to a puncture on SS14 (La Bollene Vesubie - Peira Cava) and coming home 22min 47.7sec behind Kopecky.
Suninen – whose podium hopes were extinguished by an accident on the opening day – ultimately wound up fourth, 33min 31.1sec off the outright pace.