- January 28, 1982
- Czech Republic
- Fia World Rally Championship
- Škoda Motorsport
Jan Kopecky is a Czech rally driver and currently the best rally driver from that European country. He competes as a factory driver of Škoda Motorsport in the WRC2 category of the World Rally Championship, winning the championship title in 2018.
Besides WRC2 title, Kopecky collected ten rally championship titles all over the world. He was Czech national champion six times (2004, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), Asia-Pacific champion and Pacific Cup winner in 2014, European Rally Cup champion in 2012 and European Rally Championship winner in 2013.
Starting a rally career in 2001 with Škoda Octavia
Born in January 1982 in Opočno, Czech Republic, Kopecky started his rally career in 2001. His first rally car was a Class A7-spec Škoda Octavia which he was using in the Czech Rally Championship, not scoring points in his rookie season. He also participated in the Sprintrally championship, becoming a champion in A7 class. His first navigator was Jan Vodehnal. At the end of the season, Filip Schovanek joined Kopecky as a navigator.
In 2002, driving a Toyota Corolla WRC, Kopecky scored a couple of podiums and gained a maiden victory in season's finale of the national championship, finishing fourth in the final standings.
WRC debut in a Toyota Corolla at 2002 Rallye Deutschland
In 2002, Kopecky also made a WRC debut with Matador Czech National Team, driving a Toyota Corolla at ADAC Rallye Deutschland. He retired after an accident.
He was also driving Corolla WRC in selected rounds of the European Rally Championship, finishing second in two Slovakian events (Rally Matador Tatry and Mikona Rally).
Three World Rally Championship starts in 2003
In 2003, Kopecky's main competition was the Czech Rally Championship with Matador Team's Škoda Octavia WRC. He scored two wins, finishing third in the final points.
In 2003, Kopecky expanded his WRC activities to three events. The first was ADAC Rally Deutschland in a Škoda Octavia WRC Evo3. He finished in the 20th place. In the next event, the Rally Finland, he was 8th in N4 class with Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII. At the end of the season, Kopecky participated at Wales Rally GB in a Škoda Octavia WRC, not finishing the event.
The first national rally title in 2004
In 2004, Kopecky captured his first national rally title, driving a Škoda Fabia WRC for Škoda Matador Team. He won four events and added three more podiums.
In October 2004, Kopecky joined Škoda Motorsport to drive Fabia WRC at Rally Catalunya Costa Brava. He retired during the first day due to an accident.
Maiden WRC point at 2005 Rally Catalunya
In 2005, Kopecky was combining Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII and Škoda Fabia WRC in the Czech Rally Championship, scoring just one victory to finish third in the points.
In the WRC, he participated in one event (Rally Sweden) with Mitsubishi and three events with factory-entered Škoda. In October, at Rally Catalunya, he finished 8th to score his maiden WRC point.
Two WRC seasons in a Škoda Fabia WRC
In 2006, Kopecky entered the World Rally Championship with Czech Rally Team Škoda Kopecky, participating in ten (of 16) events. He became a regular point-scorer, finishing best in the fifth place at Rally Catalunya. At the end of the season, he was 15th in the WRC drivers' standings.
In 2007, Kopecky and Schovanek spent one more WRC season in a Škoda Fabia WRC. They participated in eleven events, scoring points five times. The best result was the fifth place at Rallye Deutschland. At the end of the season, Kopecky was 12th in the final standings. It was his last season in a WRC car.
Intercontinental Rally Challenge vice-champion four times
In 2008, Kopecky entered the Intercontinental Rally Challenge with Champion Racing's Peugeot 207 S2000. He participated in just four events. His new co-driver since 2008 was Petr Stary. Next year, Kopecky expanded his IRC schedule to seven events in a factory-entered Škoda Fabia S2000. He scored two wins to finish second in the points, behind Kris Meeke.
Kopecky stayed for three more seasons in the IRC with Škoda Motorsport, ending all three seasons as a vice-champion. In 2010, he was a rally winner once, finishing second behind teammate Juho Hänninen. In 2011, Kopecky scored two wins to finish second behind Andreas Mikkelsen. Finally, in 2012, Kopecky was a winner two times again, losing a title to Andreas Mikkelsen again. In 2012, Pavel Dresler became Kopecky's navigator.
WRC attempt at Rally Mexico with Fiat Abarth
During five seasons in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, Kopecky recorded just one WRC attempt, driving a Fiat Grande Punto Abarth S2000 at 2008 Rally Mexico.
While having IRC commitments with Škoda Motorsport, Kopecky occasionally participated in national rally events, finishing third in the championship in 2009 and second in 2011. In 2010, he finished third in the Italian rally championship after scoring two wins with Škoda Rally Team Italia.
Two championship titles in 2012
In 2012, Kopecky finished second in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge but managed to win two championship titles in other competitions. After scoring five wins in a Škoda Fabia S2000, he earned his second Czech national rally title.
He was also the winner of the European Rally Cup Central with three rally wins in a Škoda Fabia S2000.
European rally champion in 2013
In 2013, Kopecky dominated in the European Rally Championship, taking the title with six wins and two podiums in eight events. His navigator in the #1 Škoda Fabia S2000 was Pavel Dresler.
In other competitions, Kopecky scored four wins in the national championship to finish second in the final standings.
Asia-Pacific rally champion in 2014
In 2014, Škoda sent Kopecky and Dresler to compete in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship with Team MRF. They won four times in a Škoda Fabia S2000 to win the championship title. They also added Pacific Cup title to their account.
In his homeland, Kopecky participated in just two events, retiring at Rallye Česky Krumlov and winning the Rally Bohemia.
Absolute domination and three Czech rally titles from 2015 to 2017
In 2015, a new Škoda Fabia R5 was introduced. Kopecky won all five events he entered in the Czech Rally Championship, dominantly winning the title.
He did the same in the next two seasons (2016, 2017), winning all eleven rally events he entered and adding two more Czech national rally titles to his account.
Return to World Rally Championship in 2015
In 2015, Kopecky returned to the World Rally Championship after seven years of absence. He was driving a Škoda Fabia R5 in three events, scoring one WRC2 class victory (Germany) and two podiums (Italy, Spain). Those results put him on the 8th place in the final WRC2 standings.
In the 2016 WRC2 season, Kopecky participated in six events, winning in Spain and finishing fourth in the points. He was fourth again in the WRC2 category in 2017, scoring one victory (Italy) and three podiums.
World champion in WRC2 category in 2018
In the 2018 WRC season, Kopecky stayed with Škoda Motorsport in the WRC2 category. In the opening round of the championship, the Rallye Monte-Carlo, he scored a victory on his 36th birthday. Later in the season, he was the best WRC2 driver in four more events (Corsica, Sardinia, Germany, Turkey), taking the championship title.
He was also successful in the national championship, taking six wins and defending the title, becoming the Czech rally champion for the sixth time.