Roman Kresta is a Czech rally driver who recorded 37 starts in the World Rally Championship between 2001 and 2010, driving for private teams and factory teams of Škoda and Ford. In the Czech rally championship, Kresta was the champion five times. Kresta slowed down his rally activities in 2013 but he is still active, occasionally participating in the Czech national events and managing his own rally team.
Started a rally career with Škoda Favorit
Roman Kresta was born on April 24, 1976. He grew up in Trnava, near Zlin, which is known as a venue of famous Barum Rally. Kresta's love to rally cars was born during a high school, in which he was learning to became an auto mechanic. As a mechanic, he was preparing Škoda Favorit rally car for NEFOS team. He gets a chance to drive his own Škoda Favorit 136L in 1994. His first navigator was Jan Tomanek, who stayed with Kresta for almost his entire career.
Two class titles in the Czech championship
After three seasons with Škoda Favorit, Kresta switched to Škoda Felicia in 1997, expanding his commitment outside of Czech Republic, participating in the CEZ championship as a member of Czech National Team. In 1998, he won his first title, being the best in the A5 class of the Czech championship. Škoda Felicia Kit Car was his next car and he captured A6 class Czech title in 1999.
First Czech national title with Škoda Octavia WRC
In 2000, Kresta and Tomanek switched to Škoda Motorsport's Octavia WRC, winning their first overall title in the Czech championship. Kresta also won two national rallies which were the part of the European Rally Championship – Bohemia Rallye and Barum Rally.
WRC debut at 2001 Acropolis Rally with Ford
In 2001, Kresta continued to drive Škoda Octavia WRC and defended his Czech national title. In June 2001, he debuted in the World Rally Championship, driving Jolly Club's Ford Focus WRC at Acropolis Rally in Greece. He retired early due to technical issues.
In the next WRC event, the Safari Rally in Kenya, he was driving factory-entered Škoda Octavia WRC. He retired with a broken wheel. Kresta recorded two more DNFs in WRC events with Škoda, at Rallye Sanremo and Rally GB.
Six WRC starts for Kresta in 2002
In 2002, Kresta recorded six starts in WRC events driving two different evolutions of Škoda Octavia WRC. After retiring because of an accident at Rallye Monte-Carlo, he finally reached the finish at 2002 Tour de Corse, in the 14th place.
He retired at Cyprus Rally and managed to finish three events – Safari Rally, Rallye Sanremo and Rally GB. His best result was 7th place at Safari Rally.
A season with Bozian Racing's Peugeot 206 WRC
In 2003, Kresta spent a season with the French team Bozian Racing, driving a Peugeot 206 WRC. In the first part of the year, Miloš Hulka was his co-driver, Jan Tomanek rejoined him later.
Kresta participated in seven WRC events driving a Peugeot, finishing races five times. He scored his first championship point with 8th place at season-closing Wales Rally GB.
Four different cars in 2004
After a season with Peugeot, Kresta was driving four different cars in 2004. In the WRC, he participated with private Hyundai Accent WRC at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Ford Focus RS WRC at Acropolis Rally. At ADAC Rallye Deutschland, he was driving Škoda Motorsport's Fabia WRC. He retired in all three events.
His fourth car was a Subaru Impreza S9 WRC, which he was using in the Czech national events. He won two times and finished third in the Czech championship.
Full WRC season as Ford's factory driver
For the 2005 WRC season, Kresta was hired to drive for BP Ford World Rally Team. He was driving the #4 Ford Focus RS WRC, with Toni Gardemeister as a teammate in the #3 car. In three events, Kresta was driving #14 car, being replaced in the #3 car by Henning Solberg, Dani Sola or Mikko Hirvonen.
It was a relatively successful season for Kresta, as he finished eleven times in the points. His best result was fifth place at Tour de Corse and Rally Catalunya. At the end of the season, he finished 8th in the final standings. It was his career-best season but he lost a seat for the 2006 WRC season. It turned to be an end of his WRC career, as he returned only as a privateer in 2010.
Test driver for Ford in 2006
Following the 2005 WRC season, Kresta stayed with Ford as a test driver and changed a co-driver. Petr Gross sat next to him in the brand new Ford Fiesta S1600, which they were using in the British Rally Championship events.
His only event outside Britain was Barum Rally Zlin, which he won with Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. In 2007, he participated in the selected events of the Czech championship with that car, winning two times and finishing third in the points.
Two more national championship titles in 2008 and 2009
In 2008, Kresta returned full time to the Czech national rally championship. He became te champion for the third time, winning four rallies with Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX of Mogul Racing Team. In 2009, he switched to Peugeot 207 S2000, taking one more championship trophy with three victories.
Return to WRC as a privateer
In 2010, Kresta returned to WRC, participating with his own Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX at Rally Sweden and Rally Finland. In Sweden, he retired after 12 special stages because of problems with a fuel tank. In Finland, he finished 23rd overall and 14th in the N4 class.
For the rest of the season, he participated in Czech national events with Mitsubishi and Peugeot, winning the Czech sprintrally championship title and finished fourth in the rally championship. He also participated in two rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, driving Škoda Fabia S2000 at Barum Rally Zlin and Lancer Evo IX at Cyprus Rally.
Fifth Czech rally title in 2011
Kresta won his fifth and final Czech national rally title in 2011, driving Škoda Fabia S2000 for Adell Mogul Racing Team. Two wins were enough to capture a title ahead of Jan Kopecky.
In 2012, they changed positions, with Jan Kopecky winning a title and Kresta finished in the second place. It was Kresta's last full season in the national championship. He slowed down his rally activities from 2013 onwards, participating occasionally in the Czech national events. Most recently, he finished third at Barum Czech Rally Zlin, which is also a part of the European Rally Championship.