European rally weekend: Wins for Jan Kopecky and Paolo Andreucci
Parallel to the season-opening round of the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship, two big national rally championships started this weekend on the European continent – in the Czech Republic and Italy.
The main Škoda Motorsport driver Jan Kopecky has won the 37th Valašska Rally, the first round of the Czech championship. After fourteen special stages (one was cancelled), Kopecky and his navigator Pavel Dresler clinched a dominant one-minute-gap victory ahead of Vaclav Pech Jr. and Petr Uhel in a Ford Fiesta R5. The Norwegian driver Ole Christian Veiby, who also serves as Škoda Motorsport driver in the WRC, finished in the third place after he spun and lost twenty seconds on the last stage.
In Italy, Paolo Andreucci has won the 41st Rally Il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio, together with Anna Andreussi in a Peugeot 208 T16. Andreucci is a defending champion with ten national titles in his hands so far.
This weekend, he defeated Andrea Crugnola (Ford Fiesta R5) by 20.8 seconds and Simone Campedelli (Ford Fiesta R5) by 29.7 seconds. Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta, who competes this year in the WRC2 category, participated in the Italian championship opening round as a guest, finishing fourth overall in a Ford Fiesta R5.