After two good days at Wales Rally GB, Martin Prokop was heading the last leg of the event and the whole 2014 WRC season from 10th place of the overall classification. And he would not bet on himself that he will finish the race in top 10. Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon just six seconds back and fast and stout Robert Kubica another seventeen aloof. 46 kilometres on muddy and slippery surface of Welsh special stages was promising tough fight for 10th place and one point into the general classification of the whole season. Martin Prokop and Jan Tománek did well during the previous two legs but during that Sunday morning they had to show their best possible performance and determination of experienced world rally crew. And they succeeded! In the first two morning special stages Paddon was able to cut down the gap on Jipocar Czech National Team crew to just one second, but in the last four tests Prokop didn´t allow any change of the overall classification. He coped excellently the two park special stages at Kinmel Park an at two last ten kilometres long stretches, he has left behind many of the factory teams drivers with finishing fifth twice. With this big push, Martin thwarted Paddon´s and Kubica´s plans to move up the leader board and prepared a nice season closing for his team, sponsors and fans. Technical problems and withdrawal of Henning Solberg meant gaining of one extra position and moving up to 9th place.
Martin Prokop: ”I don´t know what would be the quotation of poolrooms today and who would bet on me but I would possibly not do it. I was not extremely happy with Friday and Saturday and I knew that for holding Paddon and Kubica back I had to show my maximum and best possible performance on the very limit of an accident. But all went ideal and nicely. Set-up of the car, my pace and good strain. Before the last special stages I felt like a war hero in epic movie, I palmed Fiona and excused in advance just in case she will be disarranged all around in Welsh forests. Then I drove on my actual possible maximum limit. Now we are extremely happy and we could not have a better and of this season. I would like to thank my fans for support in every race, both in better and worse moments. I will be happy to meet them next Saturday during Race of Champions is Sosnová, where I will also be officially celebrating my 100 races in WRC events.”
Manager Quirin Müller: “Martin showed real combativeness and he sustained big pressure. Although he has found the right pace just at the end of the rally, his loss per kilometre is just 0,7 sec what is an excellent result for us as a private team. It was twice more in 2013.”
Final results of Wales Rally GB 2014:
1. Ogier S. - Ingrassia J. (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3:03:08,2
2. Hirvonen M. - Lehtinen J. (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +37,6
3. Østberg M. - Andersson J. (Citroën DS3 WRC) +1:03,6
4. Neuville T. - Gilsoul N. (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:14,9
5. Evans E. - Barritt D. (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:24,3
6. Meeke K. - Nagle P. (Citroën DS3 WRC) +2:03,0
7. Tänak O. - Mölder R. (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:29,7
8. Latvala J.-M. - Antilla M. (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +2:47,5
9. PROKOP M. - TOMÁNEK J. (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:43,3
10. Paddon H. - Kennard J. (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:48,5
In the overall classification of FIA WRC Martin Prokop is 9th among drivers and Jan Tománek 10th in co-drivers’ standings. In the classification of teams and manufacturers, Jipocar Czech National Team has finished the season as 6th overall.
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