Fourth and penultimate round of the FIA R-GT Cup, the Barum Czech Rally Zlín hosted three Alpine A110 Rally cars at the start with Frenchmen Raphaël Astier and Manu Guigou, as well as Czech Jakub Jirovec.
In this event where the Berlinette won on three of the first five editions in the hands of Vladimír Hubáček in the 1970s, the A fléché brand immediately settled at the forefront.
Second in the general classification and forced to get ahead of Raphaël Astier to maintain his title hopes, Manu Guigou was thus the fastest in the super-special giving the start of the rally on Friday night in Zlín.
His rival replied the next day on an atypical, wet and extremely tricky journey. With four fastest times in six timed sectors, Raphaël Astier gradually widened the gap despite Manu Guigou’s response in SS5.
The CHL Sport Auto driver then completed the first stage more than two minutes ahead of his opponent while Jakub Jirovec completed a 100% Alpine leading trio on his home soil.
On Sunday, Raphaël Astier showed no sign of relaxation by making a grand slam on the morning loop with three new scratches to his credit.
After doubling his advantage in increasingly muddy conditions, the leader controlled the debates in the last kilometers of the course to offer himself his third success of the season ahead of Manu Guigou and Jakub Jirovec in a podium monopolized by the Alpine A110 Rally cars.
Already crowned in the FIA R-GT Cup in 2018, Raphaël Astier simultaneously sealed the title by adding an additional line to Alpine’s impressive list of achievements in motorsport by succeeding Pierre Ragues, crowned with Alpine last year.
Title winning Astier said: “The Barum is known for its particularly tricky conditions and they were indeed there for this edition. It was an extremely hard rally, where we had to be very careful, including at the end when we were no longer attacking.
“We quickly managed to put the car as we wanted in terms of performance. She had a very healthy behavior, I felt good at the wheel, and when we are comfortable, automatically we dare more and we managed to mix with the four-wheel drive.
“With our status as “amateurs”, we aimed to seal the title before the final. Everything went as we thought and we are really happy to have fulfilled our challenge. Beyond the pride of being crowned with a French brand and a car I love, our main competitor is extremely experienced and has participated in the development of the Alpine A110 Rally.
“Our goal was to challenge him, it’s done and it’s really a great performance that we can satisfy with my partners, but also Chazel Technologie Course with whom I had competed in Monte-Carlo, and CHL Sport Auto on the other rounds.”
In addition, the efforts of the three crews allowed the model designed by Signatech to extend two beautiful series in this competition, with a tenth consecutive victory and invincibility since 132 special stages now.
Alpine is now turning to the fifth and final meeting of the FIA R-GT Cup calendar, RallyRACC Catalunya on 20-23 October.
The event will also host the twelfth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, whose record was inaugurated by the brand at the A fléché in 1973.