Pavel Valousek, the latest recruit to the BFGoodrich Drivers Team, had his first run in the Kronos Racing Peugeot 207 S2000 on Thursday, on a test stage close to Namur in Belgium.

The Czech, who secured the BFG drive on the Barum Rally Zlin following a vote by 14 local journalists last month in Prague, used the outing to get to grips with the car, as well as try out some different tyres that BFGoodrich will make available for the sixth round in the IRC later this month.

"First of all, I would like to say a big thank you to BFGoodrich, Kronos and Mediasport for this fantastic opportunity," said Valousek, who will be co-driven by Zdenek Hruza. "I hope I succeed in living up to their expectations and that I manage to score a top result.

"The test went perfectly. We used a bumpy portion of road which included the sort of sequences of fast corners you find on the Barum Rally. The session gave me a chance to get to know the people at Kronos and BFGoodrich.

"I was also able to find my marks with the Peugeot 207 S2000 and I soon felt comfortable with it. It is faster than the Mitsubishi I usually drive, more precise and more efficient through the corners.

"I have good knowledge of the BFGoodrich dry weather range since I use BFGoodrich tyres in the Czech Championship. However, the A10 seems to work differently on the Peugeot 207. It then started to rain and I used the g-Force Profiler W00 for the first time. I was surprised by how much the grip it gave in the wet. I can't wait for the rally to start."

Kronos team manager Yves Matton and Michel Ducher, the BFGoodrich technician working with Kronos in the IRC, meanwhile were both satisfied with Valousek's performance.

"We had ideal conditions for a test, with a dry surface to begin with, and that enabled Pavel to familiarise himself with the car. It then started to rain and, while the surface was still just damp, Pavel began with a dry weather set-up before switching to wet weather settings," explained Matton.

"He successfully adapted to the S2000 which has more powerful brakes than those of his Mitsubishi. It also has a normally-aspirated engine which needs to be revved higher than his turbocharged Mitsubishi. We will use the pre-start shakedown session to validate all that. I feel very confident."

"The test stage was quite representative of the stages found on the Barum Rally Zlin, that is to say fast and bumpy on ageing, dusty asphalt. Pavel covered between 80 and 100km in a variety of conditions, ranging from dry, to damp and finally wet," added Ducher.

"In the morning, we worked through the range of dry weather BFGoodrich tyres, namely the soft compound g-Force Profiler A03 and the harder g-Force Profiler A10. Pavel had already used these two products, but they performed differently on the Peugeot 207 S2000 than on his Mitsubishi Lancer. He found that the A03 gave excellent grip but it started to lose its potential in terms of lateral grip as it started to overheat.

"We then switched to the A10 which is more of a racing tyre - more precise through corners and more responsive vertically over the bumps. It is up to the driver to find the best damper settings in order to find the optimum compromise between the suspension and his tyres.

"Rain started to fall at around midday and we profited from that to run the A02 while the road was still just damp. We then put on the M01 intermediate tyre which has a 'soft'-type construction and which Pavel particularly liked over the bumps. The rain got heavier and we fitted the g-Force Profiler W00 which was new to Pavel who was able to see how much grip it gave in very wet conditions.

"Pavel and his co-driver showed real interest in their tyres. They were good listeners and eager for advice concerning tyre pressures. Few drivers manage the pressure factor well between stages."

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