Skoda Motorsport's crew Roman Kresta/Jan Tomanek, in a factory Octavia WRC, have exploited to its maximum one of the rare starts apart from their world rally programme and the opportunity to cheer their local fans.

They dominated the 29th Rally Bohemia, round four of the 2002 Czech National Rally Championship, winning by a respectable 1 minute, 39 seconds ahead of the runner-up Pech/Uhel, in a Focus WRC.

Kresta, 26, a factory driver for the Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team, confirmed his favoured status in one of the country's top rally events, putting in a winning drive over 203 km of special stages, against tough competition comprising of no fewer than eight World Rally Cars.

The traditional event, run again under the patronage of the Skoda Auto company, attracted 111 competitors who gathered at the start of Friday's spectacular superspecial on the rally cross track at Sosnova. Kresta, who was driving a works Skoda Octavia WRC, showed his dominance throughout the whole event, winning 9 out of total 13 special stages.

The reigning Czech national rally champion, who has been focussing only on the world rally programme this year, said at the finish at Mlada Boleslav, which is at the doors of the Skoda Auto factory: "I am of course very happy to bring my Octavia WRC first. Yesterday was more difficult for everybody, with changeable weather and new tracks, which were, however, better for us. Today we could relax a little bit, concentrate on keeping competitors at bay and getting safely to the finish."

"The competition was very tough, although to be honest, I expected a little more pressure. The car was running fine, just very reliable and easy to drive. It was a fantastic feeling to have so many fans around, a big boost for the next world rally."

Team manager Pavel Janeba was no less pleased with the team victory: "I am pleased for the whole team and for Roman to win here. This was the first time we could test the 2002 spec car against local competition and we can see it is still very competitive."

"Of course, a rally like Bohemia is not an event for which we are developing and producing cars. But it's always good to perform so well in front of so many fans, friends and partners of the Skoda brand. Last, but not least, it was good for Roman to compete here for test reasons. Every stage kilometre counts, no matter whether on tarmac or gravel. It is especially helpful prior to the kind of tough event which is ahead."

Kresta will have only a short time to celebrate today's victory - he is leaving tomorrow, Monday, for Kenya, to start preparations for the 2002 Safari Rally.

2002 Bohemia Rally - Final standings:

1. Kresta/Tomanek ?koda Octavia WRC 1hour 56mins 18.9secs
2. Pech/Uhel Ford Focus WRC 1:57:58.0
3. Hrdinka/Gross Subaru Impreza WRC 1:58:35.7
4. Triner/Hlka Seat Cordoba WRC 2:00:26.1
5. Pattison/Marchbank Ford Escort RS Cosworth 2:01:07.8