Roman Kresta Sumar
Roman Kresta grew up in the small town of Trnava, in the Moravia region, and sport was always to the forefront of his life. He enjoyed gymnastics and soccer from an early age but it was not until he became a teenager that rallying entered his life. While attending a school for car mechanics he became attracted by the sport, and after graduating worked for a local team which campaigned a Skoda Favorit.
Enthused by the sport, he turned to competition
himself. In 1994 he made his debut in a rented Favorit on the Horacka Rally Trebic, partnered by current co-driver Jan Tomanek. They finished sixth in the 1300cc class and 14th overall. Over the next two seasons he took class wins in the Czech Republic National Championship and his flourishing talent earned a place in the national junior team.
In 1998 Kresta won the Group A 1400cc title in the national series and the Formula 2 title in the European Zone Championship. His success prompted a step up to a Skoda Felicia Kit Car for 1999 and more silverware followed with victory in Formula 2 in the national championship.
Skoda Motorsport had tracked Kresta's development and offered him the opportunity to contest the 2000 national championship in a factory supported Octavia World Rally Car – the beginning of a programme aimed at taking a Czech driver into the WRC. He proved a quick learner by winning three events and taking the overall title. The end of season Bettega Memorial Rallysprint in Bologna enabled Kresta to make his mark at international level for the first time. He finished third, beating several established WRC drivers in the process.
The following year Kresta defended the national title, winning four rallies and securing the title with two rallies remaining. More importantly, he achieved his dream of competing on a WRC event. He made his debut on the Acropolis Rally in Greece in a Jolly Club-prepared Ford Focus World Rally Car. His success in the national series encouraged Skoda Motorsport to enter Kresta in Kenya's Safari Rally, the Sanremo Rally and the Rally GB. He ended the year by finishing second in the Bettega Memorial Rallysprint.
In 2002 he represented Skoda in six WRC events. His best finish was seventh on the Safari Rally, a result which earned manufacturers' points for the team. The 2003 season brought a seven-event programme at the wheel of a Bozian Racing-prepared Peugeot 206. Eighth on the Rally GB earned his first point in the drivers' championship and he claimed his first stage victory on the Rallye Deutschland.
Last season saw Kresta behind the wheel of three different cars on WRC events. He held strong points scoring positions in both Monte Carlo and Germany before retiring.
Kresta enjoys amazing support from his Czech countrymen. At the end of 2004 they formed Fans for Kresta, an organisation dedicated to raising the money to allow their hero to contest the 2005 Monte Carlo Rally. Now he will tackle not just that event, but also all the remaining 15 rallies in the series!