Skoda has announced that the Fabia S2000 – one of the most successful rally cars of the S2000 era – will be succeeded by an all-new model, the Fabia R5. An intense development programme will begin at Skoda Motorsport’s Mlada Boleslav base in early 2014, ahead of a competition debut in 2015.
Confirming the Fabia R5 programme, Michal Michal Hrabánek, Skoda Motorsport Director, said: “The new R5 rally car will be equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine, in accordance with FIA regulations. That’s a big change compared to today’s naturally-aspirated, two-litre petrol engines. The R5 category succeeds the previous Super 2000 class. This way, we are able to continue to compete successfully in international championships and to push ahead with our customer programme. Entering the R5 class is a logical step for Skoda. As it stands, we are assuming that the new car will be homologated by mid-2015.”
Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at Skoda added: “Through the many international successes it has enjoyed, the current Fabia Super 2000 has been demonstrating our technical prowess for years. The challenge is now to follow on from this success. That is why we are working flat out to develop a new car, based on the ŠKODA Fabia, for the R5 category.”
The announcement follows another remarkable season for both Skoda Motorsport and the Fabia S2000. With overall victories in three international and six national championships, Skoda has enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in its 112-year motorsport history.
In addition to developing the Fabia R5, Skoda will continue to campaign the current Fabia S2000 in 2014. The brand will enter cars on selected rounds of both the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC). Current ERC Champions Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler will tackle the APRC, while rising star Esapekka Lappi will line up in the ERC with co-driver Janne Ferm. In addition, the German pairing of Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian (Skoda AUTO Deutschland), will also contest rounds of the ERC in a factory-prepared Fabia S2000.
Fabia S2000 – the most successful rally car in Skoda history:
• First shown at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show, the Fabia S2000 has become the most successful rally car in Skoda’s 112-year motorsport history. Having recorded 27 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) event victories and three overall driver and manufacturer titles, the Fabia S2000 has won more IRC events than any other car. Andreas Mikkelsen became the first back-to-back champion driving for Skoda UK Motorsport in 2011 and 2012.
• Building on these triumphs, factory driver Jan Kopecký took the 2013 European Rally Championship (ERC) title with a commanding season-long performance.
• Further afield, the Fabia S2000 has also recored series victories in both the Super 2000 World Championship (SWRC) with Juho Hanninen and the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) with Chris Atkinson and Gaurev Gill.
• Paraguyan Gustavo Saba won both the FIA Codasur South American Rally Championship and the Paraguayan Championship in 2013, with Skoda drivers accumulating a further five national titles in Austria (Raimund Baumschlager), Italy (Umberto Scandola), Bulgaria (Dimitar Iliev), Jordan (Marouf Abu Samra) and Portugal (Ricardo Moura).