Forget about that mobile-based taxi app. Call Jan Kopecky.
Forget about that mobile-based taxi app. Call Jan Kopecky.
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.” Continue reading Skoda confirms development of Fabia R5 for 2015 debut
Jan Kopecky’s co-driver Pavel Dresler has praised him after they raced to their fifth victory in the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) with a storming drive on Barum Czech Rally Zlín this weekend.
The Czech stars were unbeatable in their Skoda Motorsport Fabia S2000 on their way to claim the top spot by more than one minute over countrymen Václav Pech/Petr Uhel.
Afterwards, Dresler said: “I would like to thank Honza [Jan] because on the first day he showed how fast he could drive and on the second day he showed he could drive with his brain. It’s a perfect result and one of the goals in my career.”
Skoda’s Head of Technical Development, Dr Frank Welsch, said: “That was an impressive performance from the Skoda works team in front of so many excited supporters. Special congratulations must go to Jan Kopecky, who is now a three-time winner here,” said Dr Frank Welsch, the head of Technical Development at ŠKODA, who was in Zlín to watch Kopecky and Dresler triumph.
Kopecky, meanwhile, was full of praise for the factory Skoda team. He said: “First of all, I’d like to thank the whole team – they did everything perfectly. I’m so happy. That is a big victory for Skoda and for us. The basis of every success is a great team and Skoda Motorsport is a perfect team. Also the car was prepared very well, it was very reliable and very fast and simply in perfect order. On Sunday I drove with safety in mind; I didn’t want to make the same mistakes from 2010 when I threw away victory.”
Up next for Kopecky and Dresler is LOTOS 70th Rally Poland from 13 – 15 September.
Read the full event report in this week’s coming issue of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS.
Photos by ERC:
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Skoda Motorsport’s new young gun, Esapekka Lappi, is ready to tackle one of the most famous rallies in the world, the Monte Carlo Rally, for the very first time – and he’s doing it in a Fabia S2000.
The Finnish ace, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Day 2 of the event on Thursday (17 January), is set to appear on selected rounds of the WRC-2 this year in a factory Skoda. Lappi, the reigning Finnish Rally Champion, will be co-driven by Janne Ferm.
“We can’t wait to make our first appearance at the Monte,” said Lappi. “It is a tough and difficult rally, but also a great experience for any driver. It is great that we can start the new WRC-2 and our mission in the ŠKODA Motorsport team at this event. It will be a big challenge for us, because everybody wants to succeed at the Monte.”
This year’s Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of the FIA WRC, contains 18 stages. It’s an asphalt rally, but snow and freezing temperatures are forecast – making the switchback Alpine mountain roads even more demanding.
Monte Carlo is a very special place for Skoda. The 2009 event saw Skoda Motorsport make its rallying debut and start the successful era of the Skoda Fabia Super 2000 project. Over the past four years since then, ŠKODA has won three IRC championship titles in both the Manufacturers and Drivers categories (2010-2012), the Drivers category of the European Championship (2012), both the Manufacturers and Drivers categories of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (2012) and a total of 18 national championships (2009-2012).
The event starts in Valence on Wednesday (16 January), with four special stages in Ardeche, covering more than 130kms: Moulinon – Antraigues and Burzet – St Martial.
On Thursday 17, the three specials in Ardeche and Haute Loire will be driven twice, with a halfway stop in Valence at around 12.45 (130kms).
Friday 18 will comprise of three specials, with a long St Jean en Royans – La Cime du Mas stage (33kms) in Vercors. Then, after a stop in the Valence service park, there are two classic Monte Carlo Rally stages on the way back down to Monaco, which haven’t been run for many years: St Nazaire le Desert – La Motte Chalancon (22kms) and Sisteron – Thoard (37kms). Cars are allowed to arrive at the Monaco time control earlier than the 19.30 target time.
On Saturday 19, five stages are scheduled for the 60 highest-ranked teams, with three Col-de-Turini runs (Le Moulinet – La Bollene – 23kms), two of which are at night, and two passes through Col St Roch (Lantosque – Luceram – 19kms), one of which is at night. The latter is classed as a Power Stage, and awards bonus points to the three top finishers.
In all, 465km of timed stages will need to be driven to reach the final podium in the Place du Palais, Monaco, at 11h00 on Sunday 20 January.
Co-driver Ola Fløene says Andreas Mikkelsen’s speed on asphalt has improved significantly following sessions with ex-Formula One racer Alex Wurz.
The reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion is one of the fastest drivers in the sport but has yet to win a round of the IRC on Tarmac. However, he’s getting close and came within one stage of winning Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés last week until a mechanical failure forced him to settle for second place. Continue reading Formula One driving tips boost Mikkelsen
Skoda Motorsport boss Michal Hrabanek has described Freddy Loix’s inclusion in the team’s factory line-up on the Geko Ypres Rally later this month as “really positive and beneficial”. Continue reading Freddy Loix signs with Skoda for IRC Gecko Ypres Rally later this month
Guy Wilks, the Skoda UK Motorsport driver injured on Rally d’Italia-Sardegna last weekend, has returned to his native United Kingdom to continue his recovery from the fractured first and second lumbar vertebrae he sustained in a crash on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event. Continue reading Wilks continues recovery from Sardinia crash