ŠKODA Fabia R 5 to be ŠKODA’s new racing car. The successor to the Fabia Super 2000 rally car will arrive on the scene in 2015.
The successor to the successful ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 motorsport project has been announced: in 2014, work will begin in Mladá Boleslav to develop the ŠKODA Fabia R 5 rally car. The new development will line up in international rallies for the first time in 2015. The 2013 season, which has just reached its conclusion, saw ŠKODA Motorsport enjoy one of the most successful years in its 112-year motorsport history. Highlights: overall victories at three continental and six national championships.
ŠKODA will continue its motorsport programme with the tried-and-tested Fabia Super 2000 in 2014, meaning ŠKODA fans can look forward to another feast of rally action over the coming year. “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 racing car, based on the ŠKODA Fabia, for the R5 category,” said Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at ŠKODA.
Michal Hrabánek, ŠKODA Motorsport Director, added: “The new R 5 rally car will be equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine, in accordance with FIA regulations. That is 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 ŠKODA. As it stands, we are assuming that the new car will be homologated by mid-2015.”
ŠKODA will once again feature prominently on the rally scene in 2014 – with the established ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. “We plan to enter the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC for short), and to compete at selected ERC rallies in the FIA European Rally Championship. Our 2013 crews will swap roles for the coming year: Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler will line up in the APRC, while Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm will race in the ERC. In the European Rally Championship, they will be joined by the German rally pairing of Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian from the ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland team, who will also start in a factory car,” said Hrabánek.
The ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 project is one of the most successful in ŠKODA’s 112-year motorsport history. Having made its first public appearance as a design study at the Geneva Motor Show in 2007, the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 made its first competitive outing at the iconic Rally Monte Carlo in 2009. Just one year later, ŠKODA claimed its first international success with the Fabia Super 2000: overall victory in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) – in both the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championship, courtesy of the pairing of Juho Hänninen/Mikko Markkula (FIN/FIN). ŠKODA repeated this success in 2011 and 2012 with Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N), claiming a total of 27 wins to become the most successful manufacturer in the history of the IRC.
At the same time as the successful outings in the IRC, works duo Hänninen/Markkula also triumphed in the Super 2000 World Championship (SWRC) and, one year later, in the European Championship. 2012 also saw the Fabia Super 2000 make its first appearance in the APRC, in which ŠKODA worked together with the MRF team to win both the Manufacturers’ Championship and the Drivers’ Championship (Chris Atkinson, AUS). Thanks to the full works support granted by ŠKODA, this success in the APRC was repeated in 2013 – this time with Gaurav Gill/Glenn Macneall (IND/NZ) coming out on top. The ŠKODA Motorsport works duo of Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) also played a key role in the successful defence of the APRC Manufacturers’ title, chipping in with three victories.
Jan Kopecký (CZ) crowned the best season of his career in 2013 with a dominant overall victory in the ERC. Together with co-driver Pavel Dresler (CZ), he won six of eight rallies and claimed a further two podiums.
Gustavo Saba/Victor Aguilera (PY/PY) won the FIA Codasur South American Rally Championship and their home championship in Paraguay in 2013 – both in a Fabia Super 2000. ŠKODA drivers accumulated a further five national titles in Austria (Raimund Baumschlager), Italy (Umberto Scandola), Bulgaria (Dimitar Iliev), Jordan (Marouf Abu Samra) and Portugal (Ricardo Moura).