Russia - Skoda Motorsport - Finish
Skoda Motorsport made up of two crews driving the Fabia S 2000 coped superbly with the challenging gravel rally in Russia at the weekend. Being faster than their opponent right from the start and winning all stages except one on day two
of the competition, Juho Hanninen with Mikko Markkula put in an excellent performance. Furthermore, their team-mates Jan Kopecky with Petr Stary held the runner-up position from the start to finish, ending the rally 80 seconds behind the winner.
As a result, Skoda Motorsport celebrates its first victory in their fourth IRC appearance and a historic 'double'.
“We are all enormously happy, this is the best reward for the entire team, Skoda Auto and its partners involved in the Fabia Super 2000 project, big thanks to all of them," said Skoda Motorsport head Michal Hrabanek. "Obviously, this victory is a great impulse for further work and we are not going to rest on our laurels. Yet I believe that this milestone will boost the whole project and attract potential buyers of the Fabia Super 2000.
"I take my hat off to both our crews, selecting them for our team was apparently a good decision," Hrabanek continued. "We have known Jan Kopecky for a long time, he puts in stable performances and has improved a great deal. Juho Hanninen showed already in Monte Carlo this year in January that he could be pretty fast, too, and I am really glad that he's shown now how good he really is.
"We have done a great job in terms of promoting the Skoda brand, and I daresay that this has not been our last achievement.
The next event takes place in Zlín, Czech Republic, where we will logically be under pressure, but we all look forward to it," he concluded.
Hanninen was understandable delighted with the result. "My Fabia was fantastic throughout the race, I wish to thank the whole team for the excellent job they've done here," he said. "I felt right from the beginning that I was fast, but we had to be on the ball all the way, as the track was very stony, especially on Friday and Saturday. We enjoyed the race very much and once again – a big thank you goes to the entire team."
Kopecky was also keen to praise the team for the one-two result. “I wish to thank the whole team for an excellent job and support, the car was really superb all the time," Kopecky explained. "The track was very difficult, very bumpy, with some extremely stony places where the drivers simply could not go full blast. We were nowhere near beating Juho this time, his performance was excellent, he looks like he was born on this surface!
"This is indeed a great result for Skoda and I already look forward to the race in Zlín in August – I wish to invite all our fans, I am certain that it will be a fantastic race."
Skoda are second in the manufacturers' championship 25 points behind Peugeot.