ŠKODA is looking back on its so far most successful year in motorsport. Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (SWE/SWE) won the WRC 2 category of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), while ŠKODA Motorsport took the WRC 2 manufacturers title. Multiple Czech Champions spearheaded the group of ŠKODA teams which in 2017 won in total 14 national championships. Furthermore, the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), the FIA South American Rally Championship (CODASUR), the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) and the U28 category of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) were won by crews competing in a ŠKODA FABIA R5. In 2018 ŠKODA Motorsport will field its youngest driver squad ever in the world championship’s WRC 2 category.
ŠKODA is looking back at the most successful motorsport season in its 116 years long history. On the occasion of a ceremony at Mladá Boleslav ŠKODA Motorsport today honoured the successful drivers and co-drivers, led by the WRC 2 champions Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson, the APRC winners Gaurav Gill and Stéphane Prévot and the Czech Rally Champions Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler.
"2017 will go down in ŠKODA's history as the most successful year in motorsport and business ever. This is a huge achievement for our team, which the whole company can be proud of," says Bernhard Maier, ŠKODA AUTO CEO. "Motorsport has been part of ŠKODA AUTO's DNA for 116 years. We are going to continue this tradition in the future."
Not only in the FIA World Rally Championship, in numerous international and national championships as well the ŠKODA FABIA R5 drove from victory to victory during the 2017 season. The ŠKODA FABIA R5 by far was the most successful rally car of the so-called R5 category of close to standard cars. “One important key to success was the fruitful and close cooperation between our motorsport experts and the people of the research and development department. During the 2017 season our cars were always realiable even under toughest conditions,” said Christian Strube, Member of the ŠKODA AUTO Board of Management for Technical Development.
Amongst the international and national championships won in 2017 by ŠKODA teams the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) stands out. Factory supported team MRF ŠKODA entered defending champions Gaurav Gill/Stéphane Prévot (IND/BEL) and Norwegian Youngsters Ole Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjærmoen into the championship run in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and India. As in 2016 MRF ŠKODA took top two positions, Gill driving the ŠKODA FABIA R5 to a title hat trick with Veiby finishing second.
In the Czech Championship (MČR) defending champions Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZE/CZE) continued their winning streak. Winning each rally they entered, they took the title again. Furthermore, private ŠKODA teams won titles in additional 13 countries.
The success of the ŠKODA factory team boosts the interest of the customers: More than 170 ŠKODA FABIA R5 cars were sold so far to importers and privateer teams worldwide.
ŠKODA Motorsport Director Chef Michal Hrabánek was already looking ahead to 2018. “We are happy to keep Pontus Tidemand and Jan Kopecký in the team. Our youngsters Ole Christian Veiby and Juuso Nordgren already proved their talent. A new and equally talented addition to our team is 17 years old Kalle Rovanperä. We are really looking forward to the World Rally Championship 2018”, said Hrabánek.
The FIA World Rally Championship 2018 kicks off with traditional season opening Monte Carlo Rally. In total the championship again consists of 13 rounds.
Monte Carlo; 25/01/ – 28/01/2018
Sweden; 15/02/ – 18//02/2018
Mexico; 08/03/ – 11/03/2018
France; 05/04/ – 08/04/2018
Argentina; 26/04/ – 29/04/2018
Portugal; 17/05/ – 20/05/2018
Italy; 07/06/ – 10/06/2018
Finland; 26/07/ – 29/07/2018
Germany; 16/08/ – 19/08/2018
Turkey; 13/09/ – 16/09/2018
Great Britain; 04/09/ – 07/09/2018
Spain; 24/10/ – 28/10/2018
Australia; 15/11/ – 18/11/2018
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
FIA WRC 2 Champions Driver/Co-driver: Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (SWE/SWE)
FIA WRC 2 Team Championship: ŠKODA Motorsport
FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC)
Championship for Driver and Co-driver: Gaurav Gill/Stéphane Prévot (IND/BEL)
APRC Cup for Manufacturers: ŠKODA
APRC Teams Award: MRF ŠKODA
FIA South American Rally Championship (CODASUR)
Championship for Driver/Co-driver: Gustavo Saba/Fernando Mussano (PRY/ARG)
FIA African Rally Championship (ARC)
Championship for Driver/Co-driver: Manvier Baryan/Drew Sturrock (KEN/GBR)
ARC Manufacturer Cup: ŠKODA
FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), U28 category
Championship for Driver/Co-driver: Marijan Griebel//Stefan Kopczyk (DEU/DEU)
Belgium; Vincent Verschueren/Veronique Hostens (BEL/BEL)
Croatia; Krisztián Hideg/István Kerék (HRV/HRV)
Cyprus; Simos Galatariotis/Antonis Ioannou (CYP/CYP)
Czech Republic; Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZE/CZE)
Finland; Teemu Asunmaa/Jonne Halttunen (FIN/FIN)
Germany; Fabian Kreim/Frank Christian (DEU/DEU)
Greece; Socratis Tslakidis/Haris Dimos (GRC/GRC)
Hungary; Norbert Herczik/Igor Bacigál (HUN/HUN)
Latvia; Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (FIN/FIN)
Lebanon; Roger Feghali/Joseph Matar (LBN/LBN)
Paraguay; Gustavo Saba/Fernando Mussano (PRY/ARG)
Poland; Filip Nivette/Kamil Heller (POL/POL)
Portugal; Pedro Meireles/Mário Castro (POR/POR)
The Netherlands; Hermen Kobus/Erik de Wild (NLD/NLD)