During the annual motorsport press conference in Prague ŠKODA Motorsport reflected on the most successful year in its 118 years of history. Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen (FIN/FIN) won the WRC 2 Pro drivers’ and co-drivers’ title of the FIA World Rally Championship 2019 as well as substantially supporting ŠKODA Motorsport to win the WRC 2 Pro manufacturers’ title. After two successful years, they will leave the Czech factory team, heading for a new challenge. Also in 2019, ŠKODA customer teams conquered five FIA championships and took additional 23 national titles around the world.
In spring 2019, the Czech brand introduced the ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo. The new rally car was a winner right from the start. Factory crew Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen won both WRC 2 Pro drivers’ and co-drivers’ championship of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship. At the same time, ŠKODA Motorsport took the WRC 2 Pro manufacturers’ title, also thanks to the support of Jan Kopecký, co-driven by Pavel Dresler and Jan Hloušek respectively. ŠKODA customer crew Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (FRA/FRA) won the WRC 2 championship for private teams.
The success story of the Czech brand again took place worldwide. Driving a ŠKODA FABIA R5, Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock (GBR/GBR) won FIA European Rally Championship (ERC). Filip Mareš/Jan Hloušek (CZE/CZE) took the FIA European Rally Championship/ERC1 Junior title. Manvir Singh Baryan/Drew Sturrock (KEN/GBR) powered a ŠKODA FABIA R5 to the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC), while Ricardo Triviño/Marc Martí (MEX/ESP) won the FIA North American and Central American Rally Championship (NACAM). On top of that, ŠKODA crews conquered 23 national championships.
The successful campaign of the factory team in international rallying also acts as a catalyst for customer interest, which is growing by the day. To date, more than 320 ŠKODA FABIA R5 rally cars have been sold to privateer teams and ŠKODA importers around the world. “This impressive number of sales means a big responsibility towards our customers,” emphasizes ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek.
After a successful 2019, Christian Strube, Head of Technical Development ŠKODA AUTO, gave an outlook to the future and emphasized: “An even bigger focus will be on our customers – and we will support young drivers, as we have already successfully done in the past. With our fast and reliable ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo, we have the right car to compete on a top level on the rally tracks worldwide and to make the 119th year in our motorsport history together with our great team successful again!”
ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek bid farewell to Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen, who are not competing with ŠKODA any more: “We had two successful seasons with Kalle and Jonne; it was a pleasure to have them in our team. We wish them all the best for their future. Now we are fully concentrated on preparing the next rally season properly.”