ŠKODA is looking back on its so far most successful year in motorsport. Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson won the WRC2 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 WRC2 category.
ŠKODA celebrates the most successful year in its motorsport history with a limited edition of ŠKODA FABIA. Sportier ŠKODA FABIA is coming to 21 markets in February 2018. The limited edition of ŠKODA FABIA is the reference to the ŠKODA FABIA R5 successful season including winning the world champion chip of the rally category WRC2. Equipped with a 1.4 TSI engine delivering 92 kW/125 hp, a seven-speed DSG gearbox and a sports suspension, the ŠKODA FABIA limited edition is the fastest version in the current model’s product range. As a reference to the ŠKODA Motorsport developed FABIA R5, the limited edition of the ŠKODA FABIA road car has 17-inch SAVIO alloy wheels and special design features.
Socratis Tsolakidis came into this season as something of an enigma after almost ten years out of the sport, but he finished it as a champion as he claimed his second Greek Rally Championship to add to the first he picked up back in 2003.
Norbert Herczig has been the dominant force in Hungary in two previous years and came into the 2017 season with back-to-back title wins already under his belt. Both were won in ŠKODA cars as Herczig and his Slovak co-driver Igor Bacigál, who drive for the ŠKODA Rally Team Hungaria, switched from a FABIA S2000 to a FABIA R5 midway through the 2015 season.
Following the retirement of Belgian rallying legend Freddy Loix at the end of the 2016 season, Vincent Verschueren was one of many drivers who hoped to step up. Loix won the Belgian championship four seasons in a row from 2013 to 2016, the final three of which were in a FABIA S2000 or FABIA R5. Verschueren had finished third in the championship on no fewer than four occasions. But this season, driving a FABIA R5 in the Duindinstel colours but prepared and run by the GoDrive team, alongside co-driver Veronique Hostens, he took his chance to claim his maiden Belgian championship title and a fourth successive win for ŠKODA.
If 2016 was a breakthrough year for Filip Nivette and his co-driver Kamil Heller, this season was the one where their class really shone through. After switching to a ŠKODA FABIA R5 in early 2016, they went on to win two rounds of the Polish Rally Championship, including their first ever drive of a FABIA R5 at the Rajd Gdańsk, and end the season in third place. A year on and they led the way from start to finish to be crowned Polish rally champions for the very first time.
Finland is often called ‘the Home of Rallying’ so it is a great feat to succeed in their very competitive domestic rally championship. In 2017 season, the winner in the most prestigious SM1 class of the Finnish Rally Championship was ŠKODA FABIA R5 driver Teemu Asunmaa. Along with co-driver Jonne Halttunen, he also helped Hannu’s Rally Team to the title in the Teams’ Championship, after what was an exciting and closely fought season.
Dutch rally driver Hermen Kobus returned to drive regularly in his home country this year for the first time since 2012 and he was well rewarded after three wins and two more podium finishes saw him claim the title in the 2017 Open Dutch Rally Championship (ONRK) as well as win the Dutch R5 Rally Challenge.