Not even the traditional foul weather didn’t stop the crowds from attending the start of one the oldest WRC rounds in Wales. Once again, the Wales Rally GB was greeted by rain, which brought with itself a combination of slippery tarmac and treacherous mud – on some stages, the cars collect up to 5 percent of its weight in mud.
This year’s WRC season is heading for the finish line. The crews will fight for some of the last available championship points in one of the oldest classics of the rally world – Wales Rally GB. The event first took place in 1932 and it was the first great modern rally in Great Britain. Now an unimaginable 341 cars will appear on the starting lines, all of them stock. Is there more than one starting line? Of course! The crews set off from nine different cities to tackle routes of around 1,600 km in length, finally meeting at the finish in Torquay.
In the late 1970s, ŠKODA developed and built a “silhouette car” based on the well-known ŠKODA 130 RS. It was conceived as racer for both hillclimbs and circuits, and also as a testing ground for the new technologies. It was fitted with the new, advanced 1.6 DOHC engine, which was able to propel it to speeds of up to 250 km/h.
When he was a part of ŠKODA Motorsport works team, the Finnish driver Toni Gardemeister battled against the biggest legends of rallying in the World Rally Championship. Later, he went on to found the TGS, or Toni Gardemeister Services – a rallying team that counts many well-known drivers among its clients, including Jari-Matti Latvala and the rally’s rising star, Kalle Rovanperä. He also became the first private owner of the new and improved ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo, which was unveiled by ŠKODA Motorsport this year.
The ŠKODA FABIA R5 has added another significant success to its career. This time, it is not claiming victory in some world-renowned rally, but reaching the threshold of 300 sales. This means that ŠKODA now account for a whopping 34 percent of all R5 rallycar sales. Selling the 300th car is not only an important milestone in ŠKODA Motorsport history, but also a testimonial to the many successes achieved together with customer teams. Overall, 123 teams have chosen the FABIA R5 or the FABIA R5 evo rallycars, and there’s hardly a weekend goes by without one of them winning a rally.
Probably no other rally in the WRC calendar is so hard on the cars. In Turkey, speed and experience are not enough, as puncture or damage can come at any time. This year was no different, and ŠKODA Motorsport had to settle for second place after a string of victories. The Finnish crew of Kalle Rovanperä – Jonne Halttunen lost three tyres in a short space of time and had to put up a real fight even to finish Rally Turkey. The Czech duo of Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler suffered several setbacks as well, but still managed to challenge Gus Greensmith for the victory until the very end.