The new World Rally Championship season will be extremely challenging. The Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 and Toksport WRT are defending their titles from last year, which is a big challenge in itself. And then there are a few other things that could fundamentally affect the development of the 2024 season and make it a thrilling spectacle. Here they are.
Defending the title
Last year's inaugural season was an extremely successful one for the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. We are truly pleased to have been able to build on the winning streak of previous Fabia rally car models with the new car. Just ask anyone in any area of the sport and they will all confirm that defending a title is often more difficult than winning it. Because, the following season, you become the hunted game and your rivals will simply target you. You simply have to be even faster, smarter and watch your back more. A pack of pursuers will want to steal the title from you. We know it and we're ready.
The Škoda Motorsport team has been developing successful competition cars for many years. We have been on the podium many times and have experienced many memorable celebrations that, even years later, still bring smiles to the lips of people throughout the factory. There may be hundreds of trophies glittering in our showcases, but we all know that winning a trophy is no guarantee of eternal speed. Even with a winning car, you have to keep working on it and keep pushing it forward. Between the end of the 2023 season and the 2024 Rallye Monte-Carlo, we had some useful tests on different surfaces, where we worked on new dampers and a new gear set, among other things. The new season with new players in the WRC2 category will undoubtedly be very tough from a competitive point of view. There is no doubt about it. Are we worried, you ask? No, on the contrary, we are very much looking forward to a fair fight and we are excited about the new brands in our category. This is exactly what our sport needs!
This year's World Rally Championship calendar brings a few changes. In addition to the traditional events, there are two new ones. The first is the return of the Rally Poland, which was dropped from the championship after the 2017 season, mainly due to unruly fans. The traditional tracks around the Masurian Lakes in north-eastern Poland tend to be challenging, especially due to the soft sandy surface of the stages, where deep ruts can easily form. The tracks are also fast, so you really need lightning-fast reactions to avoid the threat of the car tipping over in the races. The other new addition is the Rally Latvia, which also takes place on gravel. Latvian tracks are among the most demanding in Europe. They are extremely fast and require the drivers and co-drivers to be extremely skilled and precise. Many of the crews have experience of the local stages from the European Championship, and for many this will be their first time in Lithuania this year, and this could also shake up the standings. Either way, the Latvian and Polish Rallies will undoubtedly be tough challenges for the 2024 season.
The right strategy
The rules of the WRC2 category are relentless - each crew can only score points in seven events, from which the worst result is removed. You can, of course, run more than 7 events, but they don't count towards your overall ranking. Therefore, it is extremely important to choose the right strategy for the season and to select the events in such a way as to eliminate as much risk as possible. This strategy is well illustrated by the example of the Monte-Carlo Rally, which is an extremely risky event due to the variable surface of the stages, and consequently many crews run outside the WRC2 category points. So we wish all Škoda crews the best of luck in choosing the right 7 events that suit them. A good strategy is always the basis for a successful season.