More than one hundred private rally teams around the world use the ŠKODA FABIA R5. Last year alone, they used them to score 18 titles in national championships and hundreds of rally victories. Overall, more than 270 FABIA R5s have been sold. That’s an unprecedented success, made possible largely by the ŠKODA’s reputation for durability. For the same reason, there’s a huge amount of interest in the improved FABIA R5 evo, as evidenced by the large number of orders.

János Puskádi, from the Eurosol rally team, explains: “Since the FABIA S2000, we’ve only used ŠKODA cars and we are big fans of the brand. We’ve never had any problems with our cars. Both we and our customers are satisfied with their reliability and speed, so the new version was a natural choice for us.”

As an opportunity for the teams who had ordered their cars early to get to know the cars, ŠKODA Motorsport held an introductory driving day at the Sosnová racetrack. Besides a detailed introduction of the car’s technology and all the changes, there was also an opportunity to chat with ŠKODA Motorsport engineers, or driver Kalle Rovanperä, who is currently leading in the WRC 2 Pro standings. He managed to score a victory in his FABIA R5 evo in his very first outing at Rally de Portugal, and followed it with another in Sardinia. In both cases, another FABIA R5 evo, driven by Jan Kopecký, finished second.

Puskádi described his first impressions after the short drive in Sosnová. “I’m really glad that we got a chance for a drive - it was a great experience. Compared to the previous generation, we felt a slightly better throttle response, the car is easier to drive and more comfortable overall. This means that at a long rally, the driver won’t be as tired, which is a great advantage.” His words echo the way Kopecký and Rovanperä praised the handling and controls after the Portuguese rally.

Pierre-Louis Loubet (2C Competition), who won the WRC 2 category with the original FABIA R5 both in Portugal and Sardinia, was also impressed after trying the new car: “On the wet, it was hard to notice all the differences, but the engine performs better in the whole rpm range. If the car is just like it was, but a little bit better at everything, it will be absolutely perfect. I would be completely satisfied with that and I believe that’s what it’s going to be.”

With a reinforced body, more effective cooling and a gearbox with a longer service life, it’s also probable that the FABIA R5 evo will keep its biggest advantage – durability. “ŠKODA makes really reliable and cost-effective cars which we’ve used for many years. The competition’s got a little stronger again this year, but I believe that ŠKODA can make a successful car,” remarked Bernhard Munster from the BMA rally team.

It’s no wonder that everyone was eager to get a drive – in last four years, the FA BIA R5 has become the most successful car of its class world-wide. “During the drives, there was a noticeable difference in handling and performance. We have big expectations for the new version, because we know just how good the old one was,” added Erik Wevers from Wevers Sport.