What a weekend for ŠKODA FABIA R5 teams at the Rallye Deutschland, the ninth round of the World Rally Championship! It could hardly have gone better with a FABIA R5 winning every one of 16 stages in the WRC2 category. There were no fewer than five FABIA R5 cars in the top 6 of the WRC2 category, with four of those making it into the top ten in the overall classification; more than any other manufacturer.
It was the ŠKODA Motorsport team who led the way with the Finnish duo of Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm claiming their second successive WRC2 victory and the seventh in a row for the ŠKODA FABIA R5. Just behind them in second place came home their teammates Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler.
Despite finishing second, Jan Kopecký did secure a little bit of history on stage 5 of the rally, when his win marked the 200th WRC2 stage victory for a ŠKODA FABIA R5. Of course, plenty of these victories were secured by our customer teams, and they enjoyed no shortage of success this weekend either.
The veteran German driver Armin Kremer’s familiarity with these stages showed at the start of the rally as he won the opening two stages, along with his co-driver Pirmin Winklhofer, to lead the WRC2 until Saturday morning. From there on he used all his years of experience to help secure a podium finish in third place for the BRR Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Team. They finished just 26 seconds behind the FABIA R5 of Jan Kopecký.
And if blocking out the podium wasn’t enough, there was also a ŠKODA FABIA R5 in fourth spot, after a remarkable drive from the Belgian duo of Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet. In what was only their second ever WRC2 start in the car, they secured their best ever result after recovering from a slow opening stage to drive with both pace and consistency.
In sixth spot in the WRC2 standings were Bernhard ten Brinke and his co-driver Davy Thierie; the highest placed of four Wevers Sport’s FABIA R5s participating. Ten Brinke was driving his first WRC event since 2011 and first ever in a FABIA R5. He had targeted a top ten finish beforehand and was, therefore, delighted to break into the top six.
Also breaking into the top ten were the Culture & Sport Qatar Rally Team pairing of Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari / Killian Duffy. After suffering a puncture on stage two, which cost them several minutes, they had to claw their way back through the field and whilst pleased with a top ten finish will no doubt be wondering what might have been.
In eleventh spot was another Wevers Sport-run car, of Dutch duo Mark van Eldik / Harmen Scholtalbers, while the ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland FABIA R5 of Fabian Kreim / Frank Christian came home thirteenth. They also suffered a puncture on stage two, and actually had to retire on the Saturday, before rejoining the event with a time penalty and finishing with seven top five stage results, including stage win on Sunday.
Their hectic season resumes again next weekend with the Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
With six FABIA R5s in the top ten of the WRC2 standings and four making it into the overall top ten, the Rallye Deutschland was one of the most successful yet for the FABIA R5. And with four WRC events still to come, the result leaves us looking forward eagerly to the climax of this record-breaking WRC season.