ŠKODA Fabia R5 decorated its premiere season in World Rally Championship with success in Rally Catalunya. In the finish of the penultimate event of this year’s season Fabia R5 took four places in a final standings of WRC 2 category and ŠKODA Motorsport team secured the victory in overall classification of WRC 2 teams championship.
On Sunday Pontus Tidemand and Emil Axelsson celebrated on the podium in Salou their first victory in WRC 2 in ŠKODA Motorsport team colours. Their teammates Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler took second place.
“Unbelievable rally! My first victory for ŠKODA in WRC 2, so I can be hardly any happier,” Pontus Tidemand exulted in finish. He also became a winner in Asian-Pacific Rally Championship with a ŠKODA Fabia R5 this year. “Before the rally it was my dream to finish. I didn’t expect at all to stand on the highest step of the podium at the end. Our Friday’s pace on gravel stages was certainly decisive. Saturday and Sunday on tarmac was more about not taking risks. This strategy worked excellently, even though Jan with Pavel were closing on us. Thanks to the whole ŠKODA Motorsport team!”
In surroundings of Spain Salou located in Costa Daurada area 331.25 kilometres divided into 23 special stages waited for the teams. Rally Catalunya was the only event of the season where rally cars had to deal both with loose surface (Friday) and tarmac roads (Saturday, Sunday).
Tidemand/Axelsson took the lead in WRC 2 category as early as Friday after the third special stage and from the time they secured the position well. They finished with 11 seconds lead before their teammates Kopecký and Dresler. So they became ninth crew to win some of WRC 2 events this year.
Next two positions in WRC 2 were taken by Fabia R5s from ŠKODA customer programme. Nasser Al-Attyiah defeated Armin Kremer with a difference of one tenth of the second and thanks to points for the third place he became this year’s WRC 2 champion already before the final round, Wales Rally GB.
Third factory crew Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm rivalled Al-Attiyah in the battle for the title but their fight came to the end after the accident on SS 11, when they had to retire from the rally.
On Rally Catalunya ŠKODA Fabia R5s scored the fastest times on 17 of 22 special stages run by WRC 2 competitors.
ŠKODA MOTORSPORT TEAMS IN WRC 2 2015
Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm
2 victories (Poland, Finland), 2 second places (Portugal, France)
3rd place in WRC 2 drivers championship provisional classification
Pontus Tidemand/Emil Axelsson
1 victory (Spain), 2 second places (Poland, Finland), 1 third place (Portugal)
4th place in WRC 2 drivers championship provisional classification
Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler
1 victory (Germany), 1 second place (Spain), 1 third place (Italy)
7th place in WRC 2 drivers championship provisional classification