Ahead of the final round of the season, ŠKODA and its team Pontus Tidemand/Emil Axelsson has already secured championship titles in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). Weekend’s China Rally Longyou (30 October – 1 November) will be just a triumphal procession for the team that will variegate the first start of new ŠKODA Fabia R5 in Asia.
China is the core market for ŠKODA, so it is symbolic that the debut of Fabia R5 in APRC will be right there. The car will be driven by the crew Tidemand/Axelsson that has a title guaranteed in Driver and Co‑Driver championships in APRC this year and also won the penultimate round of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship in WRC 2 category in Spain.
The ŠKODA MRF Team has got a great season in the APRC, because its crews Tidemand/Axelsson and Gaurav Gill/Glenn Macneall has won all five rallies run so far this season. Tidemand/Axelsson triumphed in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and Japan. At the Rally New Caledonia they had a runner-up finish – the victory went to their team-mates Gill/Macneall.
Thanks to Tidemand ŠKODA won fourth Drivers’ Championship title in a row in the APRC. The winning streak began in 2012 with victory for Australian Chris Atkinson. In 2013, the title went to India’s Gaurav Gill and Czech Jan Kopecký won the championship last year.
“We are happy to win such an important title in our first year with ŠKODA – and at difficult rallies, which were completely new to us. It is definitely a reason for celebration, but not until after the season finale: before then, we want to thrill our fans in China with the fantastic ŠKODA Fabia R5. We know this is a particularly important rally for the ŠKODA brand,” said Tidemand realizing the importance of the task ahead.
Organizers of Rally China Longyou prepared 13 special stages with a total length of 230 kilometres. The rally starts on Friday afternoon with short Super Special Stage (1.82 km), on Saturday and Sunday there will be another 12 special stages which are mixture of gravel and concrete parts. Most of special stages were run last year. Partly new is only the longest special stage Dajie (25.20 km).
ŠKODA will be fighting for the third victory in a row on Rally China. In 2013 Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm won there, while Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler were unbeatable last year.