First UK victory for ŠKODA Fabia R5. ŠKODA customer teams getting reading for new season in national championships. Lack of snow causes postponement of first two rounds of Lithuanian Rally Championship. Another winter rally for Ole Christian Veiby with Fabia R5.
David Bogie returns back to BRC with ŠKODA Fabia R5
Former British rally champion, David Bogie, will compete in the 2016 MSA British Rally Championship in CA1 Sport-run ŠKODA Fabia R5. The Scotsman won the title back in 2011, and is the last person to do so in a four-wheel drive car. He has since had great success in the Scottish Rally Championships.
“I was very impressed with the build quality of the Fabia R5. The car has proven to be very competitive overseas, and I’m confident it will be just as competitive on the British stages too,” said David Bogie. “BRC is full of very good drivers, but I’m obviously looking forward to competing against Elfyn Evans again. This will be the first time we’ve competed against each other in like-for-like machinery since I beat him to the BRC title in 2011, so we’ll be pushing to win!’’
Bogie will return to the BRC in the opening Mid Wales Stages rally, which takes place on 5th and 6th March.
Bogie secures first UK win for a ŠKODA Fabia R5
Scottish rally driver David Bogie secured a first victory on British soil for the ŠKODA Fabia R5 by winning the Red Kite Stages on Sunday. The former British Rally Champion was taking part to test the CA1 Sport-run Fabia R5 ahead of the opening round of this year’s British Rally Championship. In wet and windy conditions, in which he had to contend with poor visibility, Bogie secured a 41 second victory over the six stage gravel event.
“It was important that we could fine-tune that for muddy Welsh gravel ahead of the opening round of the British Rally Championship. It was a very good test and it was good to get a win for ŠKODA, and the first win for a Fabia R5 on British soil,” said David Bogie. “To finish 41 seconds ahead of Julian Reynolds, who is a very quick driver, shows the pace we were going at. We’ve even been hitting some of the rough stuff just to see how the car reacts, and all credit to ŠKODA Motorsport on building a fantastic car.”
Freddy Loix readies for more success at the Rally Haspengouw
On February 26th and 27th, the Rally van Haspengouw marks the start of the Belgian Rally Championships 2016, and Belgian driver Freddy Loix, together with co-driver Johan Gitsels will be looking to defend their crown won last year in a Fabia R5.
After failing to finish this event last year, Loix, who has won the championship in a ŠKODA for the last two seasons, is upbeat about his prospects of winning another title. “Yes I want to be champion again because the hunger after three titles is still there, but mostly because I have with the ŠKODA Fabia R5 the ideal vehicle for this,” said Freddy Loix. “I can tell you that the Fabia R5, which I debuted at the Ypres Rally, is very different from the car I will drive in the Haspengouw. And there is still plenty of room to improve the settings on it.“
Ole Christian Veiby takes the Fabia R5 to Vaakuna Ralli
This years SM Vaakuna Ralli, the second winter round of the Finnish Rally Championship, takes place on the 26th and 27th February and there is also ŠKODA Fabia R5 entered.
Norwegian driver Ole Christian Veiby and co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen of the Printsport Oy team will be looking to build on their excellent sixth place finish in the WRC2 category at the Rally Sweden, and also gain more experience of driving their four-wheel drive car.
“I enjoyed driving the ŠKODA Fabia R5 in Rally Sweden, and I’m super pleased that we are now getting more valuable practice in the car. Our main reason for entering the rally is to collect experience with driving the R5,” explained Ole Christian Veiby. “In addition it is on snow, and there is no doubt that I enjoy a bit of snow driving as well. Rally Sweden was my first outing in the R5 and I enjoyed every bit of it, and now I’m lucky enough to get even more practice in an amazing car.”
Sylvain Michel to drive Fabia R5 in French Rally Championship
French Rally driver, Sylvain Michel will be taking on eight rounds of the French Rally Championship for the 2C Competition team. Michel will be looking to add to the success that the team have had in the competition in recent years, and at the wheel of a Fabia R5, he is confident he has the right vehicle to achieve success.
“I go into the championship totally confident,” said Sylvain Michel. “Our stated goal is to reach the podium in the drivers’ championship, but also to score maximum points for the team. The ŠKODA Fabia R5 with Michelin tyres has a very effective chassis and a powerful engine. So we have all the cards in hand to enjoy a great season!”
The opening round of the French Rally Championship is the Rallye Le Torquet Pas-de-Calais which takes place from 17th – 19th March.
Simpsons step up testing in Scotland
The Simpsons ŠKODA Motorsport team have continued its preparation for the 2016 MSA British Rally Championship with 110km of forest testing in Scotland.
For driver, Neil Simpson, driving on gravel for the first time in 15 years, the advice of ŠKODA Motorsport engineer Eric Mommey on the set-up of his Fabia R5 proved critical as they nailed the suspension settings and allowed Simpson to post some great times.
“It was great to be back in the Fabia R5 and discover how good the car is on gravel surfaces. It’s been a long time since I’ve driven in the forest but I was delighted with the progress we made on the day. The car is simply superb although, perhaps, the driver is still a little bit ‘rusty’,” commented Neil Simpson.
Team’s next test will be on Wednesday 24th February on the Sweet Lamb.
Warm weather postponements hit Rimo Martin Sport team
The Rimo Martin Sport team’s campaign at the Lithuanian Rally Championship has stalled after warm weather caused the cancellation of the opening two events of the season. Both the Halls Winter Rally and the Vorumaa Talveralli were scrapped because there was literally no snow on the ground for these supposed winter events.
The Rimo Martin Sport team of Martynas Samuitis/Ramūnas Šaučikovas will therefore have to wait until the Talsi Rally, the so-called Rally of Champions, on the 20th and 21st May, before they can get behind the wheel of their Fabia R5 and begin their bid for success.
Photo: Nigel Pratt (title photo) & teams’ archive