Åhlin extends British championship lead with victory at the Pirelli International Rally

Fredrik Åhlin made it two wins from two events to extend his lead at the top of the MSA British Rally Championship (MSA BRC) standings by winning the Pirelli International Rally (29th to 30th April) in his CA1 Sport run ŠKODA FABIA R5. Co-driven by Torstein Eriksen, who was celebrating his birthday, the Swedish driver mastered the two-day gravel event in Kielder forest to clinch victory by 39.4 seconds. Despite winning just a single stage, Åhlin put in a composed and professional drive and led from stage 3 to the end of the rally.

Fredrik Åhlin / Torstein Eriksen, ŠKODA FABIA R5, CA1 Sport. Pirelli Rally 2017

Martin McCormack and David Moynihan made sure there were two ŠKODAs on the podium, after finishing third in their McGeehan Motorsport run FABIA R5 for the Tiger Risk Rally Team. A puncture on stage 4 cost them time, but they fought hard to score their best BRC result of the season so far.

Martin McCormack / David Moynihan, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Tiger Risk Rally Team. Border Counties Rally 2017

For David Bogie and Kevin Rae, driving a FABIA R5 prepared by the CA1 Sport team, it was a case of what might have been. They recovered magnificently well from a time-consuming brake problem during the first leg to set a stunning pace over the second day, winning all four stages on their way to a fourth-placed finish.

David Bogie / Kevin Rae, ŠKODA FABIA R5, CA1 Sport. Pirelli Rally 2017

There was one more FABIA R5 inside the top 10, as Tom Preston / Andrew Roughead, also part of the CA1 Sport team, finished in eighth spot overall.

The next round of the MSA British Rally Championship is the Scottish Rally which will take place on 19th and 20th May.

Rallye de Wallonie: De Mevius secures podium, Verschueren retains Belgian championship lead

Ghislain de Mevius and his co-driver Johan Jalet excelled at the Rallye de Wallonie (28th to 30th April), the fourth round of the Belgian Rally Championship (BRC), bringing BMA’s FABIA R5 home in second place overall. It was de Mevius’ first event of the season and he made his familiarity with this rally count, to finish just 46.4 seconds behind the overall winner.

De Mevius made his consistency pay and having settled into fourth spot for much of the second leg of this rally, benefitted from problems for both Guillaume Dilley and championship leader Vincent Verschueren on stages 19 and 20 respectively, to climb up to second before holding on to secure the runners-up spot.

Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Ghislain de Mevius. Rallye de Wallonie 2017 (Foto: BRC Media)

For the GoDrive FABIA R5 of Vincent Verschueren / Veronique Hostens a third place finish ensured they retained the championship lead. It could have been even better as they sat second for much of the rally and were pushing Kevin Abbring hard for the lead. But then on stage 20, tyre issues saw them fall back to fourth place. Nevertheless, the fastest time on the final stage saw them pip Guillaume Dilley for the podium place by just 0.5 seconds.

Vincent Verschueren / Veronique Hostens, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Duindistel. Rallye de Wallonie 2017 (Foto: BRC Media)

Xavier Bouche was the next FABIA R5 driver to finish inside the top 10. He led after the opening two super special stages, but a 30-second penalty on stage 3 saw him and his co-driver Laurent Royer fall back into the pack and they ended up in seventh place overall.

The next round of the Belgian Rally Championship will be the Sezoens Rally on 19th and 20th May.

Podium finish for Herczig at the Ózd Rallye as Vincze endures final stage woes

Norbert Herczig came agonizingly close to his second successive victory of the season at the Ózd Rallye (28th to 30th April), in the second round of the Hungarian Rally Championship (ORB). Driving a FABIA R5 for the ŠKODA Rally Team Hungaria, alongside his Slovak co-driver Igor Bacigál, he finished just 13.8 seconds behind the overall winner.

Herczig had led for the opening three stages before slipping back to third on stage 4, where they remained until the final stage when an incident with fellow FABIA R5 driver Ferenc Vincze saw then elevated to second in the final overall standings.

Norbert Herczig / Igor Bacigál, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Škoda Rally Team Hungaria. Ózd Rallye 2017

For Ferenc Vincze and his co-driver Attila Bazsó, who were driving for the S-Motorsport SE team, it was a case of what might have been, after final stage problems saw them fall from second to fifth in the overall standings right at the end.

Ferenc Vincze jr. / Attila Bazsó, ŠKODA FABIA R5, S-Motorsport SE. Ózd Rallye 2017

The other ŠKODA FABIA R5 to finish inside the top 10 was the Ranga Rally Team’s crew of László Ranga Jr. / Imre Tóth, who were one place behind Vincze in sixth place.

The next round of the Hungarian Rally Championship will be the Szombathely Rallye, which takes place from 19th to 21st May.


There was a ‘1-2-3-4-5’ finish for FABIA R5s in the WRC2 standings at the Rally Argentina. Behind the winning ŠKODA Motorsport car of Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson was Argentinean Juan Carlos Alonso, with Benito Guerra Jr completing the podium. Read more in our WRC Argentina ŠKODA Customer Teams Review article.

Reigning Champion Gaurav Gill and his co-driver Stéphane Prévot started their defence of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) with victory at the Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand, ahead of their ŠKODA MRF teammates Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjærmoen. Read more in ŠKODA MRF Rally Review article.

In the second round of the Slovak Rally Championship (MSR), the Rally Prešov, Polish pairing of Grzegorz Grzyb / Jakub Wróbel finished third for the Rufa Sport team, in a FABIA R5 prepared and run by the MM Rally Team. There were two other FABIA R5s in the top 7, with Jaroslav Melichárek / Erik Melichárek finishing fifth for Melico Racing in a car prepared and run by Kresta Racing, and Igor Drotár / Tomáš Plachý finishing seventh for Drotár Autošport in a car also prepared and run by the MM Rally Team.

At the International Rally of the Lakes, the third round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship (ITRC), Joe McGonigle / Ciaran Geaney finished fourth in their FABIA R5 while Brendan Cumiskey / Ronan O’Kane were in eight place overall.

Tiago Azevedo / Mário Castro came home in third place at the Rali Sical in the Azores Championship in Portugal. They were 1 minute and 30 seconds behind the overall winner, an impressive performance given that this was Azevedo’s first drive in a FABIA R5, although he did finish second at this event last year in a ŠKODA FABIA S2000.

Jean-Matthieu Leandri / Anthony Gorguilo steered their FABIA R5 to a victory at the Rallye National Côte des Nacres - Costa Serena in the French Cup, winning by a margin of 7.8 seconds over this 8 stage, 105km event. Antoine Casabianca / Tony Barichella came home in fourth place.

At another French Cup event, the Rallye National de la Lys, Yves Saint Requier / François Gilbert finished highest in the R5 class in their FABIA R5, but in second place overall, 58 seconds behind the winning WRC spec car.

Lars Stugemo / Karl-Olof Lexe finished in second place in their FABIA R5 at the 3-stage Hässleholms GP event in Sweden.

In the Italian Regional Championship (Zone 7) Marco Timo / Salvatore Invidia finished third in their Casarano Racing FABIA R5 at the Rally Città di Casarano.

In the Italian Zone 9, at the 8-stage, 60km Rally dei Nuraghi e del Vermentino – Terra, Giuseppe Dettori / Carlo Pisano won by a margin of 1.5 seconds.


Date Rally Surface
4-6 May Rally Islas Canarias European Rally Championship 2.podnik Asphalt
4-5 May Jordan rally Middle Eastern Rally Championship 2.podnik Gravel
5-6 May Rallye Sulingen German Rally Championship 3. podnik Asphalt
5-6 May Transilvania Rally Romanian Rally Championship 2.podnik Asphalt
6 May Rally Sørland Norwegian Rally Championship 4. podnik Gravel
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