Filip Nivette wins the Rajd Gdańsk to extend his Polish championship lead

The Rajd Gdańsk (27th to 28th May) was the second round of the Polish Rally Championship (RSMP) and saw Filip Nivette and Kamil Heller claim their second win of the season to maintain their place at the top of the championship standings.

They were driving a FABIA R5 which was prepared and run by the Kresta Racing team and put in an impressive performance at what is the only gravel round of the RSMP season. They led the rally from start to finish, winning eight of the nine completed special stages (one stage was cancelled) and finished 52.3 seconds ahead of the pack.

Filip Nivette / Kamil Heller, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Filip Nivette. Rajd Gdańsk Baltic Cup 2017

Just behind Nivette in second place in the overall standings was another FABIA R5, the Auto Partner Rally Team car of Lithuanian duo Dominykas Butvilas / Renatas Vaitkevičius. Their FABIA R5, which was actually prepared and run by the ProRacing team, never slipped lower than second in the overall standings and four second fastest times on the stages and five third places ensured they would comfortably finish as runners-up.

Dominykas Butvilas / Renatas Vaitkevičius, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Auto Partner Rally Team. Rajd Gdańsk Baltic Cup 2017

 Butvilas finished fifth at the Rajd Świdnicki, the opening round of the season, so this result has lifted him up to second in the championship standings after the opening two rallies.

There was also another FABIA R5 inside the top 10, as Marcin Gagacki / Marcin Bilski, who were driving for the Oponeo Motorsport team, came home in seventh place.

Marcin Gagacki / Marcin Bilski, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Marcin Gagacki. Rajd Gdańsk Baltic Cup 2017

The Polish Rally Championship will resume from 3rd to 5th August with the Rajd Rzeszowski.

Grzegorz Grzyb leads home ŠKODA’s One-Two-Three at the Rallye Tatry

It was a fantastic weekend for ŠKODA drivers at the Rallye Tatry (26th to 27th May) in the Slovak Rally Championship (MSR) as FABIAs finished first, second and third in the overall standings.

It was the Polish pairing of Grzegorz Grzyb / Bogusław Browiński who took the win by the narrowest of margins, beating fellow FABIA R5 driver Martin Koči by just 0.7 seconds. It was the third victory at the Rallye Tatry for Grzyb, who was driving for the Rufa Sport team, and the result keeps him firmly in the running for the championship.

Grzegorz Grzyb / Bogusław Browiński, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Rufa Sport. Rallye Tatry 2017

It was a closely fought duel between the two, although one in which Grzyb always held the edge after winning the opening two special stages of the rally. But he was only to win one further stage as Koči (Styllex Motorsport), who along with co-driver Filip Schovánek was driving with pace and confidence, winning three stages of his own, to keep right on Grzyb’s tail.

Martin Koči / Filip Schovánek, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Styllex motorsport. Rallye Tatry 2017

There was another ŠKODA completing the podium, but this time it wasn’t a FABIA R5, as Tomáš Ondrej / Adam Gomori impressed in their FABIA WRC for the Xiqio Rally Team. They won no fewer than four stages and the podium place was their objective before the rally.

Igor Drotár / Tomáš Plachý, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Drotár Autošport. Rallye Tatry 2017

And that wasn’t the end of the good results as Igor Drotár / Tomáš Plachý managed to bring their Drotár Autošport FABIA R5 in seventh place overall.

The Slovak Rally Championship will continue with the Rally Hustopeče, which takes place on 16th and 17th June in the Czech Republic.

Fabian Kreim back on the top step of the podium at the Sachsen-Rallye

Fabian Kreim’s domination of the German Rally Championship (DRM) continued with another impressive victory in the fourth round of the season, the Sachsen-Rallye (26th to 27th May) in Zwickau.

Kreim, who was driving alongside regular co-driver Frank Christian for the ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland team in a FABIA R5 which was prepared and run by the Baumschlager Rallye & Racing team, won nine of the twelve special stages of this asphalt event, to secure victory 36.3 seconds from his nearest rival.

Fabian Kreim / Frank Christian, ŠKODA FABIA R5, ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland. Sachsen Rallye 2017

It was Kreim’s first ever victory at this event and his third win of the season and he is currently sitting in second place in the overall championship standings.

Dominik Dinkel / Christina Kohl also put in an impressive performance to finish third overall. Dinkel was also driving a car prepared and run by the Baumschlager Rallye & Racing but for the Brose Motorsport team. He drove a consistent rally and claimed one stage win, as he moved up to third in the championship standings.

Dominik Dinkel / Christina Kohl, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Brose Motorsport. Sachsen Rallye 2017

There was also another FABIA R5 in fourth place as Sandro Wallenwein / Markus Poschner, driving for the race:pro motorsport team, took advantage of a 30-second penalty to rival Christophe Brugger, for touching the retarder on the final stage, to edge into the top 4.

Sandro Wallenwein / Markus Poschner, ŠKODA FABIA R5, race:pro motorsport. Sachsen Rallye 2017

The German Rally Championship continues with the Rallye Stemweder Berg which takes place on 23rd and 24th June.

Rallye National du Saint-Emilion turns into a family affair as the Galpins steal the show

The story of the Rallye National du Saint-Emilion (27th May) was all about the Galpin family. Jérôme Galpin, who competes for Team FJ (the family company) with wife Anne as his co-driver, claimed an impressive victory. They won eleven of the twelve special stages to finish clear of the field by a margin of 1 minute 20 seconds.

But remarkably in fourth place, also driving a FABIA R5 in the colours of Team FJ, were Jérôme’s parents Jean and Françoise Galpin. They have been rallying since the 1970’s and have won more than 250 rallies as well as claiming the French Cup crown in 1987.

Jérôme Galpin / Anne Galpin, Jean Galpin / Françoise Galpin, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Team FJ. Rallye National du Saint-Emilion 2017

After starting out driving as a hobby, they went on to found Team FJ in 1991. These days the whole family is involved in the team, with Jérôme’s sister Julie also involved. They still find time to enter a few rallies each year themselves and always try to win.

Jérôme himself began racing in 1994 at the age of 18. He has won around 50 rallies himself and also claimed some podium finishes in the French Rally Championship. His wife Anne joined him in 2015 and in their debut season, they too won the French Cup.

And as if to prove that Team FJ is a family business, the other FABIA R5 they entered in this event was driven by Jean-Luc and Alexandra Roché. Jean-Luc is the father of Pierre Roché and husband to Martine, who compete for Team FJ in the French Championship. Alexandra is Jean-Luc and Martine’s daughter as well as Pierre’s sister.

Jérôme Galpin / Anne Galpin, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Team FJ. Rallye National du Saint-Emilion 2017

There was another FABIA R5 inside the top 10 too, as Paul Gauthier / Ludovic Moreau finished in eighth place overall, but there was no doubt the headlines at the Rallye National du Saint-Emilion were all about the Family Galpin.


In the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) at the National Capital Rally (26th to 28th May) in Canberra, Australia, there was a change in the order as reigning champion Gaurav Gill saw his winning streak ended by ŠKODA MRF teammate Ole Christian Veiby. Veiby was making just his second start in the championship but won by a margin of 49.3 seconds.

Hermen Kobus and Erik de Wild, driving a FABIA R5 for his own Kobus Tuning team finished third overall, and first in the Open Dutch Rally Championship (ONRK) standings at the ELE Rally in Holland. They were just 18.1 seconds behind the overall winners.

In the second round of the Italian WRC Championship (CIWRC), the Rally 1000 Miglia (26th to 27th May), Efrem Bianco / Dino Lamonato finished first in the R5 class and eight overall in their DP Autosport FABIA R5. Meanwhile, the PA Racing pairing of Gianluigi Niboli / Manuel Fenoli were third in the R5 class and tenth overall in their FABIA R5.

Lars Stugemo steered his FABIA R5 to his best ever finish in the Swedish Rally Championship. Driving alongside co-driver Kalle Lexe at the South Swedish Rally, Stugemo finished in seventh position overall, an impressive result for a part-time driver who is also a successful businessman.

Despite being a late entry, Marty McCormack continued his impressive recent form with a third place finish on the asphalt at the Cavan Stages Rally (28th May) in Ireland. Driving his own FABIA R5, which is prepared and run by McGeehan Motorsport, under the banner of the TigerRisk Team, McCormack and his co-driver David Moynihan finished just 33.9 behinds the overall winners and just 1.8 seconds behind the second placed car (both of which were WRC class vehicles).

Anthony Puppo has been enjoying a stellar season in 2017 and added another victory to the list at the Rallye Régional de la Croisette in the French Rally Cup. Driving a FABIA R5 alongside co-driver Jérémy Cenci, Puppo finished 30.4 seconds ahead of his closest rival. It was his eight victory of the season and follows a win at his first ever event in the French Tarmac Championship, the Rallye d'Antibes - Côte d'Azur.

The Sébastien Loeb Racing FABIA R5 of Quentin Giordano / Valentin Salmon performed strongly again at the Rallye National de Lorraine in the French Cup. They finished second overall, 1 minute and 40 seconds behind the overall winners.

There was a FABIA R5 One-Two result at the Rallye Régional de la Coutellerie et du Tire-Bouchon in another French Cup event. Stéphane André / Stéphane Peyronel claimed the victory by a margin of just 16.9 seconds from fellow FABIA R5 crew of Dominique Subert / Jérôme Bard. There was also another ŠKODA in 3rd place in the shape of Stéphane Brun and Mélodie Malaptias’ FABIA S2000.

Adrian Fernémont / Samuel Maillen took part in the Rallye Sprint de Haillot in Belgium in the same FABIA R5 used by Benoît Allart in the Belgian Rally Championship. They did the car justice too, finishing in second place, just 8.3 seconds behind the eventual winners.

The Autosport Debackere FABIA R5 of Melissa Debackere / Cindy Cokelaere won the ORC Canal Rally, which took place in Oostrozebeke, Belgium. In a short, but closely fought event, they finished 9.6 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals.


Date Rally Surface
2-4 June Acropolis Rally European Rally Championship Round 3 Gravel
1-3 June Rallye du Chablais Swiss Rally Championship Round 3 Asphalt
2-4 June Rally del Salento Italian Rally Championship Round 5 Asphalt
2-3 June Raliul Aradului Romanian Rally Championship Round 3 Asphalt
3-4 June Rally de Santani Paraguayan Rally Championship Round 3 Gravel
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