Umberto Scandola seals win at Rally Adriatico, Julien Maurin claims Rallye Terre du Diois and dominance of the Rallye Český Krumlov highlight another strong European showing from ŠKODA Fabia R5 cars.
Umberto Scandola secures fourth consecutive Rally Adriatico win
The ŠKODA Italia pairing of Umberto Scandola/Guido d’Amore (title photo above) cruised to victory in the Rally Adriatico, the fourth round of the Italian Rally Championship. It was the fourth consecutive time they have topped the podium at this event, but their first win in a ŠKODA Fabia R5, after three previous successes in a ŠKODA Fabia S2000.
They dominated the event from start to finish, winning the first four stages and seven overall, as they opened up a commanding lead and then consolidated it with a fast but controlled drive. They fended off all challengers in what was an exciting contest, to finish sixteen seconds ahead of their closest rivals. It is a result that leaves them in second place in the Italian Rally Championship at the halfway point.
“What a rally,” said Umberto Scandola on the podium. “We drove with a furious pace from start to finish. But I was also careful not to waste all our hard work this weekend with a small mistake. We are delighted to have beaten our opponents across the line and congratulations must go to everyone in the team.”
The Rally Adriatico also saw another fine performance in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 as Denis Colombini from San Marino, and his co-driver Flavio Zanella from Italy, snatched a surprise spot on the podium with a third placed finish. After winning the final stage of the first leg, they had a stellar second leg, with another stage win and three second places, to secure third place overall by a 20-second margin.
Elsewhere, Alfredo “Dedo” De Dominicis put in a strong performance in the first leg, finishing sixth overall before being forced to retire on stage 10. The other ŠKODA Fabia R5 driven by Luca
Hoelbling with co-driver Mauro Grassi endured a nightmare start in the opening stage and was always playing catch-up, finally finishing up in twelfth place.
The next round of the Italian Rally Championship, the Rally San Marino, takes place from 8th to 10th July.
Julien Maurin wins Rallye Terre du Diois as Matthieu Margaillan slides off to finish fifth
Julien Maurin and co-driver Olivier Ural claimed a well-deserved win at the Rallye Terre du Diois in the second round of the French Rally Championship. The event, with its centre in Dié, comprised of 12 special stages and around 125km of competitive distance.
The French duo ended up almost 2 minutes clear of their nearest rivals as they bounced back in style from a third place in the opening round of the championship, the Rallye Terre des Causses, to claim victory and move to the top of the championship standings.
“I’m very happy to win in the Dié,” said Julien Maurin afterwards. “The result was fantastic and we were also able to identify some great settings on the car too. So it’s been a doubly satisfying weekend for the team.”
Behind them, the other ŠKODA Fabia R5 team of Matthieu Margaillan/Mathilde Margaillan could only finish in fifth place. They had been pushing Maurin hard at the top of the field before an incident in the rain during stage seven saw them slide off the road; a mistake which cost them around seven and a half minutes and put paid to their challenge.
The next round of the French Gravel Rally Championship, which takes place from 24th to 26th June, is the Rallye Terre de Langres – Haute Marne.
Three ŠKODA Fabia R5 cars in the Top 5 at the Rallye Český Krumlov
ŠKODA Motorsport has always prospered in the Czech Rally Championship, and it was a familiar story at the Rallye Český Krumlov as the two ŠKODA Motorsport teams dominated the event in spite of difficult weather conditions, to finish in first and second places.
Behind the official ŠKODA Motorsport cars, the standout performance came from Vojtěch Štajf/František Rajnoha driving a ŠKODA Fabia R5 for the Klokočka ŠKODA Czech National Team. They ended up in fifth place, which was higher than they had expected and was a result they were extremely happy with, especially given the difficult conditions.
“The rally was a good battle and I hope has shown that we must be counted amongst the best in the Czech championship now,” said Vojtěch Štajf at the finish.
Karel Trojan/Petr Chlup, driving for the Korno Motorsport team brought their ŠKODA Fabia R5 home in twelfth place, and as would be expected in ŠKODA Motorsport’s home championship, there were also a smattering of ŠKODA Fabia S2000s and ŠKODA Fabia WRC cars in the top 10 and throughout the field.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Rashid Al-Ketbi became the first non-European driver to win the Rally Bulgaria as he took victory alongside German co-driver Karina Hepperle in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 for the Fujairah Rally Team. They beat an otherwise all-Bulgarian field in this 13 stage, 183km tarmac rally, which this year took place in around the Black Sea resort of Varna. *** The Polish pairing of Filip Nivette/Kamil Heller claimed victory in the Rajd Gdańsk in the second round of the Polish Rally Championship. They won a thrilling event by just 1.1 seconds from their nearest rival with success in the final stage propelling them to the top of the leaderboard for the first time in the rally. *** Melissa Debackere took the runners-up spot at the ORC Canal Rally in Belgium in what was her debut rally in a ŠKODA Fabia R5, finishing just four seconds behind the eventual winner. *** Torrential rain forced the cancellation of the Rally de la Madera, which was to be the third round of the Paraguayan Rally Championship. Gustavo Saba/Leonardo Suaya, Didier Arias/Hector Nunes and Miguel Zaldivar/Claudio Bustos had all been due to compete in ŠKODA Fabia R5s. *** Belgian rally driver Didier Duquesne has announced he will drive a ŠKODA Fabia R5 prepared by the BMA team. “The reliability of the ŠKODA Fabia R5 is impressive and the BMA team has already amply demonstrated its qualities,” said Didier Duquesne, whose first appearance will be at the Ypres Rally, alongside co-driver Diederik Pattyn. *** On 1st June, the Race Art Technologies Team and ŠKODA Swiss Motorsport will hold a ŠKODA Day in the courtyards of the central District Maghetti in Lugano. All are welcome to come along and see a ŠKODA Fabia R5 car up close, have a go at a driving simulation, and meet members of the team.
COMING UP THIS WEEKEND
Rally Information: Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island, Azores. 2nd to 4th June. 4th round of European Rally Championship, 3rd round of Portuguese Rally Championship. Gravel event, 16 special stages, around 215km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA Fabia R5 teams: Ralfs Sirmacis/Arturs Šimins (Sports Racing Technologies), Raul Jeets/Andrus Toom (Sports Racing Technologies), Antonín Tlusťák/Ladislav Kučera (Tlusťák Racing), Pedro Meireles/Mário Castro; Miguel Barbosa/Miguel Ramalho (BP Ultimate ŠKODA Team), Diogo Salvi/Paulo Babo
Interesting Facts: ŠKODA Fabia S2000 cars won this event three years in a row between 2011-2013 with Juho Hänninen/Mikko Markkula in 2011 and Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler in 2013 for ŠKODA Motorsport sandwiching a 2012 victory for Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene for ŠKODA UK.
Rally Information: Veldhoven, near Eindhoven, southern Netherlands. 3rd to 4th June. 2nd round of Dutch Rally Championship, 5th round of Euro Rallye Trophée. Asphalt event, 17 special stages, around 180km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA Fabia R5 teams: Bernhard Ten Brinke/Davy Thierie, Mark van Eldik/Hein Verschuuren, Albert von Thurn und Taxis/Björn Degandt
Interesting Facts: This is Bernhard Ten Brinke and Davy Thierie first rally of 2016, and their ŠKODA Fabia R5 debut. The wonderfully named Albert von Thurn und Taxis is actually a German aristocrat whose full title is Albert Maria Lamoral Miguel Johannes Gabriel, 12th Prince of Thurn and Taxis.