A ‘One-Two’ weekend as ŠKODA Fabia R5s dominate the podiums in Czech Republic, Lithuania, Australia and Paraguay and there’s more good news from Italy and France.
Valoušek’s victory in Slovak Championship as Kopecký takes overall win at Rally Hustopeče
The Rally Hustopeče proved to be a good event for ŠKODA Motorsport team, as Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler extended their 100% start to the Czech Rally Championship in this third round of the season.
There was also a great result for Pavel Valoušek/Veronika Havelková (title photo above). The duo finished second overall and also in the Czech championship classification, but were top of the Slovakian Rally Championship standings, just 28 seconds behind the eventual winners.
“We had a super result and its thanks to everyone in the team,” said Pavel Valoušek afterwards. “The mechanics did some great work on the car to keep it working so well in these extremely hot conditions. Credit also to the ŠKODA Fabia R5 which really showed its levels of endurance at this event. Our focus was the Slovak championship standings, so we got the result we wanted. We’ve all worked as one, and the result is a great reward for us all.”
There was also a good performance from Vojtěch Štajf/František Rajnoha, driving for the Klokočka ŠKODA Czech National Team, who were pushing for a podium place throughout the rally before eventually winding up in fourth place.
And the other ŠKODA Fabia R5 team, Tomáš Kukučka/Peter Vejačka, was also putting in a consistent and solid drive until a nightmare penultimate stage saw them fall back to eventually finish 10th in the Slovakian championship standings.
The next round of the Czech Rally Championship is the Rally Bohemia which takes place from 1st to 3rd July, while the Slovak Rally Championship returns on 22nd July with the Rallye Tatry.
Pontus Tidemand triumphs at the Rally Žemaitija as Kalle Rovanperä closes in on Latvian crown
The Rally Žemaitija bore witness to a scintillating battle between the two TGS Worldwide OU ŠKODA Fabia R5 cars, which eventually saw ŠKODA Motorsport driver Pontus Tidemand and his co-driver Jonas Andersson prevail by a margin of just 9.8 seconds from the Finnish duo of Kalle Rovanperä/Risto Pietiläinen.
Tidemand, who had chosen to participate in this rally as preparation for the upcoming World Rally Championship event in Poland, which will take place in similar conditions, was elated with his own performance, but also hugely impressed with that of his young rival.
“I’m very, very pleased with the weekend,” said Pontus Tidemand at the finish. “We got a lot out of it in terms of perfect practice for the upcoming rally in Poland, where the roads, just like here, are extremely fast and you have to go flat out to stand a chance. I’m really impressed with Kalle’s performance too. To be able to get the most out of the car and push to the max at just 15 years old, that is huge. We both competed for the TGS Worldwide OU team and had great support from them. I’m happy that we could give them first and second place today.”
Kalle Rovanperä meanwhile was cursing his luck at not sneaking the victory himself but was pleased to have secured maximum points towards the Latvian championship standings.
“It was a great rally and we had good pace throughout the weekend,” said Kalle Rovanperä. “We lost the battle for the win because of a puncture on stage 7, and after that we focused on finishing safely and getting maximum points in Latvian championship, which we won!”
The other ŠKODA Fabia R5 taking part was the Martin Sport car driven by Martynas Samuitis and his co-driver Ramūnas Šaučikovas. After standing in 6th place overall after the Friday, a nasty crash in the third special stage saw them forced out of the rally, which also led to Ramūnas Šaučikovas being hospitalized with a back injury. Needless to say, the best wishes of all at ŠKODA Motorsport go out to him for a full and fast recovery.
Rovanperä retains his lead in the Latvian Rally Championship with just two events remaining. The next round is the Tallinna Ralli which takes place on 26th and 27th August.
NEWS IN BRIEF
*** There was a second consecutive ŠKODA ‘one-two’ finish of the year in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship at the International Rally of Queensland in Australia. It was Indian driver Gaurav Gill, along with his co-driver Glenn Macneall, who claimed the win again to extend their lead at the top of the Championship. They finished just under two minutes ahead of the German pairing of Fabian Kreim/Frank Christian, with both driving ŠKODA MRF team’s Fabia R5s run by the Racetorque Engineering. *** In the 4th round of the French Tarmac Championship at the Rallye du Limousin, Sylvain Michel/Lara Vanneste claimed victory in the Group R category for Team 2C Yacco. The championships rather convoluted points system meant the result saw them extend their lead at the top of the championship. Meanwhile, Pierre Roché/Martine Roché finished the event in 4th place in the Group R category. *** The rescheduled Rally de la Madera took place last weekend as the third round of the Paraguayan Rally Championship. And it saw Gustavo Saba/Leonardo Suaya claim the first win of the season. They won with a margin of 1 minute and 27 seconds from fellow ŠKODA Fabia R5 team of Didier Arias/Hector Nunes, who secured their third consecutive top-2 finish of the year. *** There was yet another ‘one-two’ finish for ŠKODA in the R5 class at the Rally della Marca Trevigiana in Italy. Efrem Bianco/Dino Lamonato topped the standings as well as securing 5th place overall, for the Palladio team. Meanwhile, Walter Lamonato/Rudy Pollet, driving for the Rally Team SRL, were just behind them in the R5 standings, and finished 7th overall.
COMING UP THIS WEEKEND
Rally Information: Ypres, western Belgium; 23rd to 25th June; 5th round of European Rally Championship (ERC), 6th round of Belgian Rally Championship; asphalt event, 17 special stages, around 250 km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA Fabia R5 teams: Freddy Loix/Johan Gitsels; Vincent Verschueren/Veronique Hostens; Antonín Tlusťák/Ladislav Kučera (Tlusťák Racing); Didier Duquesne/Diederik Pattyn (Autostal Atlantic); Jaromír Tarabus/Daniel Trunkát (T&T Czech National Team); Herman Kobus/Erik de Wild (Kobus Tuning); Ghislain de Mevius/Johan Jalet (Ice Pol Racing Team); Melissa Debackere/Cindy Cokelaere (Duindistel); Fredericq Delplace/Wouter Polfliet (Autostal Atlantic)
Interesting Facts: Freddy Loix has won all five rallies in the Belgian championship this season; Loix is the most successful driver in the history of the Ypres Rally with ten career victories to date. The last time he failed to win this event was back in 2012, a year when he wasn’t driving a ŠKODA.
Rally Information: Dumfries, south-west Scotland; 24th to 25th June; 4th round of British Rally Championship; gravel event, 8 special stages, around 120km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA Fabia R5 teams: David Bogie/Kevin Rae (CA1 Sport); Desi Henry/Liam Moynihan; Thomas Preston/Jack Morton (CA1 Sport)
Interesting Facts: David Bogie is a three-time former winner of this event, and had won the Scottish title five years in a row (2009-2013), becoming the only driver to hold both the Scottish and British rally titles at the same time (in 2011).
Rally Information: Rohr im Gebirge, central Austria, south-west of Vienna; 25th June; 4th round of Austrian Rally Championship; asphalt event, 8 special stages, around 100 km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA Fabia R5 team: Raimund Baumschlager/Thomas Zeltner (BRR Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Team)
Interesting Facts: This year will be the 7th running of this rally and of the previous six Raimund Baumschlager has failed to win just once, back in 2011, when he did not participate.
Rallye Stemweder Berg
Rally Information: Stemwede, north-west Germany; 24th to 25th June; 5th round of German Rally Championship; asphalt event, 15 special stages, around 162 km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA Fabia R5 teams: Fabian Kreim/Frank Christian (ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland); Mark van Eldik/Harmen Scholtalbers (Wevers Sport); Kristian Poulsen/Ole R Frederiksen (Wevers Sport); Edwin Schilt/Lisette Bakker (Wevers Sport); Dmitriy Biryukov/Evgeniy Kalachev (TGS Worldwide OU)
Interesting Facts: The Rallye Stemweder Berg saw a ŠKODA Fabia R5 ‘one-two’ last year with Fabian Kreim/Frank Christian claiming the victory ahead of Mark Wallenwein/Stefan Kopczyk.
Rallye Terre de Langres – Haute Marne
Rally Information: Langres, eastern France; 25th to 26th June; 3rd round of French Gravel Rally Championship; gravel event, 10 special stages, around 150 km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA Fabia R5 teams: Julien Maurin/Olivier Ural; Matthieu Margaillan/Mathilde Margaillan
Interesting Facts: The ŠKODA Fabia R5 teams have won both of the events in the French Gravel Championship so far, with Matthieu Margaillan winning the opening round at the Rallye Terre des Causses, while Julien Maurin took the win at the Rallye Terre du Diois in the second round.
Rali Vidreiro – Centro de Portugal
Rally Information: Vila Real, central Portugal; 24th to 25th June; 4th round of Portuguese Rally Championship; asphalt event, 9 special stages, around 115 km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA Fabia R5 teams: Miguel Barbosa/Miguel Ramalho (BP Ultimate ŠKODA Team); Diogo Salvi/Paulo Babo; Miguel Campos/Carlos Magalhães; Pedro Meireles/Mário Castro
Interesting Facts: Pedro Meireles has managed two third place finishes here in the Portuguese Rally Championship, both in a ŠKODA Fabia S2000.