Fabian Kreim closes in on German championship, while Pavel Valoušek is already over the line in Slovakia and Iván Ares debut win bodes well for a 2017 Spanish title push.
Fabian Kreim edges closer to the title with victory at Rallye Niedersachsen
Fabian Kreim and Frank Christian claimed their fifth victory of the season in the German Rally Championship at the Rallye Niedersachsen. Driving a ŠKODA FABIA R5 for the ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland team (title photo above), they put in a hugely impressive drive to lead the event from start to finish, win eleven of the thirteen stages in the process and they came second in the other two.
In taking the win, they also comprehensively defeated the Norwegian pairing Mads Østberg / Ola Fløene, who are regulars in the World Rally Championship, finishing 34 seconds ahead of them overall.
The result, and added bonus points for winning the power stage, moved Kreim and Christian closer to the German Rally Championship title. They now have a lead of 21 points over the closest rivals going into the final event of the season and this means a finish of sixth or higher will secure them the championship crown.
Fabian Kreim can clinch the title in the final round of the German Rally Championship, the 3-Städte-Rallye takes place on 21st and 22nd October.
Iván Ares roars to debut win at Rally Princesa de Asturias as he eyes 2017 title challenge
In the Spanish Rally Championship at the Rally Princesa de Asturias, there was another hugely impressive performance in a ŠKODA FABIA R5 from Iván Ares / José Antonio Pintor. The pair, driving for the Peña Autocross Arteixo team, claimed victory in what was their very first rally in a FABIA R5 prepared by AR Vidal Racing. And they did so in style, winning four stages and finishing 38 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals.
As Ares said, the team has all eyes on a tilt at the championship crown next season, but now they have plenty more time to put the FABIA R5 through its paces and learn more about the car.
The next round of the Spanish Rally Championship, the Rallye Villa de Llanes, takes place on 23rd and 24th September.
Pavel Valoušek claims Slovak Rally Championship title at the Rally Košice
In the sixth and final round of the Slovak Rally Championship at the Rally Košice, Pavel Valoušek and Veronika Havelková secured the points they needed to clinch the championship title in their ŠKODA FABIA R5.
In the Slovak championship, the longer events are divided in two with the results of each leg counting as a separate event towards to championship standings. So the victory secured by the Energy Oil Motorsport drivers in the first leg of this event ensured they won the championship title despite having to retire before the start of the second leg.
The Czech duo won two of the six stages competed in the first leg and their title success never looked to be seriously under threat.
Honourable mentions too must go to the other ŠKODA FABIA R5s in the field. Věroslav Cvrček / Petr Novák finished 7th overall for L Racing. Meanwhile, Tomáš Kukučka / Peter Vejačka were 9th overall for the KL Racing Team.
NEWS IN BRIEF
- In Slovenia, the Rally Nova Gorica saw a convincing victory for the Italian duo of Claudio De Cecco / Alberto Barigelli in a ŠKODA FABIA R5. They finished 23.6 seconds ahead of their nearest rival Aleks Humar.
- Jean Galpin and co-driver Françoise Galpin, driving FABIA R5 of Team FJ, won the Rallye Régional des Jardins de Sologne in the French Rally Cup.
- In Italy, at the Rally Coppa Valtellina, Luca Rosetti / Mirko Franzi were victorious for the Promo Sport Racing team. They finished 35 seconds clear of their nearest rivals.
- Vincent Verschueren put the disappointment of his disqualification at the Omloop van Vlaanderen behind him to win the Aarova Rallysprint in his ŠKODA FABIA R5. Along with co-driver Gert Broekaert, they were 40.8 seconds ahead of the second-placed car.
- In Romania, at a fast Iasi Rally, Dan Girtofan / Tudor Marza finished in second place in their ŠKODA FABIA R5. The result confirmed they will finish runners-up in the Romanian Rally Championship. “The race was an interesting one, very quick, but also quite concentrated,” said Dan Girtofan. “We didn’t take any unnecessary risks and it all worked out well for us in the end.”
- At the 3-stage ABC Rally in Finland, Mikko Lehessaari / Reeta Hämäläinen, who were driving a ŠKODA FABIA R5 for Hannu’s Rally Team finished second overall and were the fastest in their class. They entered the event to try out the car on the fast, curvy and jumpy roads, in preparation for the upcoming Ralli Tampere. “Very useful day,” said Mikko Lehessaari afterwards. “I learnt a lot of new things about the car here and we will be even faster at the Rally Tampere.”
- But other category cars also take part, with Efrem Bianco / Dino Lamonato finishing 3rd in R5 class and 7th overall for the Scuderia Palladio at the Rallye San Martino, the 5th round of the Italian WRC Championship.
COMING UP THIS WEEKEND
Liepāja, eastern Latvia; 16th to 18th September; 9th round of European Rally Championship; gravel event, 13 special stages, around 203 km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA FABIA R5s:
Ralfs Sirmacis / Arturs Šimins (Sports Racing Technologies); Raul Jeets / Andrus Toom (Sports Racing Technologies); Raimondis Kisiels / Arnis Ronis (TGS Worldwide OU)
The last ŠKODA to taste victory here was back in 2014, when Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm won in a ŠKODA FABIA S2000.
Isle of Man Rally
Douglas, Isle of Man; 15th to 17th September; 7th round of British Rally Championship; asphalt event, 20 special stages, around 270 km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA FABIA R5s:
David Bogie / James O’Reilly (CA1 Sport); Desi Henry / Liam Moynihan; Thomas Preston / Jack Morton (CA1 Sport)
There has been a ŠKODA FABIA R5 in the top three of the British Rally Championship standings for each of the last three rounds.
Puławy, eastern Poland; 16th to 18th September; 4th round of Polish Rally Championship; asphalt event, 12 special stages, around 152 km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA FABIA R5:
Filip Nivette / Kamil Heller
There was a victory for a ŠKODA FABIA R5 at this event last year as Grzegorz Grzyb / Robert Hundla won by a margin of just 5 seconds.
Eurol Hellendoorn Rally
Hellendoorn, eastern Netherlands; 16th to 17th September; 4th round of Dutch Rally Championship; asphalt event, 14 special stages, around 205 km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA FABIA R5:
Bernhard ten Brinke / Davy Thierie
The last time a ŠKODA made it onto the podium at this rally was back in 2007 when Eric Wevers / Jalmar van Weeren finished second in a ŠKODA FABIA WRC.