ŠKODA secures Manufacturers title in Belgian Rally Championship, while Cédric Cherain wins East Belgian Rally on his debut in a FABIA R5. Umberto Scandola wins Rally di Roma Capitale to keep his Italian title hopes alive and Esben Hegelund wins fifth rally in row in Denmark.
Cédric Cherain charges to East Belgian Rally victory
This year’s Belgian Rally Championship has been all about Freddy Loix and rightly so as the FABIA R5 driver, along with his co-driver Johan Gitsels, won each of the opening six rounds to wrap up the title long ago.
However, at the East Belgian Rally, which was the 8th round of the championship, the story was all about another driver in a ŠKODA FABIA R5. It was Cédric Cherain and his co-driver Renaud Herman who took the victory; a remarkable feat given that this was their very first outing in this car.
And this was no fluke result. Cherain (title photo above) was in dominant form and but for a small error on the opening stage, he may have led the rally from start to finish. In the end, he finished 24 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Chris Van Woensel, who was driving a more powerful WRC car.
Meanwhile, Freddy Loix / Johan Gitsels still ensured a place on the podium with a third place finish after receiving a 30-second penalty. And in doing so they ensured that ŠKODA would win the constructor’s title for this year.
There is still one final round of the Belgian Rally Championship to go, the Rallye du Condroz-Huy, which will take place from 4th to 6th November.
Umberto Scandola wins Rally di Roma Capitale to keep title hopes alive
Umberto Scandola and his co-driver Guido D’Amore enjoyed a hugely successful weekend for the ŠKODA Italia Motorsport team at the Rally di Roma Capitale in the penultimate round of the Italian Rally Championship.
In a series, where points are won for the finishing positions on the two individual legs, they came 2nd in a desperately close first leg, in which they won the opening stage and then fell back before chasing down the leader Paolo Andreucci and finishing just 0.5 seconds behind.
They then won three of the five stages in the second leg to secure overall victory by a margin of just 5.9 seconds. The result leaves them firmly in contention for the Italian championship title, which will be decided in the final event of the season.
There was also a decent performance at the Rally di Roma Capitale from Tonino di Cosimo / Paolo Francescucci, who took their ŠKODA FABIA R5 to 8th in the first leg and 5th in the second leg to secure a 6th place overall.
The crucial final rally of the Italian Rally Championship season, the Rally Due Valli, will take place in Verona from 14th to 16th October.
Fifth win on the spin for Danish champion Esben Hegelund
ŠKODA FABIA R5 driver Esben Hegelund and his co-driver Karsten Isaksen won the Rally Roskilde in the Danish Rally Championship by a margin of 31 seconds in their ŠKODA FABIA R5 to continue their impressive dominance of the season and secure a fifth successive victory.
After a slow start by his high standards, which was put down to making the wrong tyre choice, Hegelund won 12 of the 14 stages to claim an emphatic victory which ensure his 100% record in the 2016 Danish championship continues.
He had already secured the championship title before the start of this rally and speaking afterwards, Hegelund seemed to have enjoyed a slightly stronger challenge in this rally.
Battling Raimund Baumschlager has to settle for third at ŠKODA Rallye Liezen
The ŠKODA Rallye Liezen was the 6th and penultimate round of the Austrian Rally Championship and saw a thrilling battle in which the BRR Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Team-run ŠKODA FABIA R5 of Raimund Baumschlager / Thomas Zeltner was just pipped for second place.
With the admission of more powerful WRC cars into the Austrian championship, Baumschlager, who has dominated the series in recent years, has faced much more of a challenge. But he has held his own against his more powerful rivals and nowhere was this more apparent than here in Liezen.
He won two stages and came second in four more as he held second place for a long time, before just losing out on the final stage after falling victim to an incident and having to settle for third.
Another BRR Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Team’s FABIA R5, driven by Christian Mrlik / Pirmin Winklhofer, was in contention for a top 5 finish before an accident on the penultimate stage forced them to retire.
There was also an impressive drive from Andreas Aigner / Martin Rossgatterer in their BRR Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Team FABIA S2000. They managed to win two stages as well and were also in contention for a podium finish before being forced to retire.
The final round of the Austrian Rally Championship, the Rallye Waldviertel, will take place from 17th to 19th November.
COMING UP THIS WEEKEND
Rallye de France – Tour de Corse
Ajaccio, Bastia and Porto-Vecchio, Corsica, France; 29th September to 2nd October; 11th round of FIA World Rally Championship; asphalt event, 10 special stages, around 391km competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA FABIA R5s:
Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler (ŠKODA Motorsport); Julien Maurin / Olivier Ural; Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula (Team Oreca); Sylvain Michel / Jérôme Degout (Equipe de France FFSA)
Find out more about all ŠKODA Customer Teams taking part at the Tour de Corse in our preview article on SKODA-Motorsport.com tomorrow.
Autodromo Rubén Dumot, Paraguay; 30th September to 1st October; 6th round of Paraguayan Rally Championship; gravel event, 13 special stages, around 311km competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA FABIA R5s:
Gustavo Saba / Fernando Mendonca; Pedro Fadul / Hans Thiede; Miguel Zaldivar / Victor Aguilera; Didier Arias / Humberto Tiago Dominguez
The Transchaco Rally is inspired by the Safari Rally in Africa and cars will take on similar challenges to those encountered in the African bush; Gustavo Saba and Fernando Mendonca finished second here last year, missing out on a win by just 33 seconds; A ŠKODA FABIA R5 has won three of the five rounds of the Paraguayan championship this year, and there has been at least one on the podium in every event so far.
Příbram, central Czech Republic; 30th September to 2nd October; 6th round of Czech Rally Championship; asphalt event, 14 special stages, around 152km competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA FABIA R5s:
Jan Černý / Petr Černohorský (Mogul Racing Team); Vojtěch Štajf / František Rajnoha (Klokočka ŠKODA Czech National Team); Jan Sýkora / Štěpán Palivec (KL Racing Team); Karel Trojan / Petr Chlup (Korno Motorsport)
A ŠKODA FABIA R5 has won every round of the Czech Rally Championship this year, and with Jan Kopecký having already wrapped up the title, Jan Černý and Vojtěch Štajf will be competing here to secure the runners-up spot too.
Poreč, north-eastern Croatia; 29th September to 1st October; 11th round of Central European Zone (CEZ) Rally Championship, 5th round of Croatian Rally Championship, 6th round of Slovenian Rally Championship; asphalt event, 12 special stages, around 185km competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA FABIA R5:
János Puskádi / Barnabás Gódor (Eurosol Racing Team Hungary)
János Puskádi finished second in the CEZ standings here last season in a FABIA S2000; The last ŠKODA team to win here were Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler who were driving for the official ŠKODA Motorsport team back in 2013, when the event was still part of the FIA European Rally Championship calendar.