A ŠKODA 1-2-3 finish at the Waldviertel Rallye as Baumschlager claims his 8th win at this rally. And while Lappi wraps up the WRC2 Championship, another quietly impressive performance from Nicolás Fuchs sees him finish sixth in the Championship.
Raimund Baumschlager leads home ŠKODA FABIA R5’s 1-2-3 finish at the Waldviertel Rallye
The Waldviertel Rallye was the final event of the 2016 Austrian Rally Championship and the season certainly ended on a high for ŠKODA as FABIA R5 drivers filled the podium with a hugely impressive 1-2-3 finish in some challenging conditions.
Predictably it was veteran Austrian rally legend Raimund Baumschlager (title photo above) who led the way for the BRR Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Team. Alongside co-driver Thomas Zeltner, Baumschlager recovered from a slow start which saw him in fourth place after a first leg which was curtailed by the cancellation of stage 3.
But the second leg saw all Baumschlager experience come to the fore as he won three stages and finished second in four more, to climb to the top of the standings and eventually end up winning by a relatively comfortable margin of 23.4 seconds.
It was Baumschlager’s eighth win at this rally, but after being pushed all the way by his fellow FABIA R5 drivers, he admitted it one he had to fight hard for.
It was indeed an impressive drive from Christian Schubert-Mrlik; only his third of the season and third in a FABIA R5. His car was prepared by the BRR Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Team, but run under the Bezirksblätter Racing Team banner, and he led after the opening two stages and again with only three stages remaining.
Alongside co-driver Jasmin Noll, they never dropped out of the top two positions in the overall standings and also claimed two stage victories on route to a richly deserved runners-up spot.
Equally impressive was the performance of the Czech duo of Jan Černý / Petr Černohorský for the Mogul Czech National Team. They led the way at the end of the first leg and won a total of five stages, ending up in third place, just 2.8 seconds behind Schubert-Mrlik.
This result means that Raimund Baumschlager ends the season in second place in the Austrian Rally Championship on 147 points, just 11 behind the overall winner Hermann Neubauer, who was driving a more powerful WRC car.
Nicolás Fuchs achieves his milestones as Esapekka Lappi is crowned WRC2 Champion
The Rally Australia was the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and it proved to be a historic event for ŠKODA Motorsport as works crew Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm claimed overall victory in the WRC2 standings. That result enabled them to clinch the WRC2 drivers championship as they leapfrogged fellow FABIA R5 pairing Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula (not competing here) at the top of the WRC2 standings.
But while Lappi and Ferm understandably dominated the headlines, there was another impressive drive in a FABIA R5 from Peruvian Nicolás Fuchs and his Argentinian co-driver Fernando Mussano. They clinched second place in the WRC2 standings here to secure a third WRC2 podium finish of the season.
And it was impressively consistent performance, as they finished in the top 3 in the WRC2 standings in 21 of the 23 stages, claiming two WRC2 stage wins, to finish more than a minute and a half ahead of their closest challenger.
The result meant that Fuchs finished the season sixth overall in the WRC2 standings. His 83 points also make him the highest scoring Latin American driver in WRC2 history.
The other ŠKODA FABIA R5 taking part, driven by Khalid Mohammad Al-Suwaidi / Marshall Clarke for the Culture & Sport Qatar Rally Team, finished in fourth place in the WRC2 standings.
NEWS IN BRIEF
- Pierre Roché / Martine Roché enjoyed the perfect preparation for the forthcoming Rallye du Var with victory at the Rallye National de l’Indre. They finished 55 seconds ahead of their closest challengers on this six-stage event.
- Elsewhere in France, Robert Consani / Valentin Salmon finished in 2nd place at the Rallye Régional Mistral. They incurred a 5-second penalty and ended up just 7.4 seconds behind the eventual winners.
- The Special Rally Circuit by Vedovati Corse, a four-stage rally show took place last weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza near Milan, where Luca Rosetti / Giacomo Fanetti claimed the runners-up spot in their ŠKODA FABIA R5 for the DP Autosport team.
- The Setkání mistrů Sosnová is a long-standing rally show which takes place annually at the Autodrom Sosnová in the northern part of the Czech Republic. This has been the venue for European Rallycross Championship events in the past and this year proved to be a happy hunting ground for Grzegorz Grzyb who claimed his maiden victory in a FABIA R5.
COMING UP THIS WEEKEND
Rallye du Var
Sainte-Maxime, southern France; 25th to 27th November; 8th round of the French Tarmac Rally Championship; asphalt event, 13 special stages, around 216km of competitive distance.
Entered ŠKODA FABIA R5s:
Sylvain Michel / Jérôme Degout (Team 2C Yacco); Pierre Roché / Martine Roché (Team FJ Elf); Ludovic Gal / Olivier Belot (Team FJ Elf); Matthieu Margaillan / Mathilde Margaillan; Albert von Thurn und Taxis / Bjorn Degant
Sylvain Michel has already secured the French Tarmac Rally Championship; The 7th round of the French Tarmac Championship, the Critérium des Cévennes, was cancelled meaning drivers have had to wait since 3rd September, almost 3 months, to compete in the final round.