Manvir Baryan secures African Rally Championship by winning the Zambia International Rally

Manvir Baryan has secured his and ŠKODA’s first-ever FIA African Rally Championship after claiming victory at the Zambia International Rally (21-22 October), the seventh and final round of the championship.

Baryan came into the event in a rich vein of form after winning the three preceding rounds at the Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally, the Rally of Tanzania and the Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally. That meant he needed just one point from the maximum of twenty-five available at this event, to claim the title.

Manvir Singh Baryan / Drew Sturrock, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Multiple Racing Team. Zambia International Rally 2017

But if anyone thought that would mean a cautious approach from the Kenyan and his British co-driver Drew Sturrock, who were driving for the Multiple Racing Team, he was mistaken. In a dominant performance on the opening leg, Baryan won all six special stages driven to establish a 47-second lead over Muna Singh Jr. And there was no let-up in the second leg either as Baryan again won every stage to claim a dominant victory. That meant they had won four successive rounds and secured 115 points in total, more than twice that of their closest rival.

Manvir Singh Baryan

It is a first major rallying title for Baryan, who has previously focused on driving in the Kenyan Rally Championship. And it also marks a debut championship win on African soil for ŠKODA and the FABIA R5.


Fabian Kreim secures record-breaking DRM title as Dominik Dinkel wins the 3-Städte-Rallye

ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland driver Fabian Kreim has retained the German Rally Championship (DRM) title he won last year. After his second-place finish at the final round of the season, the 3-Städte-Rallye (20-21 October), he has secured the points he needs to be champion, and in doing so, has made ŠKODA the most successful manufacturer in DRM history. But he had to fend off a stern challenge from fellow ŠKODA FABIA R5 driver Dominik Dinkel, who won this rally and pushed him all the way.

Fabian Kreim / Frank Christian, ŠKODA FABIA R5, ŠKODA Auto Deutschland. 3-Städte-Rallye 2017

Kreim, whose car was prepared and run by Baumschlager Rallye & Racing team, was alongside regular co-driver Frank Christian and came into this event knowing that a top 5 finish was all he needed to clinch the title. That never looked in doubt as the 3-Städte-Rallye quickly turned into a straight duel between Kreim and the Brose Motorsport FABIA R5 of Dinkel and co-driver Christina Kohl. It was the latter which got off to a stronger start, winning three of the four special stages in the first leg on Friday to establish a small lead of Kreim, who won the other.

Dominik Dinkel / Christina Kohl, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Brose Motorsport. 3-Städte-Rallye 2017

Dinkel was to retain that lead throughout the second leg too, winning one further stage, while Kreim won two stages and continued to push without taking too many risks. At the finish, there were just 13.9 seconds between the two FABIA R5s at the top of the field, meaning Dinkel secured his second win of the season, and Kreim was crowned German champion for 2017.

Fabian Kreim

Dinkel’s victory ensured that he would end the season second in the championship standings too, 17 points behind Kreim, but 28 ahead of his closest challenger, René Mandel.

Dominik Dinkel

It was also a special win for his co-driver Christina Kohl. She had previously told boyfriend Johannes Fürst that she would accept his marriage proposal when she had won the 3-Städte-Rallye. On the podium this year, her name sticker on the car had already been changed to read ‘Christina Fürst’.

Further down the field, there was a fifth place finish for Sepp Wiegand and co-driver Anne Katharina Stein for the MC Grünhain. Wiegand drove for the ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland team between 2012 and 2014 and came second in the FIA European Rally Championship in 2014. This was only his second event of the season, but he is hoping to compete in the German Rally Championship in a FABIA R5 next season. Just behind them, in sixth position, was the FABIA S2000 of Maximilian Koch / Lisa Brunthaler.

Sepp Wiegand / Anne Katharina Stein, ŠKODA FABIA R5, MC Grünhain. 3-Städte-Rallye 2017

The 3-Städte-Rallye was also the final round of the Mitropa Cup and it was the AK Sport team’s Hungarian duo of Krisztián Hideg / István Kerék who finished first in those standings and seventh overall.

But the headlines were all about the German Rally Championship victory for Kreim and the FABIA R5. ŠKODA has now won 7 German Rally Championship titles, which is more than any other manufacturer. That journey began with Matthias Kahle, who tasted four title successes in the OCTAVIA WRC (2002, 2004), FABIA WRC (2005) and the FABIA S2000 (2010), Mark Wallenwein who won the 2012 title (FABIA S2000) and now Kreim’s back-to-back wins in 2016 and 2017 in a FABIA R5.

Titles for Orhan Avcıoğlu and Burak Çukurova as FABIA R5s dominate the Marmaris Rally Turkey

Orhan Avcıoğlu and Burak Çukurova both clinched titles at the Marmaris Rally Turkey (20-22 October) as they finished first and second respectively in an event which is expected to join the FIA World Rally Championship calendar for 2018. Avcıoğlu won the Balkan Rally Trophy, while Çukurova has clinched the 2017 Turkish Rally Championship, as they led home a One-Two-Three-Four finish for the ŠKODA FABIA R5s.

Orhan Avcioglu / Burcin Korkmaz, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Toksport WRT. Marmaris Rally Turkey 2017

Avcıoğlu was driving only his second ever rally in a FABIA R5 for the Toksport WRT team after the WRC Rally Catalunya earlier this month. But sitting alongside co-driver Burcin Korkmaz, he was in impressive form, winning seven of the thirteen special stages driven. They trailed the first leg winner Murat Bostanci overnight, but after he came off the road, they took full advantage to win by a huge margin of 6 minutes 8 seconds.

The victory was Avcıoğlu’s second win in the Balkan Rally Trophy this season and - along with two more podium finishes across the seven rounds - was sufficient for him to win the title.

Orhan Avcıoğlu

It was a tighter finish for Burak Çukurova / Vedat Bostanci, who were driving for the BC Vision Motorsport. They took advantage of mechanical problems for Yağiz Avci to overtake them on the final stage and secure the runner’s up spot by what eventually looked to be a comfortable margin of 54.3 seconds, but in reality was anything but.

Burak Cukurova / Vedat Bostanci, ŠKODA FABIA R5, BC Vision Motorsport. Marmaris Rally Turkey 2017

Çukurova had won two rounds of the Turkish championship coming into this event, the Yeşil Bursa Rallisi and the Istanbul Rallisi. But he has now finished runner-up at each of the four other rounds driven, which means he has done enough to secure the Turkish Rally Championship title with one round still to go.

Burak Çukurova

Mustafa took the other podium position as he finished third alongside co-driver Nebil Öneral for the Toksport WRT team in just his first rally in a FABIA R5. Meanwhile, another Toksport WRT team pairing, Uğur Soylu / Aras Dinçer, finished in fourth position.

Mustafa Bulutoğlulari / Nebil Öneral, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Toksport WRT. Marmaris Rally Turkey 2017

And Erkan Güral / Burak Kocoglu also finished inside the top ten with a seventh place result for the BC Vision Motorsport in just their second drive in a FABIA R5.

The title battle may have been decided, but there is still one round of the Turkish Rally Championship remaining. That is the Kocaeli Rallisi which takes place on the 18th and 19th November.

Martin Koči leads home FABIA R5 ‘1-2’ to win the Rally Košice

The Rally Košice (20-22 October) was both the seventh and final round of the Slovak Rally Championship and the tenth and final round of the Central European Zone (CEZ) Rally Championship and it saw three ŠKODA FABIA R5s finish inside the top 4.

Martin Koči / Filip Schovánek, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Styllex Motorsport s.r.o.. Rally Košice 2017

It was Martin Koči, driving alongside co-driver Filip Schovánek for the Styllex Motorsport team, who took the victory at what is his home rally. Although Koči did not move to the top of the standings until the final special stage of the first leg (SS6) he never finished outside the top 2 in any of the twelve stages driven and ended up winning eight of them, including five out of six in a hugely impressive second leg performance.

That meant despite the impact of mist and rain at different points through the event, they ended up 38.2 seconds ahead of the rest. The result, combined with the retirement of Pavel Valoušek at the end of the first leg, meant that the two finished level on points at the top of the Slovak Rally Championship standings, but under the rules, it will be Valoušek who is crowned champion.

Martin Koči

In second position was the Rufa Sport Polish duo of Grzegorz Grzyb / Jakub Wróbel, a result which left them in third position in the Slovak championship standings and fourth in the CEZ final season standings.

Grzegorz Grzyb / Jakub Wróbel, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Rufa Sport. Rally Košice 2017

Meanwhile, the Drotár Autošport duo of Igor Drotár / Tomáš Plachý come home in fourth place overall.



This week’s roundup begins in Spain with the Rallye Santander Cantabria (20-21 October), which was the eighth round of the Spanish Rally Championship. It saw the ACSM Rallye Team pairing of Pedro Burgo / Marcos Burgo (ŠKODA FABIA R5) finish in second place overall, just 33.1 seconds behind the overall winner. The result leaves Pedro Burgo in second place in the Spanish championship standings, with two rounds remaining.


There was a FABIA R5’s One-Two-Three-Four at the Rallye National des Monts Dôme (21 October) in the French Cup. Two-time French tarmac rally champion (2012 and 2015) and eight-time French gravel rally champion Jean-Marie Cuoq took the victory in his first ever drive in a FABIA R5 alongside co-driver Valérie Cuoq. They were 56.1 seconds ahead of Pascal Trojani / Jean-Noël Vesperini, who were themselves only driving their second rally in the car, but their first was at the same event last year and saw them win it. Stéphane André / Stéphane Peyronel came home in third place, 38.9 seconds further back, in a car prepared and run by Rally Service Racing, while Nicolas Hernandez / Manon Verger finishing in fourth position.


At the Trofeo Maremma (21-22 October) in the Italian regional series (National Zone 5), Rudy Michelini / Michele Perna claimed a dominant victory in their FABIA R5 which was entered for the Movisport SRL team and prepared and run by P.A. Racing. They finished 2 minutes and 24 seconds ahead of the field in what was just Michelini fourth drive in a FABIA R5 and first in this particular vehicle, chassis #172, which is one of the latest to roll off the production line so far. Behind them in third place was the P.A. Racing FABIA R5 of the experienced Egisto Vanni and his co-driver Gianni Lartini. Leopoldo Maestrini / Daniele Michi finished in fourth spot for the Maremma Corse 2.0 team in a car also prepared and run by P.A. Racing, while Marco Cavalieri crept into the top 10 in tenth position for the Promoservice Team, in yet another car prepared and run by P.A. Racing, alongside co-driver Massimo Bazzani.

Elsewhere in Italy, at the Rally Nazionale ACI Como (20-21 October), Ivan Tenca / Moira Lucca won in impressive fashion on his FABIA R5 debut, claiming four of the six special stage victories to end up 1 minute 43 seconds ahead of the field for the VS Corse team.


And lastly to Finland, where the newly crowned Finnish Rally Champion Teemu Asunmaa claimed another victory for the season at the non-championship Peurunkaralli (21 October). Driving alongside co-driver Ville Mannisenmäki for Hannu’s Rally Team, Asunmaa finished 18.2 seconds ahead of WRC driver and this year’s Rally Sweden winner Jari-Matti Latvala at this five-stage event. Ville Pynnönen and Pasi Lahtinen finished in fourth position for the TGS Worldwide Ou team in their first FABIA R5 outing.


Date Rally Round Surface
26-29 Oct Wales Rally GB World Rally Championship 12 Gravel
26-28 Oct Rallye International du Valais TER Series 5 Asphalt
26-27 Oct Critérium des Cévennes French Rally Championship 8 Asphalt
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