It is a history that the whole of ŠKODA family is intensely proud of and each year we are striving to add a fresh chapter. After last year’s victory in the WRC2 category, the bar has been set high and there are big expectations ahead of the 2018 event.
ŠKODA POPULAR SPORT
A POPULAR First Appearance: The first time a ŠKODA car competed at the Rallye Monte Carlo was back in 1936 when legendary Czechoslovak driver Zdeněk Pohl and his co-driver Jaroslav Hausman steered a ŠKODA POPULAR SPORT to 20th place overall and second in their class. A year later, the same driver duo took a ŠKODA RAPID to 26th overall and fourth in class.
Maiden Monte Carlo Victories: After the Second World War, ŠKODA returned to Monte Carlo in 1949, but it was not until 1961 that they would taste victory for the first time. The privateer Finnish duo of Esko Keinänen / Rainer Eklund finished sixth overall but won their class in a ŠKODA OCTAVIA TS. Keinänen repeated the feat a year later, and a hat-trick of class victories for the OCTAVIA TS was completed in 1963 by the Norwegian driving duo of Edward Gjølberg / Monty Karlan.
ŠKODA 130 RS
A Winning Entry to the World Stage: The Rallye Monte Carlo become part of the World Rally Championship in 1973, but ŠKODA did not compete in Monaco at this level until 1977. The car they came back with was the legendary ŠKODA 130 RS and it took an impressive one-two class victory, with Czechoslovaks Václav Blahna / Lubislav Hlávka finishing first in class and twelfth overall, while Miloslav Zapadlo / Jiří Motal were second in class and fifteenth overall.
Haugland’s Delayed Premiere: John Haugland was one of the best European rally drivers of his era, but ŠKODA didn’t compete at the Rallye Monte Carlo in the early part of the 1980s, so it was not until 1987 that he made his debut at the rally. The Norwegian rally star won his class and finished fifteenth overall with a ŠKODA 130 L.
ŠKODA FAVORIT 136 L
Four-Time Winners in a Front-Wheel-Drive FAVORIT: After another gap, ŠKODA returned to Monte Carlo again in 1991 with the front-wheel-drive ŠKODA FAVORIT 136 L, which Pavel Sibera / Petr Gross steered to victory in the A5 class and 25th overall. They would also complete a hat-trick of class wins with victories at A5 category in 1992 and 1993, before going one better with another win in 1994 too.
ŠKODA OCTAVIA WRC
A New Millennium and a Best-Ever Result: In 1999, ŠKODA Motorsport made their first entry into the WRC category at the Rallye Monte Carlo. The following year, Germans Armin Schwarz / Manfred Hiemer steered an OCTAVIA WRC to seventh overall. In 2001, Schwarz / Hiemer did even better finishing fourth overall, what has been ŠKODA’s best ever overall result at the Rallye Monte Carlo in the World Rally Championship.
ŠKODA FABIA S2000
FABIA S2000 Flies to New Heights: From 2009, the Rallye Monte Carlo was part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), where S2000 cars were the top category. That year, Juho Hänninen / Mikko Markkula led overall for seven special stages in their FABIA S2000 before crashing out on the final day as Jan Kopecký / Petr Starý managed to finish fourth overall.
The following year there were two FABIA S2000s on the podium as Hänninen / Markkula finished second and Nicolas Vouilloz / Benjamin Veillas came third. In 2011, Belgians Freddy Loix / Frédéric Miclotte also managed to finish second overall. After the event returned to the WRC calendar, there was more success as Sepp Wiegand / Frank Christian won the WRC2 category and finished eighth overall for ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland team in 2013 and Armin Kremer / Klaus Wicha finished third in WRC2 category for the Baumschlager Rallye & Racing team in 2015.
ŠKODA FABIA R5
FABIA R5 Takes the Scepter: The success of the FABIA S2000 has been continued by the new FABIA R5. In 2016, Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm finished second in the RC2 class (ninth overall) and Armin Kremer / Pirmin Winklhofer were second in the WRC2 standings (third in RC2 class, tenth overall), both for the Baumschlager Rallye & Racing team.
Then last year, there was a triumphant return to Monte Carlo for the ŠKODA Motorsport team as Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jæger won the WRC2 category and finished seventh overall ahead of their teammates Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler (eighth overall, second in WRC2). And hopefully, there is another chapter in ŠKODA’s long relationship with the Rallye Monte Carlo to be written by the FABIA R5 in 2018 too.