The 2023 season will undoubtedly be written in golden letters in the history of Škoda Motorsport. This will not only be because of the first launch of the new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 in the World Rally Championship, but also because of a number of other dramatic moments that fans and teams watched with bated breath; just as it should be in rallying. Here's our pick of the top 5 moments from this year's World Rally Championship that were really worth it. Join us in remembering them!

Pure speed at the Rallye Monte-Carlo
After many months of development and testing, we took the new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 to the famous Monte in early 2023. Our first real comparison with the competition on the stages of the World Rally Championship series awaited us. It was exactly the feeling you get when you take your child to school for the first time. You know you've done everything you possibly could have, but as soon as they sit down in the school desk for the first time, a new stage in both their and your life begins. Fabia, however, has done superbly from the start. With a smile on our faces and a warm feeling of a job well done, we watched Oliver, Nikolai and Erik having fun behind the wheel and winning one stage after another. In the end, they won 16 out of 18, but we missed out on the overall win by just half a second thanks to a penalty for cutting one of the corners too hard on SS14. That was unlucky. But we'll remember Erik Cais' line about driving a new car on the Monte being a pure joy for a long time to come.

First victory at Rally Sweden
Oliver Solberg confirmed his speed from the Monte-Carlo Rally here and showed that if he avoids mistakes and unlucky moments, he is hard to catch. It was a rally where everything just worked exactly as it should have. It was a real pleasure to watch Oliver's clean and confident driving, which was spiced up by his duel with Sami Pajari, also competing in the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. On Sunday, the Solberg/Edmondson crew was already holding back a little, but Oliver confirmed the good feeling of the whole rally with a win in the Powerstage. He took a comfortable victory from his home rally by almost three quarters of a minute. You'd think it was no drama, but controlling your speed and not taking unnecessary risks is perhaps the hardest discipline for any rally driver. Oliver Solberg did a great job in this respect in Sweden. The first win for the new car in the World Championship series and a touching podium ceremony with the whole family was a great reward for Oliver and for us. Well done!

A breath-taking chase in Greece
The Acropolis Rally was a pure demonstration of the magic of rally sport and the will to never give up. This time Andreas Mikkelsen and Torstein Eriksen played the starring roles. During Friday's stage, this crew had a good portion of bad luck. They suffered three punctures in total and the rally looked lost with a deficit of almost two minutes. At the beginning of SS6 Mikkelsen took the breath of his career and performed one of the drives of his life. He beat even the WRC1 cars during Saturday, and with an epic run at the very edge he managed to pull off most of his loss. In the Toksport team's service area, even the seasoned rally spectators just shook their heads in disbelief, forgot to eat and were, glued to the monitors with live WRC TV coverage, devouring every kilometre of Andreas' historic drive. During Sunday, a fired-up Mikkelsen managed to pull off the last 10 seconds on leader Gus Greensmith. When the Norwegians´ names were lit up in the provisional first position before the last stage, everyone was ecstatic. The mechanics backed up Mikkelsen's performance with a flawless and very fast service before the Powerstage, and Andreas and Torstein crowned their incredible performance with the Powerstage win. Those who were there will never forget and those who weren't there will find it hard to believe. This was a significant step for the Norwegians towards the title.

First time at home
Our first home rally in the World Championship series; the Central European Rally took place in the Czech Republic during Thursday and Friday, and that was a big thing for the Škoda Motorsport team. We have competed in the World Championship series on the other side of the world, but never at home. We really wanted the Škoda cars to succeed and to show our fans, the factory people and everyone else the beauty of rally sport in the surroundings of Czech tracks. Together with our customers, we were preparing carefully so that we would not disappoint any of our fans, because home success undoubtedly tastes best. However, the rainy Friday was extremely difficult with its very slippery stages. Andreas damaged his car during the morning and it was clear that the prospects of a good overall position were gone. The only hope for points and an overall championship win was a first place in Powerstage. This was exactly the moment when Andreas once again showed his heart of a racer and a speed that few can match. Driving at full speed, he won the Powerstage by 1.6 seconds and secured his second WRC2 championship title. But that was far from our only achievement. Nicolas Ciamin, Erik Cais and Kajetan Kajetanowicz took the top three places in the WRC2 category in their Fabia RS Rally2 cars, and there was a total of 14 Škoda cars in the top 15; a phenomenal achievement that exceeded all of our wildest expectations. For us, the Central European Rally was undoubtedly the most important moment of the season, and once again we would like to thank everyone for their great support. You have been wonderful!

Sweet ending
With the WRC2 world championship title in the bag, the Rally Japan was a rewarding event. However, the Land of the Rising Sun, known for its warm hospitality, respect and desire to make all guests feel comfortable, had other plans from the start. The start of the event was extremely rainy and the local narrow stages with curbs and crash barriers required full crew concentration and perfect car control. A major complication for many WRC1 crews was fogged windscreens, but this was not the case for the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 cars. The heated windscreen, coupled with clever interior defrosting, ensured that drivers had a clear view even in the heaviest rain. As a result, Mikkelsen was even in 4th place overall during Friday morning! With a clean windscreen, the Norwegian was flying on the wet track. He maintained his speed during the rest of the rally and won by more than a minute in Japan. He was joined on the podium by two other crews with Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 cars. Just a great end to a great first season for the new car!