Their team-mates Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler completed the one-two victory for ŠKODA at the oldest and most prestigious race in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). 40 years previously, Václav Blahna and his co-driver Lubislav Hlávka had driven the ŠKODA 130 RS to victory in the 1,300cc class at the same location.
And it was the perfect way to celebrate ŠKODA’s triumph at the “Monte” four decades ago. The three FABIA R5s of the works teams commemorated the 1977 success with a special blue and red striped livery. The thousands of fans loved the spectacular new look but were also delighted by the performance of the turbo 4x4 from ŠKODA. As it had been throughout the rally year 2016, the FABIA R5 was the best car in its class.
Under extremely difficult conditions - icy stretches were interspersed with soft snow and clean asphalt on the Alpine switchbacks - ŠKODA driver Andreas Mikkelsen moved straight into the lead with the best time on the first timed special stage on Thursday. The 27-year-old Norwegian extended his lead with outstanding best times and was able to celebrate a dominant win on Sunday after 350 kilometres of competitive distance. Mikkelsen / Jæger claimed victory 3:25.4 minutes ahead of their team-mates Kopecký / Dresler.
He celebrated four team world championship titles with Volkswagen Motorsport, having already won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in the ŠKODA FABIA SUPER 2000 in 2011 and 2012. He has now recorded his first class win in the FABIA R5 at the Rallye Monte Carlo, celebrating at the awards ceremony on the “Place du Palais Princier”.
Jan Kopecký was almost as delighted.
The other ŠKODA works driver Pontus Tidemand was not competing for WRC2 points at his first “Monte” but he and his co-driver Jonas Andersson emphasised their ability by finishing eleventh in the overall standings. Tidemand / Andersson will be battling for WRC2 points at their home World Championship rally in Sweden from 9th to 12th February.
Last year, the ŠKODA Motorsport works team of Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm won the WRC2 title in the drivers’ and co-drivers’ competitions for the first time. The rally year 2017 has begun with another historic triumph.
|Rallye Monte Carlo 2017 - WRC2 final results:|
|1.||Mikkelsen / Jæger (N/N)||ŠKODA FABIA R5||4:09:36.3 hrs|
|2.||Kopecký / Dresler (CZ/CZ)||ŠKODA FABIA R5||+ 3:25.4 min|
|3.||Bouffier / Giraudet (F/ F)||Ford Fiesta R5||+ 6:36.7 min|
|4.||Camilli / Veillas (F/F)||Ford Fiesta R5||+ 9:55.8 min|
|5.||Gilbert / Jamoul (F/B)||Ford Fiesta R5||+ 11:36.8 min|
The number of the Rallye Monte Carlo: 13
The ŠKODA FABIA R5 was the outstanding car in its class at the Rallye Monte Carlo. The rally car from the Czech Republic recorded the best time on 13 out of 15 timed special stages in the WRC2 standings. Andreas Mikkelsen won 10 special stages, while his team-mate Jan Kopecký was fastest on three occasions.