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This year’s RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada sees the competing ŠKODA FABIA R5s boasting a perfect blend of youth and experience. The ŠKODA Motorsport cars will be driven by the vastly experienced Jan Kopecký, who has just clinched his fifth Czech Rally Championship title, and young Juuso Nordgren from Finland. The same pattern can be seen in the ŠKODA Customer Teams too, with two experienced drivers being joined on the start-line by two rookies.

Benito Guerra (Motorsport Italia)

The Mexican Benito Guerra Jr. will be starting this event for the sixth time. Apart from his home rally, it is the WRC event he knows best, having first taken part back in 2009. He has enjoyed some notable successes here too, finishing third in the PWRC class in 2011 and then first in 2012, when he was also crowned PWRC champion. In 2013, he secured another victory, this time in class 3, and his last appearance in 2014 saw him finish fourth in the WRC2 category. Add in his 2010 Spanish Gravel Championship win and his pedigree on Spanish surfaces is clear.

Benito Guerra jr. / Daniel Cué, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Motorsport Italia. Rally Argentina 2017

This year, after a two-year absence, Guerra has been showing his class again at the WRC2 level. In his five previous rallies this year for the Motorsport Italia team, he has already secured two podium finishes with third-place finishes in Mexico and Argentina. And with his regular Spanish co-driver Daniel Cué alongside him, he will be keen to push for another podium finish here.

Benito Guerra

Orhan Avcioglu (Toksport WRT)

In contrast, 32-year old Turkish driver Orhan Avcıoğlu is making only his second ever start in the World Rally Championship and first in the WRC2 category. It will also be his first WRC start outside his home country after his one previous appearance at the Rally Turkey back in 2010.

Avcıoğlu has long been a front-runner in his home championship, finishing second overall in 2016 and third in 2015 and 2014. This year he has been driving in both the Turkish championship and the Balkan Rally Trophy and has two victories to his name so far at the Ege Rallisi in Turkey and the Serbia Rally. He will be appearing at this event in a FABIA R5 prepared and run by Toksport WRT. It will be his first ever drive in a FABIA R5, but with regular co-driver Burcin Korkmaz beside him, he too will be hoping to make an impression here as he plans for a future in WRC2.

Orhan Avcıoğlu

Ole Christian Veiby (Printsport Oy)

Ole Christian Veiby’s busy season is also continuing at the Rally Catalunya, although on this occasion his Printsport Oy FABIA R5 is not entered into the WRC2 standings. After his earlier WRC2 victory at the Rally Poland, he elected to pull back from the WRC2 championship to focus on his other challenges and building more experience. This will be his fourth start at this rally with the best result of fifth in WRC2 standings last year. He admits himself to having struggled with the surface changes in the past, but given the form he has shown this season, few would bet against him and co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen improving that this time round.

Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjærmoen, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Printsport Oy. Rally Poland 2017
Ole Christian Veiby

Jérémie Toedtli

The other FABIA R5 competing here, which is also not entered into the WRC2 standings, will be driven by 23-year old Swiss driver Jérémie Toedtli. He made his debut drive in the WRC earlier this year at the Tour de Corse, where he put in an impressive drive to finish fifth in RC2 class and twelfth overall. He has never driven at this rally before though, so it will be interesting to see how he and co-driver Antoine Paque cope with the unique challenges the Rally Catalunya will throw at them.

Jérémie Toedtli / Antoine Paque, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Jérémie Toedtli. Tour de Corse 2017
Jérémie Toedtli