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The penultimate round of 2017 World Rally Championship (WRC) will see teams head to the UK for the 21-stage, 304-kilometre long Wales Rally GB (26-29 October). This is a rally which can throw up a few surprises, not least through the changeable Welsh weather, which can catch out experienced drivers as much as novices. And there will be a blend of both competing in ŠKODA FABIA R5 cars this year, as old hands and newcomers take on the forest tracks of Wales, along with a local hero who will provide a stern test for the WRC2 stars.

There will be no fewer than three ŠKODA Motorsport FABIA R5s taking part this year, with the new WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand being joined by the young Finnish driver Jusso Nordgren and Ole Christian Veiby from Norway.

They will be joined by three customer team cars, all of which are registered in the WRC2 category.

Raul Jeets

Raul Jeets / Kuldar Sikk

The experienced Estonian driver Raul Jeets will also be competing in a FABIA R5 for Team Tehase Auto alongside co-driver Kuldar Sikk. Remarkably, given his long career, this is just a third appearance in a WRC event for Jeets, who competed this year at the Rally Poland and the Rally Finland, where he finished sixth in the WRC2 standings. He comes into this rally in decent form after a third-place finish at the recent Saaremaa Rally in his homeland.

Raul Jeets / Andrus Toom, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Tehase Auto. Lõuna-Eesti Ralli 2017
Łukasz Pieniążek

Łukasz Pieniążek / Przemysław Mazur

In contrast to the experienced Jeets, Polish driver Łukasz Pieniążek will be making his debut drive in a FABIA R5 in Wales. Competing for the Printsport Oy team alongside co-driver Przemysław Mazur, this is Pieniążek’s first season with 4WD cars. He has however driven six other WRC2 events this season in another car with a best finish of fifth in the WRC2 standings achieved at the Rally de Portugal. 

Łukasz Pieniążek / Przemysław Mazur, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Printsport Oy. Wales Rally GB 2017 Pre-event Test
David Bogie

David Bogie / Kevin Rae

Last but by no means least is the British driver David Bogie, who will be assisted as ever by co-driver Kevin Rae. Bogie won the British Rally Championship in 2011 and in 2017 - his second season driving a FABIA R5 - has been competing in the British Rally Championship again. He has won the Scottish Rally and will now be looking to improve on his ninth-place finish in the WRC2 standings here last year.

David Bogie / Kevin Rae, ŠKODA FABIA R5, CA1 Sport. Scottish Rally 2017