Škoda Motorsport

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Škoda Motorsport
Škoda Fabia WRC Cyprus Rally 2005 1.jpg
Full name Škoda Motorsport
Base Czech Republic Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic
Team principal(s) Michal Hrabánek[1]
Technical director Aleš Rada
Drivers Czech Republic Jan Kopecký
Finland Esapekka Lappi
Co-drivers Czech Republic Pavel Dresler
Finland Janne Ferm
Chassis Škoda Fabia S2000, Škoda Fabia WRC, Škoda Octavia WRC
Tyres Michelin
World Rally Championship career
Debut 1999
Constructors' Championships 0
Drivers' Championships 0
Rally wins 0

Škoda Motorsport is the division of Czech car manufacturer Škoda Auto responsible for motorsport activities. Škoda competed as a manufacturer in the World Rally Championship between 1999 and 2005, and today competes in the European Rally Championship.

History[edit]

1960s–1998[edit]

Škoda began rallying in the 1960s with the Octavia and 1000MB models, before progressing on to the 110, 120 and 130 series. Most of these were fairly lightly modified versions of the production cars, and with their small engines they competed in the lower power classes. On two occasions Škoda produced more specialised rally cars, the 130RS model in the 1970s, and then the 130LR in 1985-6. This latter car took advantage of the greater freedom allowed by the Group B regulations to run with considerably more power and lighter bodywork, among several other improvements on the standard cars.

Škoda 130 RS

Škoda Motorsport, a small outfit by works rally team standards, was at the time run as a department of the main Škoda factory. Among the staff there, working on the rally team was regarded as a highly desirable job, and even many of the drivers were selected from among company staff, although foreign professionals did drive for the team as well. Most notable among these was the Norwegian John Haugland, who appeared for the team on European and World Rallies in the 1970s and 1980s.

Alongside western cars in the same classes, the Škodas were increasingly dated in technological terms. However, they were very reliable, the team was experienced and many of the works drivers were very talented. Consequently, Škoda Motorsport was very successful, especially on long rallies where reliability mattered. Škodas frequently won their classes on world events, and were notably successful on the RAC Rally in Great Britain, in which they took the under-1300cc trophy for seventeen years running. They also scored some high placings overall, among them eighth on the Acropolis Rally in 1973 and 1979, and sixth in San Remo, in 1986. On European Championship events they frequently finished in the top ten, and on events behind the Iron Curtain they were often contenders for outright victory, although against relatively limited opposition.

The rear-engined cars were finally pensioned off in 1989, in favour of the new, front-drive Favorit model, which the team used until 1994. Like its predecessors it was sturdy but, with its 1300cc, 110 bhp engine, fairly slow. It continued the team's record of class and category wins, and the introduction for the ‘Formula 2’ category to world rallying in 1993 gave it a chance to chase bigger prizes. Škoda won the Formula 2 World Championship outright in 1994. Škoda was the only works team to contest the entire championship, but equally, on most events it was up against far more advanced and faster cars with a degree of works support, such as the Opel Astra and Nissan Sunny. Drivers Pavel Sibera and Emil Triner finished ninth and tenth overall on that year's Acropolis Rally.

Škoda Felicia Kit Car and Škoda Favorit in Škoda Museum in Mladá Boleslav

The introduction of the ‘Kit Car’ rules in 1995 gave Škoda the opportunity to produce a more specialist car, which was based on the then-new Felicia model. It was a considerable advance on the Favorit and continued to win its class regularly, but in the overall Formula 2 stakes its 1500cc, and later 1600cc, engines did not give it power enough to beat the 2000cc cars it competed directly against. It did, however, score a remarkable result on the 1996 RAC Rally, coming third overall in the hands of veteran driver Stig Blomqvist, a reflection of how well the little car handled in that year's icy conditions.

The Felicia was replaced in 1998 by a Formula 2 version of the Octavia, with a two-litre engine and front-wheel-drive. However, by then the team was preparing the full, four-wheel-drive WRC version of the Octavia and the F2 version contested only a few events.


Since 1998[edit]

Armin Schwarz driving for Škoda on the 2001 Rally Finland.

Škoda entered the World Rally Championship at the top level for the first time in 1999, with the Škoda Octavia WRC, competing on seven of the 14 events. Armin Schwarz drove one car and the second car was shared by Czech drivers Pavel Sibera and Emil Triner for most of the season, with Bruno Thiry driving the second car on the final event of the season, Rally GB, where he finished fourth, the team's first points finish.

For 2000, the team competed in eight of the 14 rallies, with Schwarz being joined in the team by Spaniard Luís Climent. Schwarz scored the team's only points finish of the year with a fifth on the Acropolis Rally. An Evo2 version of the Octavia WRC was introduced in Cyprus. For 2001, Thiry joined the team full-time in place of Climent, as the team took on 12 of the year's 14 rallies. Schwarz scored points on three occasions, including a third-place finish on the Safari Rally, the team's best result to date. The team also entered a third car for Stig Blomqvist in Finland and for Roman Kresta in San Remo and Rally GB.

For 2002, where the team would compete on every event, Schwarz left the team for fellow-strugglers Hyundai. Kenneth Eriksson moved in the other direction to replace him, while Toni Gardemeister replaced Thiry. A third car was entered for Kresta on most events, with Blomqvist, Gabriel Pozzo and Matthias Kahle also driving the car. Gardemeister finished fifth in Argentina, with Eriksson in sixth, while Gardemeister also finished sixth in Australia. The Octavia WRC Evo3 was introduced mid-season. Škoda brought in former World Champion Didier Auriol to drive alongside Gardemeister in 2003. Both drivers scored points in the first-half of the season, when the Fabia WRC was introduced.

Jani Paasonen driving for Škoda on 2004 Rally Finland.

Škoda used 2004 as a development year, and hence only entered seven rallies. Schwarz returned to the team to partner Gardemeister, with Jani Paasonen driving a third car in Finland and Great Britain, Kresta in Germany and Jan Kopecky in Spain. Paasonen finished sixth in Finland, the team's best result of the year.

For 2005, Škoda used a wide range of drivers. Schwarz drove one car on all but one event, with touring car driver Mattias Ekstrom driving it in Sweden. The second car was shared by Alexandre Bengué (on tarmac events), Janne Tuohino, Paasonen, Colin McRae and Mikko Hirvonen. A third car was entered on six rounds and shared by Tuohino, Paasonen and Kopecky. A new version of the Fabia, the WRC05, was introduced at the third round in Mexico. Once again, the team would only score points on a handful of occasions, although McRae showed promise in his two events, running third in Australia when mechanical failure hit.

Škoda withdrew from the WRC at the end of 2005. For 2006, a privateer Škoda team would be run by Baumschlager Rallye & Racing under the name Red Bull-Skoda, with a Škoda Fabia WRC driven by Gilles Panizzi. Kopecky continued to score strong results in a privately entered car run by Czech Rally Team Kopecky. François Duval also raced in season 2006 with Škoda Fabia WRC for First Motorsport.

In Rally Norway 2009, Per-Gunnar Andersson entered Škoda Fabia WRC, won 2 Special Stages but retired after problems with clutch.

It was announced that 2010 IRC champion Juho Hänninen and Herrman Gassner Jr.[2] are going to race in SWRC 2011 in semi-factory team run again by Baumschlager Rallye & Racing with support of Red Bull. Name of the team is Red Bull Škoda. They are going to appear in 7 selected WRC events.

Intercontinental Rally Challenge[edit]

Jan Kopecký driving for Škoda on the 2008 Barum Rally Zlín.
Jan Kopecký driving for Škoda on the 2009 Rally Bohemia.
Freddy Loix driving for Škoda on the 2011 Rally Bohemia.

Škoda Motorsport returned to rallying in 2008 with a new Super 2000 version of the Fabia, to be entered in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge Jan Kopecký showed Fabia at Barum Rally Zlín 2008 for the first time when he was driving it as pre-racer. Jan Kopecký and Juho Hänninen were signed as drivers for season 2009. Hänninen took the car's first win on Rally Russia, with Kopecky winning in the Czech Republic and Spain on his way to second in the standings.

In the 2010 season, Škoda Motorsport achieved seven wins, nine 2nd and 3rd places, taking the manufacturers championship after the Barum Rally Zlín. Juho Hänninen achieved the drivers title and also won Rally Argentina, Rally Sardegna and Rally Scotland.

For 2011 season opening rally, famous Rallye Monte Carlo Škoda entered 5 cars. Jan Kopecký, Juho Hänninen, Freddy Loix and Nicolas Vouilloz were entered for Škoda Motorsport and Andreas Mikkelsen for Škoda UK. Mikkelsen crashed into wall at 1st special stage and had to retire at 2nd special stage because of suspension problems after crash. Vouilloz had a puncture at 1st special stage and lost some time. Hänninen was leading after first leg 44.5s before Freddy Loix, Kopecký was 6th and Vouilloz 12th.[3] Second leg of the rally was unlucky for Škoda[4] because drivers had chosen wrong tyres at the service before stages 7 and 8 so they lost a lot of time and Hänninen lost lead and was 6th 2:35.7s after new leader Bryan Bouffier. Freddy Loix dropped from 2nd place to 3rd, 1:05.5s after Bouffier, Vouilloz finished 8th and Kopecký 9th. At the end of the rally Loix achieved 2nd place, Hänninen 6 th, Vouilloz 7th and Kopecký 8th. It was disappointing rally for Škoda because Hänninen was fast enough to win and only wrong tyre choice for 2 special stages cost him win, at least he won Colin McRae IRC Trophy.[5]

IRC Results[edit]

WRC results[edit]

ERC results[edit]

Year Entrant Car Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ERC Points
2012 Škoda Motorsport Škoda Fabia S2000 Finland Juho Hänninen JÄN
2
MIL
4
CRO
1
BUL YPR
1
BOS
1
MAD
7
CZE
1
AST POL VAL 1st 203
Czech Republic Jan Kopecký JÄN
1
MIL CRO BUL YPR BOS MAD CZE
Ret
AST POL VAL - -
Finland Esapekka Lappi JÄN MIL CRO BUL YPR BOS MAD CZE AST POL
1
VAL - -
2013 Škoda Motorsport Škoda Fabia S2000 Czech Republic Jan Kopecký JÄN
1
LIE CAN
1
AZO
1
COR
2
YPR ROM
1
CZE
1
POL
3
CRO
1
SAN VAL 1st 287
Belgium Freddy Loix JÄN LIE CAN AZO COR YPR
1
ROM CZE POL CRO SAN VAL 11th 37
Finland Esapekka Lappi JÄN LIE CAN AZO COR YPR ROM CZE
Ret
POL CRO SAN
2
VAL
1
5th 64
Germany Sepp Wiegand JÄN LIE CAN AZO COR YPR ROM CZE
4
POL CRO SAN VAL 27th 18
2014* Škoda Motorsport Škoda Fabia S2000 Finland Esapekka Lappi JÄN LIE
1
GRE
4
IRE
1
AZO YPR
Ret
EST
5
CZE
Ret
CYP VAL
1
COR 1st 161
Škoda Auto Deutschland Germany Sepp Wiegand JÄN LIE
5
GRE
Ret
IRE
2
AZO YPR
3
EST
7
CZE
2
CYP VAL
3
COR
DNS
2nd 128

* Season in progress

APRC results[edit]

Year Entrant Driver Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 APRC Points Manuf. Points
2012 MRF Tyres Australia Chris Atkinson Škoda Fabia S2000 NZL
1
NCL
2
AUS
1
MYS
2
JPN CHN
2
1st 154 1st* 179*
India Gaurav Gill NZL
3
NCL
1
AUS
Ret
MYS
Ret
JPN
Ret
CHN
Ret
4th 82
2013 Team MRF India Gaurav Gill Škoda Fabia S2000 NZL
2
NCL
1
AUS
Ret
MYS JPN
1
CHN
2
1st 145.5 1st* 197.5*
Finland Esapekka Lappi NZL
1
NCL
Ret
AUS
1
MYS
Ret
JPN
Ret
CHN
1
2nd 117
2014 Team MRF India Gaurav Gill Škoda Fabia S2000 NZL
1
NCL
2
AUS
Ret
MYS
1
JPN
Ret
CHN 2nd* 104* 1st* 192*
Czech Republic Jan Kopecký NZL
2
NCL
1
AUS
1
MYS
Ret
JPN
1
CHN 1st* 151*

ERC Victories[edit]

No. Event Season Driver Co-driver Car
1 Belgium 46. Belgium Geko Ypres Rally 2010 2010 Czech Republic Jan Kopecký Czech Republic Petr Starý Škoda Fabia S2000
2 Portugal 51. Rali Vinho da Madeira 2010 2010 Czech Republic Jan Kopecký Czech Republic Petr Starý
3 Switzerland 52. Rallye International du Valais 2011 2011 Czech Republic Antonín Tlusťák Czech Republic Jan Škaloud
4 Austria 29. Internationale Jänner Rallye 2012 2012 Czech Republic Jan Kopecký Czech Republic Petr Starý
5 Croatia 39. Croatia Rally 2012 2012 Finland Juho Hänninen Finland Mikko Markkula
6 Bulgaria 43. Rally Bulgaria 2012 2012 Bulgaria Dimitar Iliev Bulgaria Yanaki Yanakiev
7 Belgium 48. Belgium Geko Ypres Rally 2012 2012 Finland Juho Hänninen Finland Mikko Markkula
8 Turkey 41. Bosphorus Rally 2012 2012 Finland Juho Hänninen Finland Mikko Markkula
9 Czech Republic 42. Barum Czech Rally Zlín 2012 2012 Finland Juho Hänninen Finland Mikko Markkula
10 Poland 69. Rajd Polski 2012 2012 Finland Esapekka Lappi Finland Janne Ferm
11 Austria 30. Internationale Jänner Rallye 2013 2013 Czech Republic Jan Kopecký Czech Republic Pavel Dresler
12 Spain 37. Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés 2013 2013 Czech Republic Jan Kopecký Czech Republic Pavel Dresler
13 Portugal 48. SATA Rallye Açores 2013 2013 Czech Republic Jan Kopecký Czech Republic Pavel Dresler
14 Belgium 49. Belgium Geko Ypres Rally 2013 2013 Belgium Freddy Loix Belgium Frédéric Miclotte
15 Romania 2013 Sibiu Rally 2013 Czech Republic Jan Kopecký Czech Republic Pavel Dresler
16 Czech Republic 2013 Barum Czech Rally Zlín 2013 Czech Republic Jan Kopecký Czech Republic Pavel Dresler
17 Croatia 40. Croatia Rally 2013 Czech Republic Jan Kopecký Czech Republic Pavel Dresler
18 Switzerland 2013 Rallye International du Valais 2013 Finland Esapekka Lappi Finland Janne Ferm
19 Latvia Rally Liepāja 2014 2014 Finland Esapekka Lappi Finland Janne Ferm
20 Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland 72. Circuit of Ireland 2014 2014 Finland Esapekka Lappi Finland Janne Ferm
21 Belgium 50. Geko Ypres Rally 2014 2014 Belgium Freddy Loix Belgium Johan Gitsels

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Team structure ŠKODA – Motorsport". New.skoda-auto.com. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  2. ^ "Škoda Red Bull 2011". 
  3. ^ "IRC Intercontinental Rally Challenge". Ircseries.com. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  4. ^ "IRC Intercontinental Rally Challenge". Ircseries.com. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  5. ^ "IRC Intercontinental Rally Challenge". Ircseries.com. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 

External links[edit]