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The special ŠKODA 130 RS racing version set out on the course for this year’s Saxony Classic rally for classic cars. A driver can be really captivated by this car, by its straightforwardness and incredible self-confidence. After negotiating that first turn, you would love it. And you could fall in love, too, with the growling and roaring and rattling which surrounds the crew through the entire 600 kilometres of the Saxony Classic rally. For a fan of motorsport, it is an experience of a lifetime.

The creamy white ŠKODA 130 RS enjoys every curve as it scurries through the countryside of Saxony. The rear-engine and real-wheel drive help the driver in managing the turns.

The white beauty, completed a couple weeks earlier by Jens Herkommer, who is a specialist in classic ŠKODA cars and rally cars, is an original RS from 1978. He bought the special racing car himself and then renovated it to perfection. The roof, bonnet and exterior door panels are aluminium, and the reminder of the body is of glass fibre-reinforced plastic. In order to save on kilos, the car has only the bare essentials. In place of glass side windows, it has lighter, plastic windows with small, sliding openings.

The 90 horsepower can easily handle the special racing car’s 825 kg. In its racing setup, the car had had a four-cylinder engine turning out 140 horsepower, which had propelled this rally star of the eastern bloc at speeds in excess of 200 kilometres per hour. Today, the car is set up with a weaker, training engine. Nevertheless, it can push this racing coupe down the road at some 150 km/h.

The white beauty nicknamed the “Porsche of the East” was one of the stars in the starting field at the 2017 Saxony Classic. The crew inside the star did a lot of sweating. At the smallest opportunity, they would open the door to let in some fresh air. Not much air could come in through the small openings in the plastic windows, and one would search in vain for air conditioning. A sunny day prepares for the driver and co-driver a “sauna” as hot as 60°C.

The driver must be perfectly focused on driving. He has time for nothing else, except from time to time to glance at the gauges on the dashboard to make sure everything is cooling the way it should. But everything is functioning excellently – as well it ought to be, considering that in fact this is practically a new car.

ŠKODA CLASSIC

The brand hailing from the Czech Republic’s Mladá Boleslav is a regular participant in classic car rallies. In recent years, historic ŠKODA cars have been driven in similar events even as far away as China. They are most active in Germany, however, where there are really big and important races of this sort practically every month of the year. ŠKODA has a lot to show for itself from its 116-year racing history. FELICIA convertibles, beautiful coupes and special racing models are always stars of the starting field.

THE SAXONY CLASSIC

Is one of the most celebrated of classic car rallies, and this year marks its 15th running. The spectators in Saxony know the classic ŠKODA cars and are its true fans. They well remember the rally history of the brand. This year, the Saxony Classic’s 200-car starting field included seven ŠKODA automobiles. The cars ran the time trials on the beautiful Sachsenring racetrack, conquered the Ore Mountains, took the little roads on the Czech side of the border to the motor-racing track at Most, then continued on to the elegant spa town of Bad Schandau on the right bank of the Elbe. The final day’s finish was at Volkswagen Group’s “Transparent Factory” in Dresden.

IT IS ABOUT HUNDREDTHS OF A SECOND,
RATHER THAN SPEED

Classic car races are run according to a special format. It is not about speed but rather about steadiness and most of all precision. That is why such rallies are referred to as “regularity rallies”. The objective is to drive within precisely established times not only the individual stages but particularly in various tests of precision ranging in length from several tens of metres to tens of kilometres. In these time–speed–distance trials, every deviation by +/−0.01 corresponds to a penalty point, which means that 1 second is equivalent to 100 penalty points. A typical task is to drive 150 metres in 10 seconds. It starts at a quick pace, and after passing the starting point one is forbidden to stop on the measured stretch. The navigator counts out the remaining seconds and the driver must delicately work the gas and clutch in order to cover the distance precisely within the number of seconds allowed. At the starting and ending points, times are measured by photoelectric cells or by mechanical switches in the roadway which look like hoses. And the real devil is in the details! First of all, the crew must know precisely where its car is to begin and end (and in some cases these are run backing up) and, second, when the wheels will cross the hose.

 

The navigator guides the journey according to a detailed itinerary that the team receives the day before the start. Based on this, the crew will discuss in advance how to drive the speed tests. Sometimes, it is necessary to make calculations using the available data. A typical computation might determine that the car must pass through the length of the speed test in exactly 1,182 seconds.

Crews are permitted to use electronic stopwatches (but there also exist special applications for smartphones and tablets) or they can register in the mechanical stopwatch category for which no electronic aids of any sort are permitted. Ideally, the navigator will have three stopwatches, because some speed tests are overlapping one another or are set up in sequence. What’s more, there also can be surprise speed tests that are not marked on the itinerary.

 

ŠKODA CARS
FROM THE 2017 SAXONY CLASSIC

ŠKODA 1200 SEDAN
from 1955, this was the oldest model representing
the Czech brand.

ŠKODA 440 „SPARTAK“ from 1957, this evokes great enthusiasm among spectators with its period accessories such as the added centre headlight.

Two ŠKODA FELICIA from 1960 and 1961. These elegant convertibles are among the cars most sought after by collectors.

Red ŠKODA 100
from 1970,
it is finished
in rally style.

ŠKODA 130 RS
from 1978, it reaches speeds up to 210 km/h.

ŠKODA FAVORIT from 1991, this is a true replica of the car that started at the renowned Rallye Monte Carlo.