VIDEO: Four generations of the Fabia as seen by rally drivers
In the last seven years, Škoda Fabia Rally2 and Rally2 evo models have notched up over 2,000 victories in various rally competitions around the world. With the advent of the fourth-generation racing car, the Fabia RS Rally2, Škoda Motorsport wants to keep adding to its trophy cabinet. And in November 2022 the new car got off to a great start, taking first place on its debut in the Lausitz Rallye in Germany.
The documentary Roads to Victory shows that the road to trophies hasn’t always been easy and had no shortage of dramatic moments.
In the intense competition of the top international rally category, the ambitious Škoda Fabia WRC that was based on the first generation of the production model did not perform as well as the team from Mladá Boleslav team had hoped. Even so, the car’s huge potential was demonstrated by the legendary Colin McRae, who fought his way to a podium finish in one of his two starts with this car. According to Škoda Motorsport team head Michal Hrabánek, the Fabia WRC was extremely important. “The team learnt a lot from this car, and if it wasn’t for this first generation, we probably wouldn’t have had so much success later,” says Hrabánek.
Harri Rovanperä is one of the drivers who got behind the wheel of the Škoda Fabia WRC in the past.
With the next generation of the car, Škoda decided to concentrate on the lower competition categories, which were more affordable and allowed for more intensive work with young drivers. The Fabia Super 2000 (also known as the S2000) then became a fixture in the category for four-wheel drive cars with naturally aspirated engines. Teams from all over the world bought a total of 63 Fabia S2000s, and Sebastian Vettel drove one at the 2011 Race of Champions (ROC). “It was a car with an incredibly precise and fast response,” recalls Jan Kopecký, one of the most successful Fabia drivers and also a 2011 ROC participant.
Škoda Fabia S2000 from 2008
2015 brought the Fabia, based on Škoda’s third-generation compact car. In the documentary Kopecký recalls driving with the bonnet open in the 2019 Portuguese Rally, for example, and Michal Hrabánek remembers Kalle Rovanperä’s terrifying crash in Argentina that same year. Fortunately, no one was hurt and Rovanperä went on to become the youngest ever World Champion of the Rally2 category that year (the R5 category was renamed Rally2).
Škoda Fabia R5 with its crew of Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen at Rally de España 2019
Eventually, over 470 Rally2 and Rally2 evo cars were bought by rally teams around the world. This is also why the factory team decided not to race after the 2019 season and instead to continue working with customers and supporting them on their journey to success with Škoda Fabia cars. With this support, Škoda Fabia rally cars continue to win, such as recently in the fourth generation with driver Andreas Mikkelsen, who also looks back on his triumphs with Škoda cars in the documentary.
At the Monte Carlo Rally in January 2023, customer team crews drove the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 to victory in 16 out of the 18 speed trials in the RC2 category. Pictured: driver and navigator Erik Cais and Petr Těšínský with their car.