Safety: Even better protection for driver and co-driver

› Rally2 vehicle’s safety equipment exceeds FIA’s strict technical regulations
› Side impact protection made of carbon fibre, Kevlar and energy-absorbing foam

Mladá Boleslav, 14 June 2022 – The engineers at ŠKODA Motorsport have introduced numerous measures to protect the driver and co-driver in the FABIA RS Rally2 even better in the event of a collision. One priority was safety in the event of a side impact, and comprehensive analyses of accidents provided important information on this issue.

The measures and equipment to protect the occupants in a rally vehicle differ significantly from those in a production model. The airbags installed in the fourth-generation production FABIA cannot be used in rallying because the sensors and electronic control systems react too sensitively to the high G-forces during asphalt stages, on gravel tracks or in long jumps. The safety concept, therefore, relies on mechanical solutions such as a roll cage and side protection made of carbon fibre and energy-absorbing foam. Six-point harnesses and racing seats with integrated head protection also come into play.



Roll cage made of high-strength chromoly steel

In designing the new model, the engineers at ŠKODA Motorsport used analysis data from previous rally accidents. The roll cage for the new FABIA RS Rally2, made of 35.8 metres of high-strength chromium-molybdenum steel, consists of longitudinal, transverse and diagonal tubes in the door openings, under the vehicle roof, around the windscreen and behind the seats. The dimensions and material of the safety cell are defined by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile’s (FIA) technical regulations. ŠKODA Motorsport goes far beyond these requirements with the new Rally FABIA. The gusset plates that are relevant in the event of a side impact are also more robust than stipulated in the regulations.

Designed with the aid of computer calculations, the roll cage secures the survival space of the driver and co-driver in the event of an accident, even if the bodywork is badly damaged. It also forms an integral part of the chassis, to which it is hand-welded by certified professionals. This significantly increases the torsional rigidity of the body, which is already stiffer thanks to the MQB A0 platform. Every FABIA RS Rally2 is assembled exclusively at ŠKODA Motorsport in Mladá Boleslav.

Side impact protection made of carbon fibre, Kevlar and energy-absorbing foam

In a rally car, the driver and front passenger are particularly vulnerable in the event of a side impact. While the production FABIA is protected by a combination of B-pillars, door reinforcements and airbags, the rally version is protected by a roll cage with two door pillars and gusset plates. In addition, the FABIA RS Rally2 has an energy-absorbing structure made of foam between the outer door skin and the interior, as well as door panels made of composite materials. The structure of the composite panels is predefined: Five layers of carbon 280 and one layer of Kevlar 300. The Kevlar layer is closest to the driver and co-driver and protects them from sharp carbon fragments in the event of an accident. The absorbing foam must be approved by the FIA and have the minimum volume specified in the regulations in order to reduce the impact energy and thus the force on the human body. In the FABIA RS Rally2, special racing seats, six-point harnesses and personal equipment, including the mandatory head-and-neck support system (HANS) on the helmet with restraint straps also contribute to effectively mitigating the impact forces. This system protects the crew’s heads from sudden and violent movements.

To better distribute the forces generated in a side impact, both body sides of the FABIA RS Rally2 are joined by the seat bracket structure and an additional rail. The door crosses of the roll cage are even more robust and exceed the FIA’s requirements. To optimise the strength of the shoulder belt attachment points, the FABIA RS Rally2 has been fitted with an additional cage tube on each side of the vehicle.

Automatic fire extinguishing system on board

The FABIA RS Rally2’s polycarbonate side windows can be easily removed in accordance with FIA regulations. In addition, the on-board safety equipment includes a fire extinguishing system, comprising an automatic system with nozzles in the cockpit and engine compartment and a manual fire extinguisher in the co-driver’s footwell. The system can also be activated externally.


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Zbyněk Straškraba
Motorsport Communications
T +420 326 811 785

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