“We had an extremely successful first year with our new ŠKODA Fabia R5 in 2015. The fourth title in a row in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, four wins in the WRC 2 class of the World Rally Championship and five national titles exceeded our expectations,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek. “It goes without saying that we continued to work hard through the winter break with the ŠKODA team, and are looking forward to an eventful year of rallying with our fast and reliable Fabia R5 in 2016. Our goal is to exceed last year’s success in the WRC 2 with our three impressive drivers, Pontus Tidemand, Jan Kopecký and Esapekka Lappi. We would like to welcome Jonas Andersson to our ŠKODA racing family.”
Andersson is one of the most experienced co-drivers in the world and has enjoyed great success in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in recent years. He will make his competitive debut alongside Swedish ŠKODA driver Tidemand at their home rally in Sweden. “We have already done a lot of testing together and can hardly wait to finally get started,” said Tidemand. Andersson has a clear goal for his first start in the ŠKODA works team: “We really want to be among the front-runners!”
Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) line up as the second ŠKODA works duo at the second round of the WRC 2 season in the Swedish snow. Last year, the 2014 European champion contributed two WRC 2 victories to the ŠKODA Motorsport team’s impressive record, ending the season third overall in WRC 2. This year, the goal is to surpass last season’s excellent effort. Lappi: “We still have room for improvement. We obviously want to challenge for the WRC 2 title.”
Jan Kopecký und Pavel Dresler also have title ambitions. The all-Czech duo won the title in the Czech Rally Championship with a flawless record of five wins from five starts in 2015 and would love to repeat this remarkable success in 2016. Like the other ŠKODA Motorsport pairings, Kopecký and Dresler will also be in action at a number of rounds of the WRC 2 championship, in which he won one rally last year. “We are looking forward to the challenges we will face in WRC 2 and the MČR this year,” said Kopecký. “We have the perfect tool at our disposal, in the form of the ŠKODA Fabia R5. The goal is to tease even more out of the car in 2016.”
As in 2015, the high-tech, four-wheel drive powerhouse will this year sport the imposing green, black and white ŠKODA Motorsport livery, which thrilled fans around the world last year. “We promise our fans that we will do everything in our power to continue ŠKODA Motorsport’s successful run in 2016,” said ŠKODA Motorsport director Hrabánek.