Three Skoda crews at Wales Rally GB

Three Skoda crews at Wales Rally GBFrom Skoda Press [ 24/10/2017 ].
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ŠKODA Motorsport will compete at the upcoming Wales Rally GB (26/10–29/10/2017) with three ŠKODA FABIA R5 cars driven by the new WRC 2 Champions Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson WRC 2, Norwegians Ole Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjaermoen and Juuso Nordgren from Finland, joined by co-driver Tapio Suominen. While experienced Tidemand is aiming to score his fifth 2017 victory in WRC 2 category, youngsters Veiby and Nordgren want to demonstrate their skills behind the steering wheel of the works ŠKODA FABIA R5.

“After Monte Carlo Rally for the second time in 2017 we are running three works teams in a round of the World Rally Championship. Having prematurely won the WRC 2 Championship with Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson, also having secured the FIA WRC 2 Championship for Teams, I am really looking forward to the performance of our three teams,” explains ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek.

Pontus Tidemand and co-driver Jonas Andersson won the WRC 2 category already in Sweden, Mexico, Argentina and Portugal. After finishing second in Poland and third in Germany, they are eager to fight for the victory again. “I’m looking forward to Wales Rally GB. I do not have to take care any more about tactics and championship points. Now it’s all about enjoying the challenging gravel stages with our ŠKODA FABIA R5,” Tidemand looks ahead to the penultimate round of FIA World Rally Championship 2017.

The 21-years-old Ole Christian Veiby and his co-driver Stig Rune Skjaermoen had a fantastic season so far as well. They are still in the title fight in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) with MRF ŠKODA Team. Driving a private Printsport entered ŠKODA FABIA R5 they won WRC 2 at Rally Poland, finished second in WRC 2 in Italy and third in RC2 class at RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España. During Wales Rally GB for the first time they will be part of the official factory team of ŠKODA Motorsport. “I cannot wait to drive the ŠKODA FABIA R5 on pure gravel after the mixed surface challenge in Spain”, emphasises O.C. Veiby.

At the recent RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España, their first rally with the factory team of ŠKODA Motorsport, Juuso Nordgren already paid back the trust that has been placed in him with a fine performance and a fourth place in the WRC 2 category. “It was the very first time I drove the ŠKODA FABIA R5 on tarmac, I really learnt a lot. I am very happy that ŠKODA gives me another chance to prove my skills, this time on a pure gravel event”, says the 20 years old 2015 Finnish Junior Rally Champion, who will be partnered by his co-driver Tapio Suominen again.

The first leg of the Wales Rally GB will start on Thursday, 26 October, with a 1,53 kilometres short but spectacular show stage at the Tir Prince trotting track in Towyn. On Friday morning the action really gets going. The longest special stage is the famous Hafren test with more than 35 kilometres of smooth gravel. In total the crews have to face 21 special stages totalling 304,36 kilometres. Saturday is the longest day with 17 hours on the road including 142 kilometres on seven stages. The winner will reach the podium at the seaside resort of Llandudno around 14h00 on Sunday. The service park is hosted at Deeside close to the Liverpool bay area.

Did you know...

...that the British round of the FIA World Rally Championship was formerly known as Royal Automobile Club Rally (RAC) and founded in 1932 with 341 competitors starting on the first event?

…that in 1960 special stages in the forests of Wales, the Lake District and the notorious Kielder Forest were used for the first time?

…that in 1990 for the first time pre-rally inspection of the special stages – commonly known as “recce” – and pace notes were allowed? Before 1990 all stages had to be driven with rough information only, the co-driver relying on nothing than a detailed road map.

…that in the past the RAC Rally was a tough marathon test? In 1983 for example the rally covered 3,046 kilometres with 58 special stages totalling 844 kilometres. Winner Stig Blomqvist (Audi Quattro) drove for a total time of 8 hours, 50 minutes and 28 seconds. Ladislav Křeček/Bořivoj Motl won the A5 class with a factory entered ŠKODA 120 LS finishing 25th overall.

…that the weather can play a significant role with fog and heavy rainfalls, usually turning the stages into a mud bath? In 1993 even heavy snowfalls occurred. Nevertheless, the use of studded tyres was and is not allowed.

…that up to the year 2000 the British round of the FIA World Rally Championship took place in England, Scotland and Wales before it entirely moved to Wales?