Octavia Reliability Rewards Skoda

From Skoda Press [ 11/05/2003 ].
Click to read all other Skoda Skoda News.

The Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team has once again enjoyed a superb result at the end of Rally Argentina. The team maintained its record of scoring World Rally Championship points on every event of this year’s championship and both Škoda Octavia WRC drivers completed the rally in the points for the overall drivers’ championship as well. Didier Auriol finished the rally in sixth place while seventh position promotes Toni Gardemeister to ninth place in the drivers’ championship standings. Both Didier and Toni began today’s five stages determined to maintain the pressure on Armin Schwarz, Didier well aware that he could push hard as Toni was close behind and perfectly placed to keep Škoda in the points if anything should go wrong.

Instead it was Schwarz who hit problems and was forced to retire from the event. “This is a very demanding rally,” said Didier. “I have pushed as hard as possible throughout the event because I wanted to be perfectly placed to gain the benefit when others had problems. The Octavia WRC has been as reliable as always throughout this event and I am especially pleased with setting fifth fastest time on SS23 when I was really trying very hard to keep the pressure on Armin.”

Didier’s rally has been notable for his bravery in driving so hard despite injuring his wrist on the opening day, making it quite hard at times to remain in control of the Octavia WRC on some of the faster stages in Argentina.

Toni started this morning determined to match Didier’s pace but this afternoon he was able to reduce his level of attack and consolidate Škoda Motorsport’s points position. “It was lucky that Didier and I were so well placed because I also had to slow down more than usual for the many watersplashes. Paavo, my co-driver, had injured his hand operating the flap that keeps water out of the air intakes and I could not risk drowning the engine by going too quickly into the water today.

“Overall I’m very happy with this result and I’m glad that the organisers changed the rally schedule last night. I prefer three equal days of competition and so today was better for me with five long stages instead of just three.”

Škoda Auto Director of Motorsport, Petr Kohoutek, said: “We are very happy to continue our successful run of points scoring, especially by getting both Octavias to the finish in scoring positions for both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships. Once again Škoda Auto has proved the reliability of the Octavia WRC in the toughest environment. This event is notoriously hard on cars and to achieve this result is a rich reward for everyone in the team.”

Next World Championship Rally: Acropolis Rally (GR), June 6-8, 2003