From Skoda Press [ 20/01/2006 ].
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From the very beginning of the Rallye de Monte Carlo’s first leg - opening round of the 2006 World Rally Championship - François Duval and his teammate, the French Patrick Pivato, behind the wheel of the Skoda Fabia WRC’05 prepared by the « First Motorsport » team, have already scored a scratch time in stage nr 5 of « Guillaumes-Valberg 2 ».
This is a real feat - as it is the only scratch time achieved by a private team in the first leg -, as well as a true event in Skoda history. It is, indeed, the first best time scored in world championship by a Skoda car in regular race conditions. As to the First Motorsport team, it is the second time, after the best time scored by Stéphane Sarrazin at the 2004 « Rally de Cataluña », that one of its cars ranks high in « World Championship ».
Ranking 6th tonight, and 2nd private team, after achieving a 2nd best time in stage nr 4, Duval-Pivato and the Skoda « First » have well recovered, in the afternoon, the time they had lost in the first two morning stages covered with retreaded slick tyres : « 19 of the 22 km of the 1st stage were covered with ice », declared Patrick Pivato. « It was absolutely impossible to drive. In such conditions, we should have lost 5 minutes on those with snow tyres, but François only conceded one minute and a half. Well done ! »
« After a difficult start – that’s the way the Monte-Carlo and its game of chance are ! -, the whole team is in good spirits », concludes, with a large smile, Willy Collignon, manager of the private Belgian team whose mechanics did not have to intervene on the car, except for routine operations.
The event will go on next Saturday and Sunday, each of the two stages including 6 timed tests.