From Ron Salter [ 23/03/2006 ].
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Francois Duval topped the shakedown times for Rally Catalunya today in his Skoda Fabia WRC just as the Czech manufacturer today confirmed it will continue to build World Rally Cars.
Skoda Motorsport will build 4 brand new Fabia WRCs this year at it's Mlada Boleslav base and one has already been delivered to the CRT-Kopecky team. Another is set to be the 2nd car of the newly formed "First Motorsport Skoda Team"
There are now 3 semi-official works supported Skoda teams in the 2006 World Rally Championship; Red Bull Skoda (nominated for M2 points), CRT-Skoda Kopecky team and Kizz-Me Supported First Motorsport Skoda Team.
It's great news for Skoda fans and indeed the world championship in general that the Skoda Motorsport HQ is still turning out brand new cars - perhaps indeed it could even be a long term solution to keeping a Skoda presence in the WRC - the factory HQ could engineer and build the cars whilst the satellite teams get on with the job of running them.
A similar proposition is thought to be on the table at Citroen for their full-time return to the WRC in 2007. It has been suggested that Kronos, the team running Sebastien Loeb's championship challenge this year, could continue to do so next with the C4 WRC. Citroen Sport would still build and develop the car.
Is the face of the World Rally Championship changing?