Two ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000s in the 1974 ŠKODA 180 RS/200 RS colours. ŠKODA drivers Kopecký and Wiegand set sights on victory at ŠKODA’s home race.
Homage to 40 years of ŠKODA RS speed: ŠKODA lines up at the Rally Bohemia with two current ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000s in the same livery as sported by the historic ŠKODA 180 RS and ŠKODA 200 RS rally cars. The two ŠKODA drivers Jan Kopecký and Sepp Wiegand have their sights set on victory in their retro ŠKODA powerhouses. The Rally Bohemia takes place this coming weekend (11/12 July 2014) in the region around the city of Mladá Boleslav - home of the headquarters of the Czech car manufacturer.
The occasion that has prompted the historic outfit for the Fabia Super 2000 is the 40th birthday of the ŠKODA 180 RS and ŠKODA 200 RS. The two spectacular rally cars made their first official race outings in June 1974. Their debut came at the Rally ŠKODA, the predecessor of today’s Rally Bohemia. Exactly 40 years later, the current Fabia Super 2000s driven by ŠKODA drivers Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler and Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian will feature the 1974 livery.
The ŠKODA 180 RS and ŠKODA 200 RS are seen as the founders of ŠKODA’s successful RS history, in which the iconic ŠKODA 130 RS was instrumental in shaping the company’s motorsport activities in the 1970s and 1980s. Since 2000, the manufacturer has resurrected this tradition with RS versions for end user models. The short-term highlight is the new ŠKODA Octavia RS – the fastest and most powerful production Octavia of all time. The RS stands for ‘Rally Sport’.
“For 40 years the acronym RS has been synonymous with particularly sporty ŠKODA cars full of spirit, class and verve,” said ŠKODA Dr. Frank Welsch, Board Member for Technical Development. “Our emotional outing at the Rally Bohemia sees us underline the importance of the RS model for our brand and building bridging the gap between the past and the brand’s current motorsport success,” said Dr. Welsch.
Jan Kopecký and Sepp Wiegand are looking to challenge for victory in their retro cars at the Rally Bohemia. “It is awesome to compete in a rally around my home and the headquarters of ŠKODA, and to evoke memories of the brand’s outstanding RS history at the same time. I am particularly looking forward to contesting a rally on tarmac again – I usually find myself on gravel routes in the APRC,” said Jan Kopecký. The reigning European Rally Champion won the Rally Bohemia in 2013. In 2014 the ŠKODA works driver primarily lines up in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). With two wins and a second place to his name, Kopecký currently leads the overall standings in the APRC.
The second ŠKODA driver, Sepp Wiegand, also rates his chances in Bohemia: “Recent podiums in Northern Ireland and Belgium have shown that I am getting into my stride. I obviously want to show that in ŠKODA’s backyard.” As well as Kopecký and Wiegand, Italian driver Umberto Scandola will also line up in a Fabia Super 2000 at the Rally Bohemia, with the support of ŠKODA Italy.
As well as its historic significance, this year’s Rally Bohemia is also important to ŠKODA in terms of the brand’s future motorsport activities. The current European Championship leader and ŠKODA works driver Esapekka Lappi will test the new 1.6-litre turbo engine for the new ŠKODA Fabia R 5 under race conditions for the first time. This is the car, with which ŠKODA will compete in the R5 category at international rallies as of 2015. Lappi will complete the test on selected stretches of the Rally Bohemia route in a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 fitted with the new engine.
In accordance with FIA regulations, the new R5 rally car is equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine. “The development of the Fabia R 5 is progressing nicely. We are on schedule,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek. “The first test under competitive conditions is a big step towards achieving homologation by mid-2015,” said Hrabánek.
The Rally Bohemia takes place this weekend (11/12 July 2014). Twelve special stages over an entire distance of exactly 150.66 kilometres await the competitors. Saturday’s finish is on Václav-Klement street in Mladá Boleslav, just in front of the ŠKODA Museum. The Rally Bohemia forms part of the International Czech Championship. As it was last year, ŠKODA is the main sponsor of the event in 2014.