It’s a day of celebration for ŠKODA: the driving duo Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ) have put the icing on the cake of an outstanding season with a win at the final event in China. By winning the “China Rally Longyou”, the Czech automobile manufacturer concludes the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) with a perfect track record of six wins in six races.
ŠKODA has therefore completed a title hat-trick in the manufacturers’ and drivers’ standings with its successful Fabia Super 2000. It’s the perfect finishing touch to a successful season: Esapekka Lappi (FIN) secured the drivers’ title for ŠKODA in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) for the third consecutive year and the Czech company has also notched up four national championship wins with the Fabia Super 2000.
Kopecký comfortably scored his fourth victory of the season in spite of rain and very challenging track conditions on gravel and concrete, to add to his previous wins in New Caledonia, Australia and Japan in his premiere APRC season. His teammates Gaurav Gill/Glenn Macneall (IND/NZ) drove the factory-backed ŠKODA MRF team to victory in the other two APRC rallies in New Zealand and Malaysia.
Kopecký scored the third drivers’ championship win in a row for ŠKODA in the APRC, following on from Chris Atkinson (AUS) in 2012 and Gaurav Gill in 2013. In addition, the 32-year-old is the first ever driver to have won the drivers’ championship title in both the ERC and the APRC in consecutive years. Pavel Dresler picked up the co-drivers’ title.
“This is obviously a huge success for us. We all knew the APRC would be a tough championship, but it was even harder than we had expected. The championship title therefore means all the more to us! I would like to thank the guys in the team and also my co-driver Pavel Dresler, without whom I would have been lost on the new tracks in these far-flung places,” Kopecký commented. His teammate Gaurav Gill, who was unable to finish the rally due to suspension damage, congratulated his successor as the APRC champion: “It was a tough duel, and Jan deserves the title. Obviously, I would have liked to have won in China, but I’m delighted to have been able to play a part in ŠKODA’s success this year.” With the final event of the season all wrapped up, the two ŠKODA duos will now go on an advertising tour in Shanghai, in the brand’s key global market of China.
In addition to its title hat-trick in the APRC’s manufacturer and driver standings, ŠKODA had cause to celebrate on the other side of the world this weekend too, with its driver duo Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) picking up the drivers’ and co-drivers’ championship titles in the ERC.
This therefore means that a ŠKODA driver was crowned the European champion for the third time in a row at the end of the season final in Corsica on Saturday. The high-tech four-wheel drive vehicle from Mladá Boleslav also clinched title wins in four national rally championships.
The experienced Belgian rally driver ‘Fast’ Freddy Loix won the Belgian championship title. Before this, Pedro Meireles (P) won the championship in Portugal with the support of ŠKODA Portugal. Also, the old hand Raimund Baumschlager (A) picked up his twelfth rally championship title in Austria in the Fabia Super 2000. And the two Poles Grzegorz Grzyb/Robert Hundla walked away with the championship title in Slovakia.