Škoda Motorsport’s team dominated this weekend’s IRC event in Russia from start to finish. The team was made up of two crews who drove the Fabia S2000, which coped excellently with the challenging gravel stages. Juho Hänninen with Mikko Markkula won the rally, with Jan Kopecký with Petr Starý coming second, 1:20 behind the winner.
Being faster than his opponent right from the start and winning every stage except one on day two, Juho Hänninen indeed put in an excellent performance. Furthermore, his teammate held the runner-up position from the start untill the finish, too. As a result, Škoda Motorsport celebrated their first victory in just their fourth IRC appearance and a historic “double”.
Commenting on the brand’s achievement, Michal Hrabánek, Head of Škoda Motorsport, said, “We are all enormously happy; this is the best reward for the entire team, Škoda Auto and its partners involved in the Fabia Super 2000 project. Big thanks to all of them. Obviously, this victory is a great impulse for further work and we are not going to rest on our laurels. Yet I believe that this milestone will boost the whole project and attract potential buyers of the Fabia Super 2000.
“I take my hat off to both our crews; selecting them for our team was clearly a good decision. We have known Jan Kopecký for a long time; he puts in stable performances and has improved a great deal. Juho Hänninen showed already in Monte Carlo this year in January that he could be quick, too, and I am really glad that he’s shown now how good he really is. We have done a great job in terms of promoting the Škoda brand, and I daresay that this has not been our last achievement. The next event takes place in Zlín, Czech Republic, where we will logically be under pressure, but we all look forward to it.“
Juho Hänninen said, “My Fabia was fantastic throughout the race. I wish to thank the whole team for the excellent job they’ve done here. I felt right from the beginning that I was fast, but we had to be on the ball all the way, as the stages were was very rocky, especially on Friday and Saturday. We enjoyed the race very much and once again – a big thank you goes to the entire team.“
Jan Kopecký said, “I wish to thank the whole team for an excellent job and support. The car was really superb all the time. The track was very difficult, very bumpy, with some extremely rocky places where the drivers simply could not go full blast. We were nowhere near beating Juho this time; his performance was excellent he looks like he was born on this surface! This is indeed a great result for Škoda and I already look forward to the rally in Zlín in August – I wish to invite all our fans; I am certain that it will be a fantastic race.”