Kopecky win Rally Bohemia 2014
European Rally Champion Jan Kopecký (CZ) ahead of Umberto Scandola (I) and Sepp Wiegand (D): the ŠKODA family tasted triple success at its home rally. Thousands of fans packed the finish area in front of the ŠKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav to celebrate the local manufacturer’s victory at the Rally Bohemia, which this year also marked the 40th anniversary of the iconic ŠKODA RS. Vintage rally cars from back then, the two works Fabia Super 2000s in retro livery, and the first test of the 1.6-litre turbo engine for the new Fabia R 5 under competitive conditions bridged the gap between the past and the future.
“Congratulations to Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler on repeating last year’s success. And I am obviously delighted with the great result for ŠKODA,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek. He was full of praise for the “compact format” of the Rally Bohemia, which he saw as a “model for the future”. Since the Fabia Super 2000 made its first outing at the iconic event in 2009, the Czech automobile manufacturer has been unbeaten at the asphalt rally around the company headquarters.
Successful defending champions Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler came home 43.9 seconds ahead of Umberto Scandola/Guido d’Amore (I/I), who were supported by ŠKODA Italia. In winning, Kopecký completed a hat-trick of victories, having previously won the last two rounds of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in New Caledonia and Australia. Third place went to Germans Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian in the works team’s second Fabia Super 2000, which also sported a stunning retro design. After two top-three results in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), this recent success also marked the German duo’s third podium in a row.
“I am proud to have lived up to the huge expectations here in front of the ŠKODA headquarters. It is a shame that my rival Václav Pech retired so early on the final day,” said Jan Kopecký. “I would like to thank the entire team for the outstanding job they have done. Like the thousands of fans lining the route, we were also thrilled by the Fabia Super 2000 in its 1974 look.”
Sepp Wiegand was also satisfied with his place on the podium, having fought back from fifth place: “I am pleased to have made it onto the podium again after the two recent top-three results in the European Rally Championship. I sensed that the team believes in me, and wanted to pay them back for that trust.” After more rain on the final morning, the skies cleared later on. Iconic ŠKODA models like the 200 RS, which made its first official appearance at this rally back in 1974, were presented in glorious sunshine in the finish area on Václav-Klement Street. The 200 RS heralded the start of a success story for the RS models, which have also proven to be extremely popular production cars.
The car charged with writing the next chapter in ŠKODA’s 113-year motorsport history in 2015 is the new ŠKODA Fabia R 5. ERC leaders Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) put its 1.6-litre turbo engine through its paces under rally conditions for the first time at this year’s Rally Bohemia. “I’d like to thank the entire team for making it possible to test the new Fabia R 5 under competitive conditions, whilst at the same time completing its standard rally operations. We have reached another milestone in the development of our car,” said Hrabánek.
The victorious team will have no time for a breather after the successful outing at their home event: ŠKODA heads to Estonia for the next round of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) as soon as Monday. Lappi and Wiegand will be in action for the Czech automobile manufacturer from Thursday to Saturday. After six of the season’s eleven races, Lappi holds a 33-point lead over both Wiegand and Craig Breen (IRL) at the top of the overall standings. Kopecký returns to the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), which he leads at the halfway point of the season. His next appearance will be at the Rally Malaysia from 15 to 17 August.
Number of the day: 9
ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 drivers clocked the fastest time on nine of the twelve special stages at the Rally Bohemia. Winner Jan Kopecký won two of the opening day’s five stages – setting exactly the same time as fellow ŠKODA driver Umberto Scandola on one of the stages. The final day saw Kopecký claim another six stage wins, while Scandola guided the high-tech four-wheel drive car from Mladá Boleslav to victory on SS 10.
Rally Bohemia – Final result
1. Kopecký/Dresler (CZ/CZ, ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000) 1h 30m 36.1s
2. Scandola/D’Amore (I/I, ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000) + 43.9s
3. Wiegand/Christian (D/D, ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000) + 1m 10.8s
4. Odložilík/Tureček (CZ/CZ, Ford Fiesta R5) + 1m 26.9s
5. Vlček/Lasevič (CZ/CZ, ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000) + 5m 24.0s