Full throttle ahead: ŠKODA extends lead further at the Rally Finland


› Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm have extended their lead at the Rally Finland after a strong performance on Saturday

› ŠKODA duel for second place: Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson are hot on the heels of Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula

› Four special stages covering 33.96 kilometres before the finish on Sunday afternoon


Jyväskylä, 30 July 2016 – ŠKODA is keeping up the speed. At the eighth round of the season in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2), the teams relying on the FABIA R5 are the ones calling the shots again on Saturday. In particular, the ŠKODA Motorsport duo Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN), who with a controlled attack extended their lead further in the WRC 2 classification. Behind them, their team-mates Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (S/S) staged a thrilling duel for second place with the ŠKODA customer drivers Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (FIN/FIN).

However, it was Lappi who delivered the highlight of the day when he won the legendary "Ouninpohja" stage, beating championship leader Elfyn Evans (GB, Ford) by five seconds. "That was simply cool," said Lappi. "A fantastic stage, wonderful! We really went for it and just enjoyed it. We didn’t have any problems, the FABIA R5 is running like clockwork. Now we want to keep our good rhythm and clinch victory on Sunday of course."

The high average speed that the WRC 2 teams reached on Saturday on the gravel tracks to the south-west of the university city of Jyväskylä impressed Tidemand. "It’s crazy. In some places you feel like you are going as fast as if you were competing in a circuit race – but not on asphalt tracks with run-off areas, rather on gravel tracks in the forest. You need to find the right mix of risk and reason. I hope that I manage it again on Sunday to be able to oust Suninen from second place. It will be far from easy, but we will go at full throttle," said Tidemand.

The longest day of the Rally Finland in terms of classified kilometres had a delayed start for the WRC 2 field. The first pass of "Ouninpohja" on Saturday morning was abandoned after one of the World Rally Cars was involved in an accident. And things could get turbulent again on Sunday: Light rain showers are forecast for the area to the south of Jyväskylä, where the closing special stages "Lempää" and "Oittila" will each be driven twice.

Classifications Rally Finland (WRC 2) after 20 of 24 stages:

1. Lappi/Ferm (FIN/FIN) ŠKODA FABIA R5 2h 26m 24.4s

2. Suninen/Markkula (FIN/FIN) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 46.9s

3. Tidemand/Andersson (S/S) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 58.0s

4. Evans/Parry (GB/GB) Ford Fiesta R5 + 2m 8.4s

5. Kruuda/Jarveoja (EST/EST) Ford Fiesta R5 + 3m 30.2s

The number of the day: 122.8

It’s not without reason that the Rally Finland is also referred to as the "Grand Prix of Finland". After all, eight of the ten fastest WRC rallies of all time have been held in the forests around Jyväskylä. And this year the speed at which the rally drivers are tearing through the special stages is higher than anywhere else on the WRC calendar. Since the ultra-fast stages "Ouninpohja" and "Päijälä" were on Saturday’s agenda, the average speed of leaders Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm increased to an impressive 122.8 km/h. By way of comparison: At the Rally Portugal in May, the average speed of winners Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson was 88 km/h.

ŠKODA Motorsport Overview:

ŠKODA has been on the motorsport scene since 1901. Be it on the circuit or in rallies, ŠKODA has celebrated victories and won titles all around the world. Historical highlights include numerous title wins in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), as well as the victory in the European Touring Car Championship in 1981. ŠKODA teams have also triumphed in the world’s oldest and most famous rally, taking several class victories in the legendary Monte Carlo, which was first held in 1911.

In 2015, ŠKODA celebrated four victories in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2) with their new ŠKODA FABIA R5 rally car. The high-tech 4x4 was homologated by the International Automobile Federation FIA on 1 April 2015. In the ŠKODA FABIA R5’s very first season, factory duo Pontus Tidemand/Emil Axelsson (S/S) secured the fourth APRC title in a row for ŠKODA. In addition, the brand claimed five national titles with their new winning model.

ŠKODA’s new FABIA R5 proudly continues the brand’s long tradition in motorsport. Its predecessor, the FABIA Super 2000, was the most successful model in ŠKODA’s 115-year motorsport history. With the 4x4 from Mladá Boleslav, factory duo Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ) achieved the historic feat of becoming the first duo in history to win the drivers’ title in the ERC and the APRC in consecutive years. Between 2009 and 2014, ŠKODA FABIA Super 2000 drivers won a total of 50 national and international titles around the world.

In 2016, the factory teams Pontus Tidem and/Jonas Andersson (S/S), Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler and Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (F/F) are competing with the ŠKODA FABIA R5 in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2).

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