Mladá Boleslav/Prague, 23 December 2017 – ŠKODA Motorsport celebrated the most successful year in its history in spectacular style. With Christmas getting closer, ŠKODA factory driver Jan Kopecký gave a number of people in Prague a special surprise: The five times Czech Rally Champion answered to calls for a taxi, showing up with a 290 bhp ŠKODA FABIA R5 rally car. What followed was an unforgettable drive through the streets of the Czech capital – unforgettable for Kopecký and his guests alike.
"Driving a ŠKODA FABIA R5 through the city of Prague really was an unique experience. Luckily nobody got stomach problems. Nevertheless I was well prepared having sickness bags in ŠKODA colours on board," laughed ŠKODA factory driver Jan Kopecký.
Driving a ŠKODA FABIA R5 the five times Czech Rally Champion normally thrills spectators along special stages around the world. This time, with Christmas getting closer by the day, he made a number of people a very exclusive present: Randomly picked "taxi customers" got the chance to co-drive Kopecký on the streets of Prague’s city centre on board the turbo-powered, all-wheel driven rally car. The ŠKODA FABIA R5 was seen all over the Czech capital during the day, starting at Prague’s fruit market. Later on "cabby" Kopecký changed to Dlouhá Street, where he turned some more heads during the early evening hours.
Strapped down in the hot seat, normally the "office" of Kopecký’s co-driver Pavel Dresler, the passengers had to fulfill difficult tasks during the rides. For example they had to read the pace notes, the meticulous stage description used during a rally, or to figure out how the co-driver can activate the ŠKODA FABIA R5’s wipers. So they could experience firsthand the demanding job of a co-driver on board a rally car.
A video of the high-adrenaline taxi drives can be found on the Internet, on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook as well as on the web sites of ŠKODA Motorsport and on ŠKODA Storyboard. ŠKODA Storyboard additionally features an interview with Kopecký about his debut as taxi driver.
ŠKODA FABIA R5 is the most successful rally car of its category
In 2017 the ŠKODA FABIA R5 drove from victory to victory, not only in the WRC 2 category of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) but also in a number of regional and national championships. Thereby the ŠKODA FABIA R5 was the most successful rally car in its category by a long stretch. On World Rally Championship level ŠKODA factory crew Pontus Tidemand and fellow Swede Jonas Andersson won the WRC 2 title – becoming the third team in a row to win WRC 2 honours driving a ŠKODA FABIA R5. At the same time ŠKODA Motorsport took the FIA WRC 2 Team Championship. In the Czech Championship Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZE/CZE), also competing in a ŠKODA FABIA R5, scored their fifth national title. In total 14 crews won their country’s national championships. Furthermore, the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), the FIA South American Rally Championship (CODASUR) and the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) were won by teams driving a ŠKODA FABIA R5.
In 2018 ŠKODA Motorsport is aiming to continue the success story. Main focus will be on the World Rally Championship’s WRC 2 category again, where ŠKODA Motorsport will enter its youngest driver squad ever. Furthermore, ŠKODA Motorsport will support customer teams worldwide. On ŠKODA’s home soil Jan Kopecký is going to defend the title of Czech Rally Champion. His ŠKODA FABIA R5 will carry the tricolour of the Czech flag, paying tribute to the 100th birthday of the founding date of Czechoslovakia back in 1918.
ŠKODA Motorsport Overview
ŠKODA has been successful 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 winning the title in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2) for the first time in 2016, 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.
The ŠKODA FABIA R5, a high-tech 4x4, was homologated by the International Automobile Federation FIA on 1 April 2015. ŠKODA’s new FABIA R5 is successfully continuing the long tradition of ŠKODA Motorsport. Its predecessor, the FABIA SUPER 2000, won 50 national and international titles around the world. In the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2) 2016, Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) won the title for the Czech car maker. In total, ten of the 2016 season’s races in the World Rally Championship were won by a ŠKODA FABIA R5. ŠKODA drivers Gustavo Saba (PRY) and Gaurav Gill (IND) also won the continental championships in South America and the Asia-Pacific region at the wheel of the successful ŠKODA FABIA R5. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) was unbeatable in the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), while a further ten national titles also went the way of ŠKODA drivers.
2017 was the most successful year in the history of ŠKODA Motorsport. Works duo Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (S/S) became WRC 2 Champions, ŠKODA Motorsport won the Team Championship. Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ) won the Czech Rally Championship (MČR) for the third time in a row and are the spearhead of in total 14 crews winning their country’s national titles. Furthermore the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), the FIA South American Rally Championship (CODASUR) and the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) have been won by teams competing in a ŠKODA FABIA R5.