Mladá Boleslav, 14 May 2018 – Reigning WRC 2 Champions Pontus Tidemand/Jonas
Andersson (SWE/SWE) are entering the competition at Rally Portugal (17/05/–20/05/2018)
leading the WRC 2 championship standings. Second placed ŠKODA teammates Jan
Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZE/CZE) will compete at Rallye Český Krumlov at the same
weekend instead of travelling to Portugal. Meanwhile promising Finnish juniors Juuso
Nordgren/Tapio Suominen will make their 2018 WRC 2 season debut driving another ŠKODA
FABIA R5 run by the factory team of ŠKODA Motorsport.
Three years ago, the ŠKODA FABIA R5 started its success story with a strong debut on the gravel
roads of Rally Portugal. Homologated on 1 April 2015, the brand-new R5 machine proved right from
the start that it will be the car to beat in WRC 2 and currently is the most successful car in the
category. On top of that, Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson have more good memories of
Rally Portugal. “Back in 2015, it was my first rally with the ŠKODA FABIA R5. One year later, we
could win there for the first time, and in 2017, we were lucky to be the winners again after a
dramatic final on the last stage. I really love to drive the nice gravel stages of Portugal and want to
win for a third time in a row,” reigning WRC 2 champion Tidemand looks forward to the sixth round
of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2).
Promising Finnish juniors Juuso Nordgren/Tapio Suominen will start their 2018 WRC 2 campaign
driving a second ŠKODA FABIA R5. “My first rally for ŠKODA Motorsport this year was the second
round of Czech Rally Championship, the Rally Šumava Klatovy, where I finished third. It was nearly
hundred per cent on tarmac roads with only some small gravel sections. Now I am really looking
forward to drive the ŠKODA FABIA R5 on pure gravel roads,” says Nordgren.
With four wins out of five rounds in the WRC 2 category of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship,
ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek is hoping for another great result for the Czech
manufacturer. “The competition will be very tense at Rally Portugal. I am happy to see, that among
the 35 entries in WRC 2 category and RC 2 class no fewer than twelve crews are competing with a
ŠKODA FABIA R5. With three starts Pontus Tidemand so far won two of the five 2018 rallies. He
can further increase his lead in the WRC 2 Championship. For Juuso, it is all about learning. Last
year, he already proved, that he is really fast on gravel,” comments Hrabánek.
After moving back to the north of the country to the region around Porto in 2015, Rally Portugal is
one of the most spectator crowded events of the FIA World Rally Championship. The notorious
Fafe jump alone every year attracts tens of thousands of spectators.
The rally starts on Thursday (17 May) with a show stage on the rallycross circuit of Lousada. The
first full day of action on Friday (18 May) features eight stages in the far north near the border to
Spain, covering nearly 150 kilometres. Like in 2017, Saturday (19 May) offers the longest leg,
running over nearly 155 kilometres divided in six special stages with a mixture of sandy roads,
rocks and deep ruts during the second pass of the stages. The right tyre choice between soft
compounds for more traction and hard compound in order to manage tyre wear on the long stages
is one of the keys to success. On Sunday (20 May), the spectacular Fafe loop with five stages on
fast and smooth gravel roads, including the famous jump, is the spectator highlight of the event. In
total, the teams will face 20 special stages of 358.19 kilometres, before the winner will reach the
podium on Sunday at 15h45 in Matosinhos close to the city of Porto.
Did you know...
... that Rally Portugal was first held in 1967 and in 1973 was one of the founding events of the then
new World Rally Championship?
... that until 1994 the rally traditionally started in Estoril close to Lisbon and the first leg was held on
tarmac before it became an all-gravel event in 1995?
... that in 1996, due to the FIA’s calendar rotating system, Rally Portugal did not count for the World
... that from 2007 to 2014 the rally was held in the Algarve region before moving back to the north?
…that the ŠKODA FABIA R5 made its World Rally Championship debut at Rally Portugal in 2015
and up to now 200 units of this model have been sold to customer teams worldwide?
... that in 2012 Sébastien Ogier won his class with a ŠKODA FABIA S2000, finishing an impressive
7th overall, and again in 2013 Esapekka Lappi won WRC 2 with a ŠKODA FABIA S2000?
The calendar of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
Great Britain 04/10/–07/10/2018
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.