Mladá Boleslav, 4 September 2017 – ŠKODA Motorsport is starting a campaign to search for young talented drivers. Juuso Nordgren, 20 years old driver from Finland, will be together with his co-driver Tapio Suominen the first young gun to drive a ŠKODA FABIA R5. He will compete at RallyRACC Catalunya – Rallye de España (05/10/–08/10/2017), the Spanish round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
"After prematurely winning the title in the WRC 2 category of the World Rally Championship, we are now looking for young talented drivers. This Young Drivers Program will be launched at RallyRACC Catalunya – Rallye de España and will continue with testing promising new talents like Juuso Nordgren. He attracted our attention as a young driver with an interesting potential," explains ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek.
Juuso Nordgren was born in Karkkila, a village in the northwest of Helsinki, an area where also living rally legend Markku Alén comes from. In 2015 Nordgren became Finnish Junior Champion and was named "Future Rally Star of Finland 2016". During Rally Finland 2017 he won four stages driving a private ŠKODA FABIA R5. "I’m so grateful to ŠKODA for putting so much faith in me and giving me this amazing opportunity," says Juuso Nordgren. The Finn will start at RallyRACC Catalunya – Rallye de España as part of the ŠKODA factory team alongside regulars Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler.
Numerous world-class drivers started their career in a ŠKODA FABIA rally car. For example, Andreas Mikkelsen from Norway won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in 2011 and 2012 with a ŠKODA FABIA S2000, before becoming a works driver in the Word Rally Championship for Volkswagen Motorsport. Regular World Rally Championship driver Juho Hänninen from Finland won the IRC in 2010, stepping up to FIA S-WRC Champion in 2011, on both occasions driving a ŠKODA FABIA S2000. Last but not least, Esapekka Lappi became WRC 2 Champion in the World Rally Championship 2016 driving a ŠKODA FABIA R5. In 2017, he also moved on to the WRC top-class achieving his first overall win on World Rally Championship level at Rally Finland.
The 2017 calendar of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
Rallye Monte Carlo 19/01/–22/01/2017
Rally Sweden 09/02/–12/02/2017
Rally Guanajuato México 09/03/–12/03/2017
Tour de Corse – Rallye de France 06/04/–09/04/2017
Rally Argentina 27/04/–30/04/2017
Rally de Portugal 18/05/–21/05/2017
Rally Italia Sardegna 08/06/–11/06/2017
Rally Poland 29/06/–02/07/2017
Rally Finland 27/07/–30/07/2017
ADAC Rallye Deutschland 17/08/–20/08/2017
RallyRACC Catalunya – Rallye de España 05/10/–08/10/2017
Wales Rally GB 26/10/–29/10/2017
Rally Australia 16/11/–19/11/2017