Swift and clever: ŠKODA extends lead at the Rally Germany

› ŠKODA works duo Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm move into the lead on Saturday in the WRC 2 class

› Last year’s winners Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler continue to chase hard and are in second place ahead of the final day of the Rally Germany

› Armin Kremer/Pirmin Winklhofer still on course for the podium at their home rally in the ŠKODA FABIA R5


Trier, 20th August 2016 – ŠKODA continues to set the pace at the Rally Germany. The second, and longest, day of the ninth race of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2) season was dominated again by the teams who are competing with a FABIA R5 on the asphalt tracks around Trier. No question about the duo of the day: Esapekka Lappi (FIN) and Janne Ferm (FIN), who made all the right moves in difficult conditions on Saturday morning and took the lead in the WRC 2 standings. Behind the "Flying Finns", local favourites Armin Kremer/Pirmin Winklhofer (D/D) enjoyed a thrilling duel for second place with the second ŠKODA Motorsport duo of Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ).

Light showers on Saturday morning made it difficult for teams to choose the right tyres, as the stages were not soaking wet but the teams still had some moist areas to contend with. ŠKODA works driver Lappi relied on a combination of soft and hard tyre mixes from ŠKODA Motorsport partner Michelin. A clever choice: in the first two special stages of the day, Lappi clawed back 49.3 seconds as he reeled in ŠKODA brand team-mate Kremer and moved into the lead ahead of him. He was able to extend his lead to 1:09.9 minutes on the other stages held during the day, which included the legendary "Panzerplatte" stages at the military base in Baumholder.

"Everything went really well for us right from the start," reported Lappi. "The tyre choice was perfect and we made no mistakes. We had a lot of grip. The FABIA R5 was wonderful and we were able to record some very fast times. We are in a great position for the final day of the rally, as we are in the lead and everyone else has to try and catch us. But we will have to keep an eye on Jan in particular: he is a real asphalt specialist, he knows the stages and he won here last year. He is always going to be there or thereabouts."

The experienced Czech driver underlined just how dangerous he can be at the Rally Germany by recording some fast stage times, including four special stage victories. "It wasn‘t easy to find my rhythm early on, due to the difficult weather conditions," said

Kopecký, who had lost time on Friday due to tyre problems. "But I gave my all and made up a few places. It would be nice if I could retain second place on Sunday."

ŠKODA works duo Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (S/S), who are also competing in a FABIA R5 at the Rally Germany but are not registered for the WRC 2 standings, continued their impressive performance on Saturday. As the two Swedish drivers are not registered for the championship competition at the classic asphalt event around Trier, they have to start the special stages much later than their team-mates – and therefore have to deal with much dirtier track conditions. Nonetheless, they recorded times nearly as fast as those of Lappi and Kopecký, and are currently in eighth place overall in the rally.

On the final day of the rally, the teams will once again be racing around the Moselle vineyards. Four special stages are scheduled, over a total distance of 59.26 kilometres. The awards ceremony will take place at 15:00 on Sunday afternoon, in front of the Porta Nigra in Trier.

Classification Rally Germany (WRC 2) after 14 of 18 stages:

1. Lappi/Ferm (FIN/FIN) ŠKODA FABIA R5 2h 32m 26.7s

2. Kopecký/Dresler (CZ/CZ) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 1m 9.9s

3. Kremer/Winklhofer (D/D) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 1m 28.3s

4. de Mevius/Jalet (B/B) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 2m 14.3s

5. Loubet/Landais (F/F) Citroën DS3 R5 + 2m 53.8s

The number of the day: 7

Saturday could hardly have gone better for ŠKODA. The longest day of the 34th edition of the Rally Germany – featuring 148.57 stage kilometres – culminated in an impressive interim result. The two ŠKODA works duos are leading the overall WRC 2 standings, followed by five more ŠKODA customer teams in the top ten. This means that there are seven FABIA R5s in the top ten.

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