Autumn 1998: Motorsport team
building the ŠKODA OCTAVIA WRC.
In 1997, the International
Automobile Federation (FIA)
issued new technical specifications for the World Rally Car
(WRC). In response, the brand
began developing the ŠKODA
OCTAVIA WRC with a twenty-valve supercharged four-cylinder 2 l
engine and all-wheel-drive.
First test miles
The electronics malfunctioned at the Monte Carlo Rally
and Portugal Rally in 1999. Both ŠKODAs overcame
the pitfalls of the track at the Rally Acropolis in Greece:
Armin Schwarz finished 12th overall with Emil Triner
right behind him. The last event of the championship,
the British Network Q Rally, saw Bruno Thiry finish
fourth, a great result!
Let’s go on Safari!
The Safari Rally turned out to be the season highlight for the ŠKODA team. The African debut was
a success: Schwarz crossed the finish line in Nairobi in seventh place, Luis Climent came 8th. The
Catalunya Rally, a tarmac event, saw the OCTAVIA WRC win its first special stage. The OCTAVIAs
were on top form, and Schwarz confirmed this with a 5th place finish at the Acropolis Rally. In 2000,
the ŠKODA OCTAVIA WRC took part in the Czech National Championship with a young Roman
Kresta behind the wheel who secured the title in the season finale.
Portugal Rally 2000: well-known jump at Fafé. The picture shows
Armin Schwarz / Manfred Hiemer on their way to 8th place and one
point – the photo of their jump was famous around the world.
“It was a very, very long flight...” Hiemer recalled.
24 | 120 years on the racetrack