Armin Schwarz / Manfrede Hiemer were
joined by Bruno Thiry / Stéphane Prévot for
the 2001 season that kicked off in Monte Carlo
in January. Schwarz won his first three points
coming fourth, with ŠKODA taking the first
four points. Thiry came eighth, a satisfying
result for the team. Schwarz won several more
points in both the Drivers’ Cup and the Manufacturers’ Cup, finishing 5th in the UK at the
end of the season. ŠKODA finished 5th in the
Manufacturers’ World Championship. Kresta
in an OCTAVIA WRC comfortably defended
his Czech Championship, sealing victory
two events before the end of the season.
What happened at the 2001 Rally Argentina has
never been seen before in the motoring world: two
ŠKODA vehicles were destroyed while waiting for
a time check as a fire engine overturned onto them.
Manager Jens Pohlmann was seriously injured;
the drivers and navigators escaped unharmed.
The season highlight was the Safari Rally 2001.
Armin Schwarz won the first special stage, which
was over 100 km long, and took bronze in the end.
ŠKODA was on the podium for the first time, and
in what was probably the most difficult event!
Armin Schwarz (1963)
Came to Czechoslovakia in 1986 to
take part in the ŠKODA Rally and
Barum Rally. He made his World
Championship debut in 1988. He became a ŠKODA Motorsport contract
driver in 1999 and contributed a great
deal to the further development of
the OCTAVIA WRC over the following
three seasons. He is not only a successful racer but also an excellent test
driver. In 2001, he took ŠKODA to the
podium for the first time in the top
category of the WRC on the
ŠKODA hired Toni Gardemeister
of Finland and Kenneth Eriksson, an
experienced Swede, for the 2002
World Championship, and Roman
Kresta and Stig Blomqvist of Sweden, 1984 World Champion, were
prepared to take turns behind the
wheel of a third OCTAVIA WRC.
ŠKODA was the only factory team
with two female navigators, Tina
Thörner (with Eriksson) and Anna
Goni (with Blomqvist). The team
won their first points as late as the
Argentina Rally, coming 5th (Gardemeister) and 6th (Eriksson).
success in the WRC
and certainly one of
the best achievements
for Armin Schwarz /