on the Ice Track
The FABIA Rally2 evo specials showed off at the GP Ice Race on snow and ice at Zell am See
n the first weekend of February, the ŠKODA Motorsport team returned to the Austrian mountain spa where Ferdinand Porsche once lived. It was in honour of the founder of one of the Group brands that they renewed the GP Ice Race at Zell am See. This time, the Czech team had two FABIA Rally2 evo factory cars. Four talented riders took turns behind their steering wheels and competed in their own category.
German champion Fabian Kreim eventually celebrated his victory. The ERC1 category European Junior Champion Filip Mareš, as well as Slovak Champion Martin Koči and Austrian Vice-Champion Julian Wagner, stood next to him at the start of the competition, which the Mladá Boleslav team called the Ice Race of Champions. Their mentor was last year’s winner, Jan Kopecký, who reached the Alpine walls as the ŠKODA brand’s ambassador this year. “They haven’t asked me for any advice yet”, the former WRC 2 World Champion smiled at the beginning of the racing weekend. “They are talented riders and know well that it is crucial not to make any mistakes”, he added. At Zell am See, he also completed several promotional laps this year in his sharp style, for which he received hefty applause from the audience. ŠKODA AUTO’s Board Chairman Bernhard Maier boldly took the hot passenger seat.
The riders behind the steering wheel of the Czech special entertained some 16,000 spectators with their spectacular corner turns. Any mistake on a slippery surface meant a significant waste of time. “I was pleasantly surprised by the car’s adhesion thanks to its studs. I was rather expecting it to behave more like on gravel”, said a visibly excited Mareš. His experiences from Austria came in handy, as he took part in the Swedish Rally in mid-February with his privately deployed ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo. The other riders were also very pleased. “Every ice experience counts. Although it is mainly a show for spectators, we riders have enjoyed it as well”, revealed the second-ranking Wagner. The mechanics were busy in the service area, too, because they had to prepare two cars for four riders. “After every ride, we cleaned the chassis of snow and ice, which could accumulate up to 30 kilogrammes”, explained Miroslav Šlambora from the ŠKODA Motorsport Team. “We also had to adjust the seat, steering wheel and pedals for every rider. However, the whole operation took less than half an hour, and our car was ready for its next ride”, he added.
In connection with the introduction of new terminology by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo was renamed the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo. Michael Kudela
Ice Race of Champions Results
1. Fabian Kreim (GER)
2. Julian Wagner (AUT)
3. Martin Koči (SVK)
4. Filip Mareš (CZE)
For more information on this change, visit our website
The Best for our Customers
ŠKODA Motorsport Manager Michal Hrabánek explains the 2020 season changes
This season, the ŠKODA Motorsport factory team will not participate in the FIA World Rally Championship. Why did you make this decision?
Last year, we won the championship for the fourth time in a row, thus clearly demonstrating the quality of our car. This year, we made a change due to our capacities and our desire to focus more on cooperation with our customers. During the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 project, we sold over 330 cars, which is an extraordinary success but also a huge commitment to our customers. In addition to the sale of cars and spare parts, we also offer teams our extensive customer support, whose quality we wish to improve further. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that we are not leaving the World Rally Championship scene completely. We managed to establish a unique collaboration with talented rider Oliver Solberg (son of the 2003 world champion, Petter Solberg – ed.).
What will your customer support look like this year?
We’ve always supported a specific young rider, and that is what we intend to do now. Our closest cooperation will take place just with Solberg, who will complete selected WRC 3 events with our factory FABIA Rally2 evo car. We are also sending our engineers and mechanics to certain European and World Championship races to support our customers. They can use the recommended setups that we send them before their important races. Of course, we also share information about all the technical changes or provide special training organised at our facilities.
Are you working on upgrading your FABIA Rally2 evo model, or is it time to develop a new special?
If we wish to stay at the top of our class, we have to work on our current car all the time. This is the only way to ensure its competitiveness in the coming season as well. The current model will be used at least in the next two years, so any development of our brand-new car is not an issue yet. RED