I am a Lancia guy. I love Subaru. Have a huge crush on Mitsubishi and deep respect for Toyota. What Peugeot and Citroën did also calls for admiration and appreciation. Hyundai’s bravery is outstanding. Volkswagen’s all out assault proves that flat out does win over being in doubt. If only Ford could come back, they’ve given us some fantastic cars, drivers and rallies. I like them all, mostly for their ability to push and perform, against the odds, keeping true to the sport while also being true to their corporate identity at the same time. But they are all, except maybe Lancia, friend-zoned when compared to Škoda. Yes, I do have a special kind of love for the Czech company and their 100+ years of rallying. Whenever I missed a rally or a stage during Škoda’s WRC years, you could bet I was looking for their drivers’ results first. I loved their Formula2 adventures with that fantastic little Favorit 136, with its ancient tech but big desire to compete and promote its name. When Colin McRae joined Škoda I had to literally pinch myself to check if this was really happening. When they missed that fantastic result in Australia, I had a big huge humongous sad. Recently, Škoda may be missing from the World Rally Championship stages as a manufacturer team, but they’re always around, Fabias, Octavias, Felicias even. What Škoda did in European Rally Championship and in many national series calls for a worthy successor to Fabia S2000. And behold, here she is. No longer in (full) disguise, but instead wearing a recognizable green livery coupled with, wait for it, OH JUST WAIT FOR IT, zebra pattern beneath. I asked for zebra to stay and whether it meant anything or not, I like it 10/10. I often go on a very odd sounding rampages about how good some rally cars look so I’ll just stop here before it gets weird.
This little bundle of exceptional rally machinery finally faced the public in Essen, for now as a concept still, but it’s only a matter of time now. The colors are here, zebra MUST stay, and before long this car will join its R5 rivals on many stages all over Europe. Don’t make us wait too long, Škoda.
Here’s a bit of official info concerning this car and its debut in Essen Motor Show.
ŠKODA SHOWS SPORTY SIDE AT THE ESSEN MOTOR SHOW
ŠKODA will treat visitors to this year’s Essen Motor Show with a presence packed with excitement. The highlight is an opportunity to see the concept version of the new rally car, the ŠKODA Fabia R 5, for the first time. The new ŠKODA Fabia Estate will be making its first public appearance in Germany. ŠKODA will also be exhibiting the Octavia RS, Monte Carlo special editions of the Rapid Spaceback, Yeti and Citigo, as well as the show cars – the Yeti Xtreme, CitiJet and Rapid Spaceback Red & Grey Collection.
The Essen Motor Show is the largest trade fair for tuning, motorsport and sporty production vehicles in Germany. It takes place from 29 November to 7 December 2014.
“ŠKODA plans to continue growing over the coming years with new models, focusing both on functional aspects and emotion,” says Dr. Frank Welsch, ŠKODA Board Member for Technical Development. “Our vehicles in Essen underpin this claim. One particular highlight is the ŠKODA Fabia R 5 Concept Car, which gives a first insight into our new rally car. The concept is based on the new ŠKODA Fabia, which demonstrates more emotion than ever before, in both the hatchback and estate versions,” said Welsch.
“The world premiere of the Fabia R 5 Concept Car gives an insight into the future of rallying at ŠKODA,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek. “The Fabia R 5 is scheduled to be homologated by mid-2015.” The new Fabia R 5 features a lot of high-tech. In keeping with FIA regulations, the new racing car is powered by a 1.6-litre turbo engine. The new car also features a sequential, five-speed gearbox and MacPherson struts. The weight will, in accordance with the regulations, be at least 1230 kilograms. A number of top ŠKODA drivers were also involved in the development of the new Fabia R 5.
Customer racing teams have already shown huge interest in the new ŠKODA Fabia R 5. No wonder: after all, its predecessor, the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, has all but guaranteed its teams and drivers titles. The 2014 rally season, which has just drawn to an end, saw ŠKODA and the Fabia Super 2000 achieve a hat-trick of titles* in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). On top of this, ŠKODA also won the Drivers’ title in the FIA European Rally Championship and a further five national championships. These and the huge amount of success already achieved in previous years make the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 project, which was launched in 2009, the most successful project in the company’s motorsport history, which now spans 113 years.
* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.