With three rounds of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge still to run, Å koda has already secured the Manufacturers’ title, and is almost guaranteed the driver’s crown as well, thanks to a season of strong performances from all drivers.
The Manufacturers’ crown was secured last weekend at the marque’s home event, the Barum Czech Rally ZlÃn, in which Å koda also claimed their fourth 1-2-3 finish of the 2010 season.
Occupying the podium for Å koda in Zlin were, in finishing order, Freddy Loix/FrÃ©deric Miclotte, Juho HÃ¤nninen/Mikko Markkula, and the jubilant Czech crew of Pavel ValouÅ¡ek and ZdenÄ›k HrÅ¯za.
On their way to claiming the Manufacturers’ title, Å koda claimed six rally victories and a multitude of podium finishes to provide them with 120-points, as it stands, compared to the second place tally of 79 for Peugeot.
The Drivers’ title standings currently sees a Å koda domination at the top, with Juho HÃ¤nninen leading with 56-points, Jan KopeckÃ½ second on 47-points and Freddy Loix third on 30-points.
Loix’ tally is all the more impressive when the fact that he has only competed in three IRC rallies in 2010, and has claimed victory every time. In terms of outright victories in the IRC, Loix now has six to his name, making him the most successful driver in the history of the IRC.
The strong performance of Å koda UK driver Guy Wilks has gone a long way to helping the Manufacturers’ title head to the Czech Republic. The Briton enjoyed a series of excellent results early in the season, and would have contributed more if it had not been for sustaining an unfortunate injury in an accident on the Italian IRC event earlier this year.
After the confirmation of the Manufacturers’ title, Michal HrabÃ¡nek, the Head of Å koda Motorsport, said “This is a unique achievement for the entire Å koda brand. We see the victory in the IRC Manufacturers' competition as a great success and a result of the team’s hard work throughout the Fabia Super 2000 project”.
HrabÃ¡nek also stated his desire to claim the driver’s title, “we will do our best to win the Drivers' competition, too”, he said.
Acknowledging that it is definitely team effort, HrabÃ¡nek took time out to all those involved involved throughout 2010, “I wish to thank all the crews that have won points for Å koda this season, and also the entire team, i.e. all our mechanics, engineers, and other people who have contributed to this achievement”.
With Rally Scotland nearing, Å koda UK are looking to win the rally for a second successive year.
Director of Å koda UK, Robert Hazelwood, said “We're looking forward to the remaining rounds of the series – in particular Rally of Scotland, where Å koda UK is aiming to put on a great show and win the event for the second time in a row”.