Juho HÃ¤nninen and Mikko Markkula will take part in this weekend’s Rally of Scotland as the new champions of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Å koda have elected to not enter Jan KopeckÃ½, who sits second with a minute mathematical chance of taking the title ahead of HÃ¤nninen, for the British event
This, in-effect, hands the title to HÃ¤nninen, who will take take to the stages in the knowledge he is the champion, and therefore will be able co compete without pressure.
The formal presentation of the title will not be made until after the last round of the IRC season, but despite this, HÃ¤nninen is obviously elated.
Speaking ahead of Rally Scotland, HÃ¤nninen said “I am very happy that I and Mikko have won the IRC title well before the end of this year’s season. I do my best to win wherever I appear, although I always realise that the competition is tough and that I have to carefully consider the conditions on the road”.
Å koda also arrive in Scotland with the Manufacturers crown already won. The Head of Å koda Motorsport, Michal HrabÃ¡nek said “The San Remo Rally saw our team complete the double – we have managed to win both the Drivers' and the Manufacturers' competitions in this year’s IRC, which is no doubt a fantastic achievement for the Å koda brand”.
Å koda’s decision not to enter KopeckÃ½ in Scotland, ties in with his inclusion on the forthcoming Italian national rallying, a decision to promote the Å koda around Europe, in the correct markets.
Speaking of this, HrabÃ¡nek said “In this connection, I wish to thank our partners, i.e. Å koda importers worldwide. Our joint efforts were in line with Å koda Auto’s goals throughout this motorsport project, and we are very pleased about how well we have been doing. In this context, our major partners include Å koda’s importers in the UK, Belgium and Italy, and we will gladly support them in their respective markets by appearing at the upcoming rally events held in their countries – facing a tough competition in one of Europe’s most respected championships, Jan KopeckÃ½ and Petr StarÃ½ will attempt to secure third place in the overall standings in Italy, and Juho HÃ¤nninen and Mikko Markkula are going to join their Å koda UK Motorsport colleagues, Guy Wilks and Phil Pugh, in Scotland. We appreciate the support we are getting from our UK importer who seems to be very keen to see us on the start line. I am sure we will find many synergies in both motorsport and business contexts, because the UK is one of the most successful markets for our new Fabia RS, a car that conveys clear associations with the Fabia Super 2000”.
Guy Wilks will line up in Scotland at the wheel of a Å koda Fabia S2000 for the first time, alongside long-term co-driver Phil Pugh.
In 2009 Wilks and Pugh won the Rally of Scotland, and this ultimately led to the formation of the Å koda UK Motorsport team we have seen throughout 2010, and Wilks is aiming to win the British based event once again.
“I'm really looking forward to this year's Rally of Scotland, because it's going to be another classic event. It was great to win there last year, especially after such a close and exciting battle with Kris Meeke”, said Wilks.
“This year Juho HÃ¤nninen will be there too, which will really make things interesting. Juho did the recce last year, so he knows the stages, and he arrives in Scotland full of confidence as IRC Drivers' champion. I think it will be a very close battle for victory between the three of us, Juho, Kris and myself, and it will be flat-out from the word go”, added Wilks.