Škoda launch 2016 WRC2 programme as they target championship titles

by Vince Pettit

Czech automobile manufacturer Škoda have unveiled their 2016 FIA World Rally Championship programme which will see the reigning WRC2 Team Champions return with a three-car assault.

Pontus Tidemand, Jan Kopecký and Esapekka Lappi will all return for the new season driving the Škoda Fabia R5, Jonas Andersson joins the team as co-driver for Asia-Pacific champion Tidemand; Kopecký will also be taking part in the Czech Rally Championship where he will be looking to repeat the success of 2015.

Škoda Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek was delighted with the performance in 2015 and hopes that the manufacturer can build on the sucess for the new season. “We had an extremely successful first year with our new ŠKODA Fabia R5 in 2015. The fourth title in a row in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, four wins in the WRC 2 class of the World Rally Championship and five national titles exceeded our expectations,”

“Our goal is to exceed last year’s success in the WRC 2 with our three impressive drivers, Pontus Tidemand, Jan Kopecký and Esapekka Lappi. We would like to welcome Jonas Andersson to our Škoda racing family.”

Andersson joins the team after spending the last few years co-piloting for Per-Gunnar Andersson and Mads Østberg and will make his competitive debut alongside Tidemand at their home rally in Sweden. “We have already done a lot of testing together and can hardly wait to finally get started,” said Tidemand.

2014 European Rally Champion Esapekka Lappi is joined by Janne Ferm and is hopefully of increasing his tally of two WRC2 victories this season. “We still have room for improvement. We obviously want to challenge for the WRC 2 title.” said the Finn.

Czech Rally Championship duo Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler are looking to emulate their success in the national championship once again while also taking part in a number of round of the WRC2 championship. “We are looking forward to the challenges we will face in WRC 2 and the MCR this year,” said Kopecký. “We have the perfect tool at our disposal, in the form of the ŠKODA Fabia R5. The goal is to tease even more out of the car in 2016.”

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