Skoda Motorsport Prepares For Wales Rally GB

Skoda Motorsport continue their 2004 building programme with preparations for September’s Wales Rally GB (September 16-19), after a good result at last weekend’s Rallye Deutschland.

At Rallye Deutschland, Toni Gardemeister and Armin Schwarz finished the 411.06kms of slippery asphalt stages in 7th and 11th places respectively, confirming the progress made by Skoda Motorsport’s Fabia WRC development programme. Czech driver Roman Kresta, driving a third Fabia WRC, also showed the car’s capabilities until he retired from sixth position after sliding off the road on the first stage of Saturday’s second leg.

Armin recorded the first stage win for the Fabia at WRC level on SS13 and five more top six times during the event. Toni climbed into the top six on six occasions and Roman also took a top three time. The team had at least one Fabia in the top 10 on 22 of the 24 stages, despite treacherous weather conditions.

Skoda Motorsport resumes its development programme for 2004 at Rally GB Wales (September 16-19). Jani Paasonen will return to the Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team to drive a third official Skoda Fabia WRC where he will join regular drivers Armin Schwarz and Toni Gardemeister. This will be Jani’s second appearance this season with Skoda Motorsport. On the recent Rally Finland, Jani finished in sixth place, ahead of Toni(eighth) and Armin (12th).

Martin Muehlmeier (Head of Skoda Motorsport): “I am very satisfied with what the Fabia produced here. It showed even more potential than in Finland after winning a special stage and setting so many top times during the rally. It confirms the continuing improving trend for the car. And I am very pleased to be able to give Jani the chance to drive the Fabia WRC again. I hope that we can repeat the kind of result he and Skoda Motorsport achieved in Finland. He has the same instructions – drive fast and safely.”

Toni Gardemeister: “I am happy with the overall result at Rallye Deutschland because the conditions have been terrible. The roads were very slippery and there was so little grip. I was safe from attack from behind so I just drove carefully to be sure of our final result. The car’s performance on asphalt has improved a lot and the handling balance is really good.”

Armin Schwarz: “I think that this has been a really good team performance and with Toni seventh it was like our Finland result all over again. We showed that the Fabia WRC is much closer to Citroen, Peugeot, Ford and Subaru than ever before and that is a fantastic reflection of the car’s performance.”

Published 5 September 2004 Melanie Carter

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