The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team has launched the new Fabia WRC 05 after its FIA homologation inspection before Rally Mexico. The arrival of the new car completes the two-part homologation process that was started at last October’s Rally d’Italia-Sardinia.

Armin Schwarz and Jani Paasonen ended Rally Mexico in ninth and 13th places respectively. The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team’s newly homologated Fabia WRC 05 showed its improved potential but the event proved difficult as the team had no experience at this rally. Martin Muehlmeier, Head of Skoda Motorsport, commented, "I’m happy that we had no major technical problems associated with the new car but we must find more speed if we are to get the results we are seeking."

Externally the new car can be distinguished from the previous version by its revised aerodynamic package that was developed in the Audi wind tunnel at Ingolstadt. Skoda Motorsport has taken this opportunity to create a bolder and brighter livery for the car that retains the familiar green/red/white colours and ‘V’ design but which also gives greater exposure to the Skoda brand name on the flanks of the Fabia WRC 05 and acknowledges that 2005 is a centenary year in the brand’s automotive history.

Under the skin of the Fabia WRC 05 are a many changes that are a series of small improvements rather than a major change to any single item. The weight-reduction process that was started last year has been continued and this has allowed further improvements in the weight distribution of the Fabia WRC 05. A revised turbocharger has been fitted along with modified exhaust manifold to further improve the performance of the car.

The changes already introduced last October included (a) moving the exhaust system to the right side of the car so that it no longer crosses the propshaft; (b) modifications to the rear chassis to allow more space around drive shafts; and (c) fitting water injection to the intake manifold. The team tested the Skoda Fabia WRC 05 on snow-covered asphalt in the Czech Republic and on gravel in Spain before the car’s competition debut at Rally Mexico.

Published : 15/03/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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