Škoda Motorsport has completed its first full season of the World Rally Championship in fifth position and thereby successfully defended its ranking of 2001. Some of the season’s best results occurred at the most demanding rallies, such as Argentina, Safari and Australia. This proved the sturdiness of the Škoda Octavia WRC, which showed a remarkable reliability record. In fact, the team recorded only a handful occasions out of 41 starts where mechanical failure caused a retirement.
Škoda Auto Director of Motorsport, Petr Kohoutek, looks back upon the season with satisfaction, stating, "Although we have a great history of more than a century in motorsports, we are still a fairly young team. The World Rally Championship has changed a lot since we won the Formula 2 World Championship in 1994. The entire team has done its best for the Škoda brand worldwide in 2002 and I am sure that the reliability of the Octavia WRC proved again the value of our WRC project. We are working very hard to achieve even bigger things in 2003, now we have Didier Auriol on board."
Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team manager Pavel Janeba added, "In our first full WRC season, we did a great job. I want to salute all members of the team for their effort and dedication. It was a demanding year for the team - we have initiated many new developments and we have been able to improve our cars a lot."
Toni Gardemeister was the most successful driver on the team. By scoring three points for himself and four for the team, Toni proved that he can be fast and reliable. Said the 27 year old Finn, who will stay with the team next year, "I am looking forward to the coming season. The progress is there and our performance will improve, I am certain of that."
Kenneth Eriksson was less fortunate than his fellow driver, but showed impressive determination all through the season. He looks back with pride, stating, "There is a top league of three makes, and another group of three that is challenging them. This year we were certainly the best of the challengers and only bad luck cost us fourth place in the championship."
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