|01/30/2014||ŠKODA and Esapekka Lappi starts into the new rally year|
The successful Fabia Super 2000 remains the car of choice in 2014. Development of the new car takes priority.
Prepare for the future: this task is the main focus of the 2014 rally season for ŠKODA. A very special challenge awaits works drivers Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) and the other duo Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian (D/D) at their first competitive outing of the year in the European Rally Championship (ERC). The gravel roads of the Rally Latvia – the second of three races that form the ERC Ice Masters series – will put the drivers’ skill and nerves to the test from 31 January to 2 February. At the heart of matters at ŠKODA Motorsport this year, however, will be the development of the new Fabia R5.
“The first start of the season is always a special moment, and Latvia is uncharted territory for the entire team. However, I am obviously very much looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. Last year we gained great experience and had some good results in the APRC, as well as in the ERC at the end of the year. We are obviously looking to follow on from that this year,” said Esapekka Lappi. The flying Finn showed his ability and potential in the final two races of the ERC season, finishing runner-up at the iconic Rally Sanremo and clinching victory in Switzerland.
In the ERC, the two ŠKODA pairings of Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm and Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian expect tougher opposition from other manufacturers’ new R 5 cars. The two ŠKODA crews will start at selected rounds of the European Championship. And the successful Fabia Super 2000 will proudly sport a cool new livery in 2014.
Twelve special stages totalling over 240.56 kilometres await Esapekka and Janne in Latvia. This year, the rally HQ is located in the Baltic port of Liepāja.
“The development of the new car for the R 5 category will take priority this year: that is our motorsport future,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek: “However, we will be in action at the races again this year, and with our tried and tested model that has proven so successful – the Fabia Super 2000.”
The new R 5 rally car is currently being developed in Mladá Boleslav as the successor to the extremely successful Fabia Super 2000 and is equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine, in accordance with FIA regulations. “Entering the R 5 class is a logical step for ŠKODA. At this point in time, we are assuming that the new car will be homologated by mid-2015,” said Hrabánek.
|11/11/2013||Jetsetter Lappi flies to glory on Swiss ERC Finale|
2013 FIA European Rally Championship, round 12 of 12
Rallye International du Valais (Switzerland)
The all-action 2013 FIA European Rally Championship reached its climax in Switzerland this afternoon with rising star Esapekka Lappi underlining his huge potential by winning an action-packed Rallye International du Valais alongside co-driver Janne Ferm.
Lappi began Saturday’s final leg – the longest of the rally at 146.30 kilometres – with an advantage of 43.7s over Andreas Aigner. Although Aigner trimmed Lappi’s lead to 35.7s when the ŠKODA Motorsport ace overshot a junction this morning, the Finn’s tenure of top spot was never truly threatened and he cemented his second ERC victory by going fastest of all on the final stage in his Michelin-shod Fabia Super 2000.
“It's been quite a good two weeks,” said Lappi, who won the China Rally Longyou six days ago. “I never believed I would win here and this is absolutely fantastic. For sure it's special on Tarmac, my first proper win. It's very good to end the season like this. We're improving on Tarmac and this is good for next season. The plan for next year is to do some races with ŠKODA. I have a contract with them and the ERC would be a good option.”
TOP 3 POSITIONS (after 18 stages, 287.84 kilometres)
1 Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) ŠKODA Fabia S2000 3h13m42.8s
2 Olivier Burri (CHE)/André Saucy (CHE) Ford Fiesta RRC +3m28.2s
3 Craig Breen (IRL)/Lara Vanneste (BEL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m36.2s
Results and full report http://www.fiaerc.com/events/live/id/13