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03/31/2014 FIA ERC Acropolis Rally: ŠKODA crew Lappi/Ferm in fourth

ŠKODA works drivers Lappi/Ferm remain in second place in the ERC classification.

The ŠKODA works drivers Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) have completed the 60th instalment of the Acropolis Rally in Greece in fourth place in their Fabia Super 2000. The two Finns were consequently the best-placed duo in a vehicle with an aspirated engine at the third event in the FIA European Rally Champion (ERC) season. Lappi/Ferm remain in second place in the overall ERC standings.

"I can be quite happy with my performance at this rally" said Esapekka Lappi, who had to just concede victory on his debut in Greece to the teams racing in vehicles with turbo engines. "We gave it everything against the guys, but this weekend anything better than fourth place was simply not going to happen. Our next outing in Northern Ireland poses a completely different kind of challenge: a purely asphalt rally, where the weather has often played a decisive role in years past. I’m looking forward to it."

In contrast to Saturday, when the rally was contested solely over asphalt roads, the competitors had to do battle with gravel stages, typical for Greece, on the final day.

The ERC is stopping off in Belfast, Northern Ireland for the Easter weekend (17 – 19 April), where the Circuit of Ireland Rally will be the fourth event of the season. ŠKODA will once again be competing with both its teams, Lappi/Ferm and Wiegand/Christian.

Meanwhile, work on the Fabia R 5, the successor to the successful Fabia Super 2000, is in full flow inMladá Boleslav. The development of the new racing car, which is based on the future production model of the Fabia and equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine in line with FIA regulations, is of highest priority for ŠKODA Motorsport in the 2014 season.

Series website:
Photo: A. Lavadinho

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.