Skoda building new R5 Fabia, picks Lappi and Wiegand for 2014 ERC

Skoda has confirmed it is developing a new R5 version of its Fabia rally car, and says it will be ready to compete by mid-2015

Skoda building new R5 Fabia, picks Lappi and Wiegand for 2014 ERC

The Czech firm also announced Esapekka Lappi and Sepp Wiegand as its 2014 European Rally championship drivers, with reigning champion Jan Kopecky set to focus on R5 development work.

While the R5 evolution of Skoda's vastly successful S2000 car has been widely known about for some time, Thursday's announcement provided official confirmation.

Skoda motorsport director Michal Hrabanek said: "The R5 category succeeds the previous Super 2000 class. This way, we are able to continue to compete successfully in international championships and to push ahead with our customer programme. Entering the R5 class is a logical step for Skoda.

"As it stands, we are assuming that the new car will be homologated by mid-2015."

Long-time factory Skoda driver Kopecky is expected to shoulder the burden of the R5 development programme while also contesting the 2014 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Finn Lappi, who contested the APRC with Skoda this year, will be joined in a two-car ERC attack by German driver Wiegand next season.

M-Sport remains the only team to have delivered an R5 car so far, with the Ford Fiesta competing since July 1.

Peugeot and Citroen are expected to have a 208 T16 and DS3 R5 ready for March 1 next season.

Skoda has confirmed its development of the Fabia R5 rally car - and says it will

be ready to compete in the middle of 2015.

While the R5 evolution of Skoda's vastly successful S2000 car has been

widely known about for some time, this is the first point at which the Czech

Manufacturer has confirmed the programme.

Skoda motorsport director Michal Hrabanek said: "The R5 category succeeds

the previous Super 2000 class. This way, we are able to continue to compete

successfully in international championships and to push ahead with our

customer programme. Entering the R5 class is a logical step for Skoda. As it

stands, we are assuming that the new car will be homologated by mid-2015."

Skoda also confirmed it would retain its European Rally Champion Jan Kopecky,

who is expected to shoulder the burden of the R5 development programme

while also contesting the 2014 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. Finn Esapekka

Lappi, who contested APRC with Skoda this year, will be joined in a two-car ERC

attack by German driver Sepp Weigand next season.

M-Sport remains the only team to have delivered an R5 car, with the Fiesta

competing since July 1. Peugeot and Citroen are expected to have a 208 T16 and

DS3 R5 ready for March 1 next season.
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Series ERC
Drivers Sepp Wiegand
Author David Evans
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