Auriol anticipates new Skoda challenger

Veteran rally star Didier Auriol has said that this weekend's Rallye Deutschland will be one of his most eagerly anticipated rallies in a long time, as he debuts Skoda's new Fabia WRC car

Auriol anticipates new Skoda challenger

The 1994 world champion, who has 20 WRC victories to his name, says this weekend's German round will be a step into the unknown.

"This is probably the most exciting time of my long career," said Auriol. "But who knows what is going to happen? It's sure that the Fabia WRC has a lot of potential, but it is also very new. If you look back at all the new cars that every team has launched in the past, it is never a straightforward process.

"We have got a lot to learn, but testing has gone quite well so far. It would have been nice to have more time, bit I think every driver says that."

Team-mate Toni Gardemeister believes the time is right to launch the car, saying the Fabia now needs the heat of competition to develop it further.

"I am really looking forward to seeing what the Fabia WRC can do," said the Finn. "Although it is earlier than most people expected, it was definitely the right decision to bring the car's debut forward to Germany.

"I think we've reached the point now where we will learn more from comparing ourselves with other people than just carrying on testing on our own," he explained. "However, Rallye Deutschland will still be a half-rally, half-test for us."

Rallye Deutschland starts on Friday.

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