Thanks to the remarkable success on the rallying scene (three international championship titles and six national championship titles), this year will become one of the milestones of the brand´s 111-year history of motorsport efforts. ŠKODA Motorsport (factory team) will continue the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 project also in 2013, and ŠKODA will also start preparing for the future. Juho Hänninen and Mikko Markkula (FIN) are leaving ŠKODA Motorsport after spending four years in the team.
Head of ŠKODA Motorsport Michal Hrabánek says: “The ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 has won championship titles in its category on all battle fronts. 2012 was very special for us, one of the reasons being our cooperation with VW Motorsport that has become a powerful promotion tool, as well as a highly useful platform. We will continue this project also next year, and we will also gradually start preparing for the future (mainly in connection with the FIA rules for the respective categories). We have a new factory crew, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm, and we obviously have fairly high expectations about their results. Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler, a highly reliable and successful crew, are staying in the team. We will appear in selected WRC-2 and European Championship events, and we will start preparing for the future of ŠKODA´s motorsport in the second half of 2013. The agenda is yet to be fine-tuned.”
The new member of ŠKODA Motorsport, Esapekka Lappi, is thrilled: “Becoming part of a factory team is every driver´s dream. The ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 is the best car in its category, which is apparent its long list of achievements in international competition. Janne and I appreciate this opportunity a great deal and we will do our best to be very useful members of the factory team.” ŠKODA tested Lappi and Ferm at the Poland Rally in September, where the Finnish crew won in their debut competition in a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.
Juho Hänninen and Mikko Markkula are leaving ŠKODA Motorsport after spending four years in the team. Michal Hrabánek comments: “I´d like to thank Juho and Mikko for their excellent performances in ŠKODA Motorsport colours. We have made fantastic achievements together and they have become the most successful crew in the entire history of the brand’s motorsport efforts. I wish them every success in their future careers.”
Over the four years at ŠKODA Motorsport, Hänninen and Markkula have won championship titles in the IRC (2010), the SWRC (2011) and the European Championship (2012). They have become the world´s only crew to have won all of these three championships.
Commenting on their career at ŠKODA Motorsport and speaking on behalf of the whole crew, Juho Hänninen says: “These have been the best four years of our lives. We will never forget the opportunity that ŠKODA has given us and we´d like to thank the brand for all it has done for us. ŠKODA has helped us grow and we have achieved a huge number of great victories. We are grateful for every moment we´ve spent with the team.”
Jan Kopecký will appear in ŠKODA Motorsport colours also next year: “Staying in the ŠKODA Motorsport team was a clear priority for both Pavel and me. We will again rely on the great support that we have always received, and it is a big challenge for us to continue putting in top-class performances for the team.”
2012 is one of the most successful years in the history of ŠKODA’s motorsport efforts. The brand won its third consecutive IRC title this year to become the most successful brand in the history of this championship, and this year also saw a third consecutive victory by a factory crew in a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 in the Drivers category (Juho Hänninen and Mikko Markkula in 2010 and Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Floene in 2011 and 2012). Hänninen and Markkula won this year´s European Championship and ŠKODA then wrapped up the successful season by winning the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler (factory crew) triumphed in the Czech Championship and drivers of ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000s won national rally championship titles in Austria (Raimund Baumschlager), Germany (Mark Wallenwein), Slovenia (Aleks Humar), Turkey (Luca Rossetti) and Bulgaria (Dimitar Iliev).