Seven Škoda Fabia RS Rally2s finish in the top 10
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Seven Škoda Fabia RS Rally2s finish in the top 10
Croatia Rally: Seven Škoda Fabia RS Rally2s finish in the top 10 in the WRC2 category
Reigning WRC2 champions Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) finish third in class in round four of the FIA World Rally Championship
Former WRC2 leader Oliver Solberg and co-driver Elliott Edmondson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) opted not to score championship points in Croatia; they achieved the three best times in the RC2 category
Three Škoda crews on the two podiums of the WRC2 Challenger and the WRC Masters Cup
Škoda crews won the majority of points in the WRC2 category at the Croatian Rally (April 20-23, 2023). A total of seven of the new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 and the predecessor model, the Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo, were in the top 10 in the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The best placed Škoda crew in WRC2 was Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov with a second place. The WRC2 Challenger and WRC Masters Cup categories were dominated by drivers behind the wheel of the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2.
Weather conditions made the asphalt stages around Croatia’s capital Zagreb extremely difficult, leading to different tire strategies among the leading WRC2 drivers. “Lots of gravel and mud on the road. It’s really hard to know what the level of grip is,” said reigning WRC2 champion Emil Lindholm. The Finn and co-driver Reeta Hämäläinen ultimately drove the Toksport team’s Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 to third place in WRC2.
Finnish Sami Pajari, 21, Lindholm’s teammate, also suffered from the state of the road. “I try to push in some places, but I should be braver,” he admitted. Reigning WRC3 Champions Pajari and co-driver Enni Mälkönen brought the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 back to fifth place in WRC2. They were followed by Gus Greensmith and Jonas Andersson, who won the Guanajuato Rally in Mexico in their first WRC race with the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 of the Toksport WRT team. The British-Swedish duo lost valuable time with two punctures and a twisted suspension after hitting a curb. Setting the four fastest times in the WRC2 stage – and earning three additional championship points thanks to his victory in the Power Stage – Greensmith sums it up: “I’m happy with my performance. The place we occupy in the general classification is not what we wanted. »
Swede Oliver Solberg and his British co-driver Elliott Edmondson were in the general classification of the RC2 category, but not in the WRC2 classification. The WRC2 winners of Rally Sweden have chosen not to nominate Rally Croatia as one of their maximum seven events for the award of WRC2 points. Unlike his teammates Lindholm and Pajari, Solberg expected more dirt on the road. As a result, he was unhappy with the settings chosen for his Toksport WRT-driven Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. “The differential setup is not suitable,” said the 21-year-old son of former FIA world rally champion Petter Solberg at the end of the first stage. Unfortunately, he had to put up with it during the 301 kilometers of competition, because the WRC regulations do not allow the differential settings to be changed during a rally. Solberg/Edmondson also lost time due to a puncture. Nevertheless, they set the best time in RC2 on three of the 20 stages and finished third in their category.
Former European rally champion Armin Kremer once again competed with his daughter Ella as co-driver. The German veteran drove the Baumschlager Rallye&Racing team’s Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 to seventh place in WRC2. He was also awarded victory points in the WRC Masters Cup, reserved for drivers over 50 years old. The Kremers were joined on the podium by two other Škoda crews, Johannes Keferböck/Ilka Minor from Austria and Zoltán László/Gábor Zsiros from Hungary.
The WRC2 Challenger, where only drivers who have not yet won a WRC2 or WRC3 title and who have not been nominated to score manufacturer points are eligible, was also dominated by Škoda. The WRC2 Challenger podium was entirely in the hands of the crews relying on the new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. Positions four and five were also occupied by Škoda crews.
From Croatia to eastern Europe, WRC2 competitors travel to Matosinhos on the Atlantic coast. The Vodafone Rally Portugal (May 11-14, 2023) marks the start of a series of seven gravel rallies in a row.
Croatia Rally, April 20-23, 2023:
1 Yohan Rossel/Arnaud Dunand (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2 2:58:45.6 h
2 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (ANA/ANA), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 +16.1 s
3 Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen (FIN/FIN), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 +1:27.5 min
4 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (FRA/FRA), Ford Fiesta MkII Rally2 +2:18.5 min
5 Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen (FIN/FIN), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 +2:26.6 min
6 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (GBR/SWE), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 +5:12.4 min
7 Armin Kremer/Ella Kremer (DEU/DEU), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 +11:24.2 min
8 Norbert Herczig/Ramón Ferencz (HUN/HUN), Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo +13:19.5 min
9 Johannes Keferböck/Ilka Minor (AUT/AUT), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 +16:55.9 min
The Number of the Rally: 13
Crews using the new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 achieved the best time in the RC2 category on 13 of the 20 rally stages.
WRC2 Drivers general classification (after 4 of 13 rounds)
1 Yohan Rossel (FRA/Citroën) 53 points (on 2 of the 7 events maximum)
2 Emil Lindholm (FIN/Škoda) 44 points (3/7)
3 Oliver Solberg (SWE/Škoda) 43 points (2/7)
4 Nikolay Gryazin (ANA/Škoda) 38 points (2/7)
5 Gus Greensmith (GBR/Škoda) 37 points (2/7)