ŠKODA Motorsport has unveiled its new rally car.
Crews from all over the world will want to drive the ŠKODA FABIA RS Rally2 to the same successes the previous generation achieved.
The new ŠKODA FABIA RS Rally2 is based on the fourth generation of the Czech carmaker’s smallest production model. It is a brand new racing car that takes advantage of the strengths of the production FABIA, among them refined aerodynamics, the stiffness of the body and new proportions. To these it adds specific racing features – protective frame, engine, gearbox or chassis – that have been developed to contend with the challenging rally conditions, drawing on all the ŠKODA Motorsport team’s experience.
Last year and this year, ŠKODA Motorsport put the car through intensive testing on asphalt and gravel tracks in the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Belgium, Spain and the extreme climatic conditions of northern Finland. The result is a car that once again has the highest ambitions: to lead ŠKODA Motorsport customers to a series of titles.
“Standing still means going backwards, and this is especially true in motorsport. That’s why, in developing the new FABIA RS Rally2, we applied the experience we gained from the predecessor model and optimised every detail. The aim was to improve the most successful rally car in the world. I’m proud of the entire ŠKODA Motorsport team who have pursued this goal with great dedication. I would also like to thank our colleagues in Series Development; the fourth-generation FABIA provided us with a perfect basis for the FABIA RS Rally2,” is how Michal Hrabánek, the head of ŠKODA Motorsport, commented on the presentation of the new car.
The new ŠKODA FABIA RS Rally2 is following up highly successful predecessors. The previous FABIA Rally2 and FABIA Rally2 evo models, based on the third-generation ŠKODA FABIA, are among the most successful rally cars of all time. ŠKODA Motorsport customers purchased more than 450 cars, which accumulated an incredible 4,186 podium finishes in events around the world in 13,091 starts up to the beginning of May, including 1,714 victories, and notably four in the famous Monte Carlo Rally.
Since 2015, the FABIA Rally2 has become the benchmark in the WRC2 category, bringing factory team drivers and private crews over 20 titles in Europe and triumphs in the regional championships of Africa, Central and North America, South America, the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. Crews with these cars have won 100 national championships, including six Czech Championship titles and three German titles.
Every generation of the ŠKODA FABIA has become the basis for a racing car. It started in 2003 with the FABIA WRC, which was based on the first generation of the car. The top-category car, with its two-litre turbocharged engine delivering 221 kW (300 hp) and 600 Nm of torque, is the most powerful FABIA racing car ever built. 24 of the cars were produced. In 2009 this car was followed by the FABIA S2000, based on the second-generation hatchback. Designed for more affordable racing, the car featured a 2-litre naturally aspirated engine with 206 kW (280 hp) and 250 Nm of torque. The FABIA S2000 won a total of 50 titles in national and international championships. It was then replaced in 2015 by the FABIA R5, a similarly designed car based on the third-generation FABIA. This car was built according to the new R5 group rules, i.e. with a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine, and became a rally benchmark. Along with the improved FABIA R5 evo launched in 2019, this version has so far notched up 1,710 victories. From 2020 onwards, following an FIA nomenclature change, these models bear the FABIA Rally2 and FABIA Rally2 evo designations. They have now been followed by the fourth generation, the FABIA RS Rally2
The engine under the new rally car’s bonnet is brand new, even though it may not look like it at first glance. The rules for Rally2 cars stipulate that the power unit must have a maximum capacity of 1.6 litres, which the new engine has just like its predecessors, and four cylinders. The power unit is based on the standard 2.0 TSI engine used by ŠKODA AUTO in the OCTAVIA and SUPERB models. After being redesigned for the purpose of powering a rally car, the engine delivers an output of 214 kW (291 hp) and 430 Nm of torque. Test drivers have praised the better torque delivery and better throttle response compared to its predecessor. A special five-speed sequential transmission takes care of transferring the engine’s power to the road surface, distributing it to all four wheels using front and rear mechanical axle differentials. One new feature is the electro-hydraulic control of the inter-axle clutch, allowing the front and rear axles to be disengaged by applying the handbrake, which is often used in rallying to get around sharp corners quickly.