Skoda launches its latest rally car – the new Skoda Fabia R 5 – which recently received the green light from International Automobile Federation (FIA). With its homologation, the new Skoda Fabia R 5 can now proceed to rally routes around the world. Skoda based the Fabia R 5 on Skoda’s new production Fabia.
It is regarded as the successor to the Fabia Super 2000, which holds the reputation as the most successful rally car ever in Skoda Motorsport history. Skoda Board Member for Development Dr. Frank Welsch said that now that the FIA has approved the vehicle, it can now focus on proving the new rally car’s prowess in the race series.
He also said that when the company was working on the third-generation production Fabia, which quickly became successful, it used some of the characteristics from its rally cars and built the most emotive Fabia so far. The new Fabia R 5 is actually based on the production model. Welsch added that the new rally car is “pure high-tech.”
The Skoda Fabia R 5 is powered by a 1.6-litre turbo engine, complying with FIA regulations. This represents a big leap from the two-litre induction engine used in the Fabia Super 2000. Also, the new four-wheel drive car comes with a five-speed sequential gearbox and McPherson struts. In accordance with the regulations, the car weighs at least 1,230 kilograms.
Skoda Motorsport has so far spent 15 months on heavy development work since the project began in order to fine-tune the car and make sure that the ultra-modern parts work with each other perfectly. The homologation process is a long and complex procedure, which requires close cooperation with the International Automobile Federation FIA and is made up of several parts.
In the last few months, the new Skoda Fabia R 5 underwent a comprehensive approval process. Among those who gave their input while the car was being developed include the best drivers such as Asia-Pacific champion Jan Kopecký (CZ), rally legend “Fast” Freddy Loix (B), European champion Esapekka Lappi (FIN), and Austrian champion Raimund Baumschlager (AT).
The Skoda Fabia R 5 was tested on around 10,000 kilometres of various roads in a wide range of conditions. It was tested in many places such as the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Spain and Finland. It passed all the tests, which included it being driven on snow, asphalt, or gravel and in different weather conditions.
Customer teams have expressed plenty of interest in the new Skoda Fabia R 5, particularly since its successor, the Skoda Fabia Super 2000, racked up numerous titles. Skoda did very well in the Drivers’ and Manufacturer championships in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in the 2014 rally season.
On the other hand, a Skoda works driver has won as the champion in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) for three straight times.
Last year, Skoda won five national titles. The company has been a part of motorsport for 114 years and so far, its project that had met the most success is the Skoda Fabia Super 2000, which first came out in 2009 and has achieved nearly 50 international and national titles in six years. [source: Skoda]