Škoda has officially been awarded the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) Manufacturers’ Champions title, while Juho Hänninen & Mikko Markkula of Škoda Motorsport (factory team) have received the 2010 IRC Drivers’ Champions title.
This fantastic achievement by Škoda is underlined by the ‘runner-up’ position for Škoda Motorsports drivers Jan Kopecký & Petr Starý. Kris Meek (Peugeot), the winner of the series last year, finished third. Michal Hrabánek, Head of Škoda Motorsport, received the Manufacturers’ trophy on behalf of the brand.
Škoda’s factory team took part in 11 of this year’s 12 IRC events and celebrated victory at seven of them. Besides these wins, Škoda crews achieved a further 17 podium positions. Hänninen & Markkula won in Argentina, Sardinia and Scotland; Loix & Miclott in Belgium, Madeira and the Czech Republic; and Kopecký & Starý in the Canary Islands. Importer teams supported by Škoda did very well, too, such as Škoda UK Motorsport Driver, Guy Wilks, who had podium finishes in Brazil, Argentina and Canary Islands. The success of the Fabia Super 2000 in the 2010 season was crowned by a number of triumphs in national championships, including Germany (Matthias Kahle), Austria (Raimund Baumschlager), the Czech Republic (Pavel Valoušek), Spain (Alberto Hevia), Lebanon (Roger Feghali) and Slovakia (Jozef Béreš).
Summarising the season that ended at the Cyprus rally last weekend (6-7 November), Michal Hrabánek, Head of Škoda Motorsport, said, “I wish to thank everyone who has contributed to this historic achievement by Škoda and helped us to win the IRC championship – the management of Škoda, the members of the Škoda Motorsport team, our colleagues at the Technological Development Department, as well as subcontractors and colleagues outside the company. I also want to thank our Škoda importers in all the countries where the Fabia Super 2000 project was well received and contributed significantly to our joint achievements in terms of increasing awareness and enhancing the image of the Škoda brand – it has indeed been a great promotion for Škoda!”
Juho Hänninen: “The quality of this year’s IRC was really high. This is my first big international title and I am very proud of it. The whole team put in a great performance – we had no technical issues throughout the season, which is an important precondition for success, because to achieve a good result you first have to finish in the respective events. I have made considerable progress on asphalt tracks, and I am already looking forward to further cooperation with Škoda Motorsport.”
Jan Kopecký: “I’d like to thank Škoda for the opportunity to be part of the Fabia Super 2000 project – all of the team members have been working hard, which has lead to this fantastic achievement for the brand. Although we didn’t take the top spot in the drivers’ standings, finishing second is a great achievement. We are really looking forward to next year.”