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Skoda’s new rally car is most excellent
It’s just been homologated by the FIA, and will soon be let loose on the rally stages of this planet. “Now we can prove just how good our new rally car is in the race series,” boasts Skoda’s Dr Frank Welsch.
So just how good will the rally Fab be? Well, it’s based on the brand new Fabia, here pared back and stiffened up to a lithe 1230kg - as per the regulations - and fitted with a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine up front.
It’s producing around 265bhp, sent through a five-speed sequential gearbox to all four wheels. Though there’s little technical detail at this stage, expect the usual gamut of rally-car hero-dom: roll cage, competition suspension, a stripped back interior, and vegetable-crushing seats and harnesses.
We’re told Skoda Motorsport has been developing this R 5 for the past 15 months, a programme that included around 10,000km of testing across Europe, on asphalt, gravel and snow.
And, Skoda tells us the new R 5 has already garnered interest from customer teams wishing to purchase it. Skoda has form here: in 2014, the Fabia Super 2000 won the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, and also garnered five national titles.
“We can now initiate the next phase of the Fabia R 5 project,” explains Skoda’s Michael Hrabánek. We know Skoda isn’t planning a new Fabia VRS, but we certainly hope the next phase is an, um, ‘homologation’ version of this R 5…