Skoda is one manufacturer that we here at TMR have been keeping close tabs on. Volkswagen-owned Skoda rose from relative obscurity to become one of Europe's best-known automakers during the 1990s and the re-introduction of the brand to the Australian market in 2007 is now proving a success for the company.
Skoda's resurgance in the showrooms has also been mirrored by a renewed motorsports campaign, with the freshly-prepared Fabia Super 2000 rally car receiving its baptism of fire at the Monte Carlo Rally.
While the Fabia S2000 failed to secure a podium finish for Skoda, the data and knowledge gleaned from the car's rally debut will prove invaluable for Skoda's WRC team in future events.
The Fabia S2000 got off to a cracking start, with Finnish driver Juho H??nninen finishing the first day of competition in first place. The second day saw the Fabia rack up four wins out of six speed tests, with both H??nninen and Czech team mate Jan Kopeck?? notching up victories.
An accident put H??nninen out of the running in the final stages of the competition, while Kopeck?? eventually went on to snare fourth place overall.
While it didn't bring in a trophy during its inaugural run, Skoda Motorsport Michal Hrab??nek was pleased with the car's performance throughout the rally and said that its strong showing cemented its position as a genuine contender for WRC.
Indeed, with recent rule changes making the Super 2000 format mandatory for future WRC cars, we're sure we'll be seeing more of Skoda's plucky Fabia on the dusty, rutted roads of the World Rally Championship. Now, where's the road-going version?