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ŠKODA will enter two factory crews in next season’s FIA European Rally Championship while it gears up to join the R5 revolution from 2015 with a new-generation challenger based on the Fabia.

Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm will take over from 2013 ERC champions, Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler, by tackling selected European championship events in 2014 in a Fabia Super 2000.

Sepp Wiegand and Frank Christian will drive a second Fabia S2000 in the ERC under the ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland banner. Kopecký and Dresler will turn their attentions to the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Meanwhile, formal confirmation of ŠKODA’s R5 project is another significant boost for the ERC and follows confirmation of Peugeot Rally Academy’s plans to support a brace of 208 T16s for Kevin Abbring and Craig Breen in 2014. M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta R5 is already a winner in the ERC, while Citroën will launch its DS3 R5 next year.

Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at ŠKODA, said: “The current Fabia Super 2000 has been demonstrating our technical prowess for years. The challenge is now to follow on from this success. That is why we are working flat out to develop a new racing car, based on the ŠKODA Fabia, for the R5 category.”

Michal Hrabánek, ŠKODA Motorsport Director, added: “The R5 category succeeds the previous Super 2000 class. This way, we are able to continue to compete successfully in international championships and to push ahead with our customer programme. As it stands, we are assuming that the new car will be homologated by mid-2015.”

The 2014 ERC features 12 rounds between January and November and gets underway with the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich from 3-5 January.

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