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Audi’s DTM superstar, Mattias Ekstrom, has tested the Skoda Fabia WRC for two days with his new co-driver Jonas Andersson.

After 160 test kilometres on tarmac, the team has acquired new and important information.

Red Bull Skoda has used the past few weeks to prepare intensely for the second half of the World Rally Championship season, for the events in Germany, Cyprus, Turkey and Wales.

“We attached great importance to the drivability of the engine, worked particularly hard on balancing mass and the centre of gravity. Additionally, we re-tuned the suspension and the damper settings as well as the water injection, and we also revised the active differentials”, says chief engineer Dietmar Metrich, who managed this first test in conjunction with the team of BRR.

The crew used a five kilometre stretch of tarmac near Rosenau at the Hengstpass. The characteristics of this road correspond to the conditions that will predominate in the vineyards of the upcoming OMV ADAC Rally Germany.

Ekstrom completed 160 kilometres without any incidents.

The comments made by Ekstrom after two days of testing were correspondingly positive: “It was a very interesting experience. I learned a lot, developed a good feeling for the Fabia WRC and above all was able to adapt my style of driving. I’ve laid a solid foundation for the next test in Germany, immediately prior to the start in Trier. The working relationship with my new co-driver Jonas Andersson was of equal importance. I was very happy about that as well, Jonas has been working flawlessly.”

Also present at Rosenau was Red Bull Youngster Andreas Aigner, who watched the action like a hawk.

The man from Styria will be at the helm of the car in another test next week. The team will then move its base to Germany, where another two days of conjoint testing in the vineyards and on the Panzerplatte are scheduled.

During the summer break, the preparations for Rally Cyprus, where once again Finland’s Harri Rovanpera will be at the wheel of the Fabia WRC, got underway as well. A new steering rack has been developed, and mechanical differentials were changed. These developments will be under scrutiny subsequent to Rally Germany during another thorough gravel test.

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