The perfect final: ŠKODA also clinches the manufacturers’ title in the APRC

Rally China 5831

4 November 2013

​› Prestigious triple triumph in front of enthusiastic crowds in China
› Successful ŠKODA duo Gill/Macneall already champions in the drivers’ rankings
› Lappi wins Rally China Longyou for the Czech automobile manufacturer
› “This win is of strategic importance”

Longyou, China, 3 November 2013 – ŠKODA enjoyed a perfect final of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in China and now has three reasons to celebrate. With Gaurav Gill (India) having already clinched the drivers’ championship title,* the Czech automobile manufacturer went on to also secure the prestigious manufacturers’ title* in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans on Sunday. And thirdly, the fast Finn Esapekka Lappi won the Rally China Longyou for the factory-backed ŠKODA MRF team. This excellent weekend was the icing on the cake in an outstanding 2013 rally season for ŠKODA, which already had the European Championship title* under its belt thanks to Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ), as well as five other national and regional titles.

​“Winning in the APRC is of very big importance to the ŠKODA brand – especially since we have now wrapped it all up in the strategic market of China. The entire ŠKODA MRF team did fantastically throughout the championship and I would like to thank every single member of the team for their efforts. It goes without saying that our huge congratulations go to our two winners Gaurav Gill and Glen Macneall, who have scored the biggest victory of their careers to date. And our ŠKODA China colleagues deserve some recognition too, for having presented our ŠKODA Fabia racing car in the Chinese rally championship,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek.

Thousands of spectators lined the gravel and asphalt tracks on all three days of the China Rally Longyou and cheered the entire ŠKODA team on. At the end of 13 special stages over a distance of 230.92 km, it was Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) who triumphed, ahead of their teammates Gaurav Gill/Glen Macneall (IND/NZ). “We are happy to have helped ŠKODA win the manufacturers’ title with our win in the final race in China. That was our primary objective. The APRC has been a great learning experience,” commented Lappi.

Win number five out of six races this season was the icing on the cake in an outstanding APRC season for the ŠKODA MRF team. Before China, 22-year-old Lappi won the races in New Zealand and Australia, while 31-year-old Gill scored wins in New Caledonia and Japan in the fantastic Fabia S2000. Together, they confidently clinched the manufacturers’ title for ŠKODA. Gill scored what he says is the biggest success of his career with his top position in the drivers’ standings, while Lappi finished in third place.

“I am the APRC champion and I am absolutely delighted. I achieved what I and the brand as a whole set out to do, which is fantastic. I would like to thank the entire ŠKODA MRF team and above all ŠKODA Motorsport, who helped me realise this dream of mine.” In addition, the win meant that ŠKODA successfully defended its title, as Chris Atkinson (AUS) won the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships in the APRC for ŠKODA in 2012.

ŠKODA’s global successes in rallying are indicative of the brand’s class: in addition to the European champions* Kopecký/Dresler, this year the brand has already also produced national rally champions with Raimund Baumschlager in Austria, Umberto Scandola in Italy, Dimitar Iliev in Bulgaria and Marouf Abu Samra in Jordan. Gustavo Saba of Paraguay likewise triumphed in a ŠKODA, in South America’s CODASUR championship.* “The titles we have won in Europe and the other national championship wins stand as a testament to our expertise in the area of rallying. I think we have given the ŠKODA brand some fantastic advertising, which we can now build on in the Asia-Pacific region in particular,” said Hrabánek in summary.

For the Czech automobile manufacturer ŠKODA, achieving success in its strategic market, China, was a key step in its international growth drive. ŠKODA is aiming to increase its global sales to at least 1.5 million units a year by 2018 and also to achieve strong growth in particular in the Asian growth markets. And rally wins and championship titles are, of course, the best form of advertising for the brand.

* Subject to official confirmation by the FIA



Karel Pokorny
Media Skoda Motorsport
Photos:Tomáš Brčko Brázdil by Rally Report Magazine Argentina and Skoda Motorsport

Admin and Translation:

Media Andrea Privarova
Rally Report Magazine Argentina

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