Circuit of Ireland Rally: ŠKODA drivers aiming for Easter surprise


› Lappi/Ferm and Wiegand/Christian to start the ERC round in Northern Ireland
› Rally steeped in tradition celebrates comeback on an international level
› ŠKODA is travelling to Belfast with fond memories

​Mladá Boleslav, 17 April 2014 – April showers, ever-changing road surfaces and thousands of spectators: The Circuit of Ireland Rally is one of the most varied and oldest rallies in the world. The fourth round of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) in Great Britain, an important ŠKODA market, is one of the highlights of the year. The Latvia winners Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) and the duo from Team ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland, Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian (D/D), want to pull off an Easter surprise in the Fabia Super 2000 from the 17th to 19th April 2014.

​“It’s my first time starting the Circuit of Ireland Rally,” said Lappi. “After the Acropolis Rally in Greece, Janne and I are breaking new ground once again in Northern Ireland. The weather can play a key role there. Sunshine, rain or anything else is possible – in Northern Ireland everything can change in a matter of minutes.”

“Once again it’s not going to be easy going up against the new generation of turbocharged vehicles of our competitors. But that is no reason for us to bury our heads in the sand, after all ŠKODA has shown what the Fabia Super 2000 is capable of in Northern Ireland previously,” explained the Finn. ŠKODA has already won the third oldest rally in the world twice and has already proved its competitive ability this season.

Lappi celebrated a convincing victory at the first ŠKODA start this year at the Rally Latvia. At the Acropolis Rally in Greece he managed fourth place, while fellow ŠKODA driver Wiegand finished in fifth in the day’s standings on Sunday. The 23-year-old from Zwönitz will start for the second time in the Fabia Super 2000 in Northern Ireland after his debut in 2012. “My experience in 2012 is only a slight advantage since this year’s route is completely different,” said Wiegand under no illusion. “This rally is one of the most difficult asphalt events of the year. The grip level can change in almost every bend, which can make for a nasty surprise. The changeable weather means that selecting the tyres is a gamble. I’m looking forward to it.”

After qualifying on Maundy Thursday, which starts with a 4.15-kilometre asphalt stage just outside the rally centre in Belfast, the Circuit of Ireland Rally gets underway on Good Friday with ten special stages covering a total of 113.30 kilometres. The rally is then decided on the closing 117.12 kilometres of timed stages on Saturday, split across eight special stages.

Did you know that …

… the Circuit of Ireland Rally was first held in 1931? This makes it the third oldest automobile rally in the world. On its debut, the event was called the “Ulster Motor Rally”.

… the Circuit of Ireland Rally is traditionally held on the Easter weekend? The start and finish of the rally are usually in Northern Ireland, while parts of the course also ran through Ireland in the past.

… this year, the Circuit of Ireland Rally is part of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) for the first time since 1991? In 2012 it was the third round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), and in 2013 it was not held due to heavy snowfall.

… ŠKODA has already tasted success twice at the Circuit of Ireland Rally? In 2009 local hero Eugene Donnelly (GB) won alongside his co-driver Paddy Toner (GB) in the Fabia WRC; in 2012 the then ŠKODA factory duo Juho Hänninen/Mikko Markkula (FIN/FIN) in the Fabia Super 2000 finished first at the rally in Northern Ireland.

… ŠKODA brought home a one-two-three victory at the Circuit of Ireland Rally in 2012? Behind the winning duo of Hänninen/Markkula in the Fabia Super 2000, came Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløne (N/N) and last year’s European Champions Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ) in second and third. Barrable Robert / Connolly Damien (IRL/IRL) and Sepp Wiegand/Timo Gottschalk (D/D) finished in sixth and seventh, meaning that a total of five Fabia Super 2000s secured a top 10 spot in the overall standings.

… this year is the second time that ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland driver Sepp Wiegand will start the Circuit of Ireland Rally? In 2012 he finished in seventh, alongside co-driver Timo Gottschalk.

… in 2013 Great Britain became the fourth largest market for the ŠKODA brand? Last year the manufacturer increased deliveries to customers by 24 percent to the new record value of 66,000 vehicles (in 2012: 53,200). This puts Great Britain in fourth place in ŠKODA’s worldwide rankings, behind China, Germany and Russia – and ahead of the domestic market in the Czech Republic.

The number for the Circuit of Ireland Rally: 14

At the last Circuit of Ireland Rally in 2012, ŠKODA drivers achieved the best time on all 14 of the special stages held. Juho Hänninen (FIN), who went on to win the rally, was the fastest on eight stages and Andreas Mikkelsen (N) was the fastest on five stages. The victory on the opening stage “Titanic” went to Jan Kopecký (CZ).

FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), Drivers Standings

1. Craig Breen, 63 points; 2. Esapekka Lappi, 59; 3. Vasily Gryazin, 48; 4. Kajetan Kajetanowicz, 44; 5. Robert Kubica, 39; 6. Bryan Bouffier, 31; 7. Vaclav Pech, 30; 8. Raimund Baumschlager, 24; 9. Beppo Harrach, 20; 10. Jaromir Tarabus, 20; 11. Sepp Wiegand, 20; 12. Bruno Magalhães, 14; 13. Andreas Aigner, 12; 14. Jãnis Vorobjovs, 10; 15. Vitaliy Pushkar, 6; 16. Jaroslav Orsák, 6; 17. Roman Odlozilik, 5; 18. Stanislav Travnikov, 5; 19. Jean-Michel Raoux, 4; 20. Robert Consani, 4; 21. Martynas Samuitis, 3; 22. Siim Plangi, 2; 23. Hermann Neubauer, 1; 24. Jan Cerny, 1; 25. Mãrtins Svilis, 1.






Karel Pokorny
Media Skoda Motorsport

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


Media Andrea Privarova

Rally Report Magazine Argentina

Categories:   Rally Report Magazine Argentina 14 años


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