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APRC: ŠKODA TEAMS OUT TO CONTINUE WINNING RUN IN AUSTRALIA

APRC A FULL 2014

APRC: ŠKODA teams out to continue winning run in Australia

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› One-twos at the previous two rallies in New Zealand and New Caledonia
› ŠKODA victories at the last two International Rallies of Queensland
› ŠKODA drivers Gill and Kopecký joint leaders in the overall standings

​Mladá Boleslav, 17 June 2014 – After back-to-back one-twos in the opening two rallies of the season, the works-assisted ŠKODA MRF team now has its sights set on continuing its winning run at round three of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). When the International Rally of Queensland takes place in Australia on 21st and 22nd June, it will feature an all-ŠKODA battle for the lead in the overall standings: defending champion Gaurav Gill (IND) and European Champion Jan Kopecký (CZ) are tied at the top.

​“The beautiful Pacific, average temperatures above 20 degrees, and endless sandy beaches – unfortunately my co-driver Pavel Dresler and I will have no time to take in any of this when we travel to Australia’s Sunshine Coach as rally drivers for the first time. Quite the opposite: we will be made to work very hard, as the demanding gravel routes away from the tourist attractions will pose the ultimate test to us drivers and the cars. As well as pure speed, we will also have to be clever if we want to win again. We are ready,” said Kopecký.

The 32-year-old travels to Australia full of confidence, having finished ahead of Gill to claim his first APRC victory at the second round of the season in exotic New Caledonia. The opening rally in New Zealand produced the reverse of that finish for the two Fabia Super 2000s: Gill was victorious, followed by Kopecký.

“The duel with Gaurav will be exciting again. It is good that we are pushing ourselves this way within the team,” said the Czech driver. Gill and his co-driver Glenn Macneall (NZ) once again have greater experience of the International Rally of Queensland. The duo was in contention for long periods last year, before having to retire on day two. “We obviously want to do better this time. However, the rally is very technically demanding and the weather can also play a major role,” said Gill.

The stages in the forest can be particularly slippery should it rain. The route often takes in very narrow gravel tracks in the outback behind the beautiful Sunshine Coast. The 16 special stages, totalling 236.97 kilometres, around the Service Park are a test of endurance for man and machine. Victory in Australia would be ŠKODA’s third in a row in the APRC. Both crews also have the same goal in the Manufacturers’ Championship: to defend the title. ŠKODA currently holds a healthy lead here, courtesy of its successful start to the season.

The starts in the APRC are of great strategic importance for the Czech automobile manufacturer. The goal is to further increase awareness of the brand on international markets. ŠKODA has set its sights on increasing worldwide sales to at least 1.5 million units per year in the coming years, with particular emphasis on the growth markets in Asia.

Did you know that …

… the origins of the International Rally of Queensland date back to 1968? It was then that the rally’s predecessor, the Rally Queensland, was held for the first time. The race has also formed part of the Australian Rally Championship since then, making it the longest-standing event in the championship.

… the International Rally of Queensland made its debut in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in 2009?

… the International Rally of Queensland was originally held in the area around Brisbane? In 1997 it moved to the outback behind the beautiful Sunshine Coach, over 150 kilometres north of the city. The motto this year: “Sun, Sea, Speed”.

… ŠKODA has already won the APRC class at the International Rally of Queensland on two occasions? Australian Chris Atkinson won in a Fabia Super 2000 in 2012, while Finland’s Esapekka Lappi repeated the feat in 2013.

… ŠKODA went on to win the title in the APRC after both successes at the iconic rally in Australia? Chris Atkinson triumphed in 2012, with Gaurav Gill crowned rally king of the Asia-Pacific region in 2013.

… Australia is the sixth largest country on earth, with an area of around 7.7 million km²? The coastline itself is 35,876 kilometres long.

… the Australian Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland, is the largest reef in the world? It is 2,300 kilometres long and the largest living structure on the planet.

… the six rounds of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) is held in regions with a total population of over 2.5 million?


The number for the International Rally of Queensland: 20

At last year’s International Rally of Queensland, the two ŠKODA drivers clocked the fastest time by an APRC river on all 20 special stages. Esapekka Lappi was the quickest man on 13 stages and went on to win the APRC class at the rally. Gaurav Gill, who was to be crowned APRC Champion, notched up seven stage wins.

FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), overall standings manufacturers’ championship after 2 of 6 events:

1. ŠKODA, 75 points; 2. Proton, 36; 3. Mitsubishi, 32; 4. Renault, 25; 5. Subaru, 13

FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), overall standings drivers’ championship after 2 of 6 events:

1. Gaurav Gill, 66 points; 1. Jan Kopecký, 66; 3. Michael Young 36, 4. Mark Pedder, 32; 5. Tom Wilde 25

The 2014 APRC calendar:

11–13 April: Rally of Whangarei – New Zealand
16–18 May: Rallye de Nouvelle-Calédonie – New Caledonia
20–22 June: Rally of Queensland – Australia
15–17 August: Malaysian Rally – Malaysia
26–28 September: Rally Hokkaido – Japan
7–9 November: China Rally – China

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karel Pokorny
Media Skoda Motorsport

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Photos:Tomáš Brčko Brázdil www.foto-brcko.cz by Rally Report Magazine Argentina and Skoda Motorsport https://www.facebook.com/motorsportskoda

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Categories:   Rally Report Magazine Argentina 14 años

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