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Thu 17 Feb 2022

New Fabia Rally2 racks up winter mileage

Škoda Motorsport has made further steps with its all-new Fabia Rally2 car after completing a five-day test in sub-zero conditions.

Reigning WRC2 champion Andreas Mikkelsen, former top-tier pilot Kris Meeke and Finnish hotshot Emil Lindholm each completed stints behind the wheel in northern Finland, where temperatures plummeted to around -14°C. 

Whilst the car had already completed extensive mileage on gravel and asphalt roads, project leader Jan Krasula said the team wanted to cover all bases in preparation for the future. 

"The goal was not only to test the durability and performance of, for example, chassis parts and powertrain components under these harsh winter conditions," he explained.

“We have to make sure that the crew finds an acceptable comfort level inside the cockpit when it’s freezing outside. For example, the windscreen must not fog up, and the onboard temperature must not fall below a certain level.

“That’s why we test the new generation Škoda Fabia Rally2 on as many surfaces and in as many conditions as possible, so nothing surprises our customer teams once the car enters competition,” added Krasula.

Mikkelsen has campaigned a Fabia Rally2 Evo since 2020 and was impressed with its successor’s performance on snow. 

“I already had a very good feeling with the new generation car on asphalt and gravel. After the recent test, I can confirm that for snow. I feel very, very good in the car and we are definitely on the right track with the development,” he said.

VIDEO: SKODA FABIA RALLY2 WINTER TESTING

Meeke was also full of praise, adding: "The whole test went as planned. We have made further progress and once again gained important insights. The engineers have been trying different technical configurations and I really enjoyed driving the car."

The Fabia has won 10 FIA World Rally Championship support category titles in R5 and Rally2 guises since its debut in 2015 in the hands of drivers including Mikkelsen, Esapekka Lappi, Pontus Tidemand and Kalle Rovanperä.

The new four-wheel drive car is again powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine connected to a five-speed sequential gearbox. It is expected to enter competition later this year.

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