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IRC: Skoda: Russia 1-2 a milestone

12 July 2009

Skoda boss Michal Hrabanek was 'enormously happy' on Saturday after seeing his drivers' finish one-two on Rally Russia and give the Czech manufacturer its first victory in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Skoda blitzed the pack during the sixth round in this year's IRC, with Juho Hanninen leading throughout and setting the pace in all but one of the stages.

Jan Kopecky meanwhile was also strong in the sister car and he was equally comfortable en-route to second, albeit over a 1 minute off his team-mate.

Given this was only Skoda's fourth IRC appearance, the Czech manufacturer had much to celebrate.

"We are all enormously happy, this is the best reward for the entire team, Škoda Auto and its partners involved in the Fabia Super 2000 project, big thanks to all of them," Hrabanek reflected. "Obviously, this victory is a great impulse for further work and we are not going to rest on our laurels.

"Yet I believe that this milestone will boost the whole project and attract potential buyers of the Fabia Super 2000.

"I take my hat off to both our crews, selecting them for our team was apparently a good decision. We have known Jan Kopecký for a long time - he puts in stable performances and has improved a great deal.

"Juho Hänninen showed already in Monte Carlo this year in January that he could be pretty fast, too, and I am really glad that he's shown now how good he really is. We have done a great job in terms of promoting the Škoda brand, and I daresay that this has not been our last achievement.

"The next event takes place in Zlín, Czech Republic, where we will logically be under pressure, but we all look forward to it."


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