Patrick Sandell has created history by securing the first win for a Super 2000 machine in the Production World Rally Championship.
Sandell produced a dominant display in his first outing in the new Red Bull Rally Team Skoda Fabia S2000 to secure what was also his maiden win at PWRC level. The win was also the first victory for the Skoda in its second outing, its debut having come in the opening IRC round of the year in Monte Carlo.
The Swede went into the final leg of the event with a lead of more than two minutes but lost time on the opening stage of the final day when he suffered a spin.
Despite also suffering from a lack of top end speed on some of the quicker stages on the event, Sandell was able to successfully bring the Skoda home just over 44 seconds clear of second placed Eyvind Brynildsen.
"It was a great moment when I won the JWRC in 2006,” he said at the finish, “but today has to be one of the best days in my career. My first PWRC win, especially with a new car and a new team – my first event with the Red Bull Rally Team couldn't have gone any better. Many thanks to the entire team; I'm over the moon with joy!"
Team boss Raimund Baumschlager was also delighted with an event where his driver secured the PWRC lead on the opening stage and was never headed en-route to victory.
"We knew that we would be a little short on top speed compared with the competition on the final day,” he said. “That was solely because of the gear ratio – which however was the correct one if you look at the rally in its entirety. Otherwise we would have had serious problems on the first two days.
"It's a great day for me and BRR as well – to finish the season opener on the top step, and then take the debut win for the Skoda Fabia S2000 on top of that. Congratulations to the entire team, but especially to Patrik, who delivered an extraordinary performance."