Skoda has announced that it will enter a two-car team into the Valasska Rally in the Czech Republic later this month in preparation for its return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

The team missed the Brazilian event in Curitiba last weekend after an impressive performance from the Fabia S2000 in Monte Carlo and will also sit out the Safari Rally before returning to IRC competition in May's Sata Rally Azores.

Ahead of that, Juho Hanninen and Jan Kopecky will run in the Czech national event on 27 March and Skoda Motorsport boss Michal Hrabanek said he was pleased to have the chance to put more miles on the cars.

"We appreciate having another opportunity to test the vehicle in a real competition after the Monte Carlo Rally," he said. "Like on the previous occasion, we want to move a few steps forward with our vehicle development efforts, and although the main purpose of our appearance at the Valasska Rally is to test the new vehicle, our ambitions also include achieving the best possible result.

"We also see the event as an excellent opportunity to present ourselves to Czech rally fans and thank them for their long-standing support, including on the latest occasion in Monte Carlo. From the drivers' perspective, the race is the best possible way of preparing for future IRC events."

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