Skoda boss, Michal Hrabanek has said that the form of Jan Kopecky and Juha Hanninen on the Belgium Ypres Rally last weekend proves that they are on the right track with the Skoda Fabia Super 2000.
Kopecky was the only person anywhere near the top two Peugeot's during the latest round in the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge and the Czech star ran in the top-three throughout, eventually inheriting second when Freddy Loix slipped back with four stages to go.
Juho Hanninen also ran strongly in the sister car - and he took fifth, only losing out on third when he picked up a puncture in the final test.
Speaking at the finish, Hrabanek admitted that while they still have some way to go to challenge the Peugeot 207 Super 2000s, the signs are all very promising.
“The Ypres Rally was the first all-tarmac competition we appeared at with the Skoda Fabia Super 2000 and, just like we'd presumed, it was a tough fight for every second, which is actually typical of the entire IRC series and certainly attractive from rally fans' perspective,” he reflected.
“The final result confirms that our success at the Azores Rally was no coincidence and that we are indeed good enough to fight for the overall victory. We haven't made the last step, though, and we know that we still have a lot of hard work to do.
“The experience we have gained here however will definitely help us in our development work and in preparing the car for the rallies to come.
“I wish to thank both our crews for putting in a brave performance on this difficult track. The next event we are going to appear at is a rally in Russia, on tough gravel track full of bumps and enormously difficult stretches. That will surely be another challenging test for the Skoda Fabia Super 2000 and both our crews.”
Kopecky and Hanninen meanwhile were also happy with their form on the Ypres - and the Fabia S2000 itself.
Indeed Kopecky managed to post top-three stages times in 13 of the 16 tests, including winning SS8, the 11.32 kilometre-run through Dikkebus 1.