Skoda Motorsport boss Michal Hrabanek believes his decision to sign Juho Hanninen and Jan Kopecky to lead his team's assault on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge has been vindicated after their one-two finish on Rally Russia recently.

The success marked the first triumph in the IRC for Skoda's Fabia Super 2000 model, which only made its competition debut on the Monte Carlo Rally in January.

Kopecky moved to within one point of Kris Meeke at the top of the drivers' standings while Skoda is now two points clear of Ralliart in the manufacturers' championship.

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

"Juho Hanninen showed already in Monte Carlo this year 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 of promoting the Skoda brand, and I daresay that this has not been our last achievement."

Skoda is set to return to the IRC on Barum Rally Zlin, its home event, on August 21-23.

"This victory is a great impulse for further work and we are not going to rest on our laurels," Hrabanek continued. "I believe that this milestone will boost the whole project and attract potential buyers of the Fabia Super 2000. The next event takes place in Zlin, where we will logically be under pressure but we will all look forward to it."


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